Apr 18, 2014

That Darn Sugar (and a Few Easter Basket Alternatives) {Fitness Friday}

As we near the end of yet another sugar-infested holiday I thought it might be an appropriate time to talk a little more about my ongoing journey to quit the addictive stuff. As much as you may not want to admit it, I have the feeling that when you come out of your Cadbury coma you won't be able to argue how badly those cravings can get you. Me. All of us. I know, I know. If you're not saying it, you're hearing from someone around you things like, "A little sugar's ok", or "Grandmas are supposed to give kids cookies". (My shoulders are knotting up just thinking about it.) We grew up on cake for birthdays and Kool Aid in the summertime and white bread for sandwiches...so what's the big deal? We seem to be ok, right?

Mmmmm...I think not so much. 

If you've been reading anything about it...if you're one of those people that educates yourself on nutrition...this probably won't be news for you, and maybe you've already started making changes. That's great! There seem to be more and more people (especially moms, it seems) realizing the problem that's facing our country and either making changes within their own family's diet or going further and trying to enact change in their kids' soccer teams, schools and beyond.

That gives me hope. 

Because if you're not one of those that's been educating yourself, this is some scary stuff, people. Especially if you're a parent. Navigating the food world right now is mind-boggling.

Here are some of the problems that I know from the little bit that I've read/researched:

  • Sugar is addictive. If you don't believe it from your own personal experience, there are plenty of experts out there backing it up with science. Here's one example
  • Sugar is EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING. The food supply in the United States has apparently become so contaminated (for lack of a better word) with sugar in all its forms that even when we think we're making healthy choices and using the "good" sugars and limiting sweets overall, we're very likely still consuming way more than we should be. 
  • Sugar is making us sick. It's making us fat. It's leading to infertility and anxiety and all sorts of other issues. Some even life-threatening illnesses. This is SERIOUS
Unfortunately it's tough getting a lot of support when trying to quit sugar because for those that don't understand that sugar isn't just in that cupcake but it's also in the bread and the milk and the "healthy" snack, it doesn't seem like a big deal. Cutting sugar to some people is "dieting" and dieting isn't always viewed as a positive thing. Often we link dieting just to weight loss, and it's easy to miss all the other reasons someone might want to make a healthy life change. 

And to me that's what quitting sugar is. A healthy LIFE CHANGE.

I started trying to cut back sugar years ago, initially because I knew that to increase my chances of fertility with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), I would benefit from a high protein/low carb (low sugar but more of the good carbs) diet (South Beach was what I was doing at the time). I also want the best for my family and myself in terms of overall health, and I learn more and more about what consuming sugar, especially in the quantities we get it without trying, can do to our bodies. In the last year I also started realizing that there was a link between my terribly itchy and sore-blotched skin and my sugar consumption. If I eat a lot of sweets or processed foods, or if I drink alcohol (wine or beer or sugary drinks in particular), my affected ankles would itch almost immediately. And the more I made the connection, the more I noticed itching all over my body when I'd eat this stuff. Talk about negative reinforcement! 

I've had moments in my life where I've successfully reduced sugar and ate healthy overall. But it's HARD, and eventually I've always gotten back to where I am now. When I'm doing well, the cravings subside and I feel so much better...and then if I go overboard on the "bad" foods, I know it because I feel like poo. But getting there is not an easy task.

Recently I purchased two books so that I could be armed with as much motivation and as many food ideas as possible to set myself up for success. Those books are The Candida Free Cookbook and I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook. I also have a Pinterest board aimed at foods that are "diet-friendly" for this type of eating here. I'm loving both books so far, especially I Quit Sugar for Sarah's gradual, "gentle" approach to detoxing from sugar. 

The whole topic can get lengthy so I'm going to wrap this up for now, but I'll be sharing my progress here so I thought I'd at least start with an intro of why I think it's so important and why I'm working towards this goal for myself. As I go I'll share my challenges, my successes, and any tips I find to help you quit the bad stuff yourself (if that's what you're choosing to do)!

And if you're not sure what to do for your kids for Easter in lieu of candy, here's what I put in eggs for my daycare kids to find: Character Band Aids (My Little Pony, Hello Kitty, Doc McStuffins, etc.), ponytail holders or barrettes, small nail polish, stickers, tattoos (if large sheets just cut into smaller ones to fit in eggs), bouncy balls. (I also had an unopened package of Easter pencils so I gave the girls each a few after our hunt.)

Here's a link to one of probably many no-candy Easter basket ideas to help spur some imagination, too! Faith is getting a Frozen t-shirt, Frozen books, and one hollow chocolate bunny. (Baby steps.) 

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend and that the weather cooperates for all your plans! 

Apr 17, 2014

A Gratitude Journal I Can Keep Up With

Oh my gosh this week month year just seems to be flying by! I've realized I have a few posts that I need to do follow-ups on from say...ohhhh...a month or more ago. (Eek!) And I had intended to do an Easter table post today. Yep, ain't happenin'. It's turning into one of those weeks where there seems like never enough time and I find myself overwhelmed and thinking, "Oh, crap! When am I going to get THAT done?!".

I find it really important, especially in these times where it's easy to get overwhelmed, tired and maybe even cranky, to focus on what's going well. I've wanted to do a gratitude journal for a long time...years, probably. Focusing on the positive, good things in your life can really give you a new perspective and help you to realize just how many great things you have going for you! (You can read about the research behind that here, or you can just try it and see for yourself!) I had visions of an adorable notebook (maybe I would even embellish it myself...of course I would!), and sitting down daily to record all the wonderful things that happened that day. I think I may have even started a simple one, at least once.

But at least two things keep me from keeping up with it. First, I get busy and forget. It never becomes habit and I simply don't remember. And second, in order to remember I'd have to have it sitting out on my desk where I'd see it and remember it every day, but if you saw my desk right now you'd understand why that's not a good idea. And even when I'm caught up and my desk isn't a tornado, I'd prefer to have it clean and clear. It's not that big of a space so it doesn't take much for it to feel cluttered.

Enter the Happier app!

I came across this app in my Facebook news feed while killing time on my phone the other day, and thought this might just be the solution to my gratitude journal dilemma! Not that I want to be more addicted connected to my phone than I already am, but the great thing about apps like this is that they REMIND me. Now the key is to not start ignoring those reminders, but if you pay attention to them and go into the app for a few days in a row, you'll start to develop a good habit. (So far so good.)

So here's how the app works. You create an account, and every day (as often as you want), you can go in and record something that you're grateful for or that made you happy. You "share happy"! Here are two of mine from yesterday...

Every time you share something, confetti falls on the screen. That seriously makes me smile every time. I tried getting a screenshot this morning for you, and since it was my 5th "happy" (they celebrate milestones, apparently, such as 3 happy's in one day) I got this...

You can connect your Happier app to share to Facebook or Twitter (two birds, one stone), and you can invite friends to join in sharing their own happy! When they share, you can "smile" at their happy, add a "me too!", or comment. You can even classify your happy moments into categories, like "being productive" and "working out" (two of mine). I've only been using it a couple days so I'm sure there's a lot more to learn, but it's such a fun and useful (and FREE!) app! And if you want even more help focusing on the positive, they offer gratitude courses as well. 

I highly recommend this app, and if you join Happier, be sure to find me (Crystal Sixta)! 

*This is not a sponsored post. All the opinions are 100% mine.

Apr 16, 2014

How I Let Loose {Vegas State of Mind #LetLoose2014}

When I was contacted by Vegas.com to share the ways I like to unwind and "let loose" in honor of National Stress Awareness Month, I thought it would be a fun idea for a post, so I agreed! They apparently saw that I needed to focus on stress management. ;) I definitely get a little stressed out with all of my responsibilities, which is why I'm trying to simplify this year and manage my time better. And when things get hectic, here are some of the ways I like to unwind and relax...aside from just kicking up my feet and watching TV. These are the things I have to set aside a little time for and prioritize some "me" time to accomplish, and I think because of that, they're so much more rewarding than staring blankly at the TV screen.

Time with friends and family

This is probably a common one for everyone, but just setting aside time to enjoy those we love and have fun with is a great way to relax and unwind. Whether it's time with my husband and daughter or other family, a coffee date with my bestie, crop night with the girls, or wine night with friends and good food, I enjoy being around those I care about. It allows for time to catch up, time to vent, time to laugh (maybe even cry), and there's just so much therapy in relationships! (Well, good ones anyway. ;))

Some good exercise

Of course I used a Jazzercise photo, but in addition to de-stressing with a pumpin' workout at Jazzercise, I also love a relaxing yoga class and a long, quiet walk to decompress, process my thoughts and relax. Whatever the form of exercise, I find it's a great time to be in my own head and just go inward. If I'm going to jog a little (interval walking/jogging is the most you'll ever see me run) I do listen to iTunes, but for walks I prefer to quietly walk by myself with just my thoughts and the sounds around me. I'm able to really appreciate everything: The breeze, the sunshine, God's creations. In the course of a busy day when I'm always multi-tasking, appreciating the things around me and having time for my own thoughts doesn't happen very often!

Reading for pleasure

I'm not a huge reader, and usually books that I read are more for information gathering purposes than just to read a novel, but whatever the topic, it's nice when I have time to just Sit. And. Read. I especially enjoy a good magazine. #BetterHomesandGardens #CountryLiving #RealSimple Maybe it's the lack of commitment and the fact that I can get through a magazine in much shorter time, but it's also enjoyable just thumbing through the pages, finding fun new ideas and inspiration.


We don't do this often enough, either, but I love camping. We're tent campers and despite the extra time and work that entails (and occasionally battling weather issues), I really do prefer it. I love having to think outside the box to cook on an open flame. I love sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows and kicking my feet up. I love waking up to the sounds of nature (and possibly the neighboring campers...ok, maybe not that part). And most of all, I love the lack of a schedule. There aren't clocks, there aren't appointments. We don't have to do anything, really. This is one of those times I love to read and just enjoy nature. I find camping to be very relaxing!

Sitting outside on a nice day

With the long winter we've had, I find myself especially wanting to do just sit outside and soak up the sun. And I have find myself battling regrets of times that I missed a nice day because I was too busy with projects inside. So right now this is probably the most appealing way for me to wind down. I would love to sit outside on a nice spring or summer morning with a mug of Crio and something to read (or not...maybe just sit there!). I'd love to feel a gentle breeze and just enjoy the quiet of the morning. I have thoughts of doing this on a daily basis once the weather's nice enough...ideally before my daughter wakes in the morning. But in the meantime I'll try to take advantage of every nice moment of the nice-weather days we get! 

Therapy Pool at The Aria
We don't travel a lot and I've never been to Vegas, but Jennifer at Vegas.com asked me to share what I'd love to do if I ever made it to the Aria Resort & Casino. Her first suggestion was trying the "gelato roulette wheel at the buffet". Uhhhh...you had me at "gelato", Jennifer!!! The Therapy Pool sounds a-ma-zing, and a trip to a spa definitely sounds in order. I'd like to see Cirque de Soleil, do some shopping (of course!), and I'd love to catch a concert in Vegas...Brittany, maybe?! Regardless, I'm sure it would be fun and a great way to let loose!!!

Apr 15, 2014

Decorating Easter Eggs!

Egg decorating is one of those traditions that I grew up doing and try to do with Faith every year shortly before Easter. I haven't always been great about getting it done (or getting it done timely), but since I've been catching up lately and had enough forethought at the store last week to get a bunch of eggs, we managed to carve out some time Sunday to do just that, and saved some hard-boiled eggs for the daycare kids to decorate, too!

For ours I went traditional and we did straight-up dying. I grew up with the kits, we've used those, too, but this year I thought, "why don't I just use vinegar and food color?". There's a fun color-mixing chart from McCormick that I found on Pinterest here. So many possibilities!

As much as I wanted a gazillion fun colors, though, I knew we were decorating maybe a dozen eggs and I really didn't want to have 20 bowls of dye going, so Faith and I mixed up four colors...pink, lilac, mint green and turquoise (we mixed colors according to the directions on the box of food coloring we had).

My family got bad iPhone pics...needed my hands free to dye eggs! ;)

My attempt at an ombré egg
 We had a little fun at the end with a white crayon to try some relief dyed eggs. You can't really see anything you draw except the crayon flakes that build-up as you color, but it was fun none-the-less!
My attempt at a deer head ;)
 Even Brad got in on the action at the end. He came out just to hang out with us, but clearly the fun was contagious. :)

I hadn't decided for sure how I was going to have the daycare kids decorate, but after some Pinspiration here  I decided liquid watercolor in droppers would be fun as well as easy for little hands. (It's also great fine-motor skill practice!)

The watercolor eggs turned out really cool, and it was fun to see how different each one was despite having all the same colors and tools! Faith's going to bummed she missed this one...might have to boil more eggs... ;)

Apr 14, 2014

400 Posts and a (Halfway) Clean Basement!

My post on Friday marked 400 posts! I'm still so grateful every day that I decided to start this blog and business, and it just gets more fun all the time! Thanks to all of you for making it possible. 

This particular post won't be one of those fabulous-idea-cute-tags-and-labels-and-great-photography sort of posts. Today I'm simply sharing progress on my attempt to simplify, declutter and save time in the long run by cleaning out the basement. I think you'll get one of two things from this post: First, you might think, "WOW. She's an "organized" person but she's as much of a mess as I am." And you would be correct. I am a mess. ;) Being organized doesn't equate to having a perfectly clean and organized house all the time (at least not for me). Rather, I think it means having the ideas and motivation to create solutions for the problem areas. Second, hopefully this post will motivate you to look at a particularly messy space in your house and lead you to purge, declutter and organize, too! 

Soooooo...I continued on the "purging and decluttering of 2014" this weekend. I've made a LOT of progress and gotten rid of a LOT of stuff, but there are still at least a few hours of work to be done. (I'm probably waaaaayyyy underestimating that, but I've been amazed how much I can accomplish when I know I just have a few hours and am really motivated to use them to their fullest.)  

I have a couple piles upstairs now (migrated from the basement), but they are items that are either a) marked sold and just awaiting pick-up or b) are for sale and will be taken to Goodwill in a few days if they don't. Those things are NOT going back downstairs! Based on the items that have sold or that are spoken for, I have made $150 so far! Though I was unhappy about a cold and rainy (and eventually snowy) day yesterday, it worked to my advantage on the Facebook garage sale page! I assumed people didn't have much to do but sit around and shop on Facebook (oh to have that problem!) because items were selling as fast as I could list them! I've got more to sell and am sure I'll come across more as I get to the rest of the basement. What doesn't sell (or isn't worth listing) is going to Goodwill (or the trash), and I've already taken four boxes to donate and have two more in the car to go today!

Here are some before pictures of part of the basement from my iPhone...

This is the toy storage area (and incidentally our tornado shelter spot...now tell me how that was going to work!). Off to the right is a closet with shelves for the toy bins, but when I swap toys I have a bad habit of just dropping the ones that need put away (usually because I have daycare kids upstairs and can't really spend oodles of time putting things away). Usually it's not this bad (well, maybe it is), but this is generally the issue in the entire basement. I clean up and organize, and within weeks or a couple months it becomes a drop-zone again. (Enter "purging and decluttering of 2014".)

This is the toy storage closet I was referring to, which also houses rarely used party supplies, serving items and larger kitchen appliances. 

Embarrassing. What. A. Mess.

This is at the bottom of the stairs as you round the corner to the laundry area. (Most of the basement is unfinished and as you can see...and as I've said before...becomes a drop-zone.) We had to move this red chair/chaise downstairs to make room for baby stuff (Mya's coming to daycare soon!)  And that's why there is also an exersaucer sitting at the bottom of the stairs. I recently purchased it, and until the basement was cleaned up, there was no where else to put it! This area was also the gathering place for items to sell and donate.

Further back that direction (the laundry is behind you in this pic), more garage sale stuff. Way in the back are my holiday and other storage bins, and another chair that I can't use right now but can't part with. ;)

I didn't get a true "before" of this storage shelf. I keep extra Tupperware and other storage/organizational items here (baskets, drawer dividers, etc.). That empty shelf was covered in baskets which I sold! They were ones that hadn't been used in years so I decided it was time. The rest are sticking around for now because I do use them often for all sorts of things. 

Now for the progress...

The shelf still needs worked on (and not sure where those two smaller boxes came from #husbanddidit), but the floor is clear! I put the toys away, and was able to get all the toy bins in the storage closet (usually there's one out). To the left of this area, under our stairs, I cleared out some things as well. The bottled water that was sitting here was able to be moved to the shelves in the laundry room in my "Costco stockpile" since I had cleared some things from those shelves. The blue bin that's still there is our tornado kit. And now we can sit down here for a tornado again! ;)

The bins were already labeled, though I need to go and add a couple labels to bins that didn't have any. Everything is neatly stacked again, and it just looks a little nicer overall.  

My bestie wanted some of my serving trays that I was going to get rid of, so that cleared up quite a bit of space. Anything that I thought I wouldn't use or didn't need went away, and I put the rest back a little more nicely than it was before.  

 I repurposed these Sterilite containers that were in the "maybe sell" pile to corral decorative items (glass stones and LED tealights) and parts to Brad's deer jerky making supplies. The middle one holds cookie cutters. These will get labels soon.

 The big roaster and Easy Bake Oven are still here...not much change on that side of the shelf. The shelf below now has a bin with the infant supplies I'm hanging onto. (It sits to the left of my entertaining supplies.) 

Now for the other part of the basement...
This is at the bottom of the stairs. Floor clear!!! The chair might eventually get moved around the corner but I haven't gotten that far.

 I moved the green and white chair away from my holiday bins so that I can access them, and slid the matching ottoman right next to it. Next to that are those under-bed boxes that have old tax documents, old planners, some photos, and some of Brad's things. I need to go through these yet and see if there's a better system. 

That box towards the front of the photo is Brad's to go through, and the dog food will be dumped into the plastic dog food container upstairs very soon. ;)

 I had a couple holiday bins to return to their appropriate location, and there were some winter clothes that needed put in the "off-season clothes" bins. I put the exersaucer on the chair for now (wanted the floor clear). 

 I emptied another bin (can't see it in the photo) and this floor is clear as well except for the larger daycare toys (strollers and shopping cart, etc.). That pile to the left is all Brad's. (Still working on getting him to toss but we're coming along slowly.)

The next big space to tackle (probably tonight's project) is in the "craft room"...

I think I have my work cut out for me! 

Apr 11, 2014

Week of Bliss {Is Back!}

No, I'm not getting rid of Fitness Fridays. And yes, I know I've hardly done any of them as it is. But I do kind of miss my Week of Bliss series, so I decided to alternate the two on Fridays. So today, Week of Bliss, next week, Fitness Friday! ;) And since my "week" will now actually encompass two weeks, I'm going to change the name to...

And sometimes it's tough keeping it to just five!

1. Can you say SUNSHINE?!

Without a doubt, one of the biggest highlights of the week has been sunshine and (mostly) warm temps almost the entire week! It finally feels like spring, my kids can get outside on a regular basis again, windows are open, and I just feel better! 

2. Feeling GOOD!

Several of these entries might start feeling like one-and-the same, because ever since I've been feeling like myself again (post-antibiotic) and especially with the consistently nice weather, I've finally had my energy back and feel like I'm getting somewhere! I'm working towards Jazzercise auditions (again) and while there's still work to do, I don't feel like I'm fighting against myself quite as much as before. I've even wondered if I was sick before I knew it several months ago, but either way, I feel great now! 

3. Astrobrights Love

I'm always tickled when a brand reaches out to me to collaborate and cross-promote each other's business, as long as their product/service is in keeping with my blog purpose and my own personal preferences and values. This past week working on projects with Astrobrights papers was a lot of fun, and best of all, I knocked out several projects that I've wanted to do for a long time! I got a lot of Twitter and Facebook love from Astrobrights, and I had my most-entered giveaway so far! I even got a free toy shelf out of the deal! 

4. Getting caught up!

Between not feeling well and my busy schedule, I was getting so far behind it felt like I'd never catch up. (And I don't think I realized just how much the not feeling well part was making an impact.) But in the past couple weeks I reduced my commitments a smidge, and have have been rockin' and rollin' getting things done. There's still a lot to do, but I've been decluttering, donating, selling, organizing and cleaning...and it's been WONDERFUL! Looking forward to this weekend to do even more!

5. Quitting sugar

I know. "Hasn't she done that before? Wasn't she quitting sugar a while ago?". Yes. And for a while I did really well. And then not so much. So I'm quitting sugar again. Still. I couldn't remember what I'd been doing in the fall that was making me so successful, but I came across a couple books that I thought would not only give me some information and motivation on my journey to cut sugar, but that also have some recipes I can try. The one I was reading today is Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar" 8-week detox plan & cookbook. I'm not going to get into it a lot now because I plan to talk about this topic for next week's Fitness Friday, but quitting sugar is HARD. I need all the help I can get! So today while sitting in the warm sunshine, sipping lemon water and watching the kids play, I worked on a list of "to do's" and things to buy at the store to get ready to "detox". Not sure what had me more excited...the weather or the recipes I'm excited to try! I may have even come up with a fun birthday celebration idea for myself so that I can have fun but not be tempted by cake and cocktails! I'll let you know as it gets closer. ;)

Apr 10, 2014

Toy & Cubby Labels and the Astrobrights Giveaway! #colorize

Wow, it's been a whirlwind day already and this is one of those days that I'm scrambling to get photos taken and the post done. After dropping Faith off at school and eating a quick breakfast, I was off to help with a Jazzercise practice. After an hour of that, the bestie and I went to an open house Mary & Martha party at my friend, Dawn's, and with my friend, Crystal, as the consultant. After an hour or so hanging out with friends I haven't seen in a long time and eating delicious food (and turning down a mimosa because I was on the daycare clock...nuts!), Kim and I took the kids for a short walk. Now it's nap time for the daycare kids and since we got down later than normal, my bloggy time was cut short. With the kids sleeping in addition to already tough places to photograph, I was fighting even less lighting than normal to get photos of today's project, so sorry for that.

Today wraps up my week with Astrobrights and I have been having so much fun with their papers and coming up with different organizing ideas for them! And the giveaway ended today, and I'm excited to announce that the next person to get to #colorize their space for spring with a customized assortment of Astrobrights papers AND a $50 Office Depot gift certificate is......... (drum roll).............

Anitha Kuppuswamy!!!

Congrats, Anitha! Be sure to get in touch with me with your contact info so that I can forward it onto Astrobrights (check your email)! 

For my final Astrobrights project (well, final for this week, anyway...I have a LOT of paper yet to use!), I decided to finally make canvas bin labels for my daycare kids' cubbies (where I store their extra clothes, diapers/pull-ups, and other supplies that stay at daycare), as well as the toy cubbies. I've wanted to label the toys for some time, but just never got it done. Well, now it is!

I created all the labels in a similar way using Word. For the cubby labels, I started a new document and inserted a heart shape (go to the "Insert" menu, then "Shape", and select your shape). I drug it to the size I wanted, and then added a text box inside to add the girls' names into each one. I printed them on Astrobrights Stardust White. 

To "mat" each heart and add some color, I started a new Word document, copied and pasted the heart shape that I had used, but drug it to a slightly larger size. I printed one on each of the colors I wanted to use. (My kids are color-coded at daycare, so they know which cup, which hand towel, and which cubby is theirs based on the color. This is especially helpful for the kids who can't yet read, which in my case is most of them!) 

Once the hearts were all printed and cut, I used glue dots to stick the white heart onto the color backing. 

The toy labels were made much the same way, except I chose a rectangle shape, and instead of a text box, I "filled" each rectangle with a photo of the toys we commonly would have in bins for daycare. I debated adding the name of the toy as well for word recognition, but partly for time's sake and partly because I liked the look without, I opted not to. I printed the photos through Shutterfly so they were just printed on regular paper, but then I cut Astrobrights card stock to mat them on and add color. I decided to go with red since it's a common color throughout this part of the house. Though I wanted to do different colors, knowing that not all the labels would ever be in use at the same time, I decided it would look better to stay consistent. I cut the card stock using my paper cutter and made it about 1/4" wider on all sides than the label itself. 

Once I had the toy labels and the cubby labels printed and matted, I headed back to Staples to have them laminate for me. Then to stick the labels on the bins, I simply used industrial strength adhesive Velcro (got mine at Wal Mart). Since I'll be the only one removing and adding the labels (and the cubby ones will pretty much stay on for the long term), I don't think I'll have an issue with the Velcro holding up. I'll probably just have to teach the kids to leave them alone, but I think they're going to work great!

These are the daycare cubbies...on top are nap mats and the new busy boxes I made (Lily was using today's box so that's why one is missing). We have minimal bathroom storage (which is the room I was standing in to take the photo), so we store bath towels on these shelves as well. And then the kids' cubbies, as I mentioned, hold their things that are kept at daycare.

Madi was napping by the toy shelf so I had to use miminal light and be quick and quiet. ;)

By the way, that shelf is how I used my Staples gift card that Astrobrights sent me! I have had such good luck using these Closetmaid cube shelves in Faith's room and for toys and cubbies, and just needed one more! I got rid of my old black bookcases (that were working great and didn't look too bad considering 6+ years of daycare use, but that showed dust and dog hair pretty badly) and replaced with this brand-spankin' new shelf! Thanks, Astrobrights!! 

Well nap time is about over and it's about time to head to school! Thanks, everyone, for reading along with me this week and for the new visitors referred by Astrobrights! I was excited with all the giveaway entries and your great ideas for using the papers to #colorize your homes and projects!