Thursday, July 24, 2014

Road Trip...Beach Vacay!

Over the fourth of July, we went to Michigan City, Indiana for a little beach vacation with my brother sister-in-law, her parents, my parents and some friends!  It's an easy drive from Chicago, so I didn't need many snacks or distractions for the kiddos in the car.  We also planned to drive during naps, which was an easy way to keep the kids busy!  It was a great little get-away for us, but trying to get us organized for our first road trip as a family of 5 (yes, the crazy puppy came too) seemed like a daunting task. 

I started by making a list for each person as to what they would need for our vacation.  I did this a few days in advance so I could take notice if there was anything I might have missed.

Then I started packing.  One easy way to pack for a road trip is to pack all of your clothes in big bins with lids.  They stack easily, and, if you have clear bins, you can find everything quickly, because who wants to spend all their time inside looking for a swimsuit?  Another plus to using bins on a beach vacation is easy clean up, since everything is covered in sand when you get home!
 I ended up packing the kiddos things together, the hubby and my things together and the crazy puppy had all of his things in a grocery bag.  I had an extra bag for all of the kiddos' diapers and food.  We also brought some toys for the kids and the Pack'N'Play.
We had a great time enjoying the beach and hanging out with friends and family.  The bins worked out great for everybody's clothes!  It also made packing up to go home easy as we just shoved everything into the bins and smashed the lid closed!  What are some of your favorite items for a road trip?  Use anything unusual such as storage bins?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Getting Ready For Company Series: Getting Things Back To Normal

While it's sad to see my guests leave, it's nice to be able to get things back in order!  While I have been keeping myself organized before my guests arrive and while the guests visit, getting myself back to normal once my guests leaves is not such a cumbersome task.  But a few things I like to do to keep myself organized after my guests visit include:
Go Through Rooms To Make Sure Guest Didn't Forget Anything
I can't even tell you how many times my parents have left things at our house.  Silly things like phone chargers or blue tooth ear pieces.  As they are leaving, I always make a quick run through to make sure they have everything, but sometimes a second look is in order!
Wash All Sheets And Towels 
I always throw all of the towels and sheets they used in the washer right after they leave.  This helps from laundry getting piled up.  My goal is to have all of the bedding and towels put away before I go to bed on the night that my guests leave.  It really is my way of being lazy so I don't have to deal with it the following day.
Get Room Back To Normal
Since our guests stay in the basement, I try to get the space back to normal by putting the Murphy bed up, taking out the toys and rearranging any furniture I had to move while my guests were visiting.
The last thing I try to do once my guests leave is to clean the spaces they used like the bathroom.  It just makes me feel like my home is put back together!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Getting Ready For Company Series: Keeping Yourself Organized While You Have Company

Now that you set up for your guests to arrive, you get to enjoy your time with them, right?  Well if you are anything like me, I get anxious about figuring out what to do, where to eat, etc. when the guests arrive.  Some things I like to do to keep myself organized and calm myself with the anxiety during my guests visit include:
Continuing With My Normal Routine
The easiest thing I've found to keep our home from bursting at the seams when we have guests is to keep my normal nighttime routine.  We always put away the toys, run the dishwasher with dirty dishes and pick up and put away any random item that was lying around the house.  I have my parents keep their things in the basement so I don't have to see it lying around upstairs...that just makes me get all OCD!  If it's not my parents staying with us, I will try to tidy up my guests things on our buffet.  This way the table is clear for breakfast in the morning and we can start our day with a tidy house!
Making A Plan For The Following Day
I always want my guests to enjoy themselves, but seeing as we have two small kiddos, I want them to be aware that they wake up way too early for normal people's liking.  With that said, I always like to have a tentative plan for the following day so we aren't wasting time figuring out what to do instead of just going and doing it!  Maybe it's a museum or out to lunch...we don't have to stick to that schedule, but it gives us something to aim for for the day.
Relax and Enjoy Myself
This is the most important part of having guests!  Just enjoy your time with your company.  They came to visit with you, so enjoy your time with them instead of feeling anxious/worried/concerned/you get the picture that they aren't having a good time.  I've found when I loosen up my rigid schedule when guests are around, I enjoy myself much more!

Lastly in the series, how to get your house back in order once your guests leave!