Overstuffed Overstuffed

Sunday, August 30, 2015

September 2015 Visiting Teaching Printable

The Visiting Teaching message for September is "Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Powerful and Full of Glory." When I first read the title I thought that the lesson would be something entirely different than it actually was.

I figured we would be talking only about the power and glory of Christ himself. While the lesson touched on that, it focused more on how we can harness Christ's power and glory in our own lives, and I really needed to read that.

One of the ways we can have Christ's power in our lives is through temple attendance. In the past six years temple attendance has become closer and closer to my heart since we live seven hours away from a temple. Obviously, I don't get to go very often!

Now, whenever we are somewhere near an LDS temple for vacation, that becomes an important part of our itinerary. This year, The Maestro and I attended a session at the St. Paul temple together. He visited his family in Utah and went to a session there, but when I visited my family in Utah last week with Sophia I didn't make it to the temple. I had good reason! I think I got food poisoning at a restaurant the day before I had planned to attend a session, and I spent the night throwing up. I couldn't get up to go, but I still felt so guilty. Now I probably won't make it to the temple twice this year (which is what we usually aim for), and will have to settle for only once.

I need the power from on high that attending the temple gives me. We all do. If you live near a temple, don't let anything stand in your way of getting there often. Just like the people of Nephi, we will be "armed with the power of God in great glory" as we make an effort to attend the temple and to stay close to Him in every way we can.

September 2015 Visiting Teaching Message: The Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ--Powerful and Full of Glory. Free printable download. #overstuffedlife

To download, click here:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Should You Let Your Kid Quit Music Lessons?

A couple of days ago, Sophia had her very last violin lesson. Yes, you read that right. I let her quit music lessons after four years of sticking it out. It wasn't an easy decision for me at all and I feel like a great big failure of a music mom. The Maestro is the one who actually finally convinced me that it was time to stop trying to make violin lessons work for her and move on. And as much as it pains me to admit it, he was right.

Should you let your child quit their music lessons? It's a hard question, but sometimes the answer is yes. Here are the reasons why. #overstuffedlife

Every one of my kids has wanted to quit their music lessons at one time or another. I remember Bria going through a huge period of hating her violin and hating to practice when she was just about Sophia's age. But the thing is, she still practiced. And I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever had to remind her to practice. Because, see, even though her mouth was telling me how much she hated the violin, I would watch her practice and her body would tell me something different. Even if you ask her nearly 15-year-old self right now if she likes playing the violin, she'll probably say no with her mouth. But when you watch her play, you'll know that it just isn't true.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What To Do When Decluttering Really Hurts

Last night I went through all of my scrapbooking supplies in an effort to clean up my office before school starts. My two big goals yesterday were to clean out my closet (easy), and declutter all the scrapbooking stuff I have amassed over the years. I haven't scrapbooked in about five years, so it should have been pretty easy to get rid of it all, right?


It was excruciating. And I really couldn't figure out why.

Sometimes decluttering really hurts, but it still needs to be done. How I finally let go of my scrapbooking supplies when I had let go of the hobby years before. #overstuffedlife

I used to be an avid scrapbooker. I tried to do at least one page a day, I had a budget for scrapbooking supplies, and I was constantly thinking up cute ideas for layouts. I posted daily on a scrapbooking message board and was even published several times in the big scrapbooking magazines like Creating Keepsakes, Simple Scrapbooks, and Memory Makers. I loved it.

Scrapbooking layout: Jumprope

It was the perfect creative outlet for me at that point in my life.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How to Deal With Big School Transitions

Last year, I had two major school transitions to deal with at my house. I had one daughter starting high school and another one starting middle school. Kids don't really realize that these big milestones are just as hard for mom and dad as they are for them—maybe even harder!

The big school transitions can be just as difficult for the parents as they are for the kids. Here are some ways to make starting Kindergarten, middle school, and high school easier for everyone! #overstuffedlife

Watching your kids grow up is hard. As much as I adore celebrating birthdays with my children, a little part of me hates it. I hate seeing them grow older because I desperately miss their past selves. Sometimes, when I am watching family videos from several years ago my heart just aches to hold my babies again, or to see my adorable toddlers again, or even just to have them be six years old again! Man, this mommy business is difficult!

When my eldest daughter went to her first day of Kindergarten, I was a mess. How on earth was I going to hand my little 4-year-old (yes--FOUR--she didn't turn five until October) to someone else for the day? I stayed as strong as I could while getting her situated in her new classroom, but as soon as I got in the car, I bawled all the way home.

This year, that same daughter will be starting her second year of HIGH SCHOOL. I don't even know what my life has come to because I am definitely not old enough to be the mother of a high school sophomore!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The One and Only Ivan Book Club Ideas

This post is part of an ongoing Summer Reading for Kids series. Click HERE to find ideas for reading activities, reading lists, and reading incentives...and keep checking back for more!

Book club ideas for The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Fun activities, refreshment ideas, craft projects, and discussion questions. #overstuffedlife

For the last few summers, my girls have enjoyed hosting book clubs with their friends. This summer, only Sophia (age 9) managed to have one, and it was so much fun! She and I read The One and Only Ivan together earlier this summer, and we both loved it so much she decided to have it be her book for book club before we were even finished with it.

I have my children play a major role in the planning and executing of all parts of the book clubs, so Sophia and I sat down together and talked through ideas. We went online to look at Pinterest for crafts and activities involving gorillas or elephants and she made all of the final plans. I only helped her to do the computer stuff and was the financial backer.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Most Important Tip for Using Your Planner Successfully

My new planner for the academic year of 2015-2016 recently arrived and I am in love with it! There's nothing like having a new, blank planner to get me thinking about how I'm going to be so much more organized this school year than I have ever been before!

As I've been setting it up, I realized that there is one thing that makes using a planner successful. Just having a planner does not mean you will magically get to all your appointments or know what is going on in your life, no matter how cute and functional it is. Even looking at your planner often isn't going to help you much if you haven't written anything down in it.

There is one thing you have to do if you want to successfully use a planner. #overstuffedlifeI know, you're all rolling your eyes at me right now. Of course you have to write things down in your planner. But do you do it way in advance, or at least as soon as you know about an event? Because I haven't always done that, and it's gotten me into lots of double-booking sorts of trouble over the course of my life.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Vacation in Hawaii on a Budget

Our 2014 Christmas gift to the girls this year was a trip to Hawaii. Lately we have been trying to give experience gifts instead of stuff gifts, and so we didn't give them very much else. Even though we had most of the Christmas budget to devote to the trip, travel to Hawaii isn't exactly cheap. Still, vacationing in Hawaii on a budget can be done, and we were able to cut our costs in several different ways.

(This is also a sneaky way for me to post many of my vacation photos...so sit tight, learn how we did Hawaii on the cheap, and enjoy lots and lots of pictures of paradise!)

Tips for traveling to Hawaii on a budget. You can vacation in paradise without spending tons of money! #overstuffedlife

1. Travel with Airline Miles

We paid for much of our trip with airline miles. We have a couple airline credit cards that we try to use for everything when we are planning a vacation. The Maestro travels a bit for work here and there, but not a ton, so most of our mile earning comes from the credit cards.

Because we had miles from a couple different airlines, we traveled to San Francisco on Southwest, from San Francisco to Hawaii and back again on Hawaiian Air, and from San Francisco back home on United. It's a little crazy to do it this way, but it saved us a ton of money.

Using the airline credit cards to earn miles is NOT a good deal or good for your budget unless you can commit to paying it off in full every month. We try to put everything we would normally buy on the credit card and then pay it off right away. Groceries, household supplies, entertainment, etc. Doing it this way really helps you rack up those miles.

Again, if you don't have the discipline to pay it off immediately, it will be cheaper for you in the long run to just buy the plane tickets up front. Trust me on this.

2. Skip the hotel and rent a condo

Friday, August 14, 2015

Navigating the Cyberscape: A Book Review

If you or your family spend any time on the internet or other technology, this book is a must read!

I'm sure I'm not the only mom in the world who is concerned about the rate at which my children consume the internet. Whether it is Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook, my children seem to spend a ton of time sitting on the couch looking into their mini-screens. Even though I have placed plenty of restrictions and confiscate those screens on a regular basis, I still worry about how much time they are putting into a virtual world.

That said, I'm sure I'm not the only mom in the world who is also concerned about the rate at which I myself consume the internet. It's not unheard of for me to sit down at my computer in order to be productive and do my banking or some writing or catch up on emails and find myself standing up an hour later having forgotten what I set out to do in the first place. Instead I got caught up in Facebook (that's my biggest temptation) and am shocked at how much time passes as I read status updates, comment on my friends' photos, and watch stupid viral videos.

It's something that's on my mind a lot—we even had a Family Home Evening lesson about it and talk about it often at our house. We have introduced electronics free Sundays, and are working hard to get the girls doing meaningful activities before they pick up their devices.