Back to School, Back on Schedule!

Summertime is winding down! My kids are ready for school to start and with my house finally in order (see “Learn It. Live It!”), I feel like I might be too! So this morning we started our school routine.

I might be the only mom who does it, or at least the only one who admits it… but in the summer, I throw bedtimes out the window. My theory honestly becomes, “the later they stay up, the later they’ll sleep in.” For my son, this doesn’t really seem to matter as he likes to go to bed when he is tired and always wakes up early. For Marissa though, she loves to stay up late watching TV all night. So it is completely necessary that I start now with both of them.

They both have to turn their TVs off at 8 and get their rooms straightened up and get teeth brushed. Then they can lay down and watch TV for about an hour or how ever long they have left before 9:30. Joshua is usually asleep immediately… Marissa is still in the stage of this where she screams at me for about 30-40 minutes before finally realizing it’s a lost cause… hopefully she will be over that before school actually starts.

This morning we also started waking up early. 6:30 for me, Shaun, and Joshua. Shaun has been getting up this early anyway, but Joshua and I are already feeling it! We both got ready for our day as if we were going somewhere, then at 7 I fixed him some breakfast and went to wake sleeping beauty. She got dressed and ready as well. Since I had them both up and going I took advantage of the time by working with each of them on some assignments.

For Joshua, I had him start his morning at 8, like he will in school. He wrote out 3 sentences about his weekend. Then worked on a few of his summer activities, including math, reading challenges, and even some social studies. He finished up his morning session by reading the last few pages of last night’s book to me.

Marissa was more than eager to get her one-on-one time with me. So she traced her name several times before attempting to write it by herself. We worked on some of her tracing sheets, and I discovered she is actually very talented at solving mazes. She then decided to amaze me by blowing through her math work as if it was nothing. Sorting and sequencing, numbering and counting (I had no idea she knew her numbers by sight).

We then had snack time and outside play time! Currently, I have Marissa down for a nap (1-2:30, everyday now. No exceptions and no TV!) and Joshua playing on a computer game. So I guess Mommy can squeeze in a 15 minute power nap if she wraps up her blogging!

Hope your day is going great as well! Let me know if you have any suggestions for keeping up a routine, or spicing it up. Also, the kiddos are 4 and 6— is 9:30 too late for TVs off? Hubby and I can’t seem to decide. Let us know (:

Learn it. Live it.

Am I the only mom who is nervous, excited, happy and sad all at once about school starting again?? Being a preschool teacher means that summer time is Stay-At-Home- Mom time, and in an ideal world that would mean a clean house and a perfectly manicured lawn. I had high hopes entering into this summer of completing a few of those pending pinterest projects (which I did get my pallet table built— pics up soon!) and being super mom with kid crafts but overall… not so much.

I spent most of my summer sick or in some way injured but hopefully that’s over now. I will say that my son loved loved loved his summer camp— they did so much! My little girl loved helping me run my at-home preschool in the mornings and then we enjoyed our “Mommy and Rissy” afternoons. The summer was not a fail but I did want so much more. We didn’t get to go on an vacations but we’re penny pinching to hopefully make a Disney cruise happen next summer!

Anyway, Joshua goes into the 1st grade next Monday and my teacher workdays start the same day. My first day with kiddos will be the Tuesday after labor day. In January, I am starting classes at UNCW so I feel like nailing down a solid schedule is imperative this first semester of school. In the spirit of that, I have been cleaning this house like never before. Organizing all items and scrubbing all corners! Keeping the house clean, will be a family effort.

So I made a chart titled “Learn it. Live it!”

I figured that even if the family doesn’t stick to it adamantly, as least it will give me a cleaning routine that takes less than 30 minutes/day. Here’s how it goes::


  • Laundry: Mom’s clothes (and Daddy’s nice clothes)
  • Cleaning: Dust and vacuum the living room, and clean the windows. In my house, this also includes the hallway and laundry space. 

Whenever I dust/vacuum or clean a room I also clean the baseboards in that room. If you scrub them down the first week, then every week after that you can keep them clean by simply wiping them down with a fabric softener sheet!


  • Laundry: Towels and whites
  • Cleaning: Kitchen and floor. This is the day when I clean all the cabinets and baseboards. I wash the knobs from the stove and scrub the microwave down. I don’t know about you, but I HATE mopping! So narrowing this down to just one day, is great.

**Tuesday is also the day that we sort through our mail and organize our bill payments for the next week.**


  • Laundry: Shaun’s work clothes and bed linens
  • Cleaning: Dust and vacuum the bedrooms, and clean the windows.


  • Laundry: Kid’s clothes
  • Cleaning: Bathrooms and floors. My bathroom floors are so small that I am able to just clean them with a cloth which I prefer over mopping!

"Forgot It Friday"

  • This is a day where we can tie up any loose ends and hopefully have a weekend free of cleaning!

In order for this to work, there is a common sense list of Daily Do-It’s:

Bedrooms: Straighten daily, and have the kids select outfits for the next day

Kitchen: Dishes washed, table and chairs wiped, counters/stove/ and sink cleaned nightly.

Living Room: Junk Sweep the living room! This step has been so helpful as it keeps the kid’s from turning my living room into their play room!

In total, I spend an average of 30 minutes a day cleaning/ folding clothes and my house has never looked better. Building in Friday-Sunday as free days has helped too because if I’m sick or otherwise out of commission for a day, I don’t have to fall behind. If you have a schedule or suggestions for mine, please let me know!


Toddler Lunch Ideas

New ideas for sandwiches, wraps, mini-pizzas and more tasty lunch recipes for kids!

I need inspiration

Summer fun

Summer fun

a “real” job.

Today, for the first time in nearly 2 years of living with Shaun, he said the words “Why don’t you get a real job” to me. And boy was I floored! A real job? As opposed to my, what, fake job??

Let me start by explaining my job. I’m not a stay-at-home-mom… but even when I was, that was as real of a job as any I have ever had. I am a preschool teacher. No, I’m not a rocket scientist or a carpenter (Shaun’s profession), but I have a job. I go to work, I perform my duties, and I receive a nominal paycheck.

But as all moms know, school time is over, and so is my job. For the summer I have started Summer Playdates with Ms. Jessica! and it has been great! I watch the kids from my class, and the ones coming into my class as well as a few other friends for a few hours each day. Each family pays $20, and it adds up pretty quickly. The problem today is that this week, I don’t have as many families as I usually do. The other problem is that Shaun, as much as I love him has never really understood the concept of investment. He is frustrated because this summer camp has required us to check off some of the “to-do” list around the house… like touching up our paint job from 2 years ago… which actually turned into repainting the whole living room, kitchen, and hallways. We also had to buy a large area rug and a few new toys/crafts so that I could entertain the kiddos. I ended up spending 3 days rearranging the whole house (which looks AMAZING now, by the way!) and it drove him crazy because when I am rearranging things, I never really have a plan in mind so my answers are always annoyingly vague to his million questions.

Shaun: Well, where are you going to put that?
Jessica: Somewhere nice

I’m sure you would love 3 whole days of that too??? So on top of being aggravated with my work load, and my start-up costs, he is stressed because he feels like I’m not going to make enough money to survive the summer with my fake job. The thing he doesn’t get is that this job is very real to me. I love working with these kids and I enjoy having play dates for Marissa everyday while Joshua is at camp. Shaun’s hours change daily, and he usually can’t work on rainy days so a “real/normal” job is kinda out of the question for me. He usually gets off at 4 but if it rains on Wednesday, he might work til 6-7 on Thursday. We never know. I don’t know what job I could get that would be okay with me coming in whenever it worked out but I definitely know I won’t be able to get a job that justifies childcare costs.

I guess that’s what gets me so upset. Shaun doesn’t understand that even though I don’t make a lot of money, I save us a lot of money. He also has forgotten what it was like to be a single dad, or to be in his last marriage, because he is definitely taking those homecooked dinners and clean clothes for granted now. He hasn’t had to do any cleaning or cooking in nearly 3 years! I don’t even know if he could handle me getting a night job. He is only thinking about income, not about the fact that he would come home from work and have to feed the kids, bathe the kids, read with both of them, and then clean up the kitchen and wash clothes for the night…

Part of me wants to go get this REAL job just so he can feel how real my life is, but in the end, no one would win if I did that. I love my days. I love spending time with my kiddos and as corny as it may sound, I love being a homemaker. This is my life, it’s real to me, and I’m real good at it. He probably regretted the words instantly but they are still ringing in my head.

I learned a long time ago not to share these issues with friends and family because they will hold the grudge longer than me, so it is nice to be able to vent on here. Thanks (:

My Joshua  (Taken with Instagram)

My Joshua (Taken with Instagram)

my sunshine.

I remember laying down for naps when I was little and hearing my Nana sing “you are my sunshine” everyday as I fell asleep. Those words never rang as true as they do when I sing them to my beautiful babies.

My oh-so-grown Joshua made them come to life today. It was Fun Day/ Field Day at his school today and luckily my Nana was able to watch Marissa so I could go enjoy some time with just my Joshua.

From the minute he saw me, life was good. The sun was definitely NOT shining but even with the overcast weather and the occasional rain shower, Joshua and all the students at his elementary school were all smiles.

He usually has such performance anxiety that he opts out of many activities. For example, we went to a party recently that had a piñata and Joshua didn’t want to swing at it because he was scared he might miss! I had to show him the line of 13 other children that had tried and failed but still had a great time before he would do it. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Joshua eager to participate in all the festivities of Fun Day!

He pulled hard in tug-of-war, he ran fast in all the relays, and best of all he laughed like crazy when he slipped up during the plunger race and ended up with a plunger full of water on his head! He just couldn’t stop smiling. When I asked him what the greatest part of his day was tonight he looked at me like I should already know, then he said the greatest thing I have ever heard,


He saw my eyes fill up with tears and he said, “Mom, the sky was gray til you showed up.”

If he only knew, that’s how I feel about everyday that he wasn’t mine.

Mothers all want their sons to become president, but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process.

thirty pounds of pure fury.

My little girl is adorable— from her perfectly colored hair to her painted toe nails (currently purple with sparkles) but man oh man does she have an attitude! She honestly has the worst temper I have ever seen in any person. Things can go from smiles and laughter to a temper tantrum that lasts for 20+ minutes. All it takes is not getting her way. I don’t understand it either. I know I have spoiled her but I have never once let her get away with being ugly. My son has anger issues too but his are completely different. When he is mad you only know if you find his hiding spot because he will go hibernate with all his feelings. I feel like I have tried everything I know to break through to both of them. With Joshua, I worry about how much of his anger he is internalizing and with Marissa, I worry that she is going to hit herself when she is throwing her self around. The other day she was upset because her tv wasn’t playing the show she wanted to watch so she pushed it off of her dresser! The tv is old and weighs twice as much as Marissa. It really scared me, so I made an appointment with her doctor and inadvertently started an argument with my husband. I should explain that my husband has never treated me like a stepparent. He knows that I love these kids more than some people love their own and he knows that I will only make decisions in their best interest. So when I made this appointment I wasn’t expecting any fall out. But for the first time in our 3 1/2 years together, I felt like I had overstepped my boundaries. All he heard when I said doctor was “therapist” and all he could think about was “crazy!” Shaun and I are from two different schools of thought on this. I think that therapy can help you figure out how to process your emotions but Shaun thinks that therapists are just there for crazy people. I was so surprised that he was angry about the appointment but as we kept talking I realized that he wasn’t mad at me, he was scared that the doctors might think that Marissa is just like her bio-mom. We decided together to try the therapy because if Marissa does have mental health issues, I truly believe that acknowledging the possibility and teaching her to reach out for help early on will be the best strategy. We also said that no matter what, our little girl will not be put on any meds. I think that’s a personal decision for each family but other than her anger, I would hate to alter Marissa’s beautiful personality. She is so animated and loving. I think I will talk to the doctor about Joshua’s behavior too. Just to be on the safe side. He is so sweet and takes everything so personally. I love his attitude on life but it saddens me that he worries so much about getting everyone else’s approval. If you’ve been down a similar road with your kiddos, please share any advice! That’s why I’m writing all this down, so I can connect with other moms and stepmoms. Have a blessed day!