When You Feel Like You Are Losing Your Mind

Hey everybody!  Fall is in full swing – and several started-but-unfinished posts have been languishing in my draft folder for weeks.  I hit a wall – with life in general, really – and have been in sheer survival mode.  Many days (and nights) I have been convinced that I am losing my mind!

I started a 2nd part time job and it is more physically demanding and less mentally demanding than my other part-time job.  Hours were a bit long in the beginning, but they have eased up and I am settling in.  Just in time for the Holidays.  (I am part-time bookkeeper for a non-profit agency and also now a cashier at a local drugstore).  Getting my schedule together has been a challenge – let alone finishing posts and making more printables.

So the blog went to the back burner while my mind spun ideas about posts to write during Fall.  

And I know that I am NOT the only one who *hated* all of the robocalls and commercials for voting.  SO glad that is over.  Now maybe we can figure out how to work together like Americans.

THEN Daylight Savings came.

Whoever decided that the Time Change was necessary (and yes, I know all about it) and we should continue to adhere to it despite the shift to industrialization in our country did not have mothers in mind.  Or working women.  In their late 40s.  With kids who stress over minor changes…

We are STILL adjusting to the darkness.  My kids are begging to go to bed at 6:30.  But then getting up at 5:00 a.m.!!!   It is NOT good!!!  All 3 are having sensory reactions to the changing season – more significantly than in previous years – and sometimes, we have all been in bed by 8 pm just so everybody could HANDLE things.

I am thankful that I can pray to a God who hears and sees.

For real.  I pray quietly, I pray out loud, and I pray by journaling.  If I did not have prayer, I would not survive this crazy time. 

I have said more than once – I feel like I can’t handle my life right now.  Lots of juggling balls, tracking schedules, dealing with finances.  It has been crazy messy more often than not.

I am also thankful for essential oils.

More often than not, I can be found diffusing or applying essential oils while mumbling out a prayer at the same time.  I have been using “stress” and “sleep” oils more often than not of late.  The stress makes it hard for me to sleep through the night and not sleeping makes the stress harder to roll with.  I am taking the vitamins and drinking the water and trying to find at least ONE thing to be thankful for every day, but sometimes the waves feel stronger and I lose my breath.

I am writing all this in the spirit of encouragement really.  When you feel like you’re losing your mind, I can highly recommend 2 strategies :

  • PRAYER
  • ESSENTIAL OILS

Yes there are other things like counseling, journaling, mindfulness, checkups, naps, etc., that can be beneficial. 

But these two things have made all the difference between FEELING like I’m losing my mind and actually LOSING my mind!

I want to share some essential oil recipes soon along with some favorite Fall treat recipes!  That’s what I have brewing in my blogging pot, and am praying I can get them out here for you to enjoy!!!

Fall Family Update

About a week and a half ago, my husband and I were sitting out back together discussing just how perfect the weather was.  It had been cool and a little misty that morning, but the sun had come out and a few fluffy clouds floated through the sky.  We celebrated with our new fire pit he & Kaity put together in the back yard – roasting marshmallows, burning cedar that had fallen in our yard and just watching the fire burn.

i love fire

Fast forward to yesterday and it was an abysmal HUMID almost-90 DEGREE day!  In October!  

Personally, I think it should be illegal.  I think it is dangerous to pumpkins and other gourds (hey – maybe I am a PUMPKIN!!!)  and it should just be banned from the repertoire of fall weather.  I expect rain showers and thunder storms.  I expect fog delays and cool evenings.

Anyways, it looks like that typical fall weather is coming in the next 36 hours, so I won’t complain anymore.  I enjoy the colder weather and watching football and drinking hot chocolate…  

I got a sweet Facetime call from Porter on Sunday night.  Oh that little guy.  Can’t even believe how much he has grown since we got to see him in March!  His sweet Mama said “he has found his attitude” and I got to see it a bit.  Oh my I remember those days.  At least he is still cuddly.  Although I can’t complain, because when I let her, my 13 year old still climbs in my lap for a hug every so often.   He is saying several words (or NOT saying several words upon request. lol) and said “Gigi” a bunch – which obviously melted my heart!!!  

Flag football is in full force, and Sam is having fun playing!  He caught the first touchdown of the season – and since then has worked on trying to pull a flag and catch another ball.  He is definitely in second grade cuz he is torn between paying attention to the game or flossing between plays with his buddies…

He only has a few games left in the season and then sister Kaity will be starting basketball.  Kaity is in 5th grade and started band this year.  Claira decided not to continue playing flute, so Kaity is picking it up this year. 
The school got a new director who seems to have added some sass to the band’s performances -and she really enjoys her classes. She is excited about learning and playing and says she might play in marching band AND be a cheerleader when she is older.    For this basketball season, Dad will be assistant coach again, and apparently several of her teammates from last year are already asking when practices begin!

Greg started eating Keto about 2 months ago and is seeing lots of great results!  He has lost about 20# and continues to eat Keto for most meals.  It is somewhat similar to THM (S) meals, so at times, I will join him.  We have tried some really interesting recipes and he keeps finding more to try.  Some of them are great for the family, and some are just for him & me. 

As for me, I’m working more and staying busy, trying to get the house ready for cooler weather and keeping kids on schedule and on task.  Yep, I’m tired.  I recently won a little giveaway on Instagram from a Cleveland planner group (@CreativeClevelandPlanners on Instagram) and was SO excited to get my prizes!  I am using a TN (traveler’s notebook) and have been for months – this came in a different size with some CUTE accessories!

Right now I don’t have inserts that fit the planner cover, but now that I have it, I can make plans to use it next fall when school starts!  Who says Pumpkins can’t come til October??? 

It’s a fun time of year and we enjoy our Pumpkin spice lattes and hot cocoa with marshmallows, and will have many more cups to come.

As Summer Comes to an End

Does it feel to you – as it does to me – that summer just got started?  Whew!  I am not sure where all the time went, although I do know we have been pretty busy and I guess it has just been the motion of our lives…  As summer comes to an end, though, I think I can say we are ready for school to start.  For the most part.

June was a nice month here in Ohio.  Cooler than previous years, we did spend a lot of time outside – sitting on our back deck watching the wide variety of birds twitter around our yard.  Kaity had done a bird project during school last year, and she had learned a lot about different birds.  We saw gray catbirds (her bird of choice), bluebirds, chickadees, finches, sparrows, robins, titmice, 4 different kinds of woodpeckers, house sparrows, and so many more.  We have a tree that hosts hummingbirds and our feeder saw lots of action before it got hot – and is seeing it again, now that it’s a bit cooler in the evenings.  Hummingbirds are amazing.  I love watching them.  The kids and I got to make a trip to visit my Aunt Vicki outside of Ft Wayne Indiana, and then to my parents overnight.  We were able to release butterflies in honor of my niece, Ashtyn, who was an organ donor.  That was very special.

July came and it got HOT.  Thankfully, our central air has been holding up and we have some refuge inside.  July & August are when I spend lots more time indoors.  I can’t take the heat or the humidity.  And now that August is halfway through, the evenings are getting cooler at times, and I can enjoy sitting out back with my family again.

We have had several major events this year.  Greg was driving to work and got hit by a deer (yep, she hit him).  It was a doe.  A deer.  A female deer. ahem.  At least he wasn’t seriously hurt and we got to spend an extra day together!

It wrecked his front end and the car was no longer driveable.  We have remained a one-vehicle family for the bulk of the summer – and while it has been challenging, God has blessed us with a family who has been VERY generous in loaning us a car or taking me to work the 2 days I work.  It is not easy for any of us, and we are still praying for the right vehicle.

We also added a TEENAGER to our house this summer!  Ack!  Kaity turned 11 in July, but Claira turned 13 just last week.  I cannot believe how fast my children are growing and don’t like the way time is moving so quickly.  Claira is starting the 8th grade; Kaity is going into 5th; Sam is going into 2nd.  Wowza.  I wouldn’t feel so old if my kids weren’t growing up so fast!

I have done a LOT of reading up on herbs & essential oils.  When I got the Herbs & EOs ultimate bundle earlier this year, I knew I would be referring to the e-books that came in the bundle, but I have also joined several Facebook groups and am learning so much!  I also visited an iridologist which was a VERY interesting experience, and I am able to enjoy some herbal preparations which have been a new experience.  I am also hoping to visit a chiropractor/naturopath in a neighboring town for some additional learning opportunities.  

My love for herbs has grown dramatically this summer and I get super passionate talking about them with anyone who actually KNOWS about herbs & oils.  I love my EOs and we use them ALL THE TIME, but the herb is not just an EO source, and I love knowing the benefits of incorporating herbs into a healthier lifestyle.  Growing them, harvesting them and turning them into products we can use at home…

Greg started the Keto food plan this summer, and while I have been slow to jump on board, we are definitely eating more veggies & more balanced meals.  He has lost some weight and is keeping to it!  We are learning to cook new things in new ways and learning to like it.  My Aunt has an air fryer and Greg & I have already discussed the idea of getting one for our anniversary/Christmas in December so we can cook in even more healthy ways.

I hope you have enjoyed your summer.  School starts next week for my kiddos and we will have a few more fun weekend activities before we settle into our school routine.  Easing into the schedule change has been a little rough – even for me – but we are getting there.

Feel free to post comments on your summer activities, new learning opportunities you have had, events & milestones in your life – or just say Hi!

Hello Again!

Hello again friends & readers!  It is hard to believe that February is coming to an end already, but time waits for no one, does it?

I have taken some downtime in a lot of areas in my life – and have taken a step back to reconsider many of the activities, goals, dreams, and responsibilities that I have absorbed for quite some time.  Some of these things I have had to just let go – some of them, I have had to fight to keep in perspective.  I often thought of sharing this here on my blog, but one of my problems has been that I sorta “lost my voice” where my blog is concerned.

I got really caught up in all this good advice from expert bloggers who work from home and support their families.  Very good advice that has worked for hundreds of people.  But I have come to realize that my blog only works when it comes from my heart and when it reflects my actual life and not just the life I hope to have.  Authenticity is a HUGE motivating factor for me, and while nobody asked me to put up a false persona, I found myself struggling to keep my authenticity while putting some steps into place.

It’s why my blogging became really sporadic and haphazard.  It wasn’t joyful anymore and I was overwhelmed by all I “should” be doing and not about what was just happening in my life and how God was working.  That’s where my voice is and that’s where I want to stay.  My topics have stayed pretty true to me, but I found myself forcing a lot of content and I just couldn’t stick with it.

While that was going on, I started experiencing more and more physical & health setbacks.   Minor for the most part, for which I am ever grateful, but still affecting my life and my focus and I am still working some of these issues out and probably will be for some time.

Winter is fighting to its bitter end in my part of the world, and Spring is definitely poking its head into our business around here.  Temperatures are spiking and dropping and snow falls to be followed by sunny jacket weather.  I have yet to see my first robin – and I have been looking.  My husband told me he has been seeing them everywhere and I am looking!

I have done more bullet journaling classes and Bible journaling and so enjoy these creative outlets that add so much to my life.  Not just organizing or planning and not just being artistic – but growing my spirit in so many ways.

We survived 2 basketball seasons going 2 different directions and now we are moving into baseball/softball season, as well as a play at school.  Our calendars have been full but manageable and it is fun to see the kids testing out new abilities and trying new things.  Sam & Kaity were both in basketball and had victorious seasons (both teams went undefeated).  Claira & Kaity are both background cast in the high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz in April and we are excited to see them shine.  Claira is interested in both track and softball so we will have to see how those things work out…

How are you doing in your little corner of the world?  How has the new year found you?  Feeling swept away by the winds of change, or setting sail into your dream life?  Leave a comment if you’d like!  I hope to be back soon with more info & helpful goodies!

 

 

Shifting Gears Used to Be Easier

So I guess one sign of old age is slowing down, right?  Or maybe that’s just me.  I have kinda always been “fast-paced” in general, but am noticing that more time is required of late to shift with the inevitable changes in life.  Shifting gears used to be easier for sure.  I feel like things have been shifting faster than I could handle for the past 6 weeks or so.  Here’s the latest…

Health Update:  I was on my Vitamin D regimen for several weeks, and honestly I really noticed a difference.  I definitely had more energy, my hair grew like crazy (?), and I slept so much better.  Having run out of the prescription and having followup blood work  done- I am waiting to hear what the results show.  I will definitely be working to improve my Vitamin D intake with or without another prescription!

THM Update:  I have been on-again off-again with Trim Healthy Mama. Visiting family in Louisiana, I was NOT going to miss out on the barbecue or fried catfish & hushpuppies, y’all!  I will tell you that I stayed on plan for some meals, and completely avoided it with others.  Returning home I have stayed on 50-75% of the time.  I am definitely noticing how much sugar affects me (headaches, crankiness, aches & pains, etc.), and am getting back to more meals & snacks on plan every day.  I got out of the habit of making my drinks every day, but am getting back to where my body is actually craving them again.

I have been able to fit into some smaller size clothing that had been on a shelf in my closet, so even with NOT being 100% gung ho, I am seeing success – and it has inspired me to really commit to going less off plan than I have been.  Truly, I love the flexibility that this particular plan offers, and am anxious to get back to my doctor’s office to see how much weight I have actually lost.  Smaller clothing is a huge success!  Trying some new recipes has been fun, too.

Family Updates:  School is in full swing.  Homework is NOT my favorite thing.  ’nuff said!  Just after school started, I visited my son & his wife (Mikhael & Kendra), and my still-new grandson at the beginning of September.  It was heavenly!  It was the first time in 30 years that I had my son to myself in a sense (LOTS of “feels” here), and I reveled in visiting with him, talking, playing, laughing, and enjoying time with his beautiful family.  I am so blessed and honored that they pursue a relationship with my and my family and we look forward to all of us getting together again in the spring!

Greg & his mom held down the fort while I was gone and I am so thankful they did.  The night before I came home, a tornado ripped through our county – within half a mile of our home – causing significant damage to several homes & properties (even shifting a home off it’s foundation – within walking distance of our house!!!)   For the most part, my family slept in an upstairs bedroom while it happened. We had significant tree damage, but really nothing compared to several others in the county. Power was restored just before we got home from the airport.   I am grateful for their safety and protection!

My mom came for a short visit and it was so nice to catch up with her.  We got to enjoy some yummy coffee and she (like my mother-in-law) does dishes which is like one of the BIGGEST blessings to me ever…  We visited the Harvest Festival and played cards with the kids and enjoyed a nice time.

Financial Updates:  Following several financial bloggers, my attitude about money has been changing for some time.  Through some really great employee benefits with my husband’s job, I have been able to participate in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program, and that just really kinda helped me get some things settled.  We worked on setting some financial priorities and getting some plans made.

And then his car engine died on the way to work one day.  We didn’t have any money set aside yet for an emergency fund, but thankfully were able to get financing for a replacement vehicle.  We are now driving a 2005 Honda Odyssey EX and LOVING it!  I will share more about this in another post – but I am grateful for in-laws who are willing to drive me to work and help cart kids around til we got the van!

Needless to say, we are having to reset some financial stuff, but it is coming together again.  Talk about shifting gears!  Making a plan to prepare for this kind of situation is totally different from having the means to deal with it, am I right?  One day at a time, and we will get there!

Do you find as you get older you are better or worse at shifting gears with life’s changes???

Sometimes I Just Don’t Get It!

So I have been working on a post or two, but have run into something I can’t quite figure out!  (FYI – Blogging used to be so much easier, before it became a “thing” and some of the advancements have only complicated the process…)  I have a post with multiple links – only when I want to post it, the links don’t look like LINKS!  It’s hard to know what to click when the link isn’t obvious, right?

I have been a little bit frustrated and haven’t figured out the problem.  I have googled.  I have checked with my blog theme source.  I am still researching.  So I have been a little bit bummed cuz I can’t post what I want to post!

We did spend most of the weekend working on our yard.  We have a house sitting on just about one acre of land, and most of it is yard – not wooded, no brush, etc.  Although if I want to be honest, about half of it could be considered “field” which I think means it does NOT have to be mowed, but my husband differs in his opinion on this, so we have typically kept it mowed.  The field area is a runoff for a neighbor’s pond, so it generally stays somewhat wet until mid-Summer when things get hot and sunny.  Riding a mower through a wet field, while trying to mow wet knee high grass is just not pretty.  On top of that, our riding mower is having some issues with starting – so it is a bit wild right now.

If we had a horse, it wouldn’t be an issue.  But that would require housing and fencing and we don’t have that just yet, either.  NOT that we want a horse.  I’m just sayin’.

Instead, we worked on the projects we COULD manage.  Greg & I spent time pushing mowers through the jungle, er grass, around our house.  Kids helped do some weeding and cleaning up.  We got some plants and started working on some landscaping around the front of our yard.  We bought 3 Lavender plants for the yard.  I also got my planter with Thyme, Lemon Balm and Chocolate Mint!   We got Curly a small rose bush to learn to take care of, as well.  In between rainstorms, we sat on our back deck and enjoyed watching the birds, bunnies, and squirrels in neighbor’s yards, while our kids played and had a water gun / water balloon fight.  We ate lots of watermelon, got together with friends and feel like summer has already come to stay!

This is the last week of school for the kids.  Mostly fun stuff for them, and my work schedule is shifting back to 2 days a week.  Greg is settling into his new schedule, and we look forward to some blooming fun!

What do you do to get ready for Summer?

Quick Family Updates

Hey all.  I have been working a part time 10-hr per week job since September.  My previous part-time job was 12-15 hours, and I hoped the extra few hours at home would be beneficial.  I think they have been and I appreciate the ability to work part-time at this point.

We have had a lot of ups and downs with Curly of late.  Is it puberty?  Is it tween angst?  Is it just that school is about to end and the major transition from regularly scheduled days to summer days is approaching?  Who knows.  This morning – she was all sunshine and rainbows, up at 5:30 a.m.   That is unusual for us, but very welcome for sure!  {Greg’s work schedule is changing from week to week as he moves to a 2nd shift schedule, and that has us in flux, which makes everybody a little testy – but in time we will smooth out.}  We are attempting to get Curly scheduled to meet with some Autism specialists to work on some issues with boundaries (both real and invisible), impulsivity, aggression and organization.  Difficulties with executive functioning make some days seem completely impossible – and I am hoping that we can find some new avenues to help her and us walk through these issues.

In the meantime, my parents called.  My dad recently started dialysis and thankfully can get his within 30 minutes of home 3x per week.  They just received a call to attend a “transplant class” – which is meant to be educational and informational.  It will tell them what qualifies for transplant, the ins and outs of transplant, etc.  They asked a family member to come, so my parents called me and asked if I could come.  Thankfully, my boss was able to flex with my hours, so I will be traveling to Fort Wayne to meet with them to attend the class and get the information firsthand.  My mother-in-law has experience with this, since my brother-in-law had a couple of transplants, so she is able to help us with rounding up kids after school while I am away for the day.

It is difficult to come to terms with my dad’s health some days.  And then my daughter’s challenges.  There have been days I have felt like a tug of war rope.  Not complaining about it, just being real.  I find that my quiet time is very much like an oasis in the desert.  My time with God is refreshing and comforting, and I am grateful for the time I get to spend with Him.  It is far too easy for me to let it slip some days – when it is so beneficial and strengthening to my relationship with Him – and to deal with life in general!  I am thankful for my phone apps to help me when I’m on the go, but still love sitting at my kitchen table with my Bible open, even reading through Leviticus…

Here’s hoping your Monday is lovely!

 

Autism and Gender

It used to be that the general thought was that Autism was a boy-only disorder.  In fact, because of the primary symptoms, the disorder was originally thought to be related to schizophrenia.  Before that, people with mutism and stimming were often put into asylums because they could not relate to “normal” society and obviously had difficulty with communication.  How incredibly unfortunate!

As research grew, the broad spectrum of identified symptoms also grew.  The idea that girls could exhibit features of autism was not entirely ignored, but it often appeared that the obvious social behaviors were more severe in boys.

Verbal delays.  Stimming.  Repetitive behavior. Restricted interests.

Girls were often given a different diagnosis because they didn’t exhibit these noticeable behaviors, even though they had very mild symptoms of autism.

One of the female pioneers of understanding autism is Temple Grandin, sometimes called “the most famous person with autism.” Many years ago when I was still taking courses online for Psychology, I watched a 20/20 video as part of my lesson.  It was an interview with Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.  She discussed some of her symptoms – how her mother refused to give up when doctors told her to – and how she learned to deal with her own differently-able issues.  The thing that stands out to me was when she went under her desk, and put herself into a modified cow-chute.  She worked with cows and saw that when they were under stress, but moved into a confined chute, they became calm – so she adopted that for herself.  It was confined, dark, quiet – and it allowed her to center herself emotionally and mentally so that she could function again in the “normal” world.

She has provided incredible research opportunities, shares her own story with logic and reason, and opened up discussion and understanding of autism in a way that was really needed.  (This article about autism and adhd totally thrills this mama’s heart because I know someone who is JUST like this!!! )

Differences due to Gender

In general, girls are better able to mask their symptoms because they can mimic social norms.  Girls have different expectations, generally speaking, in society and are subjected to more social opportunities, where they can watch and learn how to behave.

THIS has been one of Curly’s greatest strengths, and why it took so long for her to be diagnosed.  She often appears to be engaged right in the middle of a gaggle of girls – but if you ask her what was going on, she doesn’t always understand the implications or interactions of the girls around her, doesn’t understand “mean” behavior even when it happens to her, and has little to no filter when communicating with others.

The statement in this article absolutely, spot-on describes my  girl:  The fact that girls with undiagnosed autism are painstakingly copying some behaviour tends not to be picked up and therefore any social and communication problems they may be having are also overlooked. This mimicking, and the repressing of their autistic behaviour, is exhausting, perhaps resulting in the high statistics of women with mental health problems (Dale Yaull-Smith, 2008).

School exhausts my girl.  The thing that helps her learn social skills is also the thing that wears her out.  It is why the transition to and from school is so challenging for her.  She has to gear herself up to go and it takes quite some time to recover from the energy she has had to spend just being there.  Smaller classrooms, more breaks, extensions on assignments and deadlines – all of these things help her manage school better.  It is why her IEP is so crucial for her success.

Understanding that autism is different in each child, and differs between boys and girls – is really important.  Awareness and Understanding go hand in hand with this disorder.  From the boy I met in high school who exhibited some of the very recognizable behaviors of autism, to the girl I am trying to raise well – awareness and understanding goes a long way to support research, build support systems and grow compassion in the world in which they live.

Free Printables for Your Daily Routines

We all want what’s best, don’t we?  The best food, the best service, the best internet speed (Oh.  Is that just me?).  Many of us try to be our best and do our best in what we accomplish.  But sometimes, I find myself at the end of the day, wondering if it was all enough.  Did I DO enough today?  Could I have done more?

This is one reason God gave me the word “Enough” for 2017…  He wants to be ENOUGH for me and to let me know that I am Enough for the life He has given to me…

Sometimes, my best comes down in the planning for each day.  It isn’t so much that I am rigidly adhering to a plan, but rather that I have an outline for the day, incorporate my short and long-term goals, and take time to be intentional about how I spend my time.  I can either kill myself trying to stick to my written list; I can just wake up and go with the flow every day, meandering aimlessly through life; or, I can set aside time to plan and prepare.  I am still learning, but I want to share with you some printables I made to create a daily sheet for my kids and their routines.

I shared what can happen when you start the night before.

I have also shared what you need to begin building an effective schedule.

For the general everyday routines, I hone in on the important stuff – reminders to brush teeth and pack lunches, but also include the motivator of “screen time” when some routines are completed.  The ability to build their schedule, print it on paper, and post it for my kids allows all of us to relax and enjoy each other in the morning.  I don’t have to nag – they don’t have to try to argue.  It helps eliminate the nasty power struggles we tend to have far too often!

One important aspect of scheduling for me is that I need tools that are both practical and pretty.  I love lists and charts.  LOVE THEM!  (I am sure it is some kind of sickness…)  But just making a list every day gets boring and frankly, I lose interest sometimes…  On the other hand, when my planner page is pretty but does not have checklists, lines, or sections that are useful to me – it ends up sitting on a shelf unused.  (In fact, I have to add lines to my Happy Planner boxes when I use a checklist or need to track anything.  Don’t worry – I use other boxes just for pretty stickers and things…)

So I created some new routine charts for my kids.  My goal is to get them working on automatic to get ready for school, know what they need to do when they get home and help them remember to, ahem, brush their teeth every night before bedtime, too.  I also knew that I needed to personalize each schedule for each child so they could claim their “own”.

As a matter of fact, I posted Curly’s schedule yesterday afternoon and didn’t even have to ask her to check her routine or chore chart – she came home, she saw it and SHE DID IT!!!  Woohoo!  (Yes, I realize it probably won’t be like this everyday – and Georgie completely acted like she didn’t see hers…  I’m just gonna take one victory at a time, okay?)

I am sharing a couple of versions of the same file I created for my kids with you today.  These are available to you free – just for visiting my blog.  I created a grayscale version for anyone who can’t or won’t print in color – and a “spring” version because we are finally in that glorious season of the year!  Just click the links below to get your download.  Enjoy!

Daily Routines – Grayscale

Daily Routines – Spring

I hope you like these – I have a couple ideas for more designs, so I may have more to share in future posts.  If you have any questions or problems let me know in the comments!!!

Mom’s Tools for Back to School

As we race toward the finish line of summer, after experiencing a terribly HOT several weeks, I have been in gear to get some planning methods established during this Back to School time!  I have been putting together some Mom Tools to help me get things organized.  Frankly, I’ve been a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of mom during school and it has been Messy to say the very least…

it has probably helped that I have been regularly taking a homeopathic nerve tonic, applying my essential oils regularly, and using planners + my Pinterest boards to get it all together

Now maybe some of you have it all together or don’t struggle with STAYING organized the way I do, but honestly, I feel like I have more tools in my arsenal this year than I have before.  Maybe it’s because I’m actually wiser and not just older?  Maybe it’s because I figured I should actually USE the stuff I’ve bought instead of adding them to a shelf or “pile-to-go-through-someday”.  And maybe it’s because this year I have a middle schooler AND a kindergartener!!!  Or maybe it’s even because I am taking the WHOLE ENTIRE WEEK off work during the first week of school to get these systems established and get some things taken care of in an empty house!

I already purchased 3 plastic bins to help organize the TONS of papers that come home with my kids.  I find that managing that paper has always been more than I could do and I now have a bin for each child.  My husband, Roy, likes me to keep a quarter’s worth of papers brought home in case there is a question about grades, and now it won’t be so overwhelming.

I also have a pocket portfolio to help store the important papers that come home – notices of conferences, notes from teachers, report cards, etc. I am also the Room Parent Liaison so I can keep the related PTO papers in this, too!  It is just a bound folder with multiple pockets that I can take with me that won’t take up as much room as a 3 ring binder.

I purchased a couple of dot grid notebooks at various times this year.  I have always been a journal hoarder,  er FAN, and always wanted a Moleskine.  I love pen & paper.  Love. It.  And then I found some with graph paper – which is so much fun to use for all kinds of reason.  And THEN I saw all over Pinterest and Instagram that there were dot grid notebooks, I knew I had to invest in one.

So I purchased this one.

Oooooh she is pretty!

I found a simpler (i.e. cheaper) version at a local store – softcover black – and picked it up.  And it is what I am using to get things together for the school year.  It is actually going to be a reference book for me – Budget, Meal ideas, some favorite recipes and weekly overview.  I am still in the process of setting it up and know it will be useful.

This week, I’ll post pics of how I am building my Reference Journal and how I have also personalized it and made is sassy – kinda like me!  Hope you come back tomorrow to check it out!  Oh – and next week, I’ll try to post pics of these items IN USE to show how I am using them!!!

Finally, I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Mary Carver at Giving Up on Perfect!

What are (or what have been) your favorite tools for Back to School???