I Am Not A Sales Person

I don’t push products for people to buy just because it makes me money.  Even though I am an affiliate for several products, I am not going to recommend anything that I don’t like or doesn’t save me time or money.  In fact, I’m just one of those people who gets excited about good deals and good products and I can’t help but share my enthusiasm when I find it.

I am fun at home sale parties.  But I hate selling.  I love to share great products at incredible savings – but I am NOT going to hard sell anybody successfully.  I know what it’s like to live on a budget and to know that $30 can be a major expense sometimes.  I don’t want someone else to go into debt because I recommended something to them that they really couldn’t afford or won’t use.  That makes me nauseous.  If someone says “No,” I tend to just walk away instead of using more sales tactics.

I can admit that on many days, I feel overwhelmed or unmotivated or frustrated with my management skills at home. The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a great resource I have always found to be useful and helpful to me in the past.   I have found printables that I can use for my schedules, routines, and my homemaking binders.  I have found encouragement from e-books on the heavy days of motherhood when I feel like I haven’t done anything right.  I have also found quick & easy recipes that make dinnertime less stressful. SCORE!

That’s what I love most about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.  I can download all my resources – save them on a flash drive or load them to my Kindle – and use them when I am ready and able.  I know there are items that I will probably never use, but there are so many that I go back to again and again!

If you don’t have any problems managing your home and family – this bundle isn’t for you.  If you don’t have $30 to spend, then DON’T buy it (please!)  If you don’t like to use printables or PDFs – then this will be a waste of your time and money.

Click the link below to learn more about the Bonus Offers that come with your purchase of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.   (Sale ends at 11:59 pm on Monday, May 1)

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!!!

The MAMBI Happy Planner

Over the years, I have written often about different planning systems and binders.  I have gone from large 3 ring binders with personalized printables to trying to use my phone calendar with reminders.  I have used small purse-sized monthly calendars and thick desk-sized daily calendars.

I was emphatic about one thing:  My planner had to be both Pretty and Practical!

I also learned that I needed to be able to change up my planner as I moved through my days and weeks and months.  I needed the flexibility of using budget pages or cleaning pages or scheduling pages or note pages.  I really needed to be able to remove and insert pages so I could move it from desktop to a bag to carry.

Enter the me & my BIG ideas (MAMBI) Create 365 Happy Planner (HP)

I have been spending some time lately working on incorporating my Bullet Journal practice into my Happy Planner. Just before Christmas, I purchased a 2017 Color Your World Planner at 50% off!

and I. Love. It.

This is a disc-based planning system.  Pages are removable and interchangeable, and there are a variety of disc sizes so the planner can be thinner or thicker depending on how you want to use it.  I LOVE THIS SYSTEM!

The typical Happy Planner offers a vertical layout – each day is in a top-to-bottom layout.  Older planners had titles on the sections – newer planners tend to have more blank titles.  Color schemes seemed to have softened up a bit this year as well, so there is a LOT of room to personalize each planner by each user.

My favorite size is the CLASSIC – which again offers 7″x 9.25″ paper.  The mini-HP paper size is 4.63″ x 7″.  The BIG HP has 8.5″ x 11″ paper.

This planner – along with a few other brands – has inspired a large number of planner groups, specific to each planner.  These groups share information about sales & specials they might find online or at local stores, conventional and unconventional ways to use a planner, tips & tricks for organizing or reorganizing the layouts, and so much more!

I have 2 good friends who are planner nuts like me (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) One of them decided she doesn’t like the HP at all so she gave me her unused one, and another has switched to the mini-HP and prefers it to the classic size.   In the past year, MAMBI also came out with the Big HP – which has 8.5″x11″ paper inside.

If you like the ability to add or remove pages or sections to your planning system, you should check out the MAMBI Happy Planner.  You can find them at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, JoAnn’s, or Amazon, and other stores as well.

Here is a pretty mini-planner with PEONIES on the cover (ACK!)

And here is one of the BIG Happy Planners available, too:

All the links in this post are my Amazon affiliate links. If you decide to actually purchase an item using one of these links, I will receive a small commission which will help fuel my coffee habit. OR my Happy Planner habit. Either way, if you do make a purchase, I will thank you in advance!

Do You have a Go-To Planner that you love to use?  What is it like?  Do you use the same style every year?

How I Use My Bullet Journal for Lists

I will be honest – I like to research.  I like to put in search terms and Google things, see what I can find on Pinterest or Instagram – and see how other people do things.  There are numerous planning systems – which, as we all know – means that not EVERY system works for EVERY person.  So when you find the thing that works for you – it can be pretty exciting.  This post will explain how I use my bullet journal for my lists by way of pictures.

I have written numerous posts on planning.  Numerous.  And it’s always been an exploration for me.  I won’t tell you how many binders of things I have in place – because I am always fine-tuning them and getting them into shape.  But for me, this Bullet Journal, is my 1st go to on a daily basis and it is giving me such peace of mind!

One of the primary components of a Bullet Journal is an Index.  And in the essential oil BUJO (bullet journal for short), I have an index with page numbers which will really come in handy when I need specific information about oils.  However, i decided to forego the index in my List BUJO because I used washi tape instead and I have my sections defined in this way.  This BUJO is less structured in that sense, but I like it this way.  In fact – I have a whole section that doesn’t even have a designated use yet, and I like that flexibility.

The whole idea is to create a system that will WORK. FOR. YOU.  It doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s or even anyone else’s.  The value is making it fit your need.

Maybe you want to catalog daily routines, moods & weather.  Maybe you need a detailed weekly schedule.  Maybe you want to document IEP information for one or more of your children.  Maybe you want to plan a garden.  Maybe you want to create bucket lists or record family memories in a unique way.  Maybe you want to track new habits – or habits you are trying to quit.  Maybe you want to make book lists and movie lists and restaurant lists.

The Bullet Journal is something that is contained and yet so very flexible, and of all the planning things I have used, I have found it to be most convenient.  Perfect size for my purse.  Easily changed to fit my needs.

When I discovered that I could track a Master To-Do List (essentially my “Brain Dump” section) in my BUJO, that’s when I really got excited.  I make lists and remake the same lists and it’s crazy.  In my BUJO, I can begin an ongoing list that is just all “TO DO” and when a task is completed cross it off.  When not completed, I can simply move the tasks to the next page.  It helps me track what I actually accomplish which is also a big benefit.

 

*I originally intended to post pictures of my BUJO layouts today, but due to some unforseen technical difficulties on my computer, I can’t get them uploaded to my post.  Argh! I am working on it and will get them posted ASAP.

I have some other thoughts that will be forthcoming while I work out the technicalities of posting pictures soon!

Why a Bullet Journal

If you do a search on Pinterest or even Google for “Bullet Journal” you will discover a vast community of people who use a bullet-style format for planning and goal setting.  You will also find many different ways to use a Bullet Journal, and maybe some of them could work for you.

While I have used a couple of different planner styles, I have discovered that my need for a Bullet Journal is very specific:  Lists!

I have finally found a system of lists that I can stay on top of and not lose every other minute.  Cuz that has always been my issue with lists – I am great at making lists – but I am even better at losing lists.

What good is a list if you cannot find it???

My bullet journal has proven to tackle that issue for me without adding a crazy amount of bulk to my systems.  And less is better when it comes to the systems I need.

First – what do I use as a Bullet Journal?

There are many different journals – ruled, unruled, graph, or dot – which can be used as the foundation for a Bullet Journal – and there are a couple of popular brands that many people recommend:

Moleskine

Leuchtterm 1917

Rhodia WebNotebook

Dot:Grid Designbook: A5

{I am an Amazon affiliate – any purchases made through these links will result in a little commission for me and probably fuel my coffee fund.  You don’t have to order through my link, but I would certainly appreciate it if you did!}

I personally own a Leuchtterm 1917 and Love. It.  I do prefer the hardcover and the back internal pocket, as well as the 2 bookmarks and quality of the paper.  (Yes, I am a paper & pen freak, so I pay attention to these little things…)  The paper holds up to a wide variety of pens without a lot of bleedthrough.  I love that.  I am actually using this particular journal to record Essential Oil information – details about oils & blends, recipes, recommendations & warnings, etc.  It is a work in progress.

I also own a cheaper version with dot-grid pages (and thinner paper) which I am currently using as my Bullet Journal.  Now this baby is what is keeping me sane.  And the more I dig into it, the better my systems are working together!  Currently, my lists include:

  • Budget / Bills
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner ideas (especially helpful for school!)
  • Recipe section (so I can find my go-to recipes in a flash)
  • Tasks & To-Dos (this is essentially my Brain Dump section)

I have created “dividers” of sort by using Washi tape along the edges of 1 or 2 pages taped together so that I can find each section easily without making the edges stick out and get ruined in my purse.  Because I carry this Bullet Journal in my purse everywhere.

I have chosen NOT to use it to outline my schedule in any way.  I have found that I can’t settle on a way to map out my schedule in this format, so I’m skipping that altogether.  I have a weekly page that I use on  my fridge – so the hubby can see it, too – and I use a Happy Planner (which I will probably talk about later at some point) for schedules and work projects.  Frankly, my phone is my primary scheduler, mainly because I can utilize digital appointment reminders and alarms.  But once it is in my calendar on my phone, I pretty much rely on my written schedule for reference.

I will show pics tomorrow so you can see the list sections for yourself!

Really, there are TONS of ideas out on Google or on Pinterest if you are interested in seeing some Bullet Journal styles and formats, and you can even find printables to use, as well.  This, just like so many things, has fostered Facebook groups and Instagram hashtags, so keep an eye out if those are your preferred social media streams!

This is the book I own for my Bullet Journal Now (Amazon link – I’m an affiliate so I could earn if you choose to purchase via this link)

 

How I Bullet Journal {aka My Dot Grid Reference Book}

Like I said yesterday, I am using a dot grid notebook to get myself organized for Back to School.  Obviously, you could use a notebook of any kind, a composition book, or some app out there on your phone.  For me, this is something tangible that I can fit into my purse along with my phone!  It is my Dot Grid Reference Book for Mom!!!

Basic look of my Dot Grid notebook

Basic look of my Dot Grid notebook

This is what the dot grid layout looks like leaveing a lot of room for designing my own pages and layouts! The grid is helpful for both rows & columns.

I am not bound by lines and can draw lines however I want do, if I even want to.  I find a blank page too abstract and a lined page too confining sometimes – so this layout is just about PERFECT for me!  Like I said, I have a couple of them and find that I am consistently using them for their designated purpose and not just writing on a couple of pages and then losing track of where the notebook even is.  Not that I’ve ever done that before.

ahem.

Breakfast ideas in my dot grid journal - sorry it's a little blurry!

Breakfast ideas in my dot grid notebook

This is a really blurry picture of my Breakfast Ideas list. Honestly, mornings are hard enough without me having to scrambling to think of things for my kids to eat. Mom is barely functioning before coffee, so this little reference list will help me not only plan for grocery shopping, but with helping me prep and make suggestions to my kids in the morning when we’re not quite awake but quite hungry!  And if we’re ever running late, I think it will be a handy reference for any of us to look at in a pinch.  I dont cook breakfast on school days – except for maybe oatmeal – and sometimes it really does come down to looking at a list and making a selection!

Lunch Ideas - listed out so I can have options to choose from!

Lunch Ideas – listed out so I can have options to choose from!

Now this little gem is my Lunch Ideas section. I have set aside 4 pages for specific lists to help me take ideas from my Pinterest Board and add it to a reference so I don’t have to get online to come up with lunch ideas. I have been a COMPLETE and utter failure with lunch planning. Not beating myself up – this is a fact, Jackson, so I decided to review my Pinterest boards and make a list of ideas for suggestions when packing lunches. This is something we will do together – not just me, not just them – and again, depending on what’s in my pantry, we have suggestions for “Roll-ups” or putting items together in a way that is appealing, healthy, and satisfying.

Frankly, this is all written down so I don’t have to do any major thinking and tax my brain in the morning when the morning clamor takes over.  One thing I have learned and am working to accept about myself is the way I shut down in the midst of “clamor”.  My kids have learned to get louder and louder, and I can feel myself shrinking away and shutting down – leaving them to do pretty much whatever they want.  NOT good for any of us.

This little Reference Book is designed to help me stay intentional in the middle of the clamor and focused on what I can do, and not feeding the behaviors my kids have adapted to… So not only is this a practical reference book, but I think it might become an essential tool to help me improve my ability to engage with my kids in a meaningful way.

Oh – and tomorrow, I’m going to show you how I decorated the cover to make it TOTALLY ME!!!

Share your favorite Go To tool for helping work through your morning clamor!

P.S. – A couple of other tools I have used as a basis for building my Dot Grid Reference Book is Makeover Your Mornings and Makeover Your Evenings.   Check out the sidebar (to your right) to click over and find out more about how these books from Money-Saving Mom, Crystal Paine, might also help you! (Yep – I’m an affiliate for these really great books, so if you purchase anything from my links, I’ll get a small commission – which will help keep this Mama stocked with coffee!!!)

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???

Christmas Planning Ebook & Printables

You know – the truth of the matter is this: December is just another month in our 12 month calendar. It’s true! So maybe you have to clean your home more often, and maybe you see your family more than you normally would. But really – it’s just another month. Right?

Okay – you can SAY that as many times as you want, but maybe you still feel panicky and breathless at the prospect of all the baking & cooking, menus & schedules, parties and programs that are on your December calendar.
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Whew! We Made It!

This has been a week of serious soap-opera proportions!

Curly is no longer sick, and Georgie only ever gagged – but they were both off kilter for the first 3 days of the week. And by “off kilter” – I mean they didn’t want to take naps! Nap Time – especially when I’m in school – is CRUCIAL to my sanity and ability to accomplish everything. Typically, on Thursday nights I have writing assignments due, so I use naptime of the first 3 days of my week to get my lectures viewed. This week – that didn’t happen. And yet, in the midst of my PANIC, I heard the Lord speaking to me (again) that it would be okay and He would provide what I needed. And yesterday – despite a raging headache (we had storms moving in), I got done what needed, and just need to take a test and finish up another writing assignment!!!
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Tuesday Morning Tea

Would you join me for a cup? I’ve got some Tazo Calm (lovely stuff) or my PG Tips, excellent with a little milk and honey for sweetener.

Yesterday, after writing about cleaning my desk, and then reading Nans post at Moms The Word, and knowing about Bliss Challenge Week 1 at Blissfully Domestic, I tackled the project with some trepidation because I had let my desk go for sooooooo long. (How many “encouragers” one needs is in direct proportion to the size of the project! lol)
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