I've got friends in low places...

If you don't the lyrics to that song... I am not sure how to respond. I was raised listening to country music, that is all we listened to. And the majority of that was Garth Brooks! I remember a road trip with my family from Texas to Colorado where we listened to a Garth Brooks tape (yes, cassette tape!) the entire way there and back. And it was awesome! 

I never was able to see Garth Brooks in concert and it has always been a dream of mine. If you haven't heard, he recently started touring again (he hasn't since the mid-90s) and he came to town! As soon as I heard he was coming, I gathered up some friends and we bought tickets. His concerts are a little different because he releases his tour dates and locations a few at a time. And when he comes, he is there for two weekends, Friday and Saturday, and two shows each night. A total of 8 shows!! We were lucky enough to get tickets for Fourth of July!!

This show, by far, was one of the best concerts I have ever been to!! And I am lucky to have shared it with such great friends!!

Hopefully soon I will get around to add a video of one of the songs...

Until then, here are some more Summer happenings with the Croftons!

mommy school: free printables and activity ideas

Each day, I try to do a small lesson or activity with Seth. I have talked about some of our "mommy school" lessons here. But lately I have been noticing Seth loves to match things and sort. So I searched and search Pinterest for good, inexpensive ideas or printables. I found some awesome ideas that were easy and just called for some lamination.
Do any of you have a laminator? Where can I find an inexpensive, not huge one? I hate having to go to Office Depot every time I need to laminate the smallest thing!

Here are some of our favorites:
you can laminate so you can reuse
split them into a few groups and put them in zippered bags
we loved this one, picked it up so quick!

Such a big hit, even though he can't quite jump yet

Nature Scavenger Hunt
you can also laminate so you can reuse

Some more great ideas we haven't tried yet:
Shark Sensory bottle

And always a good back up... splash pads!!

5 tips on all things moving

Summer is the time of moving. As a real estate agent, this time can get really busy and I know how stressful moving can be. So I figured I would share some things I have learned from moving as well as being a real estate agent.

1. when listing your home, pack up anything that is not a necessity and use the packing opportunity to declutter, sell, or donate throughout your entire home.
Many real estate agents will tell you to get rid of knick knacks and lots of personal decor. So start packing early. You know you are going to move anyways so might as well put anything away that you don't need all the time. Start with decor that might look cluttered, clothes that are out of season, and things you don't use often (like DVDs you don't watch or books you don't read).
While you are doing this you could also start decluttering, selling, or donating, and throwing out things you no longer want. The organizer in me really loves this part of moving because I can do this:

Making cute labels... right in my wheelhouse!

2. Use a lot of smaller boxes instead of giant boxes.
Most people tend to overload big boxes which makes them harder to move. The heavier the box (or items in it) the smaller it should be. It is recommended to not have a box that is heavier than 50 pounds. Unless of course you have Thor moving the boxes for you.

Now I am sure most women would be okay with that!
Also, when you have smaller boxes, it will be easier to organize the items by room. More explained in the next point.

3. label boxes specifically to help the movers and to help you find things once you are moved in.
Some moving companies might not help you by putting your boxes in the right rooms but just in case, label! Labeling will help you know which box will go to what room so you don't have to open and see what is inside then move the stuff where it needs to go, it will already be there. Also, make sure you label the sides of the boxes instead of the top.
On top of just labeling the box with the room it goes to, you can make lists of what is in the box. It can be as detailed as you want. And it can be tucked away inside or taped on the outside. I would suggest on the outside so if you are looking for things in a rush, you can just scan the lists of things you have in each box and open only the one you need.
Here are some great links to look at for suggestions:
A Bowl Full of Lemons | U-Haul | Design Mom

4. have all painting and cosmetic repairs done before official move in date.
Don't be scared to do this after a closing. You can lease your home back from new buyers or bunk with family. Having those things or at least a few of them will make the move and unpacking process go much more smoothly. And if you have to paint the fumes won't be too bad if the paint in done a few days before you move in. There are many different options to help in this process and your real estate can help you get it figured out.

5. ask for help.
This is such a simple one but one many people forget. Your friends and family love you, they would love to help you. It could just be watching after a pet for a few days or something more like letting you stay with them if needed. Moving can really take it out of you and help is always needed.
I know this isn't really asking for help (it can be if you think about it), I didn't think "six tips on all things moving" sounded like a great title. What are you going to do?! Anyways... when I was a college student on a budget who moved a lot, I learned that if you go to a grocery store, like Wal-Mart, during the late night hours, when they are restocking the shelves, you can ask them for their boxes. They are just going to throw them out anyways. Might as well go to a good home!
Also, a very specific tip, if you are a teacher at a high school, ask your Yearbook teacher. Being an ex-yearbook teacher, I would always have a ton of box the books came in at the end of the year.

my decor style

When I was young, my decor style was much different. I remember decorating my first place on my own, which was my dorm room. Then I was able to decorate my next home after moving out of the dorm. Once I graduated I moved into an apartment and decorated quite modern.

But wow has my decor style changed since I bought a house and got married. But redecorating an entire house at once is not easy. Throughout the past 5 years, we have slowly changed things within our home. We bought a new couch, recliner, entertainment center, bedding, and lots of large and small decor.

It has taken me a while to decide on what kind of decor I really like and it is still hard sometimes to decide on what to bring home with me. Decor, most styles, are so cute and I like so many it is hard to not bring it all home. But I realized that I must decide and narrow it down. When I go to a decor store, I realized I can't just buy something because it is pretty (trust me, I did this a lot), I had to really think if this item went well in our home.

My inspiration for decor style is a mix of Fixer Upper, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware. I love the farmhouse, industrial mix, but we really like comfort and a little bit of a Texas rustic look. If only I could have someone re-decorate my entire house for me, I would be a much happier person.

But I have changed a few things throughout the house that make me smile. It is a slow step in the right direction.

Here are some tips I have for changing your decor style on a budget:
1. Change your decor out over time.
2. Take old decor to a resale shop. It helps make back money to buy new decor.
3. When you find something you really like, think long and hard about the exact spot you are going to use it in.
4. Shop at resale shops.
5. Repurpose an item you already have.
6. Move an item to another room or space.