Tips for a better (easier! fancier!) morning

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LatteMadeEasy #CollectiveBias

I am not a morning person. I’m not NOT a morning person, but I’m definitely more of a night owl. I’m basically a morning-person wannabe because I have every intention of starting out my day with enthusiasm and energy, but then I just kind of… don’t. And after 8pm I get a second wind and want to do ALL OF THE THINGS. (Is it coincidental that 8pm is when the kids go to bed?! I think not.)

Now that I’m a SAHM, I basically wait until the last possible second to get out of bed each day. I just crave that sliver of quiet time before I need to start ‘momming’ again.

But, I have found that a few things help to start my day off right.

Tips for a better morning

First things first…

Have an outfit planned. I did Audrey’s winter wardrobe challenge last month and I loved it! I never had to think about what to wear, which was one less thing to get frustrated about in the mornings. Now that the challenge is over, I’m going to try to use a lot of her outfit suggestions again, and I’m going to plan them out the night before (even very casual outfits) so that when I roll out of bed I can put on an actual outfit instead of wearing my pajamas for far too long.

International Delight One-Touch Latte

Drink (fancy) coffee. This is the real reason I get out of bed in the morning… I need (and love) my coffee! It’s something I look forward to each and every day. I consider it bribery to begin my day, especially as a SAHM when the days can seem so long. Sometimes this is honestly the biggest motivator for me to walk into the kitchen in the morning and face the chaos of the day instead of lounging in bed for a few more minutes.

For a while I was walking or driving to a coffee shop every single day for my caffeine fix, but now that we do so many toddler activities, I don’t have the time to make that outing a part of my morning routine. Also, coffee shops are tough on the wallet!

I used to think that going to a coffee shop was the only way to get fancy coffee and that my only options at home were drinking plain drip coffee but then I found there are still (simple!) ways to treat myself to a fancy coffee at home. One of the easiest (and newest!) ways to make a latte is by using International Delight® One Touch Latte™, which is a can that turns your cup of coffee into a latte in 3 easy steps!

International Delight One-Touch Latte

  1. Fill cup 2/3 with coffee to leave room for froth.
  2. Shake the One Touch Latte™ can.
  3. Press and hold the can above coffee for 5-7 seconds and enjoy!

Video:

I love that I can turn everyday (boring!) coffee into a sweet (caramel or vanilla or mocha) latte in just a few seconds. (And let’s be honest, most days I only have a few seconds to make myself a coffee while Clara and Isabelle are busy eating breakfast.) Also, with this one can I can make seven lattes, which is quite a bit of savings compared to what I was paying for lattes at my local coffee shop!

International Delight One-Touch LattePut on ‘real’ clothes and makeup. On my mission to beautify this year (that’s my word of the year for 2017), I’ve been doing my makeup each day. I’ve found that when I start my day off by putting on makeup, I’m more productive and I feel more awake. The same goes for changing out of pajamas. If I look more put together, I feel more put together, and I’m able to start my day off with more enthusiasm and purpose.

Write a to-do list. I recently started using an actual written planner (instead of relying on my Google calendar) and I love it. Every morning I jot down the tasks I want to accomplish, and I find that I feel much less scatter-brained as soon as I start writing things down.

Tips For A Better Morning

Notice that showering and working out are not on this list… I wish they were, but I’m in survival mode over here and I don’t have time for ‘luxuries’ like showering by myself or leaving the house to go to the gym! Maybe someday, but not today!

International Delight One-Touch Latte at Walmart

How do you start your day off well? (Don’t forget to treat yourself in the mornings and definitely check out International Delight® One Touch Latte™, which you can find in the dairy case with the coffee creamers at Walmart!)

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What I Love

In the past I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day, but now that I have kids, I’m in a major ‘love it’ phase. I loved creating little valentines for their friends and I loved the craft Clara made at school and I loved that Clara was so excited about the whole thing.

Valentine’s Day morning I had such high hopes… Tim was going to take a few hours off work so he could stay at home in the morning and make heart-shaped pancakes for the girls. And they were going to be pink! We had it all figured out!

Well, in true Tim & Lisa fashion, we didn’t really plan ahead. The heart-shaped cookie cutters (that I swear we own) were nowhere to be found, and the food dye was too light, so we ended up with regular-colored start shaped pancakes instead. Wah wah. Clara and Isabelle still loved them so I’m considering it a win.

Things I Love

Clara is so proud of her (first handmade) Valentine’s Day card!

But enough about that. I want to share a  list of…

Things I Love

(in no particular order)

  • My faith
  • Dark chocolate
  • Being active
  • Learning
  • This vacuum. I have to explaiin… I hate cleaning with a passion, but I use this vacuum at least five times per day. With two excessively messy eaters on my hands, I feel like all I do is clean the floors – and this has been a life saver. Not to mention all of the dog hair I’m also always cleaning up…
  • Prosecco
  • Finishing something. Anything.
  • Dry humor
  • Changes
  • Relationships
  • Clara’s preschool
  • Political podcasts
  • Trying something new
  • Baking
  • Scandal and Olivia Pope’s wardrobe
  • Tinybeans. If you have a kid and are not using this app, I think you are doing it wrong. I just went through all 2.5 years of pics I have on it (starting with Clara’s birth) and was in tears by the end. Download this one.
  • Hot chocolate from Chocolati Cafe
  • My library card and alllllll of the books
  • The concept of minimalism. I am not yet a minimalist, but I am actively working on it.
  • A new recipe
  • Blogging
  • This tea
  • The newborn baby phase. Am I the only person who loves this phase? I might be.
  • Personality quizzes
  • Traveling
  • Handwritten letters
  • Instagram
  • Being outdoors
  • French fries
  • Mountains. I had always wondered if living in a place with mountains would make me immune to their beauty… and I can say that after 18 months, the answer is still, nope!
  • Chatting with a good friend
  • Slippers or comfy socks
  • Self reflection
  • Doing taxes (I’m crazy, I know.)
  • Reading
  • This nail polish
  • Getting to know my girls’ unique personalities
  • Being intentional
  • Road trips
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Surprises
  • Taking photos
  • Learning about people’s lives
  • Bath and Body Works candles
  • March Madness. And football.
  • My daily coffee
  • Raw cookie dough and brownie batter
  • Neutral color
  • Living in cities
  • Rainy days
  • Snapchat
  • Shopping at thrift/consignment stores
  • Cheese

And Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my husband and our two girls! I love that Tim is silly, kind, generous, and loyal. I love that Clara is independent, smart, goofy, and joyful. I love that Isabelle is squishy, determined, resilient, and cuddly. And (because self-love is important, too!) I love that I’m intentional, witty, motivated, and friendly.

I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating love!

Posted in about me, currently, favorite things, holidays | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

At this moment

I can’t even remember the last time I did a ‘currently’ post, but I’m bringing it back and plan on doing it semi-regularly!

Mini-Feminists

My little strong-woman-in-training and #girlboss.

At this moment I’m…

//Working on: Hydration! And organizing my house… that’s a never-ending project, it seems! I’m a minimalist at heart but I have so much dang stuff (somehow)!
// Eating: A lot of carbs. Whoops. I’m also feeling kind of crappy lately, so I think I need to get my diet back on track.
// Drinking: Tea! And LaCroix. And some lattes.
// Reading: Gilead. But I must admit I’m feeling guilty that I just don’t love it so far. The beginning seems slooooow. Does it get better? So many people recommend this one and I just don’t see the appeal so far.
// Wanting: To take some good hikes! I can’t wait for spring to get into the mountains and on the trails! Although, for now I’m very satisfied being able to ski in the mountains this season.
// Listening to: I’m getting more and more into podcasts (again). Right now I’m listening to the FiveThirtyEight political podcast and it is really good stuff.
// Planning: Summer vacations and adventures! I hate coming back from vacation, so to help with the post-vacation blues, I’m working on planning the next one! This summer I’m hoping to stay in the PNW but take quite a few driving adventures to explore the areas surrounding Seattle.
// Loving: Corrine from The Bachelor. She’s still my favorite BY FAR. Everyone else just seems so boring! She will 100% be on Bachelor in Paradise this summer, so I have that to look forward to (since I’m sure this is going to be her last week this season).
// Feeling: Overwhelmed. Maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s that I actually have too much to do, maybe it’s our negative political climate… I’m just feeling completely overwhelmed lately. Is anyone else feeling the winter blahs? I’m also feeling tired. I’m blaming breastfeeding because I remember feeling like this at around 9-10 months with Clara, too. I just feel like I can’t keep up with my body’s demands and am feeling really drained all around.
// Watching: Scandal! Although I will say that season 4 went downhill in a hurry… I’ve heard it gets better, so I’ll continue watching! Plus, I just love seeing what Olivia Pope wears. Total outfit goals.
// Looking forward to: Another mini-vacation next weekend (to go skiing with friends, again)!

What are you up to?!

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Adventuring with kids: Traveling to Park City!

There is almost nothing I love more than traveling to a new place, so I was thrilled when the chance arose to travel to Park City, UT! I had never been to Utah at all before, and now I can’t wait to go back.

Traveling to Park City with Kids

We found ourselves in Utah after our friends invited us to go skiing, which just so happens to be one of my favorite activities! We stayed in a gorgeous house a few blocks between Park City Resort and downtown Park City, and the location couldn’t have been better.

During the day we arranged for Clara to be in the resort’s daycare and for Isabelle to stay with our friend’s parents, who were on the trip as well. To be honest, I was very nervous leaving both of them. As a stay at home mom, I hadn’t been away from my daughters for more than 8 hours since Clara was a 14-month-old only child… which was over a year ago! However, my anxieties quickly disappeared once we dropped the girls off and hit the slopes and I remembered how nice life is without listening to whining and crying and general chaos.

We hadn’t been skiing in five years, but after a few easy runs, I felt really comfortable on the slopes. I’m not an expert skier by any means, but I can ski at an intermediate level and that’s enough to get me down the mountain! I had a blast!

Tim and I had so much fun with our friends and I only wish we had decided to do a ski vacation earlier! We had been intimidated about a lot of the logistics of planning a trip like this with kids, so I wanted to share some tips with you.

Traveling to Park City with Kids

Here are my thoughts on traveling to Park City (or any ski resort) with little ones:

  • Rent a house. I’m so thankful that Airbnb and other rental housing options are popular now, because with two kids I’m doing everything I can to avoid hotels. To make renting a house cheaper, gather up some other families and split the cost! Also, with a house comes the option of buying groceries and cooking meals. After long days of skiing and being active, sometimes it’s nice to either order in food or to cook something quickly for the family to enjoy. I find both of those options preferable to going out to restaurants every night with kids, but we did go to one restaurant (Yuki Yama Sushi) on our trip, and it was excellent!
  • Location is (even more) important. We were lucky in Park City, because we stayed in a house which was walking distance to both the ski lifts and the restaurants downtown. With kids it’s easiest to be able to walk out of the house and get to where you need to be without dealing with carseats. One of the reasons I love Park City is because the houses are so near to the mountain. We didn’t need to spend our time driving, and that means we were able to spend more time skiing!
  • Look into childcare. Usually I enjoy vacationing with my children, but when the vacation involves downhill skiing and your kids are 2.5 years old and 9 months old… it’s necessary to ditch them with other responsible adults. And I was so impressed with the child care options at Park City! Sure, it was expensive, but it allowed us to take this vacation – so it was worth it! The daycare that Clara was in took the kids on a gondola ride partway up the mountain so they could play in the snow. It turns out that Clara doesn’t like snow, but she loves gondola rides! She also ate lunch and napped and had a snack and couldn’t wait to go back the next day. I was thrilled about the entire thing. (My girls are too young to ski, but once the girls are old enough they’ll be in ski-school instead of daycare.)
  • Pump on the mountain. Until this year I thought ski trips would be impossible because I didn’t know how I could pump without it being a huge hassle, and the last three winters I’ve either been breastfeeding or pregnant. Fast forward 2 years… Isabelle is a breastfed 9-month old and it ended up being really easy! I simply carried around a pump in a backpack (rather, I put a pump in Tim’s backpack so he could carry it around) and pumped once at lunch. Although, I will say that it was really awkward trying to pump in public with a bijillion layers on. The next time I do this I’m going to wear looser base layers, but this time I still made it work by wearing my jacket backwards and pumping like normal.
  • Plan some snowy adventures. Especially if you don’t live in a place where there’s a lot of snow, make sure you take the kiddos out to enjoy the snow as well! Clara loved riding the gondola and sledding down a very small hill and building a snowman, and Isabelle loved… well, nothing about the snow. But that’s okay, because I have a picture of them in it and that’s all I was really after! When the girls are older we’ll take them skiing, snowmobiling, tubing… but I’m not rushing time. Right now they’re at a very fun age because everything is new and exciting!
  • Adjust expectations. A ski trip with kids is not the same as the ‘old days’ of skiing sans children. It takes longer to get out of the house in the morning, less sleep is had by all, there is less free time to relax, and there are more logistical demands. Plus, our toddler frustrated us by spending hours asking to go sledding, 30 minutes putting on her own snow gear (because she has to do it “all by myself”), then 10 minutes walking slooooowly to the tiny hill/mound-of-snow, only to sled for literally 3 seconds. She seriously sat on the sled for mere moments before demanding we all go back to the house again. I recommend carving out extra time in the morning to ensure you have all of your ducks in a row (children fed and dressed and packed with lots of extra layers) so that you don’t start out your day stressed out and frazzled.

Traveling to Park City with Kids

I also want to add that I think we’re at a sweet spot for flying with the girls, because at 9 months old Isabelle can sleep on the plane, and at 2.5 years old Clara absolutely loves airplanes and can also be entertained by Daniel Tiger for quite a bit a time.  The 2.5 hour flight was perfect for us.

Now for the bad stuff… 

The girls didn’t sleep the entire trip. Every single night it felt like one or both girls were up from 12-4am. I’m not joking… it was awful. Tim and I couldn’t figure out how to split up to take care of both girls and/or to ensure at least one of us could sleep. The whole sleep thing was a disaster and I’m not sure what to blame, although I have a feeling the altitude may have played a factor (since Tim and I both felt nauseous at night, maybe the girls did, too). Does anyone have any thoughts on kids and altitude?

I think trips like this can be intimidating, but they are so necessary for my soul. I am really glad that Tim and I decided that we were going to go on a ‘big’ ski trip this year – and that we all had a blast (sleep deprivation and all)!

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One Year in the PNW

(I meant to write this post in October for our actual ‘one year anniversary’ of living in the PNW, but alas, somehow time flew by and it’s already February! How does this ‘where did the time go’ thing keep happening?!)

In October 2015 we moved to Seattle, so 2016 was our first official year as Washington residents (I wrote our first impressions in this post), and let me just say that we’ve had an amazing time.

Moving-from-Chicago-to-Seattle

I mean, we had quite a few challenges, too:

We moved into corporate housing and then our first rental house and then started running an Airbnb and then we moved into a second rental house… And of course we had a baby and basically did a bijillion other things.

But we’ve been having FUN and I can still say that moving to Washington is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

We’ve made great friends, we’ve taken some awesome trips, we see the mountains daily (sometimes from far away and sometimes up close), and we have been able to hike and showshoe and swim in lakes and experience the outdoors daily. We’ve also found a church we love and feel like we’re part of an awesome community.

I won’t lie, it’s been an expensive decision to live in the city of Seattle, but I feel lucky every day to be where we are at this stage in our lives.

Moving to the PNW was undoubtedly a huge leap of faith. We moved here without knowing anyone and without having much of a plan at all, but we had confidence that we would create a community – and we did! 

There’s something so freeing about creating a new routine and new relationships and new traditions… Maybe it’s because I’m a person who thrives on change, but I’ve found this chapter in life to be one of my most exciting and rewarding and even empowering.

The PNW is filled with adventures and beautiful scenery and great weather (locals complain about the rain but I think they’re secretly just trying to keep everyone from moving here!) and friendly people. I’m so glad that we now call it home.

Posted in life events, seattle | Tagged , | 8 Comments