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        Bumbelou Blog

        Butterflies

        Butterflies

        Tomorrow I send my last baby off to kindergarten. While I’ve been anticipating this day when all my kids are in school full time, my heart isn’t ready. I thought I was ok, and then I wasn’t. The silver lining is that my daughter is ready and excited. Even so, I wanted to find a special gift for her to capture this moment in time. I saw this sweet book a few days ago, and while it caught my eye, I decided at the time that we have more than enough books and surely I didn’t need one more. But then I was at Target and stumbled upon this necklace set, and I instantly thought of the book and knew this would be my special gift to my girl, on the night before kindergarten.

        It’s all so symbolic, isn’t it? I am the circle, and from me my little butterfly is about to emerge, spread her wings and fly. The story is about a little girl who has butterflies in her tummy about her first day of kindergarten, but slowly she releases them as she tries new things and gains confidence.

        Just pass the tissues now please…letting go is so hard. But I’m excited to watch her soar. 

        xo,

        Amy

        Favorite Lunch Box Basics

        Favorite Lunch Box Basics

        Here’s an interesting fact about me: I’ve been packing school lunches daily since 2014. It’s really not something to brag about, but it is what it is. When I sent my first little one off to kindergarten, she was anxious about many, many things. She had a lot of anxiety about school lunch….how to approach the line, ask for the items she wanted, decline the ones she didn’t, remembering her lunch code to pay for her meal, carrying it to the table, where to sit…you get the idea. As her mama, those worries weren’t worth it to me. So she brought lunch from home every single day, and eighty years later, it’s still what she prefers! One of my boys will occasionally chose to eat his lunch at school, but most times they don’t care for what’s being served, so they bring lunch from home too. Now I’m gearing up to send my 4th and final little one to school, and we’re just going to throw her on the lunch from home wagon to make it easier all around. I mean, what’s one more when I’m already packing three?! 

        I spent some time last week taking inventory of our lunch supplies, making sure we’re ready to roll next week. A few things needed replacing, and I ordered those and have our lunch cabinet all freshened and ready for a new year ahead. It makes the daily task more enjoyable for me, and hopefully the extra added touches bring a smile to my kids’ faces when they are away from home.

        Here’s a look at our tried and true staples for packing fun, easy to throw together lunches on the

        Our number one must have is a quality bento style lunch box. We’ve tried a few other brands, but have found them to be a little too small for my kids’ hungry tummies. A friend recommended Planet Box to us, and while pricey, they have been our best investment. My oldest chooses to no longer use hers for middle school (which I get) but it’s still in such great shape that it’s being passed down to the youngest. Our outer cases need replacing every couple of years, but I would say that’s true for most lunch boxes. 

        I like these ice packs the best, and they stay cold the longest. Bonus, they don’t pop a whole and leave a gooey mess behind. 

        We have been fans of Kleen Kanteen water bottles for as long as I can remember. I like that they are stainless steel and easy to clean with only two pieces. 

        As you can imagine would happen after packing so many lunches, I fall into a rut from time to time. I like to riffle through an idea book every so often to get inspiration and new good ideas. My library has a few that I like to check out too!

        Food picks are not necessary, but a fun little added touch. My kids like to use them to eat cut up pieces of fruit, and I also use them to hold sandwich wraps together. 

        My lunches definitely aren’t Pinterest worthy, but I like to think I make up for that by adding in a cute napkin, and sometimes a little note of encouragement. I collect napkins whenever I find them, mostly holiday themed from the Target dollar spot, Marshall’s and the like. Party aisle are a good place to look too.

        And last but not least, this cute little thermos. Now, this doesn’t fit in our Planet Box, so I use a separate bag for it. But sometimes it’s nice to send soup, or leftovers that need to stay warm. I’d say we use our once a week or so. I warm it up first by filling it with boiling water, screwing on the cap, and then letting it sit for about 5 minutes. Then I dump out the hot water and immediately fill it with the warmed up soup/leftovers. My one tip for the thermos is to have your little one practice opening it at home first. The vacuum seal can make it a little trickier to open. Remind your kids to that the lunch aides are there to help, and to not be afraid to ask if help is needed!

        I think I’ve got all our basics covered! Are you team School Lunch or Lunch From Home? 

        xo,

        Amy 

        First Day Jitters

        First Day Jitters

        Sending your first baby off to kindergarten is brutal. I rank it among my top three hardest parenting moments to date. Even if you know they are “ready”, nothing quite prepares you for the actual letting go. It’s been seven years since my first go-round with sending my babies off to kindergarten, and I’m preparing to send my last baby off in a few short weeks. I’m welling up with tears just typing that. 

        And even though she is so excited, even though I kept her home an extra year and she is beyond ready, even though she will have the same kindergarten teacher as one of her brothers did, I’m still preparing my heart to feel big emotions on that day. 

        So what do we do with our own big feelings, besides shoving them aside to feign our happiness and excitement for our little ones? We take the advice that an amazing mama shared with me all those years ago. She told me “Be gentle with yourself today. Do something expressly kind for yourself.” So on my first go around, I put my other little ones down for nap time and ordered in lunch for myself. Then I crafted. I don’t remember what I made, but I remember that crafting makes my heart soar, so that’s what I did that day. This year, I’ll be all alone for the first time in 12 years. I can barley even comprehend having all my children in school at the same time. My plan for this year’s first day of school will be something similar. I’ll get them all off to school with smiles and hugs, and once they’re all off, I’ll let myself feel the feels. But then I’ll do something expressly kind for myself, something that fills my heart and breathes life back in to me. And with that, I know the hours will pass and it’ll be time to go pick them all back up again, and I will smother them in love once again. 

        Be gentle with yourselves, friends. I promise it won’t always feel this hard. I’m thinking of you, and your little ones. 

        xo,

        Amy

        Currently.

        Currently.

        Does anyone remember the “Currently” blog pots from way back in the day? For some reason I was thinking about them the other day, and remembered how much I enjoyed them. I loved their simplicity, their little glimpses into the day to day of people I admired. They were just honest, simple, happy, and uncomplicated. I think we could all use more of that in our lives, so I’m here to share one with you today!

        Here’s what I’m currently…

        Doing:

        I’m on an end of the summer vacay with my family in Captiva, Florida! I’m feeling very inspired and excited for fall, but I’m not ready to turn the page quite yet. We’re still sticking seashells in our pockets and rinsing sand off our feet.

        Reading:

        The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This summer I’ve also read Daisy Jones and the Six, and Malibu Rising by the same author. I have enjoyed them all!

        Watching:

        Virgin River on Netflix. I binged Season 3 in a few short days, and want to start the whole series again once I’m back home.

        Buying: 

        My kids don’t go back to school for a few more weeks, but we have started to prep for it. We skipped right to the fun stuff and have bought backpacks, lunch boxes, and tennis shoes. We still need all the actual school supplies like notebooks and crayons.

        Enjoying:

        The slowness of summer. I’m embracing it before my days of school drop offs and after school sports picks up again.

        Wearing: 

        These tees. They have been a carefree staple for me this summer, easy to toss on with a pair of jean shorts and feel put together. The colors will transition into fall perfectly! (I got Jupiter brown and white)

        Exercising:

        I made it goal to go for an hour walk five mornings a week this summer. I wanted to lose weight for this vacation I’m on. I lost 3 of the 10 pounds that I wanted too, but I stopped counting and caring early on. I feel good and look forward to my walks, and that’s the real take away. 

        Dreaming of:

        How I would decorate a beach house if I owned one. This pink one is so darling! If I ever owned a second home, I think I would try something bold and daring, the complete opposite of my actual home. I don’t want to be afraid to try new things!

        What are you currently doing, reading, watching, buying, enjoying, exercising, dreaming of?

        xo,

        Amy

         

        Low Fuss Birthday Parties

        Low Fuss Birthday Parties

        I used to put so much pressure on myself for celebrating my kids birthdays. I held myself to the “Pinterest Mom” expectation…going all out, and stressing myself out in the process. A long guest list, full out decorations, buying/prepping/cooking/serving a full meal, planing games and activities, and topping it all off with a homemade cake. Why? I guess because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. Everybody was doing it, so I needed to do it too…except I didn’t. 

        That last sentence was a game changer for me. Parties should be about celebrating the day my babies were born, not wowing my family and friends or documenting it all for the Gram. My kids don’t care what food I serve, where their cake came from, or how many balloons I buy. They just want to have fun and feel special. And I can do that in a much simpler way than I’d been doing.

        Now I keep my focus on a much simpler scale. I pick one area to decorate, like the buffet in the dining room (instead of my entire main floor), and decorate with these simple things: balloons, cake, framed photos of my child, and maybe a letter board. I’ve learned that when you consolidate it to one small area, simple decor makes a much bigger statement than spreading it throughout the house. 

        We also chose to have our parties midday, between lunch and dinner, and serve light snacks and drinks (and cake of course!) instead of a full meal.

        We keep the guest list light, just immediate family or a few friends, but not both. My kids can choose between a family party or a friend party. This was hard one for me to swallow, but it just makes sense to us for so many reasons to only have one party. Friends don’t seem to mind if there isn’t a party, and family can stop by anytime to give a birthday hug. 

        I keep the party short, like 2 hours. It’s plenty of time for playing or a simple activity/game, opening presents and having cake. There isn’t time for guests to be bored and I feel the need to entertain them (more than I already have!).

         

        And lastly, I buy the cake at Target. For many years I fussed with making them myself, but there were two problems. 1) I’m not good at it, and 2) they always turned out ridiculous looking, and I would be upset with myself. For a little while I went to the local bakery and ordered those over the top fancy cakes, but now I’ve simplified even more and buy a plain $10 cake from Target and add my own decorations on top. My kids care way more about simply having a cake, than having a stressed out mom trying to make things perfect. 


        That’s it friends. My solution to having a fuss free birthday party. The only one holding you to high expectations is yourself, so consider this your permission to dial it back. I hope that you will find it just as meaningful and special, with my time to focus on your kids…which is what it’s all about anyway!

         

        xo,

        Amy