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.