Kid’s Chores & Organization

As a working mom, or really as a mom at all, none of us know what we are doing and we struggle to find the time to figure it out. At the end of the day, I would rather binge watch “Virgin River” then put together a chore chart and figure out if I should be giving my kid a cash allowance or teaching him how bank cards work. Why don’t they give us a manual for parenting??

I was taught growing up how to manage my money from a very young age. My parents gave us the money that they had budgeted for clothing and haircare and fast food in envelopes for us monthly to understand what it meant to have a budget. It was the money they were spending anyway and they were transferring the responsibility to us.

I wanted something for planning that I could glance at and that my son (at five years old) didn’t have to read a lot to understand what he needed to do. I also wanted it to be in a spot that I saw on the regular and was a hub for organizing that portion of my life.

In comes a 1Thrive organization board. I saw it on Instagram and reached out to them to share it with you guys! The cool thing about what they offer is it’s customizable and holds different options so that it fits your family well. I went with the Brooke organizer and I have been floored by the ease of putting it together and the quality of the material! The boards work exclusively with the markers from 1Thrive and they go on easily but can be removed with a wet rag in seconds.

I found magnets on Etsy that I could customize to the tasks that would be placed on the board. The summer heat messed with the first shipment and the etsy shop owner had a fixed set out to me the same day that I contacted her. I love the simplicity and neutral look of the magnets!

Deciding what type of allowance to do for your kids is tough. There are some things that I decided are tasks that we simply do because we are a family. He brushes his teeth, feeds the dog, clears the table, and cleans his room without monetary value for each of them. However, we are a team and at the end of the week if he has consistently done those things and been part of the team, he will get his weekly allowance.

For some things that I might pay other people for if they aren’t done or are skills that I want him to pick up because they will benefit him in life (laundry…), I put a monetary value again the completion of those items. I’m counting down to the day that he can mow the lawn!

At the end of the day, the amount doesn’t matter and it is going to vary per family and as he gets older the things that are “bonus” chores will become things that he does as part of the team. Do what works for you! This is simply what is currently working for me. I reserve the right to adjust as there are always unforeseen circumstances in parenting.

Having things that my son can do to earn money and learn to save that money for the items that the wants allows for two things:

  1. I can budget the money that is spent on toys and “extras”. It’s up to Eli to earn that money and I know what the max is for the month.
  2. It teaches my son to work for a goal. Between birthdays and holidays, I often feel like my son doesn’t know what it means to work for and look forward to something. This accomplishes that.

I’d love to hear what works well for you and your family! Comment here or connect with me on Instgram at @hackingtheworkingmom.

Nordstrom Sale Zella Workout Deals

I love Zella workout items! They hold up and are so comfortable!

There are my top picks. I have the light grey from last years NSale and they are still in pristine condition and cozy soft! I work out in their leggings. I run around town in their leggings. I throw them on for the days that I pretend I am going to work out and then end up not.

In the image, you will see all the color options as well that are available for the items and all at the sale price!

The easiest way to shop all of this is by looking at the @likeToKnow.it app. You can follow me and see what I post across multiple brands and easily “Click to shop”! I get a small commission off what you purchase that allows me to prepare these shopping lists for you!

Zella Leggings

The quality of the leggings is thick and sturdy! The grey ones that have the pockets are my favorite pair to wear around the house due to how soft they are!

I love the bright colors of the orange legging but there are great neutral options with the mauve, brown and black.

Sports bra

The sports bra that is pictured above is flattered as it is a little more like a crop top but still breathable and flattering. This is a great way to work out in just a sports bra but cover more skin if that makes you more comfortable!

Activewear Jacket

I own a jacket similar to the one above and it’s wonderful in the fall with transition weather or on nights that are cooler after a summer day. It is light weight and breathable!

Girlfriend Collective

I haven’t tried this brand before but it’s made of recycled water bottles and I’m going to give it a shot!!

My favorite Nordstrom Sale Items 2021

Shoe Edition

The Nordstrom sale tends to have a lot of hype. If done right, you can land some of the best staple items that you will wear all year long! I tend to snag a few things in particular every year. Here are my favorites for me and my son (five years old).

If you have the Nordstrom credit card, you get to shop the sales earlier! The more you have spent with them, the earlier you can shop! I get to start on July 16th as “Influencer” level (that is purely based on spend and has nothing to do with the number of followers at @hackingtheworkingmom)

In what I share below, I do get a small commission if you purchase after clicking through my links! It’s not a lot but it does help me have the time to be able to put these lists together for you! I hope you find the information helpful!

Kid’s Shoes

I typically grab Nike’s for Eli. I am not even sure why I started grabbing him Nike’s but he loves them and this year they have some really cool colors. Often, you can get a pair of sneakers half off! My kid is going to love the black, red and blue Nike Flex Plus!

Nike Flex Plus Sneakers in black, blue and red

Women’s sneakers

There seems to always be a pair of mute pink sneakers that are the tennis shoe to grab! I love the color because it goes with so much while not just being a standard neutral. I think this pink currently falls into neutral? These always sell out. The elastic instead of laces is a win for me! I am always throwing on my shoes and this makes it a little easier.

I noticed this muted leopard print sneaker was available in a running shoe and am eyeing it as well! I don’t really run, but I feel like chasing a five year old counts.

I am a sucker for a good basic white sneaker. It looks cute with dresses or with shorts and I have been on the look out. Sam Edelman is a solid brand that is support but stylish! There are multiple colors available in this sneaker at 50% off!

I haven’t ever caved to the UGG slippers. I have a friend who raves about them and I think I just might cave this year. It doesn’t hurt that they are 30% off!

I kinda love these shoes. I am not totally sure how I am going to style them yet and don’t care. But sometimes that is the point. I would rather have a few shoes that I love than a bunch that I never wear!

A good over the knee boot is a must in the fall! It’s the perfect shoe with dresses when it’s starting to get cold outside and just carries a little spunk with it.

I purchased these shoes a year or two back in a Nordstrom sale and they are cute with so many outfits! The mushroom is my favorite color since it’s neutral and goes with so much. Grab them here.

If you grab anything, share it on Instagram and tag me! I love to know when you guys love things that I recommend!

Nordstrom Half Anniversary Sale

The Nordstrom sale is often full of great deals! There are some things that are consistently my favorite.

Zella – if you haven’t tried this activewear brand, the quality is great and the sale prices are so good! They have pocketed leggings and great sports bra options along with athleisure jackets and shorts.

Shop here and here!

Typically, my shoes that I wear year round come from Nordstrom sales. You can get great brands and quality at 50% off! I am eyeing the slippers in two colors.

If you need socks or you have a gift that you need to pick up, the accessories at Nordstrom don’t disappoint! Grab a mug for the person who associates with a G, H or D or snag the heated coffee mug with all initial options still currently available. The All Clad pans are 5 star reviewed!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is officially a month away and FOR ONCE I am on my A-game with a gift guide. This stems from the fact that I probably want most of the things that dad’s want for Father’s Day. I’ll take all the tech gifts and coffee warmers.

There are two options in regards to the items that I gathered, but they are all from Amazon and so convenient to send even if the father you are buying for isn’t local!

The serious stuff:

Men aren’t know for their organization skills, typically. This bag is a great way to organize their self care items (because guys need it too) in a high quality bag.

I bought my father in law one of these for Christmas a year or two ago and he has LOVED it! He loved it so much that I ended up buying my own.

This is the perfect item for any desk! But then again… maybe fathers always get to drink warm coffee? 😉

These are easier to size than other shoes and great for wearing around the house or slipping on to run out the door.

The perfect gift for a whiskey lover! Handmade design and classy.

If you are more into the silly stuff for the gifts, here are a few things as well!

How many times can one person move in ten years?

Turns out for my life, the magic number is ten moves in ten years. I moved for school and jobs and had a few detours when we lived with my mom for a few months waiting on a house to be built.

What does one learn by moving an average of once a year over a decade?

Image: Moving Solutions

Hire Help

Don’t move it yourself, if you can manage it. But also don’t get caught up with the wrong movers.

When we were college students, we took the route of buying pizza and beer for friends in order to move. As I got older and the stuff that I had grew in value, it was important to find a mover that was insured and able to compensate me if anything was broken in the move.

You can hire movers in a variety of levels. My favorite tends to be packing my own items and then paying for a few hours on the day of the move to have them load and unload the truck! It removes so much stress from the day and saves your back in the long run. Don’t make the mistake of loading a large truck with all your belongings and signing paperwork ahead of time that you will pay per square cubic foot that they load… I could have sold everything I owned on that move and rebought it new for the price tag that it ended up being to move my stuff. But they had it all on a truck and ready to go. What do you do??? Do your research on any company that you use and ideally, grab a referral from a friend! In the Nashville area, Moving Solutions seems to be a popular company to use because of their friendly staff and quick skills to get you packed safely and out the door. Whether you are moving local or long moving to the Nashville area, these professionals can help every step of the way!

SELL & PURGE

If you read nothing else. Read this. As someone who has moved multiple times, I have fallen prey to moving things that I thought I would need later. My last move was a little over a year ago and I still have a few unopened boxes in my closet. If it isn’t memories and it’s unopened a year later, donate it. Sell it. Light it on fire!

I find that about a year after I move, I take the same approach. I look at the items that I haven’t needed or touched in the last year and I let them go. It tends to correlate with spring cleaning and getting the things you don’t use any more out of your home actually clears mental space. I can’t encourage this one enough.

Splurge for good packing materials

There are some packing materials that aren’t worth it. But get the good tape. Get sturdy boxes and splurge on the dish and glassware packing items. That foam sleeve may seem silly, but it makes it so much easier to pack your kitchen items.

You will also want to grab that roll of bubble wrap. It might be $40, but if you can protect all your dishes, vases and any thing else that is breakable, you are saving the money! Depending on how far you are moving and how long things will be in boxes, you will want to pad your items more.

Should you let movers pack your stuff?

This is a very personal decision. It depends on how OCD you are and how much control you need. I need a good bit of control, so I never sprung for this. I also like to be frugal in the ways that I can be.

That being said, there are times in your life, that you need to just delegate. Let them pack things. They are going to do it in a logical way and label it accordingly. At the end of the day, as long as it is all moved from point A to point B, you are succeeding.

You will survive the move

Everyone reaches the point that they feel like they aren’t going to make it. There are still all these odds and ends that they haven’t finished boxing. All of the sudden, you have more towels than you remember buying. And if you have kids…. Don’t even get me started on the number of times that you unpack and repack a box because there was something they needed in it.

You will get moved and settle into your next stage of life. Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do. Have a little grace with yourself and maybe throw on some music and make it fun.

Good luck with your next move and I wish you a seamless and easy move (if those exist!).

Balancing the Working Mom

My son will be five in May. This means I have successfully managed to be a full time working mom for five years. This includes everything from pumping breast milk in a client parking lot to days where all I did was care for a child and work from the moment that I woke up to the moment I went to sleep.

Somewhere along the way, it’s gotten easier. Maybe that’s just my son’s age as he gets older or maybe I am figuring a key piece of it out. I like to think it is the later.

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

Navigating the last five years hasn’t just been being a working mom. I have lived in three states and therefore moved between each one (Indiana, Maryland and Tennessee). I have navigated relationship changes and am currently working through the next phase of that. Let’s just summarize it as messy and stressful. Multiple articles contain lists of the most stressful things you can do in your life and there hasn’t been a year in the last 5-10 years that I didn’t have at least three going on at the same time.

At some point in your life, whether you are a mom or not, you have to learn that you put yourself first.

I am not saying that you are the bitch that isn’t capable of considering others feelings. You are the woman that is strong enough to know that you can’t take care of others to the detriment of yourself. That only results in you being incapable of caring for yourself and other around you. You realize that you are worthy of breaks. You are entitled to them, even. And they are hard to come by as a mom.

Where do you start?

I started small. I had a 20 minute a day workout that I committed to. I was going to spend 20 minutes a day on me and at the same time downloaded the audio book “Girl, Wash Your Face” to listen to at the same time. I started waking up at 6 am to do this before my son woke up for the day because it was the only time I had. As I sit here and think about this time in my life, I can still envision the layout of the room I worked out in and tears still come to my eyes. I remember how that woman felt. Cringing. Angry. Exhausted. Desperate. Lost. I remember how angry I was at where I had gotten. I was frustrated with my body, my attitude, my life and my world.

You are allowed to struggle.

My son is one of the cutest beings you will ever encounter. Seriously, one of the cutest things you will encounter. Follow along at @hackingtheworkingmom if you don’t believe me. He is sweet and kind and loves fiercely. I was one of the lucky ones, but I can easily see how moms would struggle with post partum and not just right after their baby is born but for years. You are allowed to struggle. Don’t hide it. Be honest with yourself and those around you.

The practical part

  • Set your priorities. Through it all, I knew my son needed to be provided for. I knew that I needed to learn to love myself. I knew that I needed down time. I let the rest go and when I was ready picked it back up slowly. The house being dirty doesn’t harm anyone. You being unable to breath is harmful.
  • Make time for yourself in a way that fills your soul. More than likely, you don’t know what this even looks like yet. Spend time sitting and figuring it out. If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be? What would you be doing? What would you smell, see and taste? What activities do you do that you feel happier after?
  • Learn to say no. With set priorities, when things don’t fit in those priorities, say no. And don’t apologize that you are saying no. You deserve to drive your own life.
  • Move your body. Rachel Hollis says “Move your body, change your mind”. I don’t know if it’s the original quote, but I swear this saved me. When I was angry, I worked out and let out my frustration. There have been workouts accompanied by tears streaming down by face as I did knee drivers because I hated where I was. There have been workouts where I skipped even higher because things were going well that week. There is power in movement.

Don’t stay stagnant. When you don’t know what to do, set your priorities and move. And most importantly, know that you are never alone.

Finding yourself

“She remembered who she was, and the game changed”

In the world we live in, there are a million ways to lose yourself – kids, a job, a significant other, busy-ness. I can honestly say that I have managed to lose myself in each item of that list and it’s taken time to come full circle. Your teenage years are chaos as you try to figure out what it means to be an adult. Your twenties are full of thinking you have it figured it out and realizing that the world isn’t as simple as it once seemed. Staring my thirties in the face now, I am realizing that the only thing I know is that I want to be open to change. I want to embrace it.

Caution: There is a danger in wanting to always be open to change. You can find yourself unable to settle into anything. You always change your hair, your house, your car, your shoes, your face wash! There is beauty in the longevity and consistency of staples in your life. Allow yourself to enjoy what is stable but don’t cling to it with white knuckles and define your persona through that stability. Control what you can control and learn to let the rest go. The stability is meant to come from knowing who you are.

Finding yourself doesn’t mean ignoring the other things that are important to who you are. My son is a huge part of who I am, but he doesn’t define me. What he thinks of me, what parents think of me, what other family thinks of me, doesn’t define me. I have to remind myself often that I am not responsible for the opinions of others or their view of my life. It doesn’t matter if that friend from high school thinks that you are successful. The way others view your successes or failures does not define you.

How do you find yourself?
  • Sit with your thoughts
  • Listen to those you trust
  • Try something knew
  • Know your weaknesses
  • Do something you love
Sit with your thoughts

Sitting with your thoughts is by the far the hardest out of these for me. I don’t like to sit still. I will purposefully have a million things going so I don’t have the option to even sit still. Sitting still forces your body to catch up. To relax. To process. To unwind. Take the time to really think about what you want and what you need.

Listen to those you trust

Over the years, I am finding that there are things I wish I had listened to. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t make it a regret. But there were times across the board that people I love and trust tried to show me an easier way and I didn’t listen. I am still working on this one. Since I know myself to some extent, I don’t think the stubborn side of me is changing and this will continue to be a hard one for me.

Try something new

When trying to find yourself, stay curious. This is one that I learned from my mom and more than likely, she read it in a book. “Stay curious”. Be okay with just following what you are interested in instead of what you know. You might surprise yourself and find something you really enjoy. Worse case, you figure out something that you don’t enjoy. I took up running in the last week and not only is it sticking, I am loving it.

Know your weaknesses

Part of knowing yourself and how not to lose yourself in other things includes knowing the ways that you are most likely to sacrifice who you are and what you want. This one comes from listening to those you trust and sitting with your thoughts — allowing yourself to feel where ever you are and looking to understand how and why you got there.

Do something you love

When all else fails, do something that you love. What fuels you and gives you energy? That could be reading a book in silence, blaring music as you drive down an open road or writing way too much down in a blog. This is different for everyone, but make sure to try something new if you haven’t found what you love yet.

Part of this is knowing that you have never arrived. 2021 is another year of embracing change and knowing that the best years are ahead of us.

Apple cider old fashioned

The perfect fall and festive drink is here! And it’s a little too easy to drink.

The party trick for this drink is to chop up your apple into half inch squares and freeze them for at least thirty minutes. This acts as the ice for your drink and doesn’t water it down. My favorite part is eating the apple bits after they soak up the goodness.

Apple Cider Old Fashioned

2 ounces bourbon

2 ounces apple cider

1 tsp brown sugar

2 dashes angostura bitters

1/4 cup frozen apple pieces

Cinnamon stick and orange peel for garnish

Place sugar in glass. Add bitters. Pour in bourbon and cider. Finish off with frozen apple pieces in the glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange peel.

Daily Round up

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoyed wonderful time with the ones you love, in person or remotely.

There are ALL sorts of deals floating around. Here are my top picks. There is everything from lounge wear at Express to leather jackets from Lucky Brand over 50% off! Kohl’s has great Melissa & Doug kids items, Legos and Christmas village at 50% off, and don’t forget that you still earn Kohl’s cash on top of that! The Ninja set along with the Nest Learning Thermostat are things that I LOVE and need in my home to make function. Don’t miss the 50% off Urban Decay NAKED palettes as well!

Click any of the images to shop!

Express

This is an extra $10 off $50 on top of the sale when you use the LikeToKnow.It code (2915) through the app!

Kohl’s

Lucky Brand

Amazon Toys

Ninja Chopper

I LOVE this thing. I have had mine for years. I used the food processor part today to make my pie crust for Thanksgiving. We use the individual sizes daily for our shakes.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Quite a few places have this on sale for $199 right now. I picked Home Depot because I can do curb side pickup tomorrow to get it and they had white, which was important for mine to blend into the wall.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

These are such solid palettes! The colors are gorgeous and I have personally used the Naked 2 Palette for over a year.