My Top Tips for Keeping a House Show Ready

Selling your house, while entertaining a 3 year old is comical. Honestly, it's like a miniature tornado just follows you around while you are trying to make it appear that no one lives in the perfect house you call home. Throughout the time my house was on the market, I found a few tricks to keeping it "show" ready at all times and keeping my sanity intact. 

Keeping your house how ready so you can sell fast!

1. Declutter - There is no way around this. The less you have in the house, the easier it is to clean it up! We got rid of the toy room and kept a small bin of toys. We made the packed toys easily accessible and if needed, we would rotate the toys that we kept in the bin. We also seriously decluttered our closet, kitchen and guest bedrooms. No matter how attached you are to the 5 colanders you have, you can live with 1. I promise!

Top Tips for Showing a House

2. Keep counters clean - This is hard when you have a family. I get it! But, the idea is once again that the less you have out the easier it is to pick up. We had a large wine rack on our counter that was super useful, for obvious reasons, but it was one of the first things to go. It collects dust and makes the counter look smaller than what it is. Since we had decluttered the cabinets in the kitchen, we made pre designated areas for storing the convection oven and coffee maker while not in use. This helped to free up the counter space. This goes for your bathrooms too! 

Top Tips for Selling a House

3. Keep your toiletries in a carry tote - I hated shower carriers when I was in the college dorms and I still hate them in my 30's. But, they were a necessary evil for me. You do not want a bunch of stuff in the shower while your house is showing, so keeping it all in a cheap carrier from Wal-Mart makes it easy to clean and easy to organize. We cleared out space under a sink in our bathroom and stored it there. 

4. Invest in cheap laundry baskets - My older sister had this idea and I must pass it along. No matter how prepared you are for that unexpected call, there will be a few times when there is stuff everywhere and you have 10 minutes to get ready. So, for those times keep a few cheap laundry baskets around and throw all debris into them and pack them up in your car during the showing. Have dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, but your dishwasher is filled with clean dishes? Throw the whole dirty lot in the basket. Your toddler decided that it was a good time to organize his Legos? Throw them in the basket? Your dog wanted to play with every toy in her toy basket at once? Throw them in the basket. You get the idea. Just make sure to remember to unload and organize once the showing is over, it will make future life easier! 

5. Go to bed with a clean house - This is harder than it seems. At the end of the day you do not want to pick up clothes and toys and sweep your bedroom. But, it makes the next day so much easier. An added bonus is that your significant other is there to help with the process! I was also very meticulous about making sure the kitchen was picked up every time we left the house. It was a pain and it added time into our routine, but that was the one room that I knew was ready at all times. 

6. Be flexible - Your house won't sell if you don't show it. Our first showing was at 7:45 PM on a Tuesday night, which is exactly when Luke gets in the bath and exactly the time that I become attached to the couch and my remote. But, guess what? We made a fun night out of our freedom, got ice cream and took him to the park for some late night play. You must be flexible if you are wanting to attract the right buyers.  

Our market out in Tucson is a bit slower than the rest, but luckily we were able to sell our house in about a month and a half. I have found that selling a house is WAY more stressful than buying a house, and we weren't even house hunting throughout the process. It takes patience and a bit of a thick skin, there were a lot of conversations with my husband that started, "But, we LOVE our house why don't they?" 

Don't things personal and don't get frustrated with the process. The right person will come along and love your house just as much you do! 

Happy selling, 

Okinawa: Kid Friendly Living

If there is one thing that we loving about living in Okinawa, it is 100% how kid friendly this place is! Everything is geared towards children, and it is amazing. The parks here have roller slides, are pirate themed and are on pretty much on every block. Think that they would be less crowded because of how many there are? Absolutely not! They are always jam packed. Of course, it is more of a city feel, but it is nothing like NYC or Chicago, think of a small city where most live in mansions (what they call apartment buildings) or condos. 

Kid - Friendly Japan

We live right near a park called Comprehensive Park. You can feed Koi fish, rent paddle boats, eat lunch or you could play on the massive playground that has sections for every age group. During the summer they also have a large swimming pool that is more of a water park, we can't wait to explore that. 

Kid Friendly Japan

The restaurants have pretty much all had a fun themed kids meal, that has a good variety along with fun options. Here are a few that Luke has enjoyed since coming to the island. Not only are the kid meals super cute, but we have also been to a restaurant where they have a large play place for the kids to play while you eat. It is not tucked backed into a corner, it is front and center and the tables next to it also have an amazing ocean view.

Kid Friendly Japan

Kid Friendly Japan

When shopping at the local mall, expect to find kid play places at mostly every store. No, not outside the store, but INSIDE the store. Below is the local Old Navy where they have coloring stations and a big spaceship that moves and makes noises.
It is not just the bigger stores that have this, it is also smaller stores like the Sanuk store that have a coloring station for kids. And did I mention they have an aquarium IN the mall? 

So far, I am fairly comfortable saying that we have A LOT to learn from the Japanese. Kids should be embraced in your life, you shouldn't have to pick and choose where you eat because you have a rambunctious toddler or feel like a solo trip to Target is a date. We should be embracing their crazy little moods and sending them over to the play place, while we enjoy our lattes! This is just one of the reasons we are loving our life in Okinawa, there are so many that I can't wait to share with you.

Make sure to follow along on our adventure through my Instagram AND my Facebook! 

How I Stock My Freezer with 5 Ready to Eat Meals!

While preparing for this move, I relied heavily on freezer meals. Remember, our house was packed 3 weeks before we left Arizona and 2 of those weeks we spent living in the empty house, with no dishes for cooking and the nearest restaurant over 5 miles away! I have said it once and I will say it again, freezer meals will save you when you have a big event. Whether you are prepping for a new arrival, moving or wanting to have a stocked freezer for company, this will be your favorite go-to post. 

How to stock your freezer for a big event!

All of these recipes are ones that you can find on previous #freezerlovefriday posts, but I wanted to make a one stop shop for them. This way you can have them all in one place, I even included a shopping list for you, so you can have a super easy time preparing to make all of these. Luckily, we received our stuff on time in Japan so I was able to make these in preparation for our new bundle to arrive and I am sure Ryan will be thanking me when he is in charge of feeding our family during his paternity leave from work. 


 Ya'll this by FAR my most popular post, thousands of views and thousands of pins! Make sure you make this one, it is a goodie! 

Most of these are meals in themselves, but some of them are dishes that you can add to something to make a meal. My shredded chicken goes perfect with Taco Tuesday or throw it in with some penne and you have an easy dinner. The BBQ Pineapple Chicken can be grilled or cooked on the stove top, add some broccoli and rice and you have the perfect dinner. 

Now for the list! I tried to do it aisle specific, but your store may be slightly different. If there is a different meat you want to use, by all means, use it! A different veggie, than substitute your favorite. This is just a guide. 

Grocery List 

8 Chicken Breasts
1 pound beef
1 pound turkey 
1 pound of ground beef or turkey
1 pound of ground turkey or ground beef
1 Rotisserie Chicken
There are a few recipes where I give you the option of using ground turkey or beef. Before heading the store, decide which ones you would like and adjust list. 

2 Yellow Squash
1 Zucchini
 1 White Onion
5 medium potatoes 
1 Sweet Potato
1 Red Bell Pepper 

2 boxes of No Cook Lasagna Noodles
16 oz. Uncooked Macaroni Noodles
Package of Red or Brown Quinoa 

One Large Jar of Pineapple Slices
Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, or your preference
2 Jars of Marinara Sauce
1 Can of Rotel Mild Tomatoes
1 Small Jar of Tomato Paste
2 Cans of Chili Chopped Tomatoes  
2 cans of mixed vegetables
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can of Kidney Beans

Baking Aisle:
Brown Sugar
White or Wheat Flour

Gallon of Milk
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
32 oz bag of Mozzarella Cheese
32 oz of Cheddar Cheese

Garlic powder
Onion powder
Italian seasoning
Parsley Flakes 
2 TB of coconut oil 
Cajun Seasoning 
Taco Seasoning
Large Sour Cream
Packet of McCormick’s Chili Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

I dedicated one day to grocery shopping and prep and a second day to the cooking. Both days were about 3-4 hours, but trust me it saves SO much time in the long run. Another way that I prep for a loaded freezer is by making one of the dishes for dinner, and freezing the additional dish. Meaning I make the lasagna recipe for my family on Monday, and freeze the three extras. On Tuesday I make the chili, and freeze the leftovers. Whichever way you decide to prep, you will be extremely happy that you did! Both ways work, you just have to decide which one is best for you!

Freezer Friendly Meals

Make sure to share your creations and pictures of your stocked freezer. Feel free to use hashtags, #freezerlovefriday or #SBMstockedfreezer ! I love seeing your creations!

Happy freezing, 

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Bump Update •37 Weeks•

When this pregnancy began, I had SO many aspirations. Gain less weight than my first pregnancy, walk/run 10 miles a week, continue working out, blog my way through the 40 weeks and spend lots and lots of quality time with Luke. Then, we received orders to Japan and everything took a back seat to selling our house and moving our little family across the big ocean.

I could focus on the fact that none of my above goals came to fruition or I could focus on the fact that we sold our house, we are finally settled in Japan and are patiently awaiting our baby girl. I may have gained about the same amount of weight, but I am feeling 100 times more comfortable and healthier than I did during my last weeks of my first pregnancy. Since becoming a mom, I have tried to focus on the positive of life and not be such a pessimist, and while I have had my moments of doubt and worry, I do feel that my outlook on life has helped a bit with this crazy transition! 

So without further adieu, I give you my THIRD bump date of this pregnancy! 

 I chose this picture for a few reasons. It is not your typical pose and smile #bumpupdate picture, where my trusty husband spent 20 minutes finding the perfect angle and the perfect light to make me look the best. It is a picture that he snapped of Luke and I after we had an amazing brunch and went for a walk along the seawall. It is windy, my ankles are literally the size of watermelons, I'm uncomfortable and hot (I'm always hot here), but we are happy. I want to look back at this pregnancy and be amazed by all the things we accomplished and all the days that we spent as a family. Thank you to Ryan for constantly making me feel loved and beautiful, your patience and optimism will never cease to amaze me. 

37 Weeks!

How big is baby? Swiss Chard? At my most recent appointment the doc felt that she was already the size of Luke when he was born (6 lbs 11 oz), so I'm in for a surprise with this one.

Total weight gain: 43 pounds. Yes, this number is scary to some and there have been days where this number is REALLY scary to me, but I feel good and am still very active. I am focusing on that, and reminding myself that not all of us can be the cute pregnant lady! Some of us are blessed with huge ankles, pounds of water retention and gaining over 3 cup sizes in our milk machines.

Maternity clothes? Ummmm yes, I wish they sold maternity shoes for my swollen feet too!

Sleep: Surprisingly not too bad. I have had my few nights of dealing with early rising and insomnia but for the most part, I sleep well. I am only up a few times for bathroom breaks and am lucky enough to do those half asleep!

Best moment this week: I am going back to last week and I will say that hands down, our stuff arriving at our new home. This has helped Luke transition to accepting our new home and has helped us to finally "nest" for baby girl. 

Miss Anything? Wine, always wine. But, since I am in the mecca of sushi and am not able to eat it, I think I miss that a bit more. 

Movement: This girl is active. She has been head down since week 30, and let's just say it is not super comfortable on the old ribs. There are times where I literally have to pause and take a moment to catch my breath because she is kicking so hard. So, so different than my first pregnancy.

Food cravings: Hmmm, everything? Lately peanut butter and apples are a big craving along with Hi Chews (have you had them? They are amazing)! 

Gender: GIRL!

Symptoms: Heartburn and indigestion is still ever present. But, thank the Lord for my daily meds for that. They have helped a lot and I am sure it is one reason why I am not totally wanting this pregnancy to end. Just your common end of the third trimester pains, really. I am walking every night around the park by our us, and let's just say I don't think they are used to seeing a HUGE pregnant lady exercising around there. I get lots of looks of sympathy and bows while I am out there. 

Belly Button in or out? In

Happy or Moody most of the time: Is stressed moody? I blame it on the recent move more than the pregnancy but yes I have less patience than is typical.

Looking forward to: Attempting this delivery med free! Wish me luck, ya'll!

Thank you to each and everyone one of you who have hung around during this wild transition. I promise, I will be back to regular blogging in no time. I am also redirecting some of my posts to focus around the fact that we are a military family abroad.

Spice Motel - Okinawa, Japan

Recently, we stayed at a super fun and eclectic little motel called Spice Hotel.

traveling okinawa Japan

 Long story short we wanted a cheap place to stay for the night, since we would be without furniture for one night in our new home. The military lets you use loaner furniture until your HHG (household goods shipment) arrives on the island. The only catch is that you can not have it picked up the same day as the moves bring your large shipment. Makes sense, but it causes the small problem of what you will sleep, eat and sit on for 24 hours. The base hotel was booked, and quite frankly after living there for 3 weeks, I was not super unhappy about it being full.

I wanted somewhere that was relatively close to our house, since we had to be back super early to meet the movers. I found Spice Motel through, which I don't often use but thought it was easy to navigate. Spice was recently renovated and is designed to take you back in time. The original motel was used during the beginning of the U.S. occupation on Okinawa, during the 50's. It was renovated by an architectural design company last year and is now run as a fill time, 17 room, hotel.

Location was OK, not much within walking distance, but as long as you have a car it would be fine. It was easy to find and at the top of a huge hill, so the view was really pretty. We stayed in the Twin Room, which had bunk beds and one twin platform bed. They had no extra pillows or blankets for the platform bed, which was problematic. We luckily were able to go and get some from the house, but someone visiting would have a hard time. It was Luke and the two of us, so it was pretty tight but the ceiling was high and it made it feel much bigger. We have been without TV for over 2 weeks, so the lack of TV was not a big deal to us at all. The mattresses were thin but I think that is relatively common. I am not going to go as far to say they were comfortable, but hey we slept well so no complaints.

traveling Okinawa Japan

traveling Okinawa, Japan

The bathroom was large and the shower was big! The soaps smelled yummy and unlike most hotels, they had a huge bottle of the soaps so no need to go small on the portions. It was relatively quiet throughout the night, with some noise towards the beginning but hey not everyone goes to bed at 9PM, so I can't really complain. They did have a community sitting area, along with a community kitchen that was locked. If you were planning on staying for a long period, I think it would be a nice place to eat breakfast or lunch. Complimentary coffee in the morning and beer was available to purchase during the office hours (8AM - 10PM).

traveling Okinawa Japan

All in all, I think it was a good hotel to sleep. Not large enough to hang out throughout the day and no amenities so to speak, but it got the job done and I would 100% recommend it to anyone looking for a small and very affordable place to stay in Okinawa.

Happy traveling,