Top 6 Life Hacks – Cut The Chaos

I feel like I start out every blog or vlog with the same note about how I’m so sorry it’s been so long since my last post…and I truly am.  But life is crazy at the moment (more info on that in the coming weeks)…however in the meantime, I did want to share what I have been up to in an attempt to try to cut the chaos in our lives the best I can.  

So with that said…

I am in no way a perfect homemaker, wife or Mom. I’m the first to admit that. But I have implemented a few life hacks in to my weekly routine that have definitely made a huge positive impact on my anxiety, stress level and sanity. When my home is cluttered or not organized I feel very overwhelmed, but at the same time I’m always so busy that some weeks I have a total lack of control of the chaos.  Even though the thought of being lazy and not doing these things is appealing sometimes (ok all of the time, after all I have many hours of Real Housewives of ____ on my DVR to catch up on),  I remember how less stressful and anxious I will be in the upcoming week once it’s all done and push myself to make them happen.

1) πŸ‘š Wardrobe Planning

I plan out the outfits that Baby K is going to where for the entire week, and sometimes I do this for myself as well, although inconsistently.  I always do this for him though.  Doing this once a week for the next seven days is a huge time saver and makes our morning routine so much easier.

2) πŸ₯˜ Weekly Menu Planning

My chef hubby hates to stick to a planned menu but I really like it because I always know what we are to have and when. This allows me to make a corresponding grocery list and results in only having to go to the store once a week rather than multiple times. It also helps hold me accountable for my diet and what I’m eating. Failing to plan results in me making poor food choices and as far as I have come post op after having gastric bypass that is not good and will not help me make it to my final weight loss goal.  It’s also perfect for those days you get home and your brain hurts and you don’t want to have to think about anything you just want to automatically know what to cook and get to it.  We then write down the weekly menu on the notes section of our dry erase calendar in the kitchen and mark off what we cooked.  This also allows us to move things around when necessary in case our day doesn’t go as planned.

3) 🍎 Scheduling Grocery Pick-Ups/Shopping Online 

This, hands down has been a saving grace for us lately.  After we decide what we are going to eat for the week, I then log in to our favorite grocery stores website and place an online grocery order for pick-up.  Not only is this a HUGE time saver, in that I don’t spend an hour mindlessly going up and down each aisle with no plan on what I’m buying, but it’s also saved us huge amounts of money as we are strictly sticking to what’s on our list for the week.  Since we have started this, we spend only $50 a week on groceries, where before we would spend anywhere from $100-$150 (in multiple trips throughout the week) because we weren’t planning effectively.  This is a must try if you haven’t already done so.

4) βœ… Daily/Weekly Goal Setting/To Do List Making

Some weeks I am not as adamant about marking everything off the list but I do have a daily/weekly to do list that is on the wall in the kitchen.  It is framed so we can use a dry erase marker and mark off what we have gotten accomplished for the day/week as we go.  I have it broken down in to tasks to do daily, and tasks to do on a certain day of the week such as laundry, cleaning, miscellaneous to-dos etc.  See below an example of the one I created.  My husband and our family make fun of me for this but it really helps me stay organized and I feel a sense of accomplishment as I get to mark off something from the list each day.

5) πŸ‘– A Laundry Schedule

Like all families I found that we were literally drowning in laundry.  Dirty piles, clean piles that need to be folded, piles that we can’t remember if we washed or not, piles that were folded but never put away etc.  What we realized however, is that the reason we always had so much laying around is because we were consistently waiting until everything was dirty and then trying to do a laundry marathon in one day washing six loads of laundry back to back.  That is total insanity!  Who has time to wash, dry, fold and put away six loads of laundry in one day?  I’m over it by maybe the second load if we are being honest.  So, we developed a laundry schedule which has us only doing one load of laundry a day and that one load is washed, dried, folded and put away all in the same day so it’s not nearly as overwhelming.  It’s been amazing and I haven’t run out of clean clothes yet since trying it.

Example Laundry Schedule:

Monday: Colors
Tuesday: Towels/Linens
Wednesday: Darks (Hubby’s)
Thursday: Whites
Friday: Baby K’s Clothes
Saturday: Delicates
Sunday: Darks (Mine)

6) πŸ“– Reading/Less Screen Time 

I love to read but most people don’t know that about me. Why?  Because I’m always so busy they have never actually seen a book in my hands, or if they have, they have seen it took me 12 months to read it. Reading is a stress reliever for me that for so long I didn’t make time for. I have found now that I am reading every evening instead of falling asleep to my Facebook feed that I’m sleeping a lot better at night. Coincidence?  Maybe. But it’s currently working for me so I’m going to go with it. It’s also helping me knock out quite a few books on my “must read” list.

So that’s it.  That is my current top 6 life hacks to cut the daily/weekly chaos of a full-time working, wife, mom and human.  What are some of your life hacks that save you time and sanity during the week?  Share below!

As always, thank you for reading and I hope you will subscribe if you aren’t already.  I can promise you mediocre posts on an inconsistent basis that you definitely won’t want to miss out on regarding, makeup & beauty, saving money/good deals, life post-up weight loss surgery, foster parenting, being a wife and mom and other general life musings.  LOL πŸ™‚

Until next time,

XOXO Crazy Jess 😘

************************************ Stay tuned for a future post update post on these Future Goals listed below (maybe 2018 resolutions?) to see how I did or what I did to make them happen.  

– Blog/Vlog Topic Planning & Post Scheduling

– Hosting my first Giveaway

– Increasing my blog/vlog traffic/following

 
 

 

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Mom TruthsΒ 


Most of you are aware that my husband and I are Foster Parents.  If you aren’t aware, well surprise!  We have one amazing foster son currently whom we have had since he was three weeks old (Baby K).  

Side note: My husband and I do not have any natural children yet, although we do hope to grow our family through adoption, we still maintain hope that God will give us a baby naturally.  I’m throwing this out of the way now because it’s the number one question we get asked when people learn we are Foster Parents.

With that said, it should be very clear to you now, hopefully, that I’m a new Mom.  I do not pretend to know everything about being a Mom and I don’t spend hours on Pinterest/Google/Youtube researching the sound of the gas my baby just passed obsessively (most days) but in my short soon to be 8 months of mother hood I have learned a few things that I wanted to share.

So here you go, prepare to be dazzled and I’m sure my book deals and talk show offers will be rolling in any day now….

1) We all don’t know what they heck we are doing and are literally just winging it. Every. Single. Day. 

2) Sleep really is a long lost friend that you won’t see for a long time. Enjoy it while you still can (🎢hello sleep, my old friend…🎢, oh…that’s not the actual lyrics?) 

3) Our kids are the cutest and most amazing things that have ever graced this planet and you can’t tell us otherwise (whether they are foster kids or birth kids it doesn’t matter) and even when they are acting like the spawn of the underworld. 

4) Moms and women in general need to stop being so judgmental of each other. What works for me and my baby/kid(s) may not work for you and your baby/kid(s). That doesn’t make either of us wrong, it just makes us different and different is OK!

5) Everyone has an opinion on how you should Parent, the best way to care for your infant, the only way to potty train etc. but it’s exactly that, it’s opinions. Take them for what they are worth and raise your kids how you see fit. You are doing a great job and you aren’t going to mess your child up by letting them cry it out, or the way you potty train, etc. 

6) People will absolutely judge you based on the appearance of your kids, especially in the south where we live. Seriously though, as long as they have decently clean clothes and shoes on their feet you should consider that a win and let it go. Don’t worry about what other people say/think. A superman Halloween costume with owl bedroom slippers and a Paw Patrol jacket may not match but it makes your kid happy so just let them do them and go with it.

7) It’s OK to take time to do something for yourself. Get that haircut/massage/pedicure or go see that movie by yourself and feel no guilt!  You deserve it!  You can’t take care of others if you can’t or aren’t taking care of yourself. Think of it like a gas tank. If your tank is always empty or running with the low gas light on you aren’t going to get very far now are you?  So fill up that tank!  Buy the makeup or Lularoe (within reason lol!) or make the appointment for your hair/nails or pour that glass of wine 🍷 and run that bubble bath πŸ›€ tonight!  You NEED it and that’s ok!

8) You can’t always do it all by yourself!  Ask for help and don’t be afraid or ashamed to do so. I’m sure you have someone or people you can reach out to (family, church groups, a spouse, your best friend or other Mom/Foster Mom friends etc)  There is truth to the saying “it takes a village” so use that village when you need them and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  It doesn’t make you a better Mom trying to be a super hero that tries to take on everything by yourself, not that you aren’t an awesome Mom for your attempt at doing so.  But refer to item #7 above again – your tank sometimes may run low so fill it up!

10) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Kid’s really don’t have unrealistic expectations on anything, especially babies. If they are fed, changed and cuddled then they think they are literally winning at life and things can’t get any better.  If they are an older child, as long as you play with them, talk to them and show interest in the things they are passionate about or enjoy by devoting some uninterrupted one-on-one attention their way they are good to go.

11) Never pay full price for anything!  They grow out of things so fast or move on to a new development stage in the blink of an eye so there is no use to spend hundreds of dollars to ensure the Baby/Toddler product economy is thriving. Clip coupons, buy things on clearance, yard sale, check out mom groups on Facebook for things for sale or that people may want to trade and be proud of the thrifty money saving Mom you are!

12) It’s perfectly normal to check numerous times at night to make sure your baby is still breathing. It seems crazy, or in my case sometimes makes me feel like I am a total psycho one step away from being committed, but we all do it!  We are all good Moms and that is why we do it. We just want to make sure our little ones are safe and it is perfectly natural to do this. After a while you will find yourself doing it a lot less often but still, rest assured you are not alone. (Hanging my head in shame as I type this, while at the same time am entering the nursery to check in on Baby K for the third time in an hour…totally normal….) 😜

13) Put your phone down.  It’s so second nature for us to have our phone in our hands 24/7 because we don’t want to miss a good Mom hashtag or Instagram/Facebook post opportunity, but in doing so we are not fully present and we are missing out on the moment itself.  I’m totally guilty of this so I’m not preaching, I’ve noticed myself doing this more and more as Baby K progresses and I keep telling myself to stop, breathe, put the phone down, and enjoy the moment more.  It’s easier said than done though, I mean who doesn’t love a good Mom hashtag or cute photo opportunity to show to our friends and family all over social media?

14) Make time for your significant other.  Just as much as taking care of yourself is important, so is your relationship with your partner.  Make the time to have uninterrupted conversation (aka kid free time).  Get a babysitter, plan a date night and stick to it.  Love Muffin and I try to have at least one date night a week.  That date night can be as extravagant as going out to a nice dinner on the town, or it could be just putting the baby to bed, having a picnic dinner on the living room floor and binge watching our favorite show together.  Whatever it is, do it.  You have to nurture your relationship as adults/partners to flourish as parents together.

Note: for those single parents out there – this is the time that you should set aside to get out.  Go out on a date (if you are interested in dating), or if you are not actively looking to get involved with anyone, make dates to visit your friends and go out on the town or have dinner with a group of friends.  You must have social interactions with adults for your sanity! It’s also important for you to continue to nurture your friendships/relationships with other adults.  Remember that village we referred to earlier?

15) Lastly, do what works for you and your family.  My Mom Truths are just suggestions from my time in the hood.  Mother hood that is.  Which has only been brief, so clearly I’m no expert.  These are the things that work for me and my family and I hope may be helpful for some of you other Moms/Foster Moms/Step Moms/Adopted Moms out there.  I’d love to hear your Mom Truths too so comment below and let me know how you maintain your marriage/home/sanity while juggling life in the Mother-hood.

Until next time,

XOXO,

Crazy Jess 😘

On My First Mother’s Day

I don’t even know where to begin in writing this post. It’s been on my mind all week as this Mother’s Day has slowly approached. I am going to try as eloquently as I can try to put in to words what I’m feeling and I hope you can follow along.  

You see up until this year I wasn’t a Mom yet.  Up until this year, Mother’s Day was tainted with the memory of my biological father’s suicide.  I don’t want to get in to all that, but to provide a little back story for those that aren’t already aware, this devastating news was delivered via a phone call that would forever change my life on Mother’s Day when I was 15 years old. 

I don’t think of it often and throughout the year(s) it’s almost like a distant memory that happened in someone else’s family, not mine. But on this day, and this day only, the memory flashes back and it makes me nauseous and has every year since. 

I guess I should say made me nauseous, as in past tense. I say that because this day is forever changed for me from now and for the rest of my life and I can’t even express how blessed and grateful I am for that on so many levels.  

You see this year is the first Mother’s Day that I’m a Mom. A parent. Someone’s Mom.  I still can’t even believe it. Typing and reading the words still seem so unreal and untrue yet they are so amazingly true and real. 

On February 6th, 2017 our lives were forever changed when our local Department of Social Services brought us the most beautiful creature I have ever seen, our foster son whom we affectionately call “Baby K” whom was only 3 weeks old.  I can still remember exactly what he was wearing and exactly how he smelled that day he arrived at our home. 

I was immediately smitten with this amazing tiny human being and sometimes still forget I didn’t actually give birth to him myself, even when it’s blatantly obvious that our skin tones are different and being that it is totally visually apparent resulting in stares in public, assumptions about whom his dad might be, and many other stereotypes and well meaning yet rude comments from strangers that I don’t care to get in to. 

My point is that I have never experienced the wave of emotions and the automatic motherly instincts that took over my body that day. It was totally different than how it felt when we received our first temporary placement (a 3yr old girl whom we knew from the beginning would only be with us for a brief time). It was overwhelming the rush of emotions that swept through me that day and continue to do so each and every day as he ages.  Feelings of fear, anxiety, inadequacy, abundant love, compassion, and instincts to defend and protect just to name a few. There has never been so much truth in the term “Mama Bear” as there is for me now. It was exactly like that, a new Mama Bear 🐻 completely smitten with her new Baby Cub. 

On this day this year, I am so grateful to have been chosen by God to be Baby K’s Mom, whether that be temporarily or for the rest of his life. I am feeling emotions and love that I never knew was possible and in parts of my heart I didn’t even know existed. I am feeling hopeful that God’s plan for Baby K’s future, no matter what it might be, will be His will, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly hope that God’s plan was for him to legally become ours. It makes me feel selfish to admit that out loud but he is my cub forever in my heart no matter what happens, for this I know is true. 

From this day forward I will know and understand what being a Mom is all about, how it changes your very core and your mind and heart forever. I will remember the precious moments I have shared with my Baby Cub these last three months (he just turned 4 months last weekend). I will remember experiencing all his “first” milestones of development, and seriously there has been so many in such a short amount of time, who knew!  

I will cherish in my heart the way his face lights up in a big bright smile when he hears my voice. I will emblazon in my mind the look of love, innocence and adoration I get to witness when I look in to those beautiful baby brown eyes of his and he looks back at me. 

I am forever changed. I will never forget no matter where God takes us on this journey these feelings, these moments and this precious soul. He will always be the one that changed me and for that I am truly blessed and thankful. He is my Cub forever and I can’t believe God chose me. I am truly honored and vow to do my best to protect and love him for the rest of my life. 

As I type this he is asleep in my arms after a middle of the night feeding. I want to freeze this moment in time so I can remember it always. The milk smell on his breath from his bottle and the scent of lavender from his baby shampoo I want to bottle up and smell forever as it’s the most magical and precious fragrance I’ve ever smelled. 

My first Mother’s Day…I want to remember it and cherish this moment forever and always. 

❀️ Crazy Jess 

Foster Parent Process Update

For those of you reading this, you may be confused as I haven’t posted about our Foster Parenting journey in quite some time and I’ve gotten a lot of new followers recently.  In a nutshell there is more to Crazy Jess than just good deals, makeup & weight loss surgery (WLS) plans for those of you that follow me on YouTube.  For more info on our journey and our decision to start this process check out this post first.

Our New Journey

Many of those whom are aware of our journey have asked us recently for an update and honestly this process has been a lot slower than we anticipated.  We started the required 30 hours of training classes at the beginning of January  and “graduated” class mid-February.  It was then that we began the next steps to being licensed only these next steps were very very slow.  In April we had our first home study, in early May we completed the background checks & required finger printing process as well as the next round of open-ended essay type questions, we then submitted our list of references and then we waited.  And waited some more with no news, no correspondence, nothing.   June rolled around and we emailed our Social Worker countless times only to receive no response.  In July we called the office to find out she was no longer with the agency anymore and we were being assigned a new Social Worker.  Since then, things have been more on the fast track although we had to re-do some of the things we had already done which is to be expected when a new person takes over your case.  So although it was a much slower process than we initially were told, everything happens for a reason in the timeline in which it’s supposed to happen and we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel at this point which has reduced my anxiety greatly, that’s for sure.

So where we stand now…

Our full application is ready and is being reviewed by our Social Worker’s supervisor next week.  Then it will be sent off for review/approval by the state.  State review/approval process typically takes about a month. Essentially by mid-September we should be fully licensed and it seems so unreal.  We have come so far along this journey (8 months) and it seems like it’s been a year already.  We are eager with anticipation but also nervous yet excited at what life will become.  It is likely that right after we are licensed we could get our first placement.  That is so amazing yet scary at the same time.  We are ready (for the most part) and have an almost stocked nursery ready for our future foster babies (0-2yr) and now we wait until we get the news we were approved.  I wonder if the next 5 weeks will feel like an eternity.  Here is a glimpse of the room we have put together:


We just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those of you that have donated items such as toys, clothes, books, baby seats, etc.  It means so much to us that we have your support on this journey.  We want to say thank you for everyone whom is praying for us and giving us words of encouragement along the way.  We appreciate and love you all very much and are happy you are going to be able to experience this journey with us as without your support this would be a much more difficult road.

XOXO

Matt & Jess