Monday, November 18, 2013

Clothing Layout, With Options

Have you downloaded your November 2013 Master Calendar yet? The ENTIRE 2014 year Master Calendar is in my Etsy shop - check it out! Also, do you follow me on Instagram? I have some great Planner Organization goodies available there. My goal this weekend is to play catch up on Instagram for the Planner Addicts Photo a Day November Challenge!

Google searches:

"zentangle" (I want to do one of these myself, they are amazing)
"how to say no to people who want advice on your business" (researching info for a friend)
"infamous definition" and "verbosity definition" (my son got a hold of my phone!)
"black friday ads" (great deals out there)
"like a boss mug" (Christmas shopping for my boss)
"what does hbd mean" (happy birthday, because it's just too hard to say the whole thing)
"hyperbole and a half" (amazing blog)
"organizing 3 dinners in one hour"

What did you research today?

If you are following along on the Master Calendar, let's talk about laying out your clothes for the week. I know this can be difficult for a few reasons.

1. I have young children who like to choose their own clothes. Since my husband is not working right now, we have the luxury of time in the morning. He can allow them to pick their own (weather appropriate) clothing. And my son is old enough to pick out his own clothes. He is also an early riser for now, so he has plenty of time to pick out his clothes in the morning.

When my husband and I were both working, I would pack the diaper bag the night before. I made sure it was stocked with diapers, diaper cream, sippy cups, snacks, a few changes of clothes, pajamas, underwear, extra socks, extra shoes, binkies, etc. WHEW! Did I forget anything? Probably. WIPES! I did this Sunday night. Then I organized clothes for each day of the week for each of the little ones. I stacked them on that top shelf in their closet in order. Each night, I emptied the diaper bag and replace the dirty clothes with the new stack, and double check the diaper/wipe quantity, and the binky count.

2. Yourself. We are our own worst enemies. You could pick out the most perfectly coordinated outfits for the entire week, and on Tuesday morning you wake up feeling bloated, or tired, or fat, or skinny, or in a bad mood, or a good mood, or a blah mood, or it's sunny and you thought it was going to rain, or your kids are cranky, or you ran out of eggs for breakfast, and the outfit you picked today is stupid, and the rest of the outfits are stupid, and all of your clothes are stupid, and can't we just live in a world where we can wear the same "never seen yoga" yoga pants every single day, and NOBODY JUDGES YOU?!?!?

IF it works for you, lay out your clothes and your children's clothes for the entire week. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:

Check out this FABULOUS closet makeover and outfit "notes" system.

This blog cracks me up about how to become a grown up.

For yourself and the kids.

Of course Apartment Therapy has some good tips on this topic.

If this doesn't work for you, then you're a total failure at life.  JUST KIDDING.  Here is what I suggest. Find out what DOES work for you. You might have to try a few things to figure it out. I used to plan all of the clothes, which is why it is on my Master Calendar. Sometimes I would get away from that system, so I put it on my calendar in November so that I could focus and get back to it before the holidays are here and life is crazy (-ier than usual).

Maybe picking one outfit the night before will work for you. Maybe thinking about your closet and what's clean and the weather and your bloatedness while you shower will work for you. Maybe ironing everything on Saturday will work for you. Maybe having your kids help will work for you (probably not, but hey, try it and see what happens). Maybe having your husband whistle at you while you get dressed will work for you. Maybe picking out the kids' clothes and winging it for yourself will work for you.

Let me know what system works for you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Job Search

I'm going to share something fairly personal with you. After we go over recent Google searches, of course!

First, I want to give credit where credit is due. I created these cards for my Etsy shop based on something I saw on Pinterest. I believe I found the creator of these cards. I have not fully researched her website to see if they are available for purchase or if she has a free download. But I love her design, and I want to add the topics she has to my cards. As well as more designs. It's on the To Do list.

So here she is, found her through Google: RUKRISTIN

"stages of grief" (my son had a loss and we are working on the grieving process)
"how much is Nicole Curtis worth" (do you watch Rehab Addict? Love that show...)
"would you rather be the best of the worst or the worst of the best" (which goes to show that the internet does NOT have an answer to everything)
"how to set up garage door clicker"
"taylor kinney lady gag" (THIS BLEW MY MIND, I had NO idea they were a couple)

What did you research today?

Today I have a free printable for you. The reason for this printable is very personal to me. My husband lost his job in August. He has been staying home with our children. He is a wonderful father, and he does a great job staying at home. But he struggles with it. He struggles with the financial aspect, the toll of caring for two toddlers ALL DAY, as well as a multitude of other things. So far, this has actually been a financial blessing for our family. We used to wonder how on earth we could spend so much on groceries each month, yet also feel like we weren't living with anything that we couldn't live without! Since his job loss, our eyes have been opened. We are spending FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS LESS per month on groceries. Combine that with no bill for child care, and we are doing okay. It is not an ideal or permanent situation by any means. But it has been a very good financial lesson that I hope we will stick with and take forward once he does get a job.

Getting him a job has been a disorganized mess for us! We send each other links for jobs left and right, he goes on interviews and I'm not sure which position they're for, and he says we will hear back in X amount of time, but I never remember. So I decided to get it under control and organize it.

This is my favorite kind of organization. Organizing STUFF doesn't come as easily to me as organizing INFORMATION, which is what this is. I love organizing anything. Give me buttons and I will organize them all day! But what I do well at is organizing information. I love spreadsheets. Maybe my love goes like this:

1. Google
2. Coffee
3. Spreadsheets
4. Everything else

I created a four page printable that will track the jobs we have applied for, the interviews he is going on, and passwords for the job sites. Take a look. I am keeping this in our Family Planner in the Miscellaneous Section. I will be doing a post on the overall Family Planner soon, and we will be making a complete Family Planner in 2014, so keep checking back for details. I tried to make this sort of "manly" since he may be using it, you know, it's blue for boys, and I didn't use a flower print.

There are lots of scenarios where this printable would be useful. Are you satisfied in your current position? Maybe you are looking for the next step in your career. Perhaps your family is moving and you need to find a job in the new city. I also know a lot of people are in our situation. I hope this will help you, or someone you know keep track of their job search!

Happy Organizing - INFORMATION!!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Back

Remember those years before kids, when "Fall Back" actually meant an extra hour of sleep? Those days were so lovely. Waking up in your warm, cozy bed, the silence surrounding you. Big, long stretches and snuggles with your (adult) loved one. Turning on the TV to watch Sunday football, eventually schlepping out to the kitchen to make some hot coffee and cinnamon rolls, then back to the bedroom to be lazy while you consume your delicious morning treats while they are still hot. And not spilling them. You leisurely scroll through your Facebook newsfeed on your phone (that's actually a lie, Facebook and smart phones didn't exist before I had kids), while idly petting the kitty curled up on the bed next to you. Those days I was really well rested. I didn't appreciate those moments enough. Those days will be back, though. On the other side of raising kids. And I will appreciate them. For now, I appreciate the other moments I have. These moments include cold coffee, spills, and no extra hour of sleep. But they do include Facebook and smart phones, so it's okay.

I never in a million years thought that when I had kids I would dread the fall time change. Kids love an extra hour of sleep, right? NO?!? That should be the first piece of parenting advice you receive when you decide whether or not you want to have children.

"We are thinking of starting a family. Do you have any thoughts on the matter?"
"Yes. The Fall Back time change sucks, so think long and hard about it. Oh, and unconditional love, it's so rewarding, blah blah blah."

Moving on to recent Google searches...

"how to handle the time change with kids" (you had to see that one coming)
"what is daylight savings for" (NOTHING. Not one good reason except for messing with parents.)
"Lorde Royals music video"
"I Am Number Four book series"
"Origami paper fortune teller"
"when were short sideburns popular" (late 80's, early 90's)

What did you research today?

I'm finishing up two items from last month's Master Calendar, so bear with me. We will move on to the November Master Calendar in my next post, I promise! Have you downloaded your November Master Calendar yet?

The first item is replacing your dental products. This should be completed every six months. Toothbrushes, anything reusable that goes in your mouth. Take this time to make sure you have enough floss, toothpaste, and chapstick. I will also replace toothbrushes and chapstick after a bad round of colds in the family or if anybody has vomited.

The second item is to update your self care kit at work. I have a drawer where I keep my purse, and I have a small basket of "emergency preparedness" items. This includes:

Travel size deodorant (this has saved me so many times when I have forgotten to apply at home!)
Toothbrush (don't forget to replace this every six months as well)
Cough Drops
Tylenol/Advil (these expire, so make sure to check the date before you take them)
Extra phone charger
A few basic make up pieces (mascara, eye shadow, lip gloss, concealer, pressed powder)
Small mirror
*ahem* Lady's "monthly" products
Mini lint roller
Bobby pins
Hair bands
Small brush
Stain remover wipes
Safety pins
Nail clippers
Sewing kit
A bounce sheet in a plastic bag (for when your clothes are extra static clingy) - I think they also make a static cling spray

I know this seems like quite a list, but it all fits in this tiny space. And it is so worth it - I have found each of these items to be very useful at the most random times, for both myself AND my co-workers.

Lint rollers attract dust, so I leave the dirty sheet on the outside as a cover. When I need to use the roller, I take the cover off, use a new sheet, and then it acts as the cover until I need to use it again! If I threw out the dirty sheet each time I use it, then the clean sheet attracts dust between uses. This way I'm not wasting two sheets.

If you are a stay at home parent, then A) KUDOS TO YOU, and B) you can also keep a kit like this in your car, diaper bag, purse, etc.

Do you have a self care kit? What do you keep in it that you can't live without?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Self Care

How was trick or treating? Ours was fun! I was surprised at how on board our little one was with the process. She just followed the two older kids without a second thought.

Google searches!

"best online shopping sites" (to refer to our exchange students)
"synonyms for shield" (in order to name my son's fish - he settled on "Escutcheon")
"symptoms of depression" (you would think I know all of them since I have dealt with depression for years, but I wanted to site a reliable source - the internet)

What did you research today?

^I know I ask this each time. I really want to know. Please leave a comment and let me know what you have been googling!

Let's talk about self-care. Who cares for you? I know you care for a lot of other people; your husband, your kids, your boss, your parents, your friends, your pets. But who takes care of you? Do you take care of you? Does your husband take care of you? Do your friends?

Who do you EXPECT to take care of you? I think a lot of us think that other people should take care of us. After all, we spend so much time caring for others, can't someone stop for just ONE second and pay attention to US?!? Can't anybody look right at you and see the disheveled hair, the legs that haven't been shaved in weeks (okay, months), the paint on your nails that isn't from a manicure, it's from craft time, the bags under your eyes from not sleeping through the night since 1996, the piles of clothes strewn around the house in their various laundered stages, the toddler snot on your yoga pants (which have a hole in them), the half empty cup of cold coffee abandoned on the counter, the empty bottle of Xanax you have been too busy to refill...CAN'T. YOU. SEE. Someone should be able to take one glance, realize how desperate the situation is, stop everything, and say, "HAY! ALY NEEDS A BREAK OVER HERE!" They should sit you down, rub your feet, bring you chocolate and wine, tell you how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are, how much you are appreciated, then take the kids away for a couple of hours, and let you curl up in front of the fireplace with your favorite magazine, pee alone, and eat a hot meal that doesn't involve chicken nuggets.

How often does that happen? For me? Never. Do you know why? Because the only person's job it is to make sure I am cared for, is me. I am the only one who truly knows how stressed out I am. I am the one who needs to learn when to say "WHEN!" And ask for a break. This is not to say that a husband or friend can't assist with that break. But it is not up to them to recognize the need and push me to take that break.

At times, I feel resentment that I spend all this time caring for others, and nobody cares for me. Do you want to hear a hard truth? THAT is a selfish thing to do. I am an adult. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Taking care of others until you are run ragged and then complaining or resenting people for not taking care of you is being a martyr. Take the break you deserve and stop complaining. It's not attractive. And we need all the help we can get with being attractive - anti-wrinkle cream can only do so much.

What is NOT selfish - and this is something I have struggled to accept for years - is taking care of yourself. Sounds contradicting, right? Taking care of myself isn't selfish. Why is that? Because when we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to care for others. Then we aren't so busy looking inside and grumbling about how I don't get the help I deserve. We are looking outside of ourselves because our inner self is well nourished. When you do things to take care of yourself, you feel better about yourself. You are relaxed, and you have more energy to give to put into others.

It doesn't have to be extravagant. It doesn't have to put your family into debt. Maybe it's a hot cup of coffee with a friend. Maybe it's going grocery shopping without the kids. Maybe it's as simple as going to the bathroom alone!

So where do we start? With a free printable, OF COURSE! We need to make a list of self-care activities to choose from. I only put space in here for three activities. I know that for some of us, coming up with just three items will be a challenge. When we lose ourselves in our families, we forget what we enjoyed doing before we had our families. If you can come up with more than three activities, that is great! Print this out as many times as you need.

What did you like to do before you had kids? Did you read? Doodle? Journal? Shop with friends? Shop alone? Draw? Paint? Scrapbook? Photography? Pottery? Do you want to develop a new hobby? Knitting? Sewing? Exercise? Manicure/pedicure? Massage? Think of some things that you want to try that only involve you. And perhaps one friend. But not children. If you try something and you don't like it, this list can easily change. So don't be afraid to try something new. Write down three ideas.

How often are you currently including these activities into your regular monthly schedule? Zero, zero, and...ZERO?!? That's what I thought.

How often would you LIKE to include these activities into your regular monthly schedule? Let's start with once a month at a minimum. Don't feel badly if you want to do your self care items more often than that! Be bold! Go for once a day! I like it!

Now look at your schedule. Where can you put this activity in your schedule? Don't say you don't have time. You might not want to make it a priority. But trust me, you have time somewhere. You might have to sacrifice time doing something else. Like watching TV, surfing the internet, even sleep if you must. Does your daughter go to dance class three times a week? Do you watch her during each practice? Make a compromise - watch her during two sessions next week, then take a book and read in your car during the third session. As an adult, she will need therapy for much more than you skipping one of her dance sessions. Trust me.

If you need help finding room in your schedule, then use the 30 minute time block printable. For at least one week, be dedicated to honestly write down everything you do each 30 minutes. I think you will be surprised how much time is devoted to Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/texting/reading this blog (that's allowed). This should show you where you have time to spare. And if not, if you are truly busy and working efficiently from the time you wake until the time you hit the pillow, then you REALLY need a break. So find a time and write it down. These cards will fit into your planner, so write down your activity and then physically stick this card in your schedule.

You have your activity, you have time in your schedule. It's time to alert your family of your intent. "I am going to do ABC activity on XYZ day. I will be out of the house (or still in the house but am not to be disturbed under any circumstances, maybe even arrange to be alone in the home) for this much time, and I am going to take care of myself. Thank you." Block off this time in your calendar, post it on the fridge, tattoo it to your husband's arm, etc. Then DO IT. Don't put it off. Don't change it unless it is a dire emergency. Which does not involve whiny children.

Enjoy your self care time! Pat yourself on the back for NOT being selfish! Tell me what you end up doing. I would love to hear your successes.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! As promised, here is your treat - the 2013 November Master Calendar. I can't wait to get things done next month. A fresh start!

That's it! Short and sweet today. Well, except for my recent Google searches...

"tie dye" (crazy sock day at my son's school)
"a night on bald mountain" (related to his music class)
"how tall will my three year old be" (not very tall!)

What did you research today?

Have a fun and safe Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Social Media

Are you following me? Not in real life. Because that would be weird. But online. Which is not weird at all. Check me out at these places:


And you can sign up on the blog to get my blog updates sent directly to your e-mail. Hooray for streamlining!

Speaking of e-mails, this week I took on a mini project to help me with my goal of minimalism. I minimized my e-mails. It is fun to see a lot of e-mails. I feel wanted, needed, important. But being bombarded with e-mails is not an efficient use of my time. The first thing I did was not check my e-mail every five minutes. I know, crazy. For some reason, I think we convince ourselves that if we see that "1" on the Mail icon, that we absolutely MUST check that e-mail IMMEDIATELY. Or the entire world will implode. When really, if something was actually that urgent, I would get a phone call, or someone would personally come interrupt me, or Bruce Willis would star in a movie about people missing their e-mails and the world imploding. Instead, I checked my e-mail every four hours. WHOA. FOUR HOURS WITHOUT E-MAIL, PEOPLE. The first few days were rough, and I'm not joking. I can't tell you how many times I was on auto pilot and picked up my phone without even thinking. But I got through those days. Chocolate was involved.

At the end of four hours, I had 18 e-mails. They were all for shopping websites. Flash sale! 50% off! Kohl's cash! Blah, blah, blah. The normal course of action is for me to open the e-mail, covet the stuff, and either delete it and feel badly that I can't afford to buy every single thing I want. Or I would click and open the site, feel tempted to make a purchase I cannot afford, close the site, and continue to feel poorly about myself and my current financial situation.

Does this sound productive and healthy? NOPE. Additionally, it is taking up my precious time. Time that I could be spent working on my business to MAKE money, which is a positive thing, and makes me feel happy. It was time to end the negative cycle.

I went through each e-mail and asking myself the following questions:

Does receiving this e-mail benefit me?
Does it provide information that I cannot live without?
Does it make me wish I had something I can't afford?
Is the information formatted in a way that is quick and easy to absorb?
Does this contribute to the overall well being of my life and my family?
Will this save me money?
Will this assist me in growing personally, or growing my business?

If the answer was "no" to two or more of these questions, I unsubscribed to the e-mail. Sometimes it wasn't about money or growth, but the site no longer applied to my life (i.e., newborn newsletters, that one time I thought I wanted to give up coffee HAHAHAHA, etc.) I wanted to make sure I was receiving relevant, positive, and efficient information. It took about 30 minutes every four hours. I did this twice per day, for one week. At the end of the week, I only had 5 e-mails at the end of an 8 hour period. Each of those e-mails is contributing something that will help me become a better person. They are providing valuable information, and not tempting me.

But wait! I signed up for those e-mails at some point for a reason! What if my financial situation changes? What if I need the perfect gift idea? I NEED to keep these e-mails! Fear not. As I went through each e-mail, I did ask myself if I thought the website offered something I didn't want to forget. If so, I wrote down the website on a list of websites I keep. I also wrote the category (i.e., children's clothing, pet supplies, etc.). So if I do need to refer back to them, I have them logged in my family planner, but they aren't taking up cherished brain power on a daily basis.

Google searches! I know you were wondering if I was ever going to get to this.

"YouTube poomse cutting edge"
"how do you get rid of an earworm" (my son had a song stuck in his head)
"iSpy Vision" (for work)

What did you research today?

Yesterday, we basically made a gift list of new make up we need. Christmas is just around the corner. Your loved ones will be thrilled, I'm sure. Today we get to update our wish list again! Let's tackle nail polish and perfume.

Before my first daughter was born, I think I had one bottle of nail polish. Partially because I am not too into girly stuff, and partially because if I wanted nail color, I would just go to a salon and get my nails done. My daughter is three now, and she is a total girly-girl. She LOVES having her nails painted. Occasionally, I will let her pick out a polish at the store. This is much less expensive than going to a salon! We have about ten polishes now. Nail polish doesn't really go bad in a set amount of time. Some can last for years. Take out all of your polish. Check them to make sure none are goopy or gluey. If they are, toss them. Group them by colors. If you are missing some obscure color of the rainbow that you just can't live without, like "Misty Mint" or "Obo Ebony", then add it to your gift list/shopping list with your list of make up essentials. Organize the polishes in a basket or container. Make sure they are all standing upright so nothing spills. Store them in a place that is not sitting directly in the sunlight. Add a bottle of polish remover, an emery board, a pair of nail clippers, and a bag of cotton balls to your container, and put everything away. Perfect! This will be useful in November, when we do our own spa day. I can't wait!

As a side note, I (and by "I", I mean my husband and my kids) am forever misplacing/losing scissors and nail clippers. I keep several in various areas around the house in order to minimize this loss. The bathroom, garage, kitchen, desk, etc. Keep the scissors out of reach of the kids. Not just out of reach of their height. Add their height to the height of a stool, to the height of the counter, to their height again. Pretty much on a satellite in space.

Thanks to Google, I know how to store my perfume, and how to know when it is no longer good. Check here for tips. Now that you're an expert, too, check all of your scents (and your husband's while you're at it). Toss anything that has gone bad. If it was a favorite, write it down! Always make a list. Never assume you will remember later. It has taken years for me to really believe this. When I was younger, I could remember everything! I think my brain is still 18. It's not. It's more like 99. And I'm 34. That math sucks. So I write down everything.

Now that you have a list of your favorite make up, polishes, and perfumes, you will be at the ready as soon as your mother-in-law asks for the billionth time what you want for Christmas. And this way, you know you won't be receiving Christmas kitchen towels and underwear. Really. That actually happened.

Happy Organizing!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Make Up

November is almost here. Are you ready for the holidays? What are the kids going to be for Halloween? This year I have a ladybug, a princess, and the Grim Reaper.

Recent Google searches:

"Olivia Wilde" (she's pregnant)
"Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Bag" (WANT times a billion, but *choke* look at the price)
"Billy Don't Be a Hero"

What did you research today?

How are your "one steps" coming along? Trust me, I know how hard it is to let everything loom over your head like a giant rain cloud, threatening to pour down on you. Take the time to make your list, prioritize, and focus on one thing at a time. I read an article today about multitasking. I think many of us, women especially, pride ourselves on being able to do multiple things at one time. The article mentioned that when you do this, you really aren't doing any of those tasks well. It suggested putting all of your energy into one task at a time, and doing it well, without a distraction. Don't check Facebook on your phone, don't text anybody, don't have your television running in the background. Be fully present and involved in your task and see how it feels once it has been completed. Let me know what happens when you do this.

Have you been keeping up with your Daily Zones? Do you get to at least one Zone per week? Good! Progress, not perfection. Let's aim for two Zones this week. Don't let your inability to complete everything on the calendar stop you from doing anything at all! Do a little. A little helps. A little is better than nothing. Set your timer for 15 minutes one day this week, don't multitask during that time, and see what you can do!

Last week on that Master Calendar, we focused on decluttering and organizing a little bit each day. We should have our winter accessories (scarves, tights, winter coats, umbrellas, etc.) pared down and organized. Take everything you have gone through this month and do a drop to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or another local charitable organization (don't forget to get a receipt for your taxes!). Many fire stations hold a winter coat drive.

Today we need to discard expired make up. I usually sit down on my bathroom floor, get everything out from under the cabinets, throw a few old pieces at my toddlers to play with so they will be distracted, and start sorting. Get all of your make up out, sort it into categories (i.e., eye shadows, blush, lipglosses, etc.), and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Click here for a list of make up expiration guidelines. Basically, if you can't remember when you purchased it, it's probably time to get rid of it. Put those items in the trash. Now that you can clearly see what is left, make an inventory. Take a Sharpie pen and write the date of expiration on the make up when you purchase it. Write the date of expiration on the inventory.

What do you need to get to replace any missing pieces? Make a list, and it's time to go shopping (YAY!). Here is a list of the basics. Don't forget to write the expiration date on the make up and add it to your inventory.

Finally, put everything back in an organized manner. This will ensure that you can see everything at a glance, you will use everything you have, and getting ready in the morning will be much easier. Which could translate to 15 extra minutes of sleep!

Check back tomorrow for tips on decluttering nail polish and perfume, AND for your November 2013 Master Calendar!

Happy Organizing!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Inventory Additions and Free 30 Days Printable

This will be short and sweet. Let's start off with my favorite...Google searches!

"maria kang" (local celebrity)
"bullet journal app" (there isn't one - million dollar idea right here!)
"minimalism" (I am sick of having so much STUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF)
"what does the fox say"

What did you research today?

I updated the Clothing Inventory listing on my Etsy shop. I added four more printables! The price has remained the same...this ONE time! I will continue to add inventory printables to this listing, but from now on, the price will increase. You will receive FIVE inventories to download instantly, for just $1.50!!!

What about the people who already ordered their clothing inventory? Have no fear! I am sending them the new inventories. I'm super fair like that. Just ask my kids.

I also have a FREE printable for you. Well, it's not really free. All I ask in return is your undying devotion to me. EASY PEASY.

The person who figured out how to get you to impulse buy is a genius. Or a serial mind game sociopath. You decide. You see an item that has been strategically placed. You want that. You convince yourself you need it. Can't live without it. In your cart it goes! Checkout! Ooo, that rush of a new toy! Then you get home. Sometimes the purchase is truly a good purchase, and you make great use of that item. Other times, it is forgotten, buried under life, perhaps found later. And then there are the times where you regret your purchase. Buyer's remorse sets in. I spent too much. I didn't really need this. I am already living paycheck to paycheck. What was I thinking?!?

How do we avoid this? I have a simple solution. The 30 Day Wait List. You can decide how to use this. I am currently using it for anything I do not need to live. If it's not food for my family, it goes on the list. I write the date, the item, and the price. If, after 30 days of being on the list, I am still thinking, breathing, LIVING for this item, I give myself permission to purchase it (assuming of course, we can afford the cost). Nearly 100% of the time, though, I am over it. I have moved on to a different "obsession". An obsession that will last less than thirty days, apparently. Maybe you will choose to write any single purchase over $50. Or $100. Maybe you will use this to write down things you want but cannot afford, and it will end up being a gift list for your family for Christmas! In any case, I would encourage you to take note of your purchases, and what is not an actual necessity. You may see a huge difference in your bank account! Those little purchases add up quickly!!!

Enjoy your new toy! For free!!! My gift to you. And don't forget to download your inventory sheets and start taking control of your life. You don't have to write that purchase down on your list. I give you permission to buy it now!

My Next Project

Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed. I have my day job projects under control. But I have too many projects at home that I want to work on simultaneously, and it just turns into my wheels spinning, spinning, spinning, getting nowhere, getting frustrated. I do a little bit of one project here, one project there, but nothing is really getting accomplished.

I haven't even googled anything in the last two days! That's how I knew something was really wrong.

What do I need to do to regroup? Organize, of course! I need to make a list of each project, and the steps needed to complete them. Then take ONE STEP at a time, and finish the projects, one at a time. This will allow me to give quality attention to each detail needed to be thorough in my projects.

I decided to create a printable for this. It is small enough to fit in my daily planner. I will always have it with me, so I can add notes/projects as I think of them. I actually saw a similar printable when I googled this, but the website no longer existed, so I had to recreate the printable. Please click HERE to download your FREE "My Next Project" printable!!!

This week, a friend asked for help with putting together a budget printable. This is a great idea, something I have been doing for a few years now. I cannot tell you how eye opening it is to write down EVERY SINGLE purchase I make. It truly makes me think twice before I put something in my cart at the grocery store. Additionally, for bigger ticket items, or something I say I "need", but isn't really required for survival, I have a "30 Days List". I write the date and the item. If I am still DYING for the item thirty days after I write it down, I buy it (IF I can afford it at that time). Most of the time, I am over it! The impulse buy is POWERFUL. Don't let it steal your money!

I created a budget template for all of 2014, PLUS the last two months for 2013, so that you can get a jump start on organizing your finances before the new year! Available in my Etsy shop for less than a rotisserie chicken!!!


I had time to tackle more than one calendar item today! I love those days.

I decluttered towels and washcloths, recycling old ones to the hall closet for dusting, or the garage for washing cars or other dirty clean up.

I pulled out all of our sheets from the hall closet, matched sheets to pillowcases, and labeled them with a note so I would remember which size was which.

I decluttered hangers. I made sure all of my oldest daughter's clothes were hung on pink hangers, the younger daughter's clothes are on white hangers. I like all white hangers. My husband does not care, so I gave him any colored hangers I had.

I checked all of the pillows and mended one that had stuffing leaking out.

I shook out all of the door mats.

My husband cleaned the HVAC filter. We do this every two months. I have a reminder in my Master Calendar, and I use an electronic reminder. We have a reusable filter, so he just used a hose on it. If you do not have a reusable filter, please do not hose off your filter! You will need to make a note of the size of the filter (or take it with you), and go to Lowe's or Home Depot or another home improvement store. Walmart might even have them? Maybe Target? PICK TARGET! I LOVE TARGET! This is something that you can stock up on, so if you happen to find filters on sale, get a few to have on hand. Then you don't have to go out every time you need to replace it. A quick Google search tells me to change filters every 60 days. Depending on your air quality, pets, construction environment around the home, etc., you may need to do it every 30 days. I would also recommend scheduling regular HVAC maintenance every 6 months. This can cost anywhere between $30-$90 per visit. You will be prolonging the life of your unit if you do this. I just replaced the HVAC system for my house. Top Ramen every night for the next six years! The company that installed our unit said that as long as we clean the filter every two months, we do not need regular maintenance checks. So ask your local HVAC company if your system requires regular inspections.

I had lunch with a friend. This is huge for me. I am an introvert by nature. I am social, but only "social media social". I like to work through my lunch. I was dreading lunch all morning, but then I got to the restaurant, and of course, I had an amazing time. She is my oldest friend, and it was good for my soul to see her. This was a good reminder that it is important to do things that benefit just yourself sometimes. What have you done for yourself lately that has been just for you? I would encourage you to do something for yourself.

I did NOT clear the closet floor, because a) it is only covered in shoes, and b) my girls would follow behind me and undo all of my shoe organization in less than two seconds. I have to be realistic about some things. But one day, I will be able to pick up my closet floor, so I keep it on the calendar. And if I had any stray items had been on the closet floor (i.e., sweatshirt, toys, books, etc.), I would have picked them up and put them away in their proper place.

On the agenda for this weekend:

Planning my daughter's third birthday party! Since I did ^^so much^^ today, I will be able to relax and focus on party planning. One of my favorite things to do! We are doing a coffee theme. The girl loves coffee. She is ALWAYS stealing my coffee. That's how you can tell I really love her. Because I let her drink my coffee.

Next week my goals are to:

Plant garlic
Obtain a quote to clean out the fireplace and chimney
Start a gift list for the holidays
Clean gutters
Inspect wooden fences for exposed nails (you could also do this on a wooden deck)
Recaulk around doors and windows where needed

I also have on my calendar to insulate exposed pipes. However, it isn't cooling down that much just yet. So I moved this to my "To Do" list to check again in October.

I have a surprise for you! Check out my Facebook page for a sneak peek of something fun coming your way in 2014!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Writing Letters To My Kids and Currently Cards

The weekend is coming! Do you have any exciting plans? My plan is to go to Walmart and pick up some humidifier filters. It's a wild life, I tell ya...

Recent Google searches...

"2008 Nissan Versa tire pressure" (mine were low)

What did you research today?

When I was little, my mom used to write the cute, funny things my brother and I said in a book. On rainy days, we would look through photo albums and read that book. That is a memories I cherish, and a tradition I want to repeat with my family. As I was cleaning out my desk this year, I found a set of three blank journals I picked up at some point. I was about to give them to a friend when I thought, "HEY! I have three kids, and three books. I should start writing that book." (as a side note, I'm really good at math, right?) So I brought the books to work (because that's where I get the most personal stuff completed), and they sat in the drawer for about four months.

Every time I looked at the books I was afraid. Afraid I wouldn't know exactly the right words to say. Afraid I would write in pen and spell something wrong. Afraid my kids wouldn't like the books.

Then I realized, as I was looking through my grandmother's photo albums, that I wished I knew more. What was life like for her? What kinds of things did she like and dislike? What foods did she eat? What jobs did she have? So I started writing. I figured if I hated how it came out, I would just toss the books. What ended up happening was that I LOVED MY BOOKS! I enjoy writing in them so much that I do it nearly every day! I cannot wait to pass these books on to my kids. I think they will be interested to read about what life was like when they were younger from their mom's perspective. Especially after I'm dead (yeah, I went there).

Something else I wanted to log, although perhaps not as often, is what is going on in life, "CURRENTLY". What are we watching on TV, what songs do we like, what books are we reading? So I made these "Currently..." cards. I punch holes in them and keep them in my planner. I may pull them out and scrapbook them one day, or staple a few into the kids' books I am writing for them. I may create an entire package dedicated just to these. They are up for sale in my Etsy shop. I have four designs so far. You get ALL FOUR designs in your purchase, and you can print these over and over again, endlessly! So basically, you will receive a lifetime supply of "Currently..." cards, for less than a roll of washi tape. Which runs out. QUICKLY, if you're at my house.

Stay tuned next week, I will be giving away the November 2013 Master Calendar (sounds so ominous!), as well as finishing up tips and details from the October calendar.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The List Post

Are you still working on your clothing inventory? This is the last time I will mention it! Lest I begin to sound like my kids. "I don't want carrots. I no eat carrots. Deez carrots gross. Dey old. No carrots for me." On and on, until I want to shove the carrots in my ears so I do not have to hear the word "carrots" EVER. AGAIN.

Recent Google searches:

"how much sleep does a 16 month old need" (FYI, the answer wasn't enough sleep for my liking)
"ctfd parenting"
"dream big little one" (love this blog)
"how to roast sunflower seeds"

"the difference between AM radio and FM radio"
"are raw hot dogs bad for you"

Those last two searches are from my almost 11 year old son. I love his inquisitive mind, and his thirst for knowledge. My little googling protege!

What did you research today?

I made this week light on the Master Calendar because my daughter's birthday is today! She is three. She ran into our bedroom this morning, shouting, "MOMMY! MOMMY! I'M THREE TODAY!!!" She makes me wish I was still three. What a fun age. Emotions are pure, not tainted by experience. I really enjoy watching her grow and learn. This week is open for completing the final details for her party.

Let's review what we have done so far this month:
Clear space for out of season clothes
Create storage inventory for clothes
Wash/dust all light fixtures
Declutter outgrown kid clothes
Donate old winter coats
Organize gloves, scarves, hats
Declutter night stands
Clean under beds (also known as binky recruitment at our house!)
Declutter dressers
Clean front yard, back yard, and garden
Plant onions
Attend local festival (we went to two!)
PLUS! Our Daily Zones every day!!!

Whew! Look at all of this! And the month isn't even half over yet. I can't wait to see what we can accomplish during the last half of the month!!! Since this week is light, assuming you don't also have a birthday party to plan, take this week to catch up on anything you need to work on. Sit down, make a list of tasks you want to complete, and then write them down in prioritized order. Then get started!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Clothing Inventory

I am a purger. It is very rare that I hold onto anything that is not an absolute necessity. This can be a flaw for me, as I get rid of things that should be kept for sentimental reasons. I do not like clutter, so throwing something away, or giving it away, is cleansing for me. With less "stuff", I feel like I am able to keep track of everything. I feel like the overall space is neater.

My husband is not a purger. He also isn't a hoarder by any means. But to me, he keeps too much stuff. He has an entire dresser drawer stuffed full of socks and underwear. I have one little container with all the socks and underwear I need.

There is a place in the middle where we can meet. He could purge some socks, and I could add to my sock collection, and the world would not come to an end.

The only exception to this is shoes. Even this purger knows you can never have too many shoes!

How do you know if the clothes in your closet need to be purged? Or if you need more items? Take a clothing inventory! This will help you make smart, intentional, purchases to create a complete wardrobe that works well together. If I don't do this, I end up with four shirts in emerald because I know emerald is an "in" color for fall, but I have no bottoms to go with them. Or, I play it safe and only buy black and white, because then everything goes together. But it's boringzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

This process will assist in organizing your closets and dressers, which will eliminate clutter. If you search (through my favorite search engine) for "clothing basics checklist", you will find several ideas for basic clothing that will provide a solid foundation for your wardrobe. Find these pieces in your closet, then build on them with seasonal pieces and accessories to create your signature style.

Check out my Etsy shop for a clothing inventory printout available for immediate download, and get started on your organization process today!

Once you have completed the steps below, you will be able to keep one copy of the inventory for each person in your Family Planner, and keep one copy in your purse. Or, e-mail the inventory to yourself and keep it on your smart phone. When you are out shopping, you can refer to the list. You will know what pieces you need, and what sizes to get!

Print your clothing inventory, one for each person in your household. I like to write down ahead of time how many of each item I need. My son wears jeans to school. I will write down that he needs 6 pairs of jeans. One for each school day, one extra in case something happens, and he does have other pants that he CAN wear if needed. Now you have created a basic clothing checklist within your clothing inventory.

Decide which room you will start in. I am starting with my son's clothes. School just started, the weather is changing, and I need to know what he has outgrown and what will be needed to get him through the fall and winter months.

My son is almost 11. He has the ability to change in and out of his own clothes rather quickly. So each season, he puts on a "fashion show" for us. I sit in the play room with the girls, we turn up the music, and we watch him dance around with his clothes. It is a fun, silly activity. We are together as a family, and there is a lot of dancing and laughter. A great bonding experience, and we are being efficient! After each outfit, he discards the clothes into the following piles:

Keep - Active: This pile is for every day wear. He will wear these clothes to school.

Keep - Grubby: The clothes that still fit but have a stain, or are on the small side and won't fit all season. He will wear these in the evenings, to do chores, or for lounging on the weekends.

Give Away: These clothes are in good condition, but are too small. They will either go to Goodwill, or be sold in a garage sale if we plan on having one soon. Wash everything in this pile, even if it was in a dresser ready to wear. Then place it in a bag/box in the garage until you are ready for your garage sale or drop to Goodwill.

Trash: These clothes no longer fit, but have been thrashed to the point that they are not suitable to give away or sell.

I also have two girls, both under the age of three. They are not able to dress themselves. Trying to wriggle them in and out of their entire wardrobe would be like spending fourteen hours wearing a blindfold, grabbing handfuls of wet, limp noodles, stuffing them into a straw, while a baby kangaroo kicks you in the stomach and a squid attaches itself to the top of your head and screams, "Mama! Mama! MAMAAAAAAA!" Instead, so as not to cause permanent psychological damage, I put one outfit on them that fits well. I then use this as my "master" outfit. Then I remove all of the clothes from their room, and after they go to bed, I sit peacefully on the floor in the living room, watch Parenthood on DVR, and compare each item of clothing they have to the "master" outfit. I separate each piece into the same piles listed above.

Now that all of the clothes are separated into piles, I take the Keep - Active pile, and organize it by article of clothing. I will do the same for Keep - Grubby pile, but I will keep those stored in his closet in a separate area. I will run the Give Away pile through the wash, and then it will go into a box or bag. The Trash pile will either go in the trash, or a sewing scraps pile, or in the garage to cut up and use as rags. Following is an example of types of clothing:

Running pants
Khaki pants
Long sleeve tees
Long sleeve button up shirts
Short sleeve tees
Under shirts
Short sleeve golf shirts
Long sleeve onesies
Short sleeve onesies
Athletic Socks
Dress Socks
Bathing suit

I will do the same thing with accessories later this month. If you would like to address that now, you can add the following piles:


Next, with your printed list, tally the number of pieces you have in each category. Compare that column to the "Number Needed" column, and you can easily see what you need to buy.

Make a note of what sizes fit well. Some sizing changes by brand, so if he has a favorite shirt, I will note the brand and the size. I will also make notes of favorite colors and off limit colors.

My kids are fairly easy in that they wear the clothes they have. Adults have more psychology going into what they wear. Does it fit exactly right? Is it still in style? Is it a good color on me? Does it make me feel good about myself? DO THESE PANTS MAKE MY BUTT LOOK FAT?!? When you are editing your clothes each season, you will also need to be editing based on what you actually wear. If you haven't worn that neon orange blouse in two years because you are nervous about the color, you need to get over it. Either wear the blouse, or give it to someone who will!

I do not store clothes that are not in season. I do not do this for two reasons. The first, and main reason being that we live in a place in California, where I can usually get away with wearing flip flops all year if I feel like it. The second reason is that I do not keep a bunch of excess clothing items, so I do not have a need to store anything.

If you need to store out of season clothing, then start thinking about the storage space in your home. Where will you store your clothes? Under the bed? A hall closet? Garage? Attic? Basement? Decide where you have the space, and declutter closets to make room if necessary. Make sure the space isn't damp, and is protected from the environment. Space bags or a plastic container with a lid would assist with this. Complete a separate inventory for each bin, and tape it on the outside of the container, or place it right inside, on top of your clothing for easy reference. Keep the original in a file or on your computer, so you can reference the inventory without accessing the bin once you have stored it.

In addition to storing out of season clothes, you may have two little ones that are close enough in age that you will have hand me downs, but the clothes will not go immediately from one child to the next (there might be one or two years before the next child can wear the clothes). Use the clothing inventory to make a note of the clothes and sizes, and store the inventory with these bins as well. There will be no guessing when you go looking for stored clothes about sizes!

Now that you have your out of season items stored, and your basics and favorite pieces are ready to go back into your closet, look at what you have and then look at your closet. What is the best way to display your items in your closet? Jeans folded and placed on the top shelf? Do you need to buy a shoe rack or bins? Do you need any special hooks or hangers? Are you able to make any special purchases to make your closet a dream closet? Like uniformed hangers, or a small vanity and mirror? Decide how you want the space to look, and then reorganize your clothes to fit that.

I use a large rectangle shaped plastic food container to store my kids' socks and underwear. Shirts in a dresser end up looking like this. In real life, it looks like that for about three days. Then my daughters like to get into the drawers and play dress up. That's okay. I take care of it during my Daily Zone time. And this phase won't last forever. One day, I will have neat drawers all the time!

Since everything is cleared out of your closet, if you have the time, you can also take this time to paint or wallpaper the space. When I have time, I would love to do something like this in my son's closet:

And this in my girls' closet:

Side note: are you following me on Pinterest yet? Please do!

As mentioned earlier, we will address accessories later this month, but here is the order of my closet:

Sleeveless blouses
Short sleeve blouses
Long sleeve blouses
Short dresses
Maxi dresses
Short (but not too short) skirts
Long skirts

On the side shelves in the closet, the order is:

Flip flops

Now your clothes are organized, you have a fresh idea (and a list!) of what you have and what you need. Take a step back and enjoy your newly organized spaces!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Good Bye September, Hello October

Can you believe today is the last day of September? Are you ready to start the Master Calendar for October? Have you received your free October printable yet? I will be going through it here on the blog, so be sure to check in for tips!

As promised, I have a free notes printable for you! Just click HERE to download your free printable! I use this to jot down thoughts throughout the day, and then transfer them to my master To Do list in Evernote. You could also print a bunch on some heavier paper, glue at the top, and TA-DA...notepad!

Google searches from this weekend:

"gluten free pumpkin recipes" (YUM)
"Cowboys game today" (they lost)
"post it quiz" (what is your organization style - find out here)
"mid century modern font" (designing a logo for my boss - it came out AMAZING!)
"bee and babes" (love this blog)

What did you research today?

I had a very busy weekend that involved a lot of back and forth traveling. We would pack a bag(s) with clothes, diapers, snacks, drinks, extra clothes, shoes, toys, etc., head to our destination, and return late and exhausted. The next morning, we would get up and empty the bags and start the process all over again. Of course by Sunday night, the house was a disaster, piles of clothes, both dirty and clean (but not separated that way), leftover snacks and drinks, shoes, and toys are littering the house. And we were all too tired to address the mess. Today I have that feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. So I will make a list. Room by room, I will write down everything I want to complete. I will prioritize each room with a number system, start at the top of the list, and go one step at a time. I cannot wait to get my house in order again!

In addition to tackling the items listed in the Master Calendar next month, I have also been working on a monthly planner, and an adorable menu planner. Eventually, all of these items will go into a Family Planner, which will be a custom package that you can put together to help get your life in order!

The day before a new month, I review the Master Calendar and put a list of items on my To Do list in Evernote. I also write some items on a sticky note to keep in my planner. As I complete the work, I delete the items in Evernote, and cross them off my sticky notes.

The Evernote tasks are items I can just do. They don't require anything other than time. The sticky note tasks require something other than time. Perhaps money or purchasing something from a store, some googling, needing an item from someone else, creating a printable, etc.

I would like your feedback on the notes printable! Would you prefer a different size (this is meant to be printed on 8.5x11 paper), different color, more writing space, different sections for writing, etc.? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Birdhouse: DIY Stained Concrete Floor

We purchased a home earlier this year. And we have three children. This means we will be broke untillllllllll...forever. So when we want to do projects around the house, we have to find an economical way to do them.

The main bathroom and the laundry room had old linoleum on the floors. It was not attractive, and it was lifting in some areas due to water damage. The master bathroom had CARPET in it. WHO DOES THAT? Carpet in a bathroom should seriously be illegal.

The toilet in the master bathroom leaked the week before Easter Sunday. We talked about ripping up the carpet at the time of the leak, but didn't really have a flooring solution. We waited until Easter Sunday morning. 7:30 a.m. on Easter morning is a good time to do home improvements. Right?

We did not feel capable of installing new flooring, and we cannot afford to pay someone else to install new flooring. So I did some googling (duh), and found this. What a great set of instructions! Here are the steps we took, which are somewhat modified.

Just like a recipe, PLEASE read the instructions from beginning to end, and gather all of your ingredients BEFORE you begin this process. I don't do that with my cooking. Or with this. But I think YOU should.

Various tools for floor removal (screwdriver, exact-o-knife, hammer, sander, mask, etc.)
Broom, mop, vacuum
Painter's tape
Several paint brushes and/or paint rollers of various sizes
Paint trays
Gloves (so you don't get stain on your hands)
Leftover paint, or purchase some paint. This would be a great time to buy reduced priced remnants, returns, or samples from the home improvement store.
Semi-transparent concrete stain (see note in Step Seven regarding color)
Pet hair (trust me)
Concrete sealant


Step One:
Remove all furniture from the room. Rip out carpet (or linoleum).

Step Two:
There was a second set of linoleum beneath, so we had to rip that out as well. There was glue stuck to the concrete. We chiseled it, and my husband used a sander (please wear a mask if you do this) to get down to the actual concrete slab.

In the carpeted bathroom, we had to remove the tack strips. You may need a crowbar for this.

Step Three:
Repair floors. We enjoy the industrial look of the concrete. We didn't care about little chips and cracks. So we left it the way it was.

Step Four:
Clean floors. We swept and mopped the floors.

Step Five:
Tape baseboards and around the toilet. The stain still splattered EV-ER-Y-WHERE.

Step Six:
Paint floors. We used leftover exterior paint. It was a tan-ish color. You could use gray, white, anything really! This gives the floor a uniform base color.

Step Seven:
Apply semi-transparent stain. We used a small roller brush. The blog I referred to earlier has a different method. Try a small area to make sure you like the application.

Here is a note to make when purchasing your stain. You mix it, like you would to get a paint color. I did not know this. We bought the semi-transparent stain and took it home. We opened the can and it was a murky opaque color. I thought, maybe it changes color when you put it on the concrete. We applied it to the concrete. We watched. And watched. It did not change color. We went back to the store and asked an employee. They informed us that a color must be chosen to mix with the stain.

We went back home and got the stain. I also grabbed some dog hair. Stay with me on this. At the store, we were presented with color options. I threw the dog hair on the samples, and chose the sample that hid the dog hair the best. Laziness at its finest, people.

Now that our stain color was mixed, we can actually complete Step Seven.

This is two coats. One coat would have been enough. But do you see that seam down the middle of the floor? It was much more prominent with just one coat. We were trying to cover that up with a second coat. It doesn't bother me, I like the imperfections that come along with this concrete staining process. If you don't, beware that the stain dries quickly, so uniformity may not occur.

Step Eight:
Apply sealer. Roll it on the floor just like you did the paint.

You will have to figure out drying times based on your climate, the current weather conditions, and dry times noted on the products you are using.

You are done! Put your furniture/appliances back and enjoy your beautiful new floor!!!

As you can see, this room quickly went back to use. Ah, well, I will pick it up tonight during my Daily Zone time!

The first time we did this project was in the master bathroom. The entire process took 4-5 days from start to finish. This was not a large area to complete, but we were inexperienced. We also allowed generous time for drying. We were unable to use that bathroom for the whole week. Keep this in mind before beginning your project.

The main bathroom went much faster, 2-3 days. And for the laundry room, I left for work Monday morning and the project wasn't started yet. When I came home from work on Tuesday, the project was totally complete, dry, washer and dryer working, etc. This can be a very fast, easy, and cost effective project once you get the hang of it.

This project cost less than $100 total for all three rooms. That's a steal! Eventually, I want to do the kitchen and entry way. But not being able to use my kitchen for two days is definitely not an option right now.

As a final note, I used a lot of "we" throughout this post. Really, my husband did 99% of the work. I did things like stand nearby and watch. Emotional support is important, too.

Have you ever stained concrete? Share your work!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

About Me

I am a native Northern California girl, and I work outside of the house full time for the largest property management company in the world (*insert evil laugh here*).  I am addicted to coffee (gold member at Starbucks #arrived), Google, and organizing.  My dream job is to be an organizational psychologist (it’s a thing).  My hobbies include judging people on Facebook, checking my iPhone every 45 seconds, and wearing black.

I would list all of my favorite TV shows, but then you might think I don’t do anything else, so let’s just say my favorite channels are HGTV, Food Network, BRAVO, and prime time weeknight channels like NBC/ABC (think Parenthood, Chicago PD, Survivor, etc.).  You can assume I watch nearly every single show on said channels.  I would like to thank the inventor of DVR, and insomnia, for making this possible.

What I hope to offer you is inspiration, motivation, and a thirst for learning.  I’m here to share how I try to improve my home, my family, and myself.  I try to balance my happiness with biting sarcasm so you don’t hate me for being so cheerful.

Freshly Brewed

How was your weekend? Mine was beautiful. It rained on Saturday. I love the rain. It smells so good.

In the middle of the heaviest downpour, my husband and I thought it would be best to take our three children to the grocery store. It was perfect timing for the nap schedule. The nap schedule always wins, and doesn't give one hoot about the weather. We came home and dried off and then made s'mores by the fireplace.

Then Sunday was bright and sunny, but still cool. A perfect first day of Fall. I don't need a calendar to tell me it's fall. I know because, all of the sudden, I have these uncontrollable urges to purchase leaf shaped stickers and put pumpkin in everything.

Googles from the weekend:

"marble jar allowance system" (trying to motivate my ten year old to do chores)
"is Jennifer Aniston pregnant" (no)
"gluten free peanut butter cookies"
"dream interpretation"

What did you research this weekend?

I also did some party planning this weekend. This is one of my favorite things to do because it involves organizing and parties. Coming up with creative party ideas is my idea of a good time.

I love coffee, and my daughter has my coffee loving gene. I only give her small sips here and there. I'm not filling her up with espresso and then letting her fly around the house with a dewebber attached to her backside. Although, that gives me a really great idea for Shark Tank. *makes a note*

She is about to turn three. I figure this is probably the last year she will not care what kind of party she has. From here on out, I expect it to be princesses, Minnie, and pink tea parties. Which is absolutely fine with me. And I will design the heck out of those themes. But for now, I want to do something unique. Her first birthday party theme was pink golf. Her daddy is a golf lover, and I wanted to do something for him for his first baby girl's first birthday. For her second birthday, she was really into trains, so I did a vintage train theme with a feminine twist. And now, coffee.

I don't try to reinvent the wheel with party planning. If you Google "party planning checklist", you will get a bunch of results that all basically say the same thing. I should probably create a checklist and save it. Maybe for the Family Planner I have in the works. But for now, I Google. Because it feels so good.

I keep tons of lists going in various places. My organizing style is a hybrid between physically writing things down, and having electronic organization. For party planning, I do it electronically. I use Evernote and keep a list of things to do. When they have been completed, I delete them.

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, since I have less than three weeks until party day! Writing it down makes it seems doable. One step at a time. Today, I will focus on: decorations, games, crafts, and favors. Manageable!

Also going on this week are some home improvements. We have awful, old linoleum in our bathrooms and laundry room. We (meaning my husband) are ripping it out and staining the concrete. Photos to follow!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Did everyone receive the October 2013 Master Calendar? I have been having some e-mail issues. I was hacked! The issue has been resolved for now. Please comment on this post if you did not receive your free printable, and I will make sure you receive it.

And I think you should receive something for the inconvenience. Right?!? So I will be providing a November 2013 Master Calendar printable to everyone. AND I think a fun Notes printable! Keep your eyes peeled for the release of those in the next couple of weeks.

Googles for today...

"when was the constitution formed" (my son Googled that because they had Constitution Day at school)
"rupert survivor" (Survivor starts tonight!)
"grow food not lawns" (showing my husband the philosophy that our neighbors have adopted)
"itti kids" (suuuuuuuuuuper cute pajamas...WANT!)
" for couples" (this needs to be invented for couples who want to meet other couples in their area with like interests, don't you think?)

What did you research today?

Let's talk about WHY we organize. I like things in order, specifically, at a 90 degree angle whenever possible. I actually enjoy organizing and creating systems that make life more efficient. For me, organization is a good thing because it makes me feel good.

Organization is human nature. We organize people; men, women, adults, babies, teenagers, friends, family. We organize parts of our day; home, work, school, sleep, meals. We organize things; colors, shapes, sizes, textures. We are creatures of habit and organization assists in forming those habits.

^Skittles. Organized.

There is even organized chaos. Do you know those people who have a really messy office or bedroom, but yet they know the exact location of the item you have requested? Their brains have mapped out their space even in what one might view as chaos.

The purpose of organization at my house, other than enjoyment for myself, is for efficiency and support for my family.

My son is beginning his tween years and has hormones going crazy in his body. He is starting to care about his hair and his clothes. He is learning how to deal with friends when they aren't being good friends. He is learning how to be a good friend himself. He is receiving an enormous amount of knowledge every day in class, as well as exerting himself physically during his after school activities. He needs to be focusing on his education and developing character. Having some order/rules/chores/organization provides support for him. He knows he will find his coat on the hook in the laundry room. He knows he will find his cereal bowl in a certain cupboard. When he prepares his lunch the night before a school day, he goes to bed with a sense of calm (along with his other bedtime routines), and awakens with a sense of accomplishment. He has the proper amount of time to get ready for his day and leaves the house peacefully, instead of scrambling around and possibly forgetting something important.

My husband and I both work outside of the home. When we get home from work, we have three children to feed and bathe. Except for the ten year old. He sort of bathes on his own. Except for behind the ears. Why always behind the ears?!? Anyway, if we get home and the house is a disaster, we do not feel calm. I find it difficult to enjoy my children when I am constantly thinking about what needs to be cleaned up. Keeping an organized house allows me to sit down and focus on my kids. Except when they are being whiny. In which case, I have three kids to give away for free. Any takers? ANYBODY?!?

I also enjoy spending time with that guy I married. If I spend all of my energy searching for lost items or trying to figure out where an item would go if it did not have a designated spot, then I have no energy left at the end of the day to sit on the couch next to him and stare at our respective phone screens all evening. I'm kidding! We watch DVR and drink heavily...WATER! Right now we love to watch Cutthroat Kitchen.

These are the reasons I find organization to be useful and essential in my life. I am also a helper by nature. Do you struggle with organization? I would love to help you. Start a conversation with me on Etsy, and let's see what we can do for you.