Thursday, March 30, 2017

Crockpot Chili & Corn Casserole.

Yesterday, I posted about what we've been up to lately which included a yummy chili and cornbread casserole dinner on Tuesday night.  I still hate to cook.  But I'm a mother and a wife so I do it.  And I also love yummy food. A girl's got to eat, right?

So this winter I made my first chili based off of a few recipes I found on Pinterest.  I like my chili rich and thick.  Watery, bland chili is just not my favorite.  And then there's also the super controversial bean/no bean argument.  I was born and raised in TX and I need beans in my chili!  I know this is a hot topic of among Texans but for ME and my house...we eat the beans.


There's also nothing better than cornbread with your chili.  (Along with cheese and sour cream...and if you need some crunch..some Fritos.)  I know there are so many corn/cornbread casserole recipes out there.  But this one was given to me when I was a newlywed, living in Green Bay and away from home on Thanksgiving for the first time.

Craig was playing for the Packers and one of the other quarterbacks' wives invited us over for Thanksgiving.  She made this amazing corn casserole and I had to have the recipe!  I was shocked at how easy it was and I've made it every single Thanksgiving since then (plus many other times in between).

And just for kicks, this was me with Deanna Favre (Brett Favre's wife) and Jeannie Pederson (wife of Doug Pederson who was another backup QB with Craig and is now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles).  This was taken after dinner one night at Brett Favre's Steakhouse in Green Bay. Both of these ladies are so amazing and calmed my fears of this NFL lifestyle I was now a part of at 23.


But back to the food.

No, this meal is not on your diet plan.  No this is not gluten free, fat free, sodium free, or in any way good for you.  But it tastes good and life is too short (in my opinion) to not indulge every once in awhile.

Feel free to take some liberties with the chili recipe!  I did.  Sometimes it just takes a few tries to get it just perfect!  My advice is to write down what you'd change each time so you'll remember for the next time.  (Like "less water", "more chili powder", extra chilis" etc).



I should probably also call this the Lazy Girl's Chili.  I'll do anything to avoid chopping onions so sometimes I skip them and add onion powder to get some flavor.  I also tend to use things I have on hand so if I have 2 cans of Chili Beans and no Pintos I'll just do that.  Or a can of Ranch Style Beans instead of one of those.

So here ya go!  (Remember, I am no chef.  I don't give out recipes often!  So forgive me for my "dashes" and "sprinkles" of something instead of actual measurements...)

Crockpot Texas Chili

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, chopped 
*(I skip the onion sometimes and just use onion powder when I brown the meat)
1 can Rotel, drained (I use mild or original but go "hot" if you like it spicy)
1 can Pinto Beans, drained
1 can Chili Beans in sauce
2 tbsp chili powder
1 29oz can of tomato sauce
1 4oz can green chiles, drained
2 cloves minced garlic (about 1 tsp)
3/4 cup of water
Optional/Add to taste:
1-2 tbsp cayenne pepper (if you want it spicy!)
1 tbsp each of salt and pepper (I hate pepper so I skip it)

DIRECTIONS:

Cook meat (along with onion or onion powder) in a skillet until cooked thoroughly.  Drain and put in crockpot.  
Add all other ingredients in to the crockpot.
Stir well.
Set on low and cook for at 6-8 hours (the longer the better, I think!)
Serve with Fritos, cornbread, corn casserole (recipe below), cheddar cheese, and/or sour cream.


Corn Casserole

INGREDIENTS: 

2 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 can cream corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 sticks melted butter
16oz sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until smooth and mixed well.  Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish and smooth it out evenly.  Cook at 350 for 45-60 minutes until top starts to brown and toothpick comes out fairly clean.


So there you have it!  Let me know if you make it and how it turns out.  I have to admit that posting recipes makes me super anxious and scared to death you'll make it and hate it.  Eek!  

Before I leave you for the day, I had to add a new favorite pair of wedges to my list from yesterday!  I just found these and feel like I need these in my life!  Imagine them with cute cropped jeans, shorts, or a maxi dress.  Especially good for those maxi dresses that are so stinkin' LONG.  (I'm 5'5").  Do you like???  Go HERE to check out my other favorite wedges!



Have a great day!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's Up, Wednesday! {3.29.17}

Wednesday already.  This week is flying by!  We've been so busy around here since Friday and there is no end in sight!  I've been completely M.I.A. on this blog this week because of it but I'm happy to be back for What's Up, Wednesday with Mel, Shay and Sheaffer!  Here we go!



What we're eating this week:

Monday we had baseball games at 6 (Matthew) and 7:30 (Mason).  None of us were hungry at 5:00 when it was really the only time we had to eat.  So we drove through Chick-fil-a on the way home after the game. #givemeallthePolynesiansauce

Last night, we had crockpot chili and corn casserole.  I have taken several chili recipes over the years and figured out what I like best!  I'll post the recipe soon!  And I love cornbread with my chili and the corn casserole just takes it up a notch.  Throw in a little green salad and call it a day!  So yummy!


Wednesday night we have baseball practice but storms are in the forecast so I think we are all hoping that gets cancelled.  ;)  Mason HAS to have tacos every week so it'll probably be a taco night.

Thursday??  Possibly crispy cheddar chicken and mashed potatoes.  We'll see how that works out. We are supposed to have a game that night.

Friday:  Pizza night

Speaking of eating, I also made this mistake yesterday when I had to run into the store...

Yeah, if you look close, you can totally see where I ripped into the package IN THE CAR.  Seriously, my favorite holiday candy ever.

I will only eat 2 a day.  I will only eat 2 a day.  I will only eat 2 a day.

What I'm reminiscing about:

These popped up in my Facebook memories this week.  

This was Matthew at our staff prayer time in the morning before preschool.  If you follow Narci, you might recognize her two littles, Luke and Presley, in the background!  Erika, Narci and I all used to teach at the preschool YEARS ago!

And this was me, Matthew and my "lil friend".  haha  I loved this shirt!!  I miss that big ole belly.  

I think I'm probably boring my friends to death lately about wanting another baby but not being brave enough to go for it.  I'm 35 now and my kids are pretty independent.  I don't think we can start all over again.  Mason is almost 7.  Matthew is almost 9.  Sigh.  When did I get OLD?!

What I'm loving:

My eyelashes are making me super happy right now.  I got some Lash Boost from Erika a few months ago and my lashes are so long.  They look like lash extensions!  When I combine that with my favorite mascara (here), my eyelashes just make me so proud.  Is that weird? 


This was one coat of mascara at the end of the day.  (So don't judge my bleary eyes and dark circles...haha)  I was just about to wash my makeup off (what was left of it) when I thought I'd snap a pic.  I'll have to remember to take a picture with my eyes done up for a girls night or date night next time.   If you don't want to spulurge for the Lash Boost then at least try out this mascara!  Seriously, my favorite!  (And I've tried A LOT of mascaras!)

Find it HERE

What we've been up to:

Oh my gosh.  We have been so crazy busy!!  I'm going to recap our weekend tomorrow because we had some Spring Carnival fun, I got to hear a friend give her testimony in front of 300 women and we got hit with a pretty major hail storm which was a little dramatic.




What I'm dreading:

Since we're talking severe weather, I'm going to go with dreading tornado season! Spring in Texas (and so many other places in the south) bring lots of severe weather and tornados!  Thankfully, I have never been in a tornado but I've had to sit in my pantry/closet/bathroom/etc with a football helmet countless times over my 35 years.  ;)

This was actually during a Tornado Warning the night of December 26, 2015.  All my boys are ready!  (Sort of.)  We clearly weren't TOO worried since I had to stop for a pic.

What I'm working on:

Right now I'm working on getting several new products photographed and listed in my shop!  Listing new items is a pain in the butt, yall.  There is a giant form to fill out to get it listed correctly and you need pictures which all need to be edited to make them look their best.  It just takes awhile.  So right now I'm looking forward to getting the NAVY version of this best selling stainless steel tumbler photgraphed and listed.  I'm working on it!   


I'd also like to get this super cute sign added as well!  I made this as a giveaway prize for Narci at our Coffee House.  I want to do it in the colors I do my Create, Inspire and Teacher Name signs too.


As always, these gorgeous mulitcolored confetti glitter water bottles make everyone's day brighter!  The confetti glitter moves around and they are just so fun!



And then more signs!  Take a peek through my whole shop here and find me on Instagram for all the latest!


I could go on and on with pictures but I'll stop for now.  ;)

What I'm excited about:

I'm subbing again at my old school in PE on Friday!  I love seeing my sweet students!!  I don't think I stop smiling all day long and I'm pretty sure I give and get about 500 hugs a day when I go back.
The only downside is that this week I have to cram in 5 full days of Etsy orders into 4 days.  It makes for some stressful days..and nights.  

What I'm watching/reading:

I've been binge watching The Real Housewives of NYC on Hulu (which I'm still LOVING Hulu by the way!).  This is not my first time watching these episodes because I've been obsessed with Real Housewives of whoever since they all started.  But it's fun going back and watching them all straight through, from the beginning with no commercials.  So many personality disorders in this group! #goodtv  


Since I've been a bit obsessed with these ladies lately, I decided to buy Ramona's book!  Who knew she even had a book?!  I sure didn't!  But I soooo wanted to read her crazy and what all happened with her husband, Mario when he cheated on her.  She was so tight-lipped during filming and my heart just broke for her when it came out.  She really was blind-sided I think and loved him so much.  It's so sad.  No matter how crazy she can be, she was hurting bad.  



I was disappointed it wasn't available as an audiobook!  Boo.  I'll let you know how it is once I finish it!

What I'm listening to:

Audiobooks of course!  Right now, it's one of Jill Mansel's books called Making Your Mind Up.  I'm still going to plug Audible too because I really do think everyone should try it at least once! I gave my dad a 3 month subscription (good for 3 books) for Christmas and the last I heard he's already on book 5 and he's loving it.  And he was a skeptic.  You can try it here and get 2 books FREE! 



What I'm wearing:

Right now it's mainly all crop jeans, my favorite Skechers Go Walks, and soft tshirts.


Love these for spring!

I love Target for my tshirt fix!


What I'm doing this weekend:

We have baseball on Saturday but other than that, we're playing it by ear!  I know for sure I'll be working a little overtime to make up for not being able to work on Friday.

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Next month my biggest boy and my littlest boy have birthdays!  On the SAME day!  Mason was born on Craig's birthday so Craig will be 38 and Mason will be 7.  They are both getting so old.  ;)  This means I need to start thinking about birthday parties and since we were super lame last year and didn't do a party, I feel like I need to step it up this year.  Matthew's birthday is only 3 weeks after Craig and Mason's and we usually do a joint birthday in late May.  I need to figure it out soon though!

Bonus Question:  What's your favorite spring wardrobe piece?

I think a staple of any spring/summer wardrobe has to be a great pair of nude wedges!  I had the CUTEST pair that I wore in Hawaii...and unfortunately, they were "lost" somewhere between my hotel and my house.  Grrrrrrr....

Nude wedges are so versatile!  Wear them with jeans (cropped, long, or short), maxi skirts and maxi dresses.  Favorite!!


I love these old pictures!  I got to look through my old "Hawaii" album on Facebook and got to do some reminiscing about this fun trip!


Here are some of my current favorites though...







More Jessica Simpson Wedges (she just makes the best ones)


Last ones.  Too cute not to share!

Here's to Spring and warm weather!!  Happy Hump Day!




Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites. {3.24.17}

Friday Favorites time!  This is my FAVORITE topic to blog about and read about!  I always find cute things on other blogs that I MUST HAVE!!  So be sure to let me know if you blogged about your favorites and hopefully you'll find some cute things on mine!
Linking up with my other Mckinney girls, Erika, Narci and Andrea!

#1:  Skechers Go Walks

First up are my Skechers.  I've worn them so much this week.  I knew they had to be on the list.

I love love love my Skechers Go Walks.  I have two pairs so far (a taupe-y neutral and the ones in the picture below) and I'm in the market for more! I think I need gray or black. I wore my Go Walks walking around the zoo all day during Spring Break and never once had to stop and whine about my feet hurting.  (However, I did whine about being hungry, feeling a little nauseous and having to stand in line for an hour for the monorail).  

These shoes are amazing, though.  They are super light, super soft, kind of stretchy and really padded!  They are so easy to slip on when I need to run errands around town and are perfect for those ball games when it's too cool for flip flops (my fave) but too warm for boots. 

I feel like I've thrown a pair in the washer before too with no problem.  But I can't swear to that.  I just feel like I did at one point...?  Have you?  Do you love yours!?


I have no idea where I got the ones pictured above, though.  Online somewhere is all I know!  One of my friends asked where I got them the other day and I couldn't remember but she mentioned Zappos and that may be where they are from.  Now that I need another pair, I started looking through their site and found these!  And cheers to free shipping!!


While I was on the Zappos website I saw these too.  

Please don't buy these. ;)

No.  Just no.

I'm only linking them because they are hilarious and there is a video of them in action on the website.  Hope I don't offend anyone who thinks these are amazing.  (They aren't.  Don't do it.)

#2 Easter Dress Options

I never made it to Dillards the other day (surprise surprise!) to look for dresses.  So I'm going to just admit that I'll probably never make it to the mall so I'm online shopping.  Right now I have my eye on this one.  




This would look really pretty with a little black shrug too if it was cool on Easter.  What do you think?  Yes?  No?

#3 Anthropologie Shower Curtain

I stumbled upon this gorgeous shower curtain the other day and I can't get it out of my head!  I'm thinking a little bathroom makeover may be in order very soon!  Anything with navy makes me happy!  I really wish the rest of this bathroom came with the shower curtain though...


#4 My New Favorite Earrings

If you see me around town, you will probably see me in one of these pairs of earrings.  I know I posted about them here before but after wearing them a few times, I knew I needed them in silver too.  They are my new go-to earrings.  They are so pretty!  I love that they are big and simple.  Big enough to make me look like I actually tried to look cute (when I didn't) and simple enough to go with whatever tshirt and jeans combo I came up with that day.  

I know gold has been all the rage for the past few years but every once in awhile I want silver!  I've got a fun new bracelet I got from a Stitch Fix shipment a few months ago and I needed nice silver earrings to go with it.

You can find them here.  You will not be disappointed!!

#6 Lip Plumper

As I'm getting older, I'm starting to freak out a little about my face.  Why why WHY can't we stay 21 forever!!??  

For the record, I am not opposed to dermatological intervention.  #botoxforthewin #truth

Anyway, I've recently been on a product kick trying to find things to make me cute again.  Nothing really helps.  But this random lip plumper I found at Target is so fun!!  My lips literally tingle like an electric current is running through them as soon as I put it on.  It is the coolest sensation!! It is unline any other tingly sensation I've felt with other lip plumpers.  I'm totally addicted.  Oh and it does plump my lips too.  ;)


#8  That Inspired Chick (My Etsy Shop!)

Of course, I have to include some of my favorites from my shop!!  Here's what I decided to spotlight this week.  

These skinny stainless steel tumblers continue to be a best seller.  I just got them in in NAVY too and I'll be adding those to the shop later today.  There are just no negatives to this cup.  Skinny and sleek, 20oz, keeps drinks as cold as a Yeti plus it comes in hot pink, white, navy, and mint.  And you can have it personalized however you need it. Check them out here!  (If you are on the mobile or app site, click on "item details" to view the description which includes links to the other colors.)


My blessed signs!!  I love making these!!  They are a perfect addition to a gallery wall too!  Find them here.



Because mornings are just more fun with a little glitter.  And Jesus.  :)


These personalized burlap prints are PERFECT as a wedding or anniverary gift!


To take a peek through my whole shop, click HERE

If you missed my posts on Life as an Etsy Mama and how I (struggle) to balance working from home and just BEING home, find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  

I'd love for you to follow me on my personal Instagram and Etsy Instagram!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Life of an Etsy Mama. {Part 2}

Today is Part 2 of my life as an Etsy Mama.  Part 1 was mainly about the path that got me to where I am today with my Etsy shop.  (You can find Part 1 here.)  Part 2 is about how I am constantly trying to find a balance between work and home life.

I'm so thankful God has created this opportunity for me.  When I go back and look at all the times I prayed for guidance on what direction I should go in when it came to working, I see now all the doors He opened (and closed) for me to get me where I am today.  I really love what I do.  I love being creative, I love creating things and making things pretty.  I love working with my hands and also getting to use what I learned in all those business and marketing classes from college.  It makes me happy.  Even on the days where I want to run and hide and pretend I have no business to take care of.

Finding the balance between my work life and my home life is probably one of the biggest struggles for me as a mom and new business owner.  I feel like I'm constantly in a tug-of-war with my time and I'm not giving enough in one of those areas.  It stresses me out a lot.  I get overwhelmed all the time.  But both parts of my life bring me so much JOY.

At some point, will I take a step back and let myself breathe again?  Absolutely!  But right now it is all about building a new business.  And if you know anything about business, you know that first year or two is crucial.  It's all about establishing your business so that you CAN let up once in awhile after it's stable and thriving without it hurting everything you've worked so hard to build.


Now I know I'm not curing cancer or running a multi-million dollar empire over here, y'all.  My business may keep me super busy but I'm not getting rich doing it.  (Especially after Uncle Sam takes all my money...).  But I'm making a decent income working at home, being my own boss, creating happy things...and doing it all while watching Netflix in my pajamas.  (Not super proud of that but it happens.  It's not like I can glitter and paint in skinny jeans and a J. Crew button down.)

I know I touched on this yesterday but when all of this started, I was working full-time as a PE Aide at the school.  I was working 7:30-3:30 Monday through Friday at the school and then coming straight home to fill orders until 9 or 10 at night.  There was a lot of takeout going on.  Craig was picking up a lot of slack.  I was completely overworked, stressed out and crying into my pillow a lot.  The house was always a disaster. So why did I continue to do that to myself?  Because I knew I couldn't just give up my Etsy shop.  Starting your own business takes time, dedication and a lot of hard work.  And it was paying off!  It was bringing in money, it was growing steadily and I loved what I was doing!  I just needed more balance. Something had to give.

So I did the hardest thing ever and told my principal that I wouldn't be returning the next year so that I could work my Etsy business full-time.  It was such a hard decision to make.  I felt like I was abandoning the kids and letting down my team members.  But I knew that working from home would provide me with the freedom I've always wanted and most importantly, would provide some much-needed balance.



Now days, things are much better.  I still sub up at the school once or twice a month so I can see all my kiddos and I love all the hugs from them when I walk in.  It is all so familiar and comfortable and I am SO thankful I am able to still keep my ties there.  Just walking down the hall and knowing every face I see makes my heart so full.  But my days and my time are handled so much better now and I know I made the right choice.  Subbing at the school was a great compromise.  See?!  Balance.

A Typical Day

So here's a little of what a typical day looks like for me now.  I still don't have this all figured out and sometimes I work WAY past when I know I should have stopped.  So consider me a work-in-progress.

I'm a night owl so I stay up way too late every night. I'm talking midnight/1am.  Which means I sleep til 7 and get up when the boys do. I wake up to several Etsy messages every morning.  Most of them are asking if I could do something specific on a sign or a cup, some are interested in bulk orders which means I need to check inventory, order more supplies, create a custom listing, figure out custom shipping etc.  I need to answer those messages quickly or these customers will go somewhere else.  It's hard to just say "Sorry, I'm not on the clock yet" and ignore until you are.  The people pleaser in me just won't allow it.  It's also just part of the business and good customer service.  I don't have employees who can pick up my slack.  It's all me, all the time.

Thankfully, my kids are pretty independent and always have been.  They have alarm clocks that go off at 7.  They dress themselves and come downstairs for breakfast.  They aren't big breakfast eaters so they prefer cereal usually which is fine with me.  Sometimes Matthew will make his own lunch or if he hasn't done it yet then I will.  Mason always eats in the cafeteria.  (I love that he does this...).

Right before they leave for school, the boys brush their teeth.  We have a set of toothbrushes and toothpaste for the boys in our half bath downstairs so that they don't have to go all the way back upstairs after breakfast to brush their teeth.  This is definitely a tip I recommend if you have trouble in this area.  They used to go back upstairs to brush right before we left for school and it would take a lot of yelling before they decided to quit goofing off and come back downstairs.  (Teeth still unbrushed, usually)

Around 7:45, Craig takes them to school which is less than a mile from our house and comes back home.  I go back to the bedroom for my quiet time and any computer work.  (Blogging, answering emails, designing things that need to be cut that day, ordering any supplies I may be running low on, etc.).  Which leads me to tip #1.

TIP #1:  NEVER get back in bed.  (duh)

I make this mistake from time to time.  Usually when it's cold and I just want to curl up and get cozy while I have my quiet time and work on the computer.  But this is never a good idea.  It's so hard to get back out once you are finished with everything and have no good reason to stay in bed.  Which brings me to Tip #2.

TIP #2:  Make your bed as soon as you get up.

I hate making the bed.  I always feel like there are other things I should be doing and going from one side of the bed to the other to pull up the bedding and throw all those darn pillows back on the bed seems like a waste of time.  But it keeps me from getting way too comfy when I come back to the room for my morning routine.  I keep a throw blanket at the end of the bed if I'm cold or just throw on my super ugly but deliciously cozy bathrobe.


Once that's done I head to the kitchen for my morning smoothie.  (Check out my new smoothie recipe HERE).  If I put this in one of my stainless steel cups, I can sip on it all morning.  (You can find my FAVORITE stainless steel skinny tumblers here.)


Then I go up to my craft room for the day.  I print out all of the orders that came in the day before and overnight and put them in a 3 ring binder, organized by the day they need to ship by.

I hate that when I print the orders, it cuts off the top of my head from my banner!  :(

I work on orders all day while binge watching something on my laptop, listening to an audiobook or watching HGTV.  Working on orders consists of designing things on the computer, getting them cut with my machine, weeding each design (which means pulling up the negative space around and in between the design with what looks like a pick the dentist uses), painting signs, applying decals, glittering drinkware, taping boxes, printing labels, packaging items, ordering supplies and inventory and answering messages that come in steadily throughout the day.  There is A LOT that goes into running your own Etsy business. I usually stop for lunch around noon but take my lunch back up to my craft room so I can eat and work at the same time. My days go by so quickly.  

Stamping the backs of my signs, adding hardware and ribbon.

Time to pack them up!


 
Working on a bulk order of tumblers.

 Decals that have been designed, cut, weeded and are ready to be applied.

Vinyl decal application

After School

Craig picks up the boys from school at 3 so I don't have to stop working.  He is a private QB coach and since his clients are all in school during the day, his work day doesn't start until after 3pm.  I pick the boys up on Fridays when Craig has his weekly golf game.  I LOVE those days.  I get a peek into what my life would be like without the daily grind.

I do have certain tips and tricks I use that keep me working efficiently but if you aren't familiar with vinyl, cutting machines or creating wood signs, it will most likely be super boring to you. I'm planning on doing an entire post dedicated to you vinyl girls and sign makers soon.  :)  

TIP #3.  Make your Postman your BFF.

I try to schedule a package pickup online every night  at usps.com so my mailman can grab some of the next days' packages for me when he comes. The only problem with this is that he comes so stinkin' early!!  He is usually at our house before noon and I don't have all of that day's packages ready by then.  But it's nice to at least set out what I do have ready to go.  If I forget to schedule a pick up the night before, I just leave a sticky note in the mailbox with a "packages on porch" scrawled on it.  He has told me that will work just fine if I forget to schedule a pickup.  I also tip him well at Christmas.  ;)

The post office closes at 5 so that is pretty much my daily deadline.  I make a post office run around 4:45 to drop off all of the rest of the packages from that day that need to go out.  Since they already have labels, I don't even have to stand in line. I just walk in, drop them in the bin and walk out.  It's only a 7 minute round trip.Which leads me to my next tip.

TIP #4.  Get a DYMO Label Printer.

If you ship a lot of packages (Hello, Etsy girls!!), you MUST MUST MUST MUST get a DYMO!!  (Check them out HERE).  I kept hearing about this and how life-changing it was before I got one.  At the time, I was printing two labels per sheet of computer paper and then cutting each label out and taping over the whole thing in order to make sure it stays put on the package and also stays waterproof.  

And then the DYMO went on sale LIKE IT IS NOW and it really did change my life. For one, it looks more professional.  But it's also much faster and I'm not constantly buying ink! Game changer, yall. Etsy peeps...get one!  

After school, the boys come home, tell me about their day and then immediately run out the door to their friends' houses or to play outside.  They are boys.  They want to go play. They have friends all over the neighborhood.  And it's exactly what I used to do after school as a kid.  Since my craft room is a the top of the stairs which is also at the front of the house, I can hear them coming in and out, can yell down to them if they are in the living room, kitchen or office and still feel like I'm around.  

I will also add that since Craig and I both work from home we see each other a lot.  We interact all day whether it is him helping me by cutting and sanding boards for me, talking to one another about issues with our businesses or just hanging out while the other one is working when one of us needs a little break.

TIP #5. Set a "closing time".

Once I'm home from the post office a little before 5, I go back upstairs and wrap things up for the day.  I check my list to see what is on the docket for the next day and if there is anything I need to do to prepare for that.  Then, I head to the playroom for a 30 minute workout.  I've recently started doing some Beachbody workouts and so far so good!

The wood looking paper on the table, the purple flowers and fuzzy white thing are pieces of my backdrop for all of my pictures of my products.  

Once I finish up and go downstairs, I try do some housework.  I pick up the discarded clothing items scattered all over the place, put toys away, gather any dishes that didn't make it back to the sink, etc. I start dinner and we try to eat by 6 unless there is some practice or game that night that throws our schedule off.  Now that it's staying light out longer, the boys want to play outside longer, so our dinner time is getting pushed back a bit.  We call the boys in and then eat, they shower and we all watch TV for a little bit before it's lights out for them by 8 or 8:15.

Folding laundry while watching RHONYC.

TIP #6.  Grocery Pickup-JUST DO IT.

We live about a minute and a half from Walmart.  And it's a nice Walmart.  Not a scary one.  So we've never had a problem doing our grocery shopping there.  But once they came out with their online ordering and grocery pickup, I thought my dreams had just come true!  Once or twice a week, I go online and order groceries.  Every time you order something, it is automatically added to your "favorites".  So if you order the same things each week, all you have to do is click on Favorites and then add everything quickly to your cart.  You choose a time frame that works for you for the next day and then checkout online.  Pull up to the reserved spots the next day and get your groceries packed into your car quickly!  It is the best and I am a HUGE FAN.  Click here for $10 off your first online pickup order!

After the boys are in bed, it's time to do the dishes, shower, do some laundry, etc until I decide it's time to crawl into bed and check out what the DVR has for me.  :)  Craig watches TV in the living room if he's not a fan of the shows I'm watching and we don't stress out about not spending all of our time together at night.  We see each all day every day so it's not that big of a deal if we want to split up and watch different shows in different rooms for awhile.  You just can't pay me enough to spend my free time watching Moonshiners or some show about fixing up cars or wandering around the wilderness naked.  haha.  I'm pretty sure he feels the same way about Vanderpump Rules and the Real Housewives of Whoever.  ;)

While I'm watching my shows, I usually have my laptop up and running in bed at night.  I'm either designing and organizing things in my software program that need to be cut the next day, answering Etsy messages, checking on inventory or typing up a blog post.  I have a very hard time shutting things off and just relaxing.  There is always something that needs to be done.  There is always someone who needs something from me.  There is always one more thing I could do now to get one step ahead tomorrow.



So yeah, maybe I don't have it ALL balanced out quite yet.  But it's better than it was.  And I think when you run your own business all by yourself, especially if it never closes like an online shop, it's just part of what you have to do.  If I just stopped answering all Etsy messages after 5pm everyday or on weekends I would lose customers.  Or have angry customers who could leave bad reviews and hurt my business. I can't just NOT answer them.  And if I have orders that HAVE to go out the next day and that means working through dinner one night and feeding my kids Sonic or Whataburger....then it is what it is.  It's not going to scar anyone for life.  ;)  So yeah, I answer most messages past 5pm.  I post on Instagram when I get a free 3 minutes.  I still work when I should be asleep.  (Working on that.)

The bottom line is that right now I am there for my kids whenever they need me.  They have been so much happier since I quit my school job.  And Craig and I are both home all day so we see each other a lot more than some couples do. And my husband is awesome.  He does laundry almost every day.  He helps pickup around the house and handles all the outdoor stuff with the yard.  (I do not have a green thumb.)  I make dinner a lot more now even though I still HATE to cook and he will even make dinner for us some nights when he can see I'm looking a little frazzled.

Our house is no longer ALWAYS a disaster.  Just sometimes.  (Yes, those are two random water bottles that have been THROWN up above there when Mason was practicing his bottle flipping.  That kid is talented!  Now we have to get a ladder out to get them down.  And for what it's worth, they were both done on 2 different days.  Because one just wasn't enough, I guess.)


I'm also no longer crying into my pillow every night because I've worked myself into a nervous breakdown.  I do sleep like a rock every night though.

So that's how I'm balancing this crazy mess right now.  I'm working on incorporating new ideas into my life to make it even more efficient. But that's a whole other novel post.  ;)  My life is anything but perfect.  But I'm proud of what I've accomplished and for what is yet to come.  And if you are another work-at-home mom, I know you get me!  Especially you Etsy mamas!

Thanks for taking the time to read about my story!  I'd love to read about you!  Feel free to leave your story, tips or blog in the comments!

Hang in there, Mamas!  I've heard it gets better!  ;)