Back to School Organization + Giveaway!

Disclosure: I was sent products from Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™to review. This post, my experience and opinions are 100% my own.

It's that time of year again for us, back to school, which means 10x more events, scheduling, planning and organization required on my end. I've said it before but I'll say it again. I am NOT the world's most organized person (not even close) but I've learned that in order to maintain some sort of sanity during the school year, some organization is critical!

Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ sent me some items to try out and see if they'd help me get a little more organized so I got right to work. I LOVE great looking organizational supplies even if I'm not the most organized.

The center of my life right now is my planner so I was really excited about all the options with the Discbound notebook and accessories. The best part is being able to pick and choose what goes into the notebook and it's easy to take things in and out.

I love the month in review, all the notebook paper, and the little task pad you can stick in anywhere you want! Versatility is big for me and that's what I love the most about this planner!

I've shared my office before but I added in this magazine file with the vertical file folders. I LOVE the vertical file folders! I've never used them before but it's SO much easier to pull out what you need with the files this way. They are sealed on one side too so your papers don't come falling out when you pull out the folder you need.

Chalkboard is still very much on trend and I love these chalkboard decals. I stuck one to the garage door (the last door we exit when leaving for school) as a reminder for the boys.

I also had these smaller labels that worked PERFECTLY in my kitchen. With myself and 1 kiddo being gluten free we have lots of labeling needs.

Chalk label tip - use a pencil sharpener (the larger part) to sharpen your chalk for a thinner point - perfect for marking labels.

I added a message board to our backpack organization wall for smaller papers that get lost in backpacks or the wall file.

And for all those things that get forever lost in the lost and found I used these no-iron clothing labels to label hoodies, lunchboxes and all those things that can get lost at school. You can even put them through the wash and they'll stay on.

One other thing we added was a storage box for extra chargers and other electronic pieces that regularly go missing. This little table sits right at the entryway of the house and is available for the boys' electronics or guests who might need to use one! (I love these boxes for school papers too!)

That's a LOT of organizing for someone who isn't very organized! Now it's your turn!

In case you're already shopping Staples has some deals going on now or very soon!


  • Week of August 25 – 50% off Spiral Notebooks and 40% off File Folders & Accordion Files (in store temporary price reduction)
  • Week of September 1 – 40% off all Message Boards & Decals (online weekly ad)



Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ wants to help you get back to school organized and is giving away a $50 Staples gift card to one of my readers!

Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Scrapbooks Etc

You may notice a new button over on the side ——————————->

Yes! I have a project in this months Scrapbook etc. and this issue just hit newstands today. When you get a chance go pick one up! You may see a familiar name (or two if you look closely) on page 112!

Here’s a quick preview I snapped with my phone when I got my copy


Back to school time! Sniff sniff

Love these boys and I can’t believe how old they are getting. They both had a great day and are ready for the new year.

It’s amazing how when we’re at the store I have to keep reminding them to quit hanging all over me, but as soon as you walk towards the school yard they are suddenly very consious of the fact that they are holding my hand.


It’s that time of year again. The time of year where I have deadlines of paperwork to turn in or I will officially be labeled worst mother ever. The time of year when piles of paperwork fill the house. The time of year when I go to Walmart at midnight since it’s the only store open and I just remembered that I don’t have the snack for tomorrow that I promised I’d bring.

School time.

I’ve been researching ways to organize the boys’ stuff better this year. I really want to catch up on their school albums. I always have good intentions.

I love the ideas of binders for the things I really can’t give up

from Real Simple

Maybe add some of these to put the work in until I file it away? I can hang them in our command central

from Better Homes and Gardens

Becky Higgins is coming out with a new school system soon. Maybe that will work?

How do you organize incoming school work?


I shared tons of pictures of all the fun things we did and ate at our Harry Potter party last weekend over at my ther blog All for the Boys. We like to have a fun celebration with our family and close family friends as well. As they’ve gotten older the boys cherish their family SO much, but they are just kids and when their school friends are around, they want to play with their school friends. This gives family a chance to see the birthday boy and him a chance to see them.

We went swimming and ate together and then of course the obligatory birthday cake! I just HAD to share the amazing job my Mother in Law did on this Harry Potter cake

Amazing right?! Here are a few more Lego, Paul Frank, Army, Scientist. She’s done a dirtbike and rabbit coming out of a hat as well but I don’t see those anywhere right now. I’ll have to find them and share them!


I have a Harry Potter party coming up VERY soon so all my crafting time is going towards that. Here’s a peek at what I was working on tonight (late as usual)

Also trying out the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie mix. I’m really not a fan of mixes, but I like to try some here and there for when we need a quick dessert. This at least has Ghiradelli cocoa in it (my fav) so we’ll see how it turns out.


I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of lugging my Canon 5d around. I no longer have a little one in a stroller so there’s no where to store it but my arms. I like my arms free to play! If I don’t have it with me though, I always carry my point and shoot (right now its a Canon SD1100IS though I hope to upgrade soon) and my iPhone with me. A lot (maybe even most) of the pictures from my P365 are with my P&S or my iPhone. 

If I didn’t have those with my I’d miss pictures like this

What? Doesn’t everyone milk a cow on their 3 day weekend?

Ok it was a game at the arcade, but I’m so glad I didn’t miss this. It’s still making me giggle.


So we were at the mall the other day we walked by a hurricane simulator that they had seen many times and I finally gave in and let them give it a whirl. It’s basically a wind tunnel and says that it blows wind at 78mph. They laughed quite a bit and thought it was pretty fun. Quite a few people stopped to smile or laugh at the boys in the simulator. I love my little men!

We went on a nature walk over at ALL FOR THE BOYS


Oops! I forgot that I hadn’t posted the last portion of our quick trip - Disneyland! We were at Disneyland for about 6 hours total and hit everything the boys wanted to! Of course we couldn’t have done it without Rachel, Nana, and Papa! 

My little man was SO stoked that he was literally JUST tall enough to go on Indiana Jones for his first time - he loved it. My oldest got to ride California Screamin for the first time - HE was stoked. It was an awesome day the only thing that would have been better would have been to NOT drive home immediately after :)

(All photos taken with my P&S since I forgot the DSLR in our hurry to get out the door)


I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but have always been waiting for the right “something”. The right scanner, the right time, the right album company, but when it comes down to it just doing it was more important in the end. I actually scanned these a while ago (the scans aren’t perfect becuase I have a very, very basic scanner) and finally got around to ordering the actual book.

I’m sure like every other new Kindergarten mom out there I saved SO many papers that he brought home. I weeded through and picked out the ones I thought were just genius or plain adorable. That still left me with a huge stack so instead of trying to hoard boxes of papers I thought I’d weed through again and scan a bunch of the papers that would get ruined over time, that weren’t unique enough to hang on to, or that just took up too much space. Then I VERY simply layed them out into an album and had it printed by MyPublisher . I love it and he loves it so it was a win - win!

I just love their fun packaging, makes getting mail that much more special :)

Little bit of a difference in the amount of space it takes up huh?!


The boys are on spring break this week. I’m working the first 3 days then will take the last couple days off (I’m saving the other days for an upcoming vacation :D ) I don’t have too much planned yet, maybe the zoo, skating, a movie…

This last weekend we had a fun little excursion with Grandma! We went horseback riding!

Have you ever seen a cowboy with such unique style? ;)

They were so excited to be able to ride their own horse (well the little one’s was a mule). The baby’s horse was named Bingo, Big Brother’s horse was Buck, mine was Hershey, and Mom’s was Medicine Man. They gave us a bag with a carrot to hold our belongings (the carrot was for the horse after the ride).

Here’s Hershey


And Bingo and Buck with the boys

And the part of Buck I saw the most often (and I wish I hadn’t). Have you ever seen that Seinfeld episode where Kramer drives the horse drawn carriage in Central Park and decides to feed him Beefaroni? Yeah Buck must like Beefaroni

It was a gorgeous day! There was a little girl riding along with us as well but other than her it was just us and the guide on the hour long ride.

The baby was up in the front right behind the guide. He talked his ear off the whole way. I’m pretty sure I heard him explaining the new Legos (Ninjago) and that his brother knew all about cacti because he just went on a field trip.

Medicine Man liked to take his time on the trail and liked snacks. When we stopped to take a picture he knew right where those carrots were. He kept trying to get me to give him mine.

After we got home I asked the boys what their favorite part about horseback riding was

“When he peed!” “When he farted on you!”

Ah, a house of boys - gotta love it!


As I’ve said before it’s hard to squeeze in time for blogging especially when you have a full time job, part time job, and 2 kids. My kids will ALWAYS come first and I’ve just had more chances lately to stop and spend time with the boys so I’ve jumped on it. I want them to remember me playing with them and spending time with them during their childhood, not be being on the computer. It IS hard to put everything away but I’m trying to make a conscious decision to put everything on hold when we have time to play.

I try to schedule a special date with each of my boys once a month. This gives them time to spend with mom (or dad) by themselves when they can have all of our attention. I let them choose what we do or where we eat. 

I don’t know about you but my kids are always SO good when they are by themselves there’s no bickering :) It’s always so fun for all of us.

A couple weekends ago was our date weekend for February. 

First up was the Big Brother. He wanted to go to Dave and Busters - video game place a tad better than Chuck E Cheese (less kids and a full bar) and Barnes and Noble (bookstore). I didn’t want to lug around the Canon 5d so I brought my little Point and Shoot but the battery was dead. So cell phone camera it is!

First up some video games, but not without a stop to the bar for some Shirley Temples - on the rocks of course. He LOVED that I ordered him a drink from the bar.

 Of course lunch involved a slice of pizza bigger than his head.

And the impossible task of finding just the right book to purchase despite the fact that he talked about one book in particular for the entire week before.

I love that I have 3 men in my family to go on dates with. How lucky am I?!

The type of camera, the lighting, the MP, how much does it REALLY matter? The picture is worth taking no matter what you have on hand.  (Excuse the swollen face, apparently this is what happens when I eat gluten now that it’s been out of my system for 4 months)

Please take your kid(s) on a date. Just you and them. You won’t regret it. They won’t either. I’ll let you know how long it lasts ;)


What happens when you try to ride your scooter and skateboard at the same time


And don’t you sometimes wish you could clean out the “ugliness” of your neighborhood with Photoshop? I mean I guess I could but I wish there was an action for it. Hey boys - can you repeat that over here where the big ugly van and the truck aren’t in my shot?


I wasn’t feeling too well today so when the boys wanted to play this morning I remembered this post from The Artful Parent I did this once for school I think but never thought about it again until that post. So I got out the marshmallows and toothpicks and let them go to town. They had fun and even managed to save a few of the marshmallows for building ;)


I’ve said it before but I LOVE Christmas. We did lots of talking about what Christmas means to us and that we are giving and loving in celebration of Jesus’ birth. We also did lots of the fun traditions and gift giving that Christmas brings.

It actually snowed in Phoenix! Well, these pictures aren’t from the real weather we got but it did actually snow. These are from an outdoor shopping center that makes it snow each evening.

On Christmas Eve we have Sushi with my side of the family. After they left we got ready for Santa! The baby had to label the carrots for all the reindeer. He found some red labels that I had used for our cards last year (which reminds me I need to share our cards from this year) and wrote all their names on them before they threw them in the front yard.

Christmas morning was so perfect and relaxed. The boys woke up at 7:40 and brought their stockings to our room to open. Then we went up front to see what Santa brought and open up the rest of their gifts. Lots of Legos of course! Breakfast was homemade cinnamon rolls (with Legos). We spent the rest of the day with Jared’s side of the family and ended it with a trip to the movies!


Just a quick Happy New Year to all of you out there.  I’m working on a collage of our Holiday pictures since I missed posting so many of them.  I’ll try to get that up tomorrow.  I’m also working on some changes for the blog (this will still be my craft/scrapping blog but will also include all my personal photos and photo a day posts as well)