Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Talk: 12 Tips for Moving Your Family

We have now moved our family FIVE different times.  Most were giant, cross country kind of moves.  We've definitely gotten better at moving, more organized and the process doesn't seem too daunting now.  Our last move was by far our easiest move for lots of reasons.  We had great help, had a great game plan and we were really organized.  I thought I'd share my tips with you today so that you could file them away for the next time you have to move.

1. Call around to rental truck companies and get quotes.  Start doing this early and be prepared to negotiate.  We've found that Penske trucks have been the best deals for us.  Uhaul is always enticing because their trucks sit so low to the ground.  Penske trucks are high up and have a long ramp.  Keep those things in mind when you pick the best truck for you.  I usually leave this job up to my husband.

2. Accept free moving supplies - newspaper, boxes, packing paper, etc.  These supplies add up quickly so it's nice to take any free things that come your way.  The boxes at Home Depot are better than Lowes.  Their heavy duty ones are much sturdier and will hold up really well.  The price is similar so go with Home Depot if you can.  Also, buy SCOTCH packing tape and don't skimp with off brand tape.  We bought some of both and the cheap tape was not sticky enough.  It kept peeling off and boxes assembled with the cheap tape busted open.  The more packing supplies you buy, the better your things will travel.

3. Hire help.  We found our truck loaders on Craigslist for our move from Utah and our move from Mississippi.  The ones in Utah were terrible and the ones in MS were amazing.  Check references, pay attention to how professional they are (do they have a website, wear uniforms, have knowledge about loading a truck, bring their own equipment to load with, etc.)  If they have great reviews and seem really professional, they are worth the investment!!  We hired loaders to load our truck and had family help us unload.  Money very well spent!

4. Start packing early and don't leave everything to do at the last minute.  Kitchens take forever to pack and so do closets.  Work on packing boxes for several hours each day and then you'll be ready when moving day comes.

5. Come up with a game plan for packing up your house.  We did a room a day and then divided up tasks.  We were very fortunate to have my parents come down to help so we factored their help into our plan.  Do the outside things in the morning when it's the coolest and then move inside when it gets too hot.

6. Stop using your kitchen 5-7 days before you move.  Switch everything to paper plates and disposable things so that you can pack up your kitchen and not be doing dishes.  I should have done this sooner and was running a load of dirty dishes the day before we left.

7. Be VERY DETAILED when labeling your boxes.  List the room they came from, exactly what is inside and you will thank me later.  On one of our early moves, I think I ended up labeling every box "decorations" and had a horrible time finding anything when I went to unpack.  Lesson learned.  This move was much easier because of the detailed labeling.

8.  Plan to say goodbye to your favorite spots around town the week before you move and same goes with your friends.  It's hard to get in goodbyes when you are sweating and trying to get work done.  Our move was so fast that I was saying sweaty goodbyes the day we left MS.

9. Have a garage sale or donate items you no longer want or need.  We did both this move and it was SO helpful!  We had a really successful garage sale and donated 25+ garbage bags of things to charity.  It was a big relief knowing we were only packing our must have items and weren't moving junk to our next house.

10. Pets.  If you can take them somewhere else while you are packing up your house that is probably best.  We moved our cats to IN to live with my parents about 6 weeks before our move.  It was hard to say goodbye, but it was what was best for them.  If you have to keep the pets at your house (we have done this 4 of our last 5 moves), close them off somewhere safe where they won't get stepped on and they have their favorite things.  A bathroom usually works well for this and be sure to post a sign on the door reminding people not to let the pets escape.

11. If you have toddlers/children when you are moving, God bless you!!  
It's hard, but it's doable.
Don't pack up their toys in front of them.  Wait until they are napping or in bed and slowly decrease the amount of toys you leave out for them.
Give them jobs and let them help.  Olive is two and she loved coloring with crayons on our boxes.  She even liked sitting in a box and coloring the insides.  
Leave their room or their space in tact as long as possible.
Be sure to set up their new space (toys & bedroom) first thing when you arrive at your new house.  If they feel comfortable surrounded by familiar things, your life will go much smoother.
Ask for help on moving day.  My parents came down so that Olive could have one adult's attention at all times.  She was never left to entertain herself and she was happy 99% of the time with this arrangement.
Leave your TV set up so they can watch cartoons or movies while everyone works around them.
Keep their snacks, favorite cups, etc. handy so that their routines can stay similar to their usual ones.

12. Make lists and lots of them.  Utilities to turn off, things to do around town, moving details/confirmation numbers, etc.  The easiest way to change your address with your bills is to have your mail forwarded to your new address.  When you next bill comes, fill out the form on the back of your bill to change your address.  No waiting on hold forever for each company.  Then keep track of the places you've changed your address to.

Hope those tips help you have an easier time moving!!
 I'm certain that our move with easier because of their help :)

 Watching the movers at a safe distance
 It's so hard to say goodbye...

Goodbye first house!
We LOVED you :)

These were fun packing and unpacking activities

I've missed our Tuesday Talk link up and am happy to be joining them this week.
Linking up with my favorite ladies today!!
ANYONE can join us with their favorite blog post of the week :)
(Starting from the upper left:)
Beth - Our Pretty Little Girls ~ Michelle - Grammie Time
Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty
Tara - Mrs. Coach Sims ~ Lauren - Simply Free
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place
Becky - BYBMG ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things
Polka-Dotty Place

Monday, July 27, 2015

Highs and Lows of MOVING

It feels good to get back into my blogging routine.  I've missed y'all :)
I thought I'd catch you up on our life these past few weeks
with a HIGH and LOW round up.

LOW: When we were unloading the moving truck at our new place, we realized that our trash can had been loaded in the moving truck FULL of trash.  Like the last load of refrigerator trash.  Sick!!!  So our trash can flew all over the moving truck and ended up upside down leaking disgusting trash juice everywhere.  We had to do some serious cleaning as we unloaded those first few items.  Helpful moving hint: Make sure your trash can is EMPTY before it gets loaded on the truck.

HIGH:  I did a much better job labeling, sorting and packing things this time around.  I guess the 5th big move is the charm for figuring this stuff out.  I presorted all of my kitchen gear, clothes and household goods so that some things went straight to the garage for storage and the necessities came inside.  It was a great system and I will probably do a blog post with helpful moving hints.

LOW: We ordered new wingback recliner chairs for our family room as a birthday/anniversary gift to ourselves.  They are going to be so pretty, but we won't see them for 6-8 weeks.  Lazy Boy was having a super Christmas is July sale so it'll be nice to finally get the chairs this Fall.  They'll definitely be worth the wait...

HIGH: It's exciting to move to a new city and find new favorites.  We've already claimed some new restaurants as favorites and have a list of places we'd like to try.

LOW: It takes about a year to feel comfortable navigating a city, learning short cuts and feeling confident being out and about.  Guess I'll look forward to that feeling next summer.

HIGH: Olive got to go to the county fair in our new city.  She loved it and had a blast greeting all of the farm animals.  She neighed at nearly every animal and thought they were hilarious.  It was 80 degrees and breezy the night we went which was basically summer perfection.

LOW: There are lots of trains coming through our new city and some tracks near our house.  They are loud and pretty busy at all hours of the night.  Olive thinks it's Thomas the Train and his friends swinging by our house to say hello... haha.  Glad she finds it so entertaining.

HIGH: We like the area of the city we live in and are finding fun things close by to do.  We purchased a new stroller for Olive and are eager to start exploring on foot.

LOW: I can't find my cutting board, missing a pair of shoes and our propane tank to our grill.  Guess I need to keep digging.

HIGH: We've already gotten to see a lot of family since nearly our entire family is in a two hour radius of our new place.

LOW: We have to start the church search {again}.  This one makes me especially sad because we LOVED our church in Mississippi.  They had amazing kids programs, things for moms and TONS of programs to get involved with.  Olive adored her teachers and her classroom.  I'm slightly anxious about dropping her off in a nursery full of strangers yet again.

HIGH: We were reunited with our cats about a week ago.  Topher usually hides for a solid week after we move, but not this time.  He was so excited to see me, I mean us, that he has been purring for days.  Oliver is thrilled and they both tried to sleep on my head our first night back together.  They couldn't get close enough to me.

LOW: We've moved to another city where we don't know anyone.  4th time so it's not really a new process for us, but it is exhausting (although totally worth it) to work on making new friends.  We have a list of churches to try out and are hoping to find a great fit for our family.  I'm hopeful that finding a new church will lead to us making new friends fairly quickly.

HIGH: I'm loving our single floor house.  Everything is so handy, I don't have to guard Olive from the stairs and I feel like it's easier to keep up with things with us being all on one level.  Something to keep in mind when we start house shopping.

LOW: Our new place has lever door knobs.  They look pretty, but Olive can open and close every single door.  She shuts herself in rooms or closets, coaxes the cats into closets and gets into all kinds of mischief.  We are investigating childproofing options for lever door knobs.

HIGH: I'm on the hunt for some new bedding.  We had to switch up the rooms we put our rugs in and I'm hoping to find some pretty new bedding.  It's been several years since we've updated our master so the change is welcomed.

LOW: We are all taking some time to adjust to being on Eastern time.  It doesn't get dark until 9:30pm so our usual bedtime routine of starting at 7:30pm had to be adjusted.  Thankfully, Olive has been sleeping in to make up for the later bedtime.

HIGH: We pulled in the driveway the other night and Olive shouted HOME!  She hasn't done this since we left our home in Mississippi so it was a sweet moment of her realizing that we were settling into life in a new home.

LOW LOW LOW: My new city DOES NOT have a Target.  How is that even possible for a college town!?!?  I certainly did not realize this fact when I agreed to move here.  I've already researched the nearest Target and am very familiar with their website.  How do you start a campaign to get a Target in your area?  I'm kidding... sort of.

Well that's a pretty good summary of life at my house these days.
Any HIGHS and LOWS to share with me??

Fiesta & Fireworks

I'm SO EXCITED to be back to blogging this week!!  The break did exactly what it was supposed to do - give me time to get my life in order.  We are settled into life in Indiana and are enjoying the next few weeks before Kevin's new job starts.  We've gotten to do fun things in our new city of Terre Haute and are just enjoying spending time together after our move.  Thanks for following along with my on instagram and I'm happy to be writing again.

We had a two day moving layover in our hometown so we stayed with my parents that happened to fall on Kevin's birthday this year.  We did some quick planning with both sides of our family and decided to do a Fiesta & Fireworks to celebrate.  The Fiesta was with my side and the fireworks were with his side.  It worked out great and was the perfect way to celebrate amidst the chaos of moving.

The Fiesta
My mom and I planned out the menu, she did most of the cooking and I helped chop things up and then we pulled out all of her Mexican dishes for the party!
The food was amazing (best meal Kevin's had in ages according to him)
and we had a great time.  We had brownie sundaes for dessert.

 The little cousins got together and had a blast.
"El-nor" and Olive :)

My mom always personalizes things for the birthday party:

The Fireworks
Since Kevin's birthday falls just after the 4h of July, he's always had fireworks at his parties.  His mom helped continue this tradition this year.  We had a delicious cookout, his favorite Buttermilk cake and fireworks to wrap up the night.  He LOVED introducing Olive to fireworks as if you couldn't tell by their matching smiles.

When your mom personalizes your birthday cake...
we are all really proud of Professor Kevin :)

My MIL has beautiful flowers 
and Olive loves to go around smelling, touching and picking some for herself.

 Both sets of grandparents were able to come.
Olive is lucky to have 4 great grandparents on Kevin's side who adore her.

I have a feeling that 34 is going to be a wonderful year!

Friday, July 24, 2015


11 years ago I married this handsome guy on 7.24.04

Favorite part of our wedding:
HIS: Seeing you walk down the aisle
HERS: Our wedding sermon and our wedding cake

Wish we could change this about our wedding:
HIS: Including a few more friends in the wedding
HERS: I wish I would have done a better job of visiting with everyone that came

Best memory from our wedding day:
HIS: Riding from the church to the reception in a Rolls Royce
HERS: Walking out of the church to a sea of rose petals being showered on us

Random Facts:
*My wedding dress cost $99
*I requested a mixture of hot pink, light pink and white flowers in my bouquet.  The florist said brides weren't supposed to have bright flowers in their bouquets so he left out the hot pink flowers.  My how things have changed in eleven years.
*Kevin wanted gray tuxes and my mom said no.  haha... She said he'd thank her for that one day, but he's still pretty amendment that gray would have been better.
*We took the majority of our professional wedding pictures BEFORE the wedding.  Best decision ever!!


Friday, July 10, 2015


We are in full blown MOVING mode at my house.

We left Mississippi on Tuesday,
had a brief layover at our parent's house
and are moving into our new house TODAY!!
We are likely buried in a sea of boxes, packing paper and bubble wrap 
all while trying to keep a toddler entertained and happy.
 Olive hasn't appreciated us boxing up her toys
so we will be unpacking our necessities followed by her favorite things.

Life will be crazy for the next few weeks so I'm taking a little bloggy break.
I'll be back on July 27th ready to blog again :)

Hopefully my house will be unpacked, settled and we will be back in our normal routines by then.  We plan to visit family, find our way around our new town and get organized.  I'm looking forward to moving Kevin into his new office and decorating it.  We will be reunited with our cats and settling into our new life in Indiana.

I will be keeping things up to date on instagram
so come and follow me @polkadottyplace

Leave me your insta name so I can follow you too.
Hope you have a great weekend!!

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Happy Birthday Kev!!
(high school golfer + his #1 fan)

You're my favorite.
You are far more patient than I am.
You are the FUN one in our family.
You taught me everything I know about sports.
You are kind and compassionate.
You are a grill master and have become quite the Mr. Fix it.
Our ever ready road trip captain.
You are the best deal hunter around.
You solve problems and are a great listener.
You have all of my favorites memorized
and you are such a sweet dad.

We're so proud of you.
We LOVE you!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tunica, MS

Kevin decided that he wanted to take one last Mississippi road trip for his Father's Day + birthday present this year.  I told him to make the plans and we'd be ready to go with him.

He picked Tunica, MS.
Not the most popular destination,
but one we hadn't been to and one that was pretty affordable during the week.

We stopped by the Children's Museum on our way out of town.
Kevin had never gone with us and he had a fun time.
He loved seeing Olive run from exhibit to exhibit.

We stayed at Gold Strike in Tunica.
The hotel was very nice and clean.
The rooms were surprisingly great.

Olive loves a good hotel room.
King size bed.
Fluffy pillows.
We always pack a bag with her favorite books & toys
to make the hotel stay seem more homey and comfortable for her.

The Gold Strike Buffet was ah-mazing!!
You should definitely eat here if you get a chance.
We ate dinner here and it did not disappoint.
Olive was free and she loved it.
She had fun trying new things and eating off my plate.

They had homemade pizza, salad bar, all kinds of meats, 
stir fry, foods from all genres, soups and desserts.

The build your own stir fry was my favorite!
You filled a plate with all of your favorites,
chose your meat and sauce.
Then they cooked it up for you.
It was sooooo good.

I've mentioned before that I am a bit of a dessert snob.
I really love homemade desserts and store bought aren't my favorites.
The desserts at Gold Strike were impressive!
They all tasted homemade and they had a soft serve bar.
The cookies were delicious, coffee mousse and carrot cake were memorable.

I had hoped to eat at the Paula Deen buffet and head to the outlet malls.  The buffet closed some time ago and the outlet mall had less than 10 random stores.  We found a fun shoe store and Olive got these pink chucks.  Lemons out of lemonade :)

Kevin enjoyed the casino for a bit and said it was a lot of fun.
The place was crowded so I'm sure others agreed.
They also had a show going on, but we spent too much time eating dinner and missed it.  Olive didn't mind and just jumped on the bed for a little show of her own.

Tunica was about a three hour drive from Jackson.
It was the perfect distance and we had a great visit.