My Week In Review (September 3-9)

posted by Andrea | 09/8/2017

We’re 2 weeks into the school year and 10 days from my due date — which means lots of changes for the Dekker family this month!

Thankfully, they all seem to be good, fun, and exciting changes — but sometimes even good, fun, and exciting changes are challenging for me; so I’m doing my best to roll with the punches and enjoy this exciting time of life for our family!

Here’s a look at what I blogged about this week in previous years — as always, I’m sharing this week’s update at the end of the post!


For those of you who are “tied to your email” and check it constantly, here are a few of my tips to check email less.

Of course, that was WAAAAAY before I ever had a smartphone — in fact, we had just recently gotten internet at home! That said, I still use many of these techniques 7 years later with much success.

I actually feel like my smart phone allows me to spend significantly LESS time on email because I can quickly check it, delete junk, file items that don’t require a response, and send quick responses to other emails while Dave is driving, while I’m waiting in line somewhere, or even while I’m taking a breather from playing with the kids outside. That way, when I’m at my computer and ready to focus on getting something accomplished, I can dive right in to the emails that need responses from me or that require me to take-action in some way.

I know email is super personal and everyone has different ideas of what works and doesn’t work… but I also know that email CAN be a huge time suck if we’re not careful! If you feel like it’s sucking too much of your time, here are a few more posts about email management.

And if you’re in the middle of a big organizing project right now, my best advice would be to hold off on buying any cute organizing containers, bins, baskets, etc. until you are completely finished purging, sorting, donating, etc.

You’ll probably be surprised how many useful containers you might find in your own home as you purge. Plus, depending on how much you purge, you might not even need many organizing containers at all!

That’s why I always encourage buying organizing containers last!



One of my favorite things to do is make a Done List — often it’s just a mental tally of the things I accomplished in a day, a week, a summer, or even just a short period of time.

I’m sure many of you can relate to feeling like you “got nothing done” at the end of the day — when really, you most likely made food, cleaned children, cleaned your house, did laundry, ran errands, played chauffeur all afternoon, and so much more. By simply going through everything I DID do, I feel SO accomplished instead of defeated.

I realize it might sound silly to some of you — but my fellow Type-A’ers out there are all nodding in agreement 🙂

This was the year I started my “new” meal planning method of planning general themes for each night of the week (instead of just random meals.). The themed nights really helped me simplify and expedite my weekly meal planning — and although I don’t always follow the nightly themes exactly anymore, I do still use the themes as general guidelines for my weekly menu plan.

That said, if you’re anti-meal planning and just love eating out… here are 11 Simple Ways to Save Money at Restaurants.

Also, enjoy this oldie-but-goodie picture of Dave and I on our honeymoon!



If you’ve ever experienced a time of extreme and prolonged exhaustion when “getting more sleep” is just not an option, I think you’ll appreciate this post so much! I wrote it after 9+ months of getting roughly 4-5 broken hours of sleep after Nora was born. I WAS SOOOOOO TIRED!

It’s one of my favorite posts ever — and one I’m sure I’ll be referring back to over the next couple of months as our home will once again be occupied by a newborn!

Do you have a griddle? We do… and we honestly use it almost every single day ALL year long! If you have a griddle but don’t use it to it’s full potential, here are a bunch of my favorite foods from the griddle!



If you’ve never tried homemade jam, you honestly don’t know what you’re missing — it’s SO much better than store-bought jam, and honestly… it’s SO simple to make.

If you need a little more motivation to try your hand at homemade jam, here are 7 more reasons!

We were also in the middle of our big garage renovation this week — so I shared some of that progress. We LOVE our garage and are so thankful we were able to tackle this renovation.

And… I finally announced that I was pregnant with Simon!

He’s such a sweet boy — we are so thankful to have him in our lives!



As many of you know, Dave and I have been doing home and yard renovation projects on-and-off since we purchased this house almost 7 years ago. We’ve been fortunate to do many of the projects ourselves (and my Dad is a HUGE help too).

However, there are many times when we opt to pay the pros — I shared more about that in this post.

I shared a HUUUUUUGE post with a bunch of tips and ideas for creating a mix and match wardrobe.

It was such a fun post to write — and although some of the styles are definitely getting outdated, I think many of the tips in that post are still useful today.

I hope to do another post like this next spring (once I hopefully lose my baby weight again!)

And along the lines of clothing, I shared 6 ways to get FREE (or almost free) clothing!



Chicken Quesadillas are one of our family’s favorite meals — the kids almost never complain about it, and it’s such a simple meal for me to make. We often eat it with a simple salad and chips and salsa — so it’s such a quick meal to whip together on busy weeknights.

Plus, I can easily make the filling ahead of time and freeze it for later!

And this yummy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake is one of our family’s most favorite desserts ever — I honestly think our kids could eat cheesecake daily without ever tiring of it (Dave and I might be able to as well!)

I also shared this super happy post about how much “easier” and better motherhood was for me the 3rd time around (after James was born). I know the newborn phase is always so tiring and demanding, but I’m honestly so excited to see how much “easier” motherhood is for me the 4th time around.

I just know how much more confidence I have in my own abilities — not to mention almost 6 years of experience with babies and toddlers, and while it won’t always be “easy”, I totally understand why so many moms say it gets “easier” the more children you have!



Do you have any “what if I need it clutter” around your home? My guess is a big fat YES!

“What if I need it clutter” is one of the main forms of clutter — especially for frugal people who worry they’ll need the exact item they purge and then have to spend money buying it again (sound familiar to any of you!)

If you need a little motivation to purge those items, here are 5 of MY reasons I don’t keep What If I Need It Clutter!

I also shared how I utilize SO many different “pre order and pickup” services in an effort to drastically simplify my life (and avoid shopping with children!)

I know these services aren’t available everywhere or for everyone, but I have a feeling I’ll continue using many of these methods until my kids are older!

Although I would never describe myself as a health guru, I have taken several steps to increase my (and my family’s) health and nutrition over the past several years… and I’ve done it all while staying true to my “All Things In Moderation” approach to life.

In this post, I share 5 Simple Ways I Try to Promote a Healthier Lifestyle — and I think they are all very do-able for average people with full schedule and busy family lives.



Nora is still LOVING school, her teacher, her class, riding the bus, etc. etc. and I could not be more thankful.

I can vividly remember thinking, “how on earth is this shy little girl ever going to get on a school bus and function without me all day?” so many times over the past 5+ years… and now she does it excitedly with no bribing or extra encouragement from me — but simply because SHE WANTS TO!

It’s so fun to hear all her stories when she jumps off the bus in the afternoon — like how she just knows her teacher is the nicest teacher ever because she didn’t give Nora a detention when she forgot to take her name tag off 🙂

Yes, I’m sure kindergarten teachers freely pass out those detention slips during the first few days of school!!

(In case you can’t tell, her favorite color is pink!)

I honestly can’t even begin to explain how much different our home life is without Nora around for a few days. And when I say “different”, I mean GLORIOUS!

As much as I love my sweet girl, she is such a busy-body and SO MUCH WORK for me.

Plus, she’s smart enough to initiate little fights and arguments with Simon and James throughout the day — and make it look like it was their fault. And she’s just enough older than both Simon and James that she has different interests — which often makes it tricky for me to come up with activities that work for all 3 kids.

With Nora gone, Simon and James play SO nicely together, rarely ever fight, and are interested in the same things (toys, crafts, TV shows, books, etc.).

Over the years, countless people have told me I should homeschool Nora because of all her sensitivities as an infant and toddler… and I have nothing against other people choosing to homeschool their children, but I’m sure glad my girl loves school as much as she does!

I think the break is just as good for Nora as it is for me and the boys.

She comes home from school every day so full of life and energy. She’s so happy, so well-behaved, and eager to just sit and tell me about her day. Other days (when she’s not at school) she constantly seems to pick fights with people, act grumpy towards me, and basically begs to play with neighbors or friends all day long if I don’t do a good enough job of keeping her occupied 24/7 (which I’m sure you realize is impossible with 2 other children around).

I’m glad she’s not gone everyday, but I sure do feel confident about our decision to send her to school!

Totally changing gears — I got new rugs for the exterior entrances to our home — they were less than $5 at Home Depot (totally an impulse purchase when I was there for paint) but I LOVE them so much!

Also, as I mentioned in Monday’s post, we officially finished ALL our home renovations by Labor Day — which is always our goal considering Dave and I are much busier during the school year (especially this year with another baby on the way).

I can’t tell you how fabulous it feels to have all the paint cans, tools, and supplies nicely packed away after a long summer of constant use!

I do still have 2 things listed on Craigslist, but if they don’t sell in the next week, we’ll bring them to the thrift store.

Ahhhh…. that’s me, relaxing in the evenings now, instead of plugging away at the next project on our list! 

I believe I’m 100% physically ready for this baby to arrive. The house is ready, her nursery is ready, the freezer is ready, the van is ready, my body is ready.

Even still, I honestly can’t wrap my mind around having a newborn in the house again. The lack of schedule, lack of sleep, lack of control over anything — I’m feeling a little antsy just thinking about it all again.

I know it will just be a short phase in the grand scheme of my life… but let’s all keep our fingers crossed for a really great sleeper this time around!


Filed under: LifeDaily Life

Leave a comment


  1. DeeDee


    Oh my God! How adorable is Nora on her first day of school. She is sooo pretty. I keep checking in to see if you have the baby yet 🙂 Can’t wait to hear you did.Good Luck.


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — no baby yet 🙂


  2. Francie


    Super cute mat! I would head to home depot to buy that hello mat, unfortunately we are facing Hurricane Irma down in South Florida. Please keep Florida in your prayers, Andrea!


    DeeDee Reply:

    I am right here with you Francie! We are in Florida as well – prepping away. I spent the last couple days preparing tons of food for the freezer. Or at least until our electric goes out! Prayers to you too.


  3. JJ


    I LOVE the hello mat with the baby bump!!! Where at in the store did you find it?


  4. Karen Miller


    Hi Andrea, I really love reading your blog and wish you the best of luck on your new daughter. Please keep all of us here in Florida in your prayers as we go through Hurricane Irma right now. Thanks and looking forward to your next blog.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Karen — and yes, there are so many natural disasters in our country right now, it’s scary. Wishing you and your family safety from this storm!


  5. Natalia Gramada


    I literally burst out laughing at the word “GLORIOUS”, describing the days with Nora at school. 🙂
    I totally understand!!! I have 2 girls (2-1/2 and almost 12) and their definition of playing together is my description of going insane!! All day long!!! Yes, I’m so grateful the school is back in session. When one friend asked me once if I’d consider home schooling, another friend jumped in and asked “Would YOU have liked to spend each and everyday with your parents and not have the experience of attending a school?” I like that answer for so many reasons!

    Congratulations for being so ready!!! You are fabulous and an inspiration! And best wishes for labor and beyond! You can do it!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it has been very “refreshing” to have a break from Nora 3 days a week. She is very busy and school is WONDERFUL for her!


  6. Debbie


    Can I just list things I like about this post?
    1. Nora’s detention story. Hilarious! I’m also sure teachers readily pass that detention card a lot during kindergarten on the 1st week of school. Haha!
    2. Still loving your garage floors! We want to do that with ours but have to prioritize our home project budget.
    3. The “Hello” outdoor rug is the cutest! I want one that has a different material as I found out that straw (I think) material eventually tracked it inside the house. No fun.
    4. Your website works the best! Advertisements that pop up and slow down my computer or causes errors are non-existent and it makes me want to continue reading your blogs.


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, Nora and her detention worries cracked me up!
    And yes, I try REALLY REALLY hard not to have any pop ups or spammy ads on my blog (and it’s not easy). They just appear sometimes and I’m constantly needing to contact ad networks to have them removed… but I think it’s worth it for the reading experience 🙂
    Glad you appreciate it!


  7. Stephanie


    Sounds like everything is coming together! I had my 4th exactly a week after James was born. I remember waiting for your announcement, since he was two weeks late….wondering if my August die date baby was going to come before your June baby. My babies always come early, most 3-4 weeks. I cannot image going two weeks late and really hope this little girl doesn’t wait that long for you!
    I also had this exact same thoughts when my 4th was born. I remember telling a friend I would take 9 months of the newborn stage over pregnancy. Although, I still think that would be the case….I feel like I had 9 months of the newborn stage with my 4th. He was (and still is) a big mommy’ boy. And he did not like bottles, silly cups, or any other food until he hit a year. I was positive I was going to have it together with my 4th, and was in for a rude awakening!
    So I am glad to hear that you are preparing for sleepless nights, messed up schedules and the chaos of the newborn.
    It does get easier in many ways, but for me my first three were awesome babies. My youngest was the most work, and it is amazing how with him being the 4th it threw me for a huge loop.

    He is now the happiest, easiest, cleanest, self sufficient two year old I have ever had, so keep that big picture in mind. Just look at Nora! 🙂
    Hope everything goes well for you and baby in the next few weeks.


    Andrea Reply:

    This is so crazy — but for some reason, I’ve always assumed you had high-school age kids. I had NO idea you had a baby just after James (and that your kids are probably very similar ages to mine). Maybe I just totally missed it before, but I always assumed you had older kids 🙂 You must sound so experienced!

    Glad your 2-year old is treating you so well these days!!


    Stephanie Reply:

    Ha that is funny! I am actually a few years younger than you. 🙂 Oldest is 8 and in 3rd grade. It feels like I just sent him on the bus for the first time!
    Then I have a 7 year old in 2nd grade. A 4 year old and a 2 year old at home yet.
    It’s funny because around the same time you had your post about being halfway done with the little years, my hubby came home and said “can you believe in 10 years our oldest will be done with high school? And we won’t even be 40 yet?” Now if only we could have our house paid off so tuition wouldn’t be as tight.
    I tell everyone I know who is just starting their married life about your goal to have the house paid off before your kids start school. That is genius and I only wish we would’ve looked into it when we bought our place. But live and learn.


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — I have no idea why I thought you were older 🙂