How I organize my blog with a bullet journal

I’ve always been one of those people who has to write everything down; that need has become even more vital since I became a mom and all my brain cells were sucked, zapped and fried out of me. So when I thought of a blog post I wanted to write, I jotted down a note in a to do list notebook.

I got more ideas. And more ideas. And soon enough, my ideas were so cluttered that the blog post list wasn’t helpful. The disorganization took a toll on my productivity.

When I actually had a chunk of time to write a blog post, I didn’t know where to start. I’d sift through messy list of ideas or click on the many drafts in my WordPress dashboard to figure out what I needed to do to complete a post.

By the time I actually got to work, I’d have wasted a half-hour. Busy moms and bloggers feel me: We do not have a spare half-hour to waste. 

So when I started bullet journaling a few months back, I knew I wanted to keep track of my blog posts: ideas for future posts, posts in progress and scheduled posts. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read this beginner’s guide to bullet journaling. You might get hooked, too!) So I started to organize my blog with a bullet journal spread.

Voila: my BuJo blog post page.

When I started this bullet journal page, my blogging productivity and organization skyrocketed! This is some serious BuJo inspiration. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip

7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip
Original photo by Jeremy Sternberg, creative commons

You’re on a kid-free business trip, so you’re probably feeling equal parts guilty and giddy. Chances are, you haven’t been away from home and kids in so long that the prospect of dealing with traffic and the TSA, crossing time zones, working long hours and eating what passes for a continental breakfast sounds positively like a vacation.

It’s also likely that you might not know what to do with yourself. I’ve been there, though, so I’ve done you the solid of making a little list of all the things you must do on your next kid-free business trip.

While you’re gone, drop me a line and tell me all about your kid-free extravagances like eating in a restaurant with no play place and sleeping on an un-jumped-on bed. Read more

Home Sweet Preschool

homeschool preschool

Forget health food crazes and packed gyms; the nuttiest New Year phenomenon is preschool visits, if you ask me.

Opting out of preschool tour season

In the first months of the year, families tour preschools, descend on open houses and attend fairs, searching for the best preschool for their little one. (If you’re looking for criteria by which to evaluate them, please please please read this. Warning: it contains a whole slew of f-bombs, but the hilarity is well worth the profanity!)

I’m pretty much opting out of the preschool search; I asked a few nearby friends with older kids for their recommendations, and we’re mostly set on one for Peeper to start this fall.

In the meantime, though, she and a handful of her 2-year-old pals are meeting weekly for a homeschool preschool.

first day homeschool preschoolA friend I met when our older girls were just babies floated the idea of starting a semi-structured opportunity for the kids to learn and interact. Play dates were nice, but they didn’t have the kinds of activities—circle time, story time—they’d need to practice to thrive in preschool and beyond.

Home Sweet Preschool was born.

homeschool preschool tree craft

homeschool preschool Read more

Build your ideal nursing station

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When you have a newborn, approximately 90% of your time is spent breastfeeding. (I’m sure there’s a study somewhere that verifies this. Hold on while I find it…) It’s no wonder you need your nursing station to be on point just to feel remotely comfortable.

In the first few weeks when Kiwi was perennially attached to my boob, I was lucky enough to have lots of family around. “Can you bring me my water?” I’d ask the second she latched because of course I never remembered to bring my trusty water jug with me.

Water isn’t the only thing you’ll want on hand while nursing your newborn. After all, you’ll want to be fed, hydrated and comfy during those many, many hours you spend nourishing that tiny baby.

Here, then, is what you’ll need to set up the perfect nursing station.

If you're breastfeeding your newborn, you'll want to set up the perfect nursing station to keep you comfortable during all those hours of feeding your baby. Here's what you'll need. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Portland newborn photos by Capturing Grace Photography

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Happy campers

Happy campers family camping toddler tentS’mores, winding down around the camp fire and more stars in the sky I’d ever seen: Camping while I was a kid became one of my favorite family activities.

With the Memorial Day weekend just hours away, I’ve been thinking about those experiences in the great outdoors and planning a few for our family this summer. With Kiwi due in July, we’ll likely be keeping our ambitions modest, but still—our tent and hobo pie makers are calling me.

I wrote a guide to family camping in this month’s Metro Parent (see it here in a link or PDF!) with suggestions of the Northwest’s best yurts, car camping sites and backpacking trips. I also gathered great advice from family camping experts on how to make outdoorsy trips fun for the whole crew.

My favorite tip, from Bonnie Henderson, author of Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon:

“Hiking with kids is all about having them have an experience outside, so it’s not about how far you go or the destination. When you go with the kid agenda, it’s about just being outside and having fun.”

I wanted to soak up all the advice, considering our own first family camping trip had its share of ups and downs.

In preparation for this year’s camping season, do you have any tips for family camping? Please share!

Advice for my daughter (that you’ll definitely want to read, too)

Last week Peeper received a package from her Aunt Bootsie, and the book inside was one of the most touching gifts she’s ever gotten.

Advice for my daughterEach page contains a snippet of wise (and sometimes wise ass but true) advice from her sage aunt. In fact, the pearls are timeless enough that I found myself nodding along. (Was some of the advice secretly for me, too?)

Advice for my daughter Read more

Flower power: Woodburn’s Tulip Festival

The combination of Peeper’s interest in nature, our daily trips outside and her gift of gab have made for an ever-expanding botanical vocabulary.

While we were in Mexico, she talked about the three distinct varieties of cacti near our hotel. And now that spring is in full swing, she calls out dandelions, daisies and daffodils by their names. We’re still working on the Latin names, though. (Kidding!)

After two visits to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm’s Tulip Fest outside Woodburn, though, she definitely knows tulips. Woodburn Tulip Festival - Ten Thousand Hour Mama Woodburn Tulip Festival - Ten Thousand Hour Mama Woodburn Tulip Festival - Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more