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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Organizing Your Cleaning Schedule

Welcome to another Organize Now day! Today we are finishing the section of Organizing ourselves with a post about Organizing our cleaning schedules. Another HUGE one for me!
If you are just getting on board, you can catch up with our previous posts about organizing our schedules, priorities and mind and life vision HERE.

Cleaning is not something that I LOVE to do, but it is something I HAVE to do. Once I am doing it though, and the house is clean, it feels so good! I know some people who truly love to clean. I am not one of them.  I have found however, that by doing a little bit each day things don't get out of control and we have a happier and more relaxed home. Has that happened to you?

I like to think of cleaning as exercise. That is a suggestion that Jennifer Ford Berry has in her book and it has been a motivation for me. :) She goes on to say that, "staying on top of your cleaning is crucial to staying organized." So true!

This Week's Goals

1. Make a Chore Chart!
Write down all of the chores you can think of that need to be done. Separate them into daily, weekly and monthly activities. Create a chore chart and assign jobs to all members of your family who are old enough to contribute. This can help kids know the expectations and help them feel like a part of a team. Keep the chart in a place where everyone can see it. The refrigerator is a good place. Search for templates on google.

I think the chore chart is a great idea that I am starting to work on. My husband and I tend to divide chores without really writing it down. For instance, he routinely is the one to take out the garbage. I am usually the one to sweep/mop. Now that our 3 year old is old enough and still willing (lol), I have been having him help me dust, "sweep", helping put the laundry into the dryer, etc. He likes to feel like he is contributing and I love that. Makes cleaning more fun for everyone. Even the little one wanted in on the action the other day so I gave him a dust cloth. He was so proud to hold onto it and "clean" while my 3 year old went between dusting the end tables to dusting his toys and telling his brother what to do. lol!  

2. Make a Bare Minimum List

What is the bare minimum you would need to accomplish each week to keep your house functional? Some weeks we just don't have the time or energy to keep up with a hefty cleaning schedule so figure out what you need to do at the bare minimum when these weeks come up. 

For me, at the bare minimum, I try to do a load of dishes and laundry each day and at least run my microfiber broom over the kitchen floor one time. (it's quicker then sweeping with a broom) I also try to keep the toys picked up so it doesn't look like a tornado of toys blew through our house!

3. Complete One Chore Each Day

I used to be one of those 'clean only on the weekend' people. But with 2 small boys at home now, I find that it is SO much easier to do a little bit each day. The house stays cleaner and we don't waste our entire weekend cleaning! Even for the 9-5er reader, it may be easier to do a little bit each day so you have more time for fun and family on the weekends. 

There are so many cleaning schedules and information on the topic online. I found one awhile back that I liked because it wasn't an overwhelming amount of things it said to do each day. For example, this is what I try to do daily. (some days I don't and I am ok with that. I just jump in on the next day and don't stress about the schedule)

Monday: clean bathrooms
Tuesday: Dust
Wednesday: Vacuum
Thursday: Wash Floors
Friday: Plan meals for the upcoming week and prepare shopping list (this has been a big time and money saver for my family)

I do try for weekly because if I miss a chore, then I can catch it next week and I don't feel like I need to double up the next day. One of my friends with 3 small kids, does one of these big jobs each week. That way she has all week to accomplish it. You need to find what is do-able and works best for you and your family.

In addition, I try to sweep the kitchen floor, wipe the kitchen counters, pick up any clutter/toys and do one load of laundry each day. If I miss a chore, I let it go. By doing a little each day, the house really never gets out of control and if I have an unexpected visitor, I am not embarrassed by how the house looks. During the week, I pick try to pick one room to work on more of a deep clean such as the kitchen, bathrooms, family room, etc which I work on over the week. Having a check list really helps stay on task. I don't stress about getting everything done but do what I can to stay on top of things. Every little bit really makes a huge difference!

4. Keep Disposable Disinfecting Wipes in Each Bathroom

This is a great tip! We have 3 bathrooms in our house and I didn't (until I read this!) keep a set in each one. I have found that it really is nice and so easy for quick wipe downs between big cleanings. (and it makes the big cleanings seem not as big because there is less to do!) We use these wonderful Germ Off Wipes  which are awesome for quick disinfecting and deodorizing and are bleach and alcohol-free! A safe, easy and environmentally friendly choice to use around my young family and I really love that!

5. Minimize Your Cleaners

Another great idea for saving space and time.  We actually did this over 2 years ago when we started using Basic H2 Concentrate(my all-time favorite cleaner!!). We used to use so many different cleaners and my under the sink area was crowded. I had to clean when my son was napping because they weren't safe for him to breathe in or be around. When we switched to Basic H2, I had so much more room under my sink and felt so much better cleaning around my kids. It was great! In fact, my first blog post last year was about how my family de-toxed our home by going from over 20 toxic cleaners to only 3 non-toxic ones to clean the entire house! You can read that post HERE complete with some good before and after pics.

Additional Tips from Jennifer

1. Take a basket around the house while you clean it. When you find something that doesn't belong, put it into the basket and put it away later. I love this tip! 

2. Right after a meal, wipe down the kitchen counters (We love the Basic H2 for this!) and load dishes into the dishwasher or wash them by hand.  This is something that I have not been great at since becoming a mom 3 years ago. But lately I have gotten back into the routine and let me tell you, it been so great! It keeps the kitchen from getting out of control. If the dishes are out of sight or clean, it has a way of making the whole kitchen (and house!) look a lot cleaner. Don't you think? I also have been washing the big pots and pans as I cook. Makes for less dishes and clutter on the counters later.

I always admire my parents, who have lived in the same house for over 40 years and have never had a dishwasher!! After every meal, they just do the dishes. It's part of the routine and the kitchen looks clean because of it. My parents have used this Dish Wash Concentrate for 37 years now! Would you believe that they have only had to call a plumber once during that time and have never used any type of drain cleaner in their sink? It's because the dish concentrate is a degreaser so it helps to keep the pipes clean. And it saves them (and my family since we use it too!) money because it's so concentrated. We only use a couple of drops per load of dishes and one on the sponge! 

For my dishwasher, I love this Dishwasher Automatic Concentrate. I only use about a teaspoon for a load of dishes! Both are green products so they are safe for my family, the environment and work so well. Love that!

3. "If your house is difficult to clean, you have too much stuff!" We definitely have too much stuff in my house, which is one of the motivators for this blog series. I am just so tired of dealing with stuff and want to reduce! We have started making more trips to Goodwill to donate (great lesson for the kids when we donate toys) and also have been selling things at the pawn shop. I never thought to do that but my husband loves the show "Pawn Stars" (I'll admit that I like it too!) and he wanted to try to sell his guitar and amps and some other things that he no longer uses. And you know, we got some good money back on it! We have also sold things on craigslist and garage sales in the past. 

Well, that does it for another week. How are you doing so far? Would you care to share your cleaning schedule or tips?

Thanks again for reading and have a great day! Next week, we will go into the new section - organizing our papers. The first chapter is about organizing your personal information.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Healthy Burger Recipe

I LOVE cooking from Jessica Seinfeld's (Yep, Jerry's wife's) cookbook Deceptively Delicious. I have made several of these recipes and they are always very good. I love it because you can sneak some good stuff (ie Veggies!) into the recipes. My kids have no idea and eat it right up. :)

The other night we made one of her burger recipes.

They turned out really good. They didn't look as good as the picture here (never do for me!) but they tasted so delicious and my kids kept asking for more. Love that!

They included pureed or chopped mushrooms and zucchini. You couldn't even tell that they were there.

The recipe also called for breadcrumbs. I didn't have any so I used whole oats (the ones I use for my oatmeal). Worked great and added some good fiber.

Feels good when I know my kids are eating right. Do you ever sneak things into your recipes? Have you ever tried anything from this book?

Thanks for reading and I hope you are enjoying your week! Remember to check in on Thursday for the weekly Organize Now post. It's gonna be a good one:)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Organize Your Schedule

Welcome to week 3 of my Organize Now blog series! I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am! This week we are organizing our schedules.

This is a big one for me. I have so many things that I need to and want to do each day but keeping them all organized is sometimes most of the time a challenge. At times I feel like I am on track with the daily routine and it feels great. Other times, I feel like I am off because things change and I need some time to get back on track. Can you relate to that?

If you are just checking in for the first time, you can see our week one post  Organizing your mind and life vision and our week two post  Organizing your priorities

This Week's Goals:

1. Get a daily planner 


I love the beginning of the new year when I get my new planner and start filling it in. It is important to get one that works well for you and that you love to use or you won't use it. You could print one from the internet and put it into a binder, or purchase one or use one electronically. I actually got mine for free this year from my son's orthotist's office. He was giving them out at the end of the year and I realized it was perfect for me. So far, it is great and it helps me to stay on top of things. I like that it has positive inspirational quotes for each week.

2. Plan your week or month a head of time

This is important to make sure you have the time for all of your appointments, obligations and of course priorities! You can plan meals, schedule things like babysitters, divide chores and errands with your family, etc. 

3. Make a To-Do list 

This is one that I found online. You can find several other templates on Google images.

Jennifer, the author, suggests collecting all of your post-it notes, scraps of paper, things to do that you have stored in your mind and on calendars and putting them on a to do list to keep in your planner. I had to laugh when I read this tip because I am so guilty of writing down a million post-it notes to myself and then having them all over my desk. When I am looking for one of them, I can never find it and I waste time looking. lol. Am I the only one who does this?? :)
 (apparently not....!)

4. Schedule appointments

Make all dentist and doctor appointments for the next year and put them into your planner. The same goes for your pets' veterinarian appointments. Try scheduling family member's appointments together so you make one trip to save yourself some time.

5. Keep a notebook beside your bed

I talked about this one in a previous post. I find it helpful to write things down that pop into my mind before bed. This seems to happen to me a lot! That way I won't forget or worry about remembering to do it the next day.

Additional Tips

Don't put pressure on yourself to accomplish too much in one day. Be realistic and follow through with your schedule.

Your time is valuable! Stay on schedule and it will not be wasted.

For more tips on organizing your schedule please read Organize Now.   

I get asked about my schedule on occasion and how I make time for everything between family and my business. I have been working on my own personal schedule to make the most of my time. It does change somewhat depending on the day, but here is what I do try to do each day. 

My Schedule:

6:00: 6:15: I get up and take 5-10 minutes to read scripture and pray. I have really seen a difference in my attitude and response to others and to situations during the day when I do this. Then I get in the shower and get myself ready. I eat breakfast (usually oatmeal with protein or a protein shake) and start making the boys breakfast before getting them up. Benjamin, my 17 month old, eats oatmeal with his Baby Powder Vitamins, and my 3 year old, Andrew, loves eggs. I try to give them good protein as fuel for the day.

7:15: The boys are up and I get them dressed, brush teeth and hair and  have breakfast. They have a little play time while I clean up the dishes and kitchen. I also get try to get a load of laundry going.

8:15: We leave for Andrew's preschool (3 days each week). We say our morning prayers on the way and he is dropped off by 8:30.
8:30: Benjamin and I run errands and go home for play time, a Music & Me class or play dates, snack time and straighten up the house a bit if there is time left.

11:10: leave to pick up Andrew from preschool. He is done at 11:25.

12:00: lunch. We usually have left overs from dinner the night before. I try to give them a fruit and veggie at lunch and dinner.

12:30: The boys play while I clean up the kitchen and load the dishwasher.

1:00: Benjamin's naptime. He still loves his naps so I am happy about that! Andrew and I play or do a learning game or art project during this time. Sometimes we bake something yummy:) We also do any quiet housework that may need to be done. He loves to help me clean. This is also the time when I have been trying to get a little workout in with the on demand shows through our cable network. Sometimes I do this while Andrew is at preschool.

2:00: Andrew takes his "rest time" for an hour in his room. He still needs this break even though he rarely falls asleep. He reads books during this time while I work: making calls, blogging, answering email, etc.

3:00: We have play time or books, learning time, music, etc. Sometimes we will go for a walk if the weather is nice or meet with a friend. We also complete any housework that needs to be done. (it may seem like we do housework a lot and that I may actually like this part of the routine. That isn't the case but I have found that by doing a little bit each day, it doesn't get out of control and with two little boys and all of their toys and things, it can get out of control very fast! The house always seems so much more relaxing when it is cleaned up.)

5:00: pick up toys and get ready for dinner and for my husband to get home. Both boys LOVE to help me in the kitchen. I try to find jobs for them while I am cooking. I have read that if your children help prepare meals, they are more likely to eat them. Great tip if you have picky eaters or ones that don't like healthy things on the menu. :)

6:00: My husband comes home from work. We eat dinner together and have family time with the boys.

7:00: David bathes Benjamin while I work on cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes. Andrew usually watches his favorite show, Bob the Builder, during this time:) After that, David bathes Andrew (sometimes he bathes them both together but finds it easier on himself to do one at a time) and I put Benjamin to bed. We read stories, sing songs, and pray. David does the same with Andrew and puts him to bed. I had been nursing Benjamin until recently. Now that I am done, I think we will trade off which boy we put to bed. I also set the boys' clothes aside for the following day to save time. After I put Benjamin to bed I usually change into pjs and get mostly ready for bed myself to save time later.

side note: I realize how lucky I am to have a husband who bathes the kids. He actually loves doing it as it gives him some more time with the boys. Love that! :)

8:00: David and I have some time together to read, watch TV, talk. Great part of the day!

9:00: More time for work: answering email, blogging, making my to-do list for tomorrow etc.

10:00: finish getting ready for bed if I haven't already done it and read.

10:15: my bedtime. :)

I put my schedule here to give you an example that maybe you could use for your own routine. I really found it helpful to actually write it out for myself and I encourage you to as well. I have been much more likely to stick to it and not get sidetracked when I wrote it down. It becomes a priority this way.

I hope this post has been helpful to you with organizing your own schedule. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions that work for you and to hear how it's been going so far! Please feel free to link up to your blog or your social media site to mine.

Thank you again for reading and have a great day!!


Monday, January 16, 2012

My Shaklee Story

I often get asked why I started using Shaklee's products and why I became a distributor. In fact, I just gave my Shaklee testimony over the weekend at our local Shaklee 2012 kickoff meeting, which was a lot of fun.

My Story

My story actually begins 36 years ago! That looks like a type-o to me because I cannot believe that I am going to turn 36 next week! (I still feel like I am in my 20s!) I am the youngest of 3 and my mom calls me her Shaklee kid. She started using and distributing Shaklee 37 years ago now! In fact, she was giving an in-home Shaklee presentation the day that she went into labor with me. :)

Shaklee was as common in our house as milk or bread. It was something I took for granted and didn't appreciate until recently. When I was 18, I moved away to college, and like all 18 years olds I knew it all. lol. I didn't think I needed Shaklee and although my mom would send me the supplements, I hardly ever took them. It wasn't a priority to me.

Over the years my mom would talk to me about Shaklee. I just never thought it was something that I needed. It was her thing, not mine.

My husband and I moved to Indiana in 2008 for his job and I was 6 mo. pregnant with our first child. (we now have 2)  I was getting more involved with different moms groups and was attending a local one in Nov. of 09. I was advertising my other business, Waterways Music Services, and my Music & Me classes, in the moms bulletin there. On this particular day, my ad was mixed up with another mom's by mistake, who sold Shaklee! The heading of her ad was over the body of my ad! It was a funny coincidence. I mentioned to the other women at my table that day that I didn't think anyone else knew of Shaklee, let alone loved it like my mother who lived in Wisconsin! Some of the women looked at me like I had 2 heads! lol. These women not only knew of Shaklee but used and loved the products! They didn't sell it either. This sparked a big conversation about Shaklee that day and I was amazed by the enthusiastic testimonies that the ladies were sharing. They talked about the green cleaners that they used around their small kids. (I never realized until then how safe they really were!) One mom shared how Shaklee's skin care line was the only thing that really worked for her skin. Her skin looked awesome! And another mom talked about Cinch and how it helped her lose the baby weight. What the heck was Cinch, I thought? lol I was really in shock by all of this and actually a little annoyed at my mom that she had never shared this with me. :) (or so I thought!)

The first thing I did after the meeting was call my mom and tell her what happened to me and ask why she never told me about the safety of the green cleaners. Her response: "Rebecca, I HAVE been telling you about this for years! You just never listen to me!" And she was right. I guess the lesson there is always listen to your mother. lol!

I was so excited to share my new-found re-found information with my dear husband. I was expecting him to be as excited as I was. Only he wasn't. You see, he is a scientist. And like all scientists, he is skeptical by nature. (to the point of being annoying at times, I may add. :) He is also a pharmacist and chemistry professor who does drug research on natural products at the university. He knows about supplements from his training but was skeptical knowing that there is no policing or guidelines that supplement companies are required to follow. But he agreed to try it.

My mom brought us Basic H2 and Basic G to try. We started cleaning with them and we were impressed. My husband was impressed that the Basic H2 cleaned as well as it did and it was a safe green product around our young son. We loved the fact that we could clean his high chair tray, with him in it, with the Basic H2! David was impressed that it was so cost-effective and was cheaper then what we had been using. He was impressed enough with the cleaners to start looking into the science behind Shaklee's supplements. He started reading research articles and publications during his lunch breaks. And he got excited. So excited that for about a week straight I could not get him to stop talking about Shaklee over our dinner conversations. lol. The pharmaceutical standards, third party testing, quality of materials used, ingredients sourced from nature, etc. He said that they were not required to do all of this and he was so impressed by that! Which in turn impressed me.

Over the next several months we started using the products more and more and in June of 2010 my mom came for a visit and talked to us about membership and distributorship into Shaklee and the cost benefits of that through product discounts and bonus checks. Being business-minded, I was really excited to add Shaklee products to Waterways. I was already sharing the products and my enthusiasm for them with fellow moms so it made sense for me to become a distributor and earn thank you checks in the process. And since I was already in health care as a certified music therapist, it was easy to add to my existing business services.

Since that day in Nov. of 09, we have "Shaklee-ized" our home. We got rid of all toxic cleaners and we use many of Shaklee's quality supplements, children and baby products, vitamin skin care line, pure water filters, and Cinch products. We have seen first hand the health benefits that the supplements have. I love the extra energy I have during my days and my kids have never had an ear infection. Generally speaking, we are a pretty healthy bunch. It has been so easy to share these products because we use them every day and believe in them.

My Business 

A great thing about being a stay-at-home mom and a distributor for Shaklee, is the earnings and benefits package. I have earned a BONUS CHECK EVERY SINGLE MONTH since becoming a distributor, with the exception of the first month. I feel good that I can help contribute to our income.  The checks started very small but continue to grow each month. I don't have a lot of time to put into my business right now because my kids are so small, but it is nice to see that with the little time I do put in sharing the products, I am able to get thank you checks back from the company. The compensation plan is wonderful with the potential of earning not only cash, but also trips and cars!!! I am looking forward to the global conference in Vegas in August! :)

Benefits of Business

One of the benefits of having any business is the tax breaks you get. I started my Waterways business in 2006 in San Diego and knew at that time that I would never work for somebody else ever again. It is wonderful being my own boss, setting my own schedule, and being able to write things off on taxes such as a home office, utilities, my computer, cell phone, and many more things. I can even write off some of my Shaklee products for advertising and demonstration reasons! I gave a presentation about business at the Great Lakes Regional Music Therapy conference in Indianapolis in 2010 and it was well attended because so many people are so interested in this topic. If you are interested in becoming your own boss, I am happy to offer my consultation services.

Network Marketing

If you are considering joining a network marketing company like Shaklee, I would highly recommend doing a lot of research ahead of time. Try the products to make sure it is something you love and can stand behind. Talk to the person recruiting you and be sure to fully understand the business plan and how you will be paid and make sure you will have the support you need to help you succeed. Every company is different and even every group within a company can run things differently. For instance my Shaklee group, lead by Chuck and Joyce Hoffmann, pays their distributors in bonus checks each month. Meaning COLD HARD CASH. It is great!  Be sure to ask lots of questions before joining so you are comfortable with the plan and know what to expect ahead of time. If they can't or won't answer your questions, find someone who can!

If you are interested in learning more about Shaklee's awesome earnings and benefits package, please contact me. I would be happy to talk to you about the plan to see if it is something for you. I am looking for more motivated business partners to join my growing Shaklee team!!! Is that you?? Dr. Shaklee used to say, what you believe you can achieve! :)

Thanks for reading and have a terrific week!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Organizing Your Priorities

Welcome to another week of organizing! If you are checking in for the first time we just got started and it has been so much fun. Please join along! We are using the book Organize Now as our guide. Last week we talked about organizing our mind and life vision.

This week is all about organizing our priorities. It falls under the category of organizing ourselves, which is so important if we want to get the rest of our life in order.

If our priorities are in order and we are actually living by them, then everything else tends to fall into place. When we start living for other people's priorities and not our own, things can get out of balance. Jennifer, the author, suggests that we spend our time living instead of just doing. Love that!

This week's goals:

1. Write down the top ten priorities in your life.

If you are having trouble doing this then ask yourself what is most important to you. My list includes God/prayer, my husband/having a strong marriage, my children and family, quality time with my kids, good friends, good health for me and my family, a clean and organized house, my business and taking care of my customers, education and peace of mind.

I truly feel and have seen first hand in my life that when I keep God first, everything else seems to fall into place. I can always tell when life seems out of balance, it is because I have neglected my relationship with God. (this blog isn't about religion but I wanted to share what my priorities are)

Write down your priorities and put the list somewhere that you will see it and review it often.

2. Write down all of your current activities

Does this list coincide with your priorities? Think about eliminating activities that do not fit into your top priorities. For me, many of my priorities did coincide with my current activities. But some did not. One of my activities each day is to check my email and facebook pages, both personal and business. This can totally be a time drainer if I am not careful which can steal time from my priorities. Can you relate to this? I have found that when I make a schedule and write it down I am more likely to stick to it and therefore keep my priorities in check. Easier said then done on some days. :)

3. Add your priorities to your daily planner

I thought this was a really great tip. I have been doing this more lately and it has been great. Some examples: each month I try to schedule in a date night with my husband (something we recently started doing and it has been great! :) Sometimes we turn these into "dates in" and get a movie, play a game or get a special dessert for after the kids go to bed. I also schedule in time to exercise, family time, and time to work on my blog and other work projects. I keep my daily prayer and reading on my schedule and get up 5-10 minutes early each day to do that. It's been an awesome way to start my days. My husband and I used to say things like, "next summer we need to go to this or that zoo or museum with the kids. Or go see a baseball game, or take a trip to Chicago, etc." Sometimes it would happen but sometimes the summer would fly by and we ended up not having the time available for it. Now we are adding things like that to the planner months in advance so we make the time and have more things for everyone to look forward to.  I have found that by putting it in the planner as if it were an appointment, we are much more likely to follow through and save the time for it. It's a great feeling!

4. Learn to say No!

This has always been a hard one for me. I think women in general have a harder time with this for some reason. Do you agree? We tend to be people pleasers and it is difficult to say no to someone. But it is important to do this if it means keeping your priorities a priority!

One last tip:

When you find an extra 10-15 minutes in your day try using it toward one of your priorities. I thought this was a great tip to add. Think about how much more you could accomplish in your day if you did this. I have been trying this lately. When I have an extra few minutes here or there I use it to clean a small area of the house. I am amazed at how much more cleaning and organizing I can do when I find myself with a few extra minutes. And it is a mood booster because of the sense of accomplishment that I feel at the end of the day. :)

For more organizing tips, please read the Organize Now book.

So how have you been doing so far? Are you enjoying the book and the blog? I hope you are and I hope you are getting some useful information from it. I sure am! Please let me know if you have any tips of your own to share. Don't feel like you have to do everything from the book. If you miss a week, don't get discouraged. Just jump back in. Little by little, you will see and feel yourself get more organized. Think of it as a long distance run instead of a sprint. And remember that you can link up your blog or social media site with my blog and share your journey with your friends and readers too.

Thanks for reading and see you next week Thursday when we will organize our schedules! Can't wait:)


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shaklee Giveaway!!!!

I am SUPER excited to share a great Shaklee giveaway! Just fill out the facebook entry form on Shaklee's page and you will be entered to win a free Cinch Starter Kit! (valued at over $200!)

What a great way to start off your weight loss goals for 2012!

You will be asked for your referring distributor's name or Shaklee ID. Mine is:

Rebecca Colby XF01583 

Cinch is the only weight loss program clinically proven to lose the fat while keeping the muscle!
You can read more about Cinch and the other promotions going on right now through This Post
and also through my Cinch Website.

Good Luck! I hope that one of my readers wins this awesome prize! :)

The contest ends this Friday, Jan. 13, 2012! 
contest is open to new people to Shaklee.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Wisconsin Trip and Holiday pictures!

 I realized that I hadn't posted Christmas pictures yet so I am combining those with our recent trip to Wisconsin. I have quite a few family members who live in different states, so they always appreciate seeing some recent pictures of the boys. Enjoy!

We went to visit my parents in Wisconsin last week. We hadn't celebrated Christmas with them yet because I got a 24 hour bug on Christmas day so we decided to stay home and not risk infecting my family there. Luckily, I was the only one to get sick and it was short lived.

Here is a picture of Benjamin having fun with grandpa.
 and Benjamin enjoying time with grandma. Grandma has the best toys. (notice the Shaklee 4 oz empty bottle in his hand? lol)
 For some reason, the pictures loaded in a different order and I don't have too much time to rearrange. Sorry about that!

After my parents, we headed to the Timber Ridge lodge and resort for a couple of nights and had a blast. Here is a picture in our suite. We got a great deal, only $99/night! I would highly recommend. We stayed there last March for my music therapy conference. It's a great place for families and it is a green hotel and waterpark. You can read more about it in my post Here.

 We also had a ton of fun at the arcade.

 and on the trolley ride around the grounds of the Grand Geneva.

 We had friends and family come for a visit too. Our friends Mike and Cheryl came on Saturday but unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures then :(

Here is a picture with our friend Joanna giving a hug to Andrew.
 And Benjamin with both of his Godparents (my brother Dan and our friend Joanna)
 having fun at Sunday brunch.
 and on the way home. We stopped at one of the Chicago overpass oasis so the kids could run around and stretch. They love watching the cars and trucks go by.
  the boys like to give David his workout as you can see....:)
 Benjamin is a little easier workout I think:)

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas day at our house.

 The boys had so much fun opening their gifts.

 We also got some snow the day after Christmas. Andrew and David went out to play in it.
 Andrew is wearing a scarf that my grandma made for my brother! it is over 40 years old! I remember wearing it too. :)
 We lent Benjamin's snowsuit out last winter and I realized that we still need to get that back. So we stayed inside to watch.

 enjoying a morning chat:)
 here are a few more pictures from my parents.

 The boys LOVED having another day of gift opening. They got some nice things from their grandparents as well as my siblings and nieces.
So there's the kids updates. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks again for reading and remember to check in on Thursday for my new Organize Now blog. We'll be organizing our priorities this week.

Have a great and healthy week!!

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