September 26, 2011

Monday Message

Back on track.  What do those words mean to you? 
For me it means I am not binging on junk food and sitting on my buttinski instead of running or biking.

Sunday we got the family out for a walk.  We went prepared.  Lots of water and distraction tools.  We played "I Spy" and " Would you rather" for most of the walk home to keep Paisley from reminding us how hot it was.

Then, because I told my friends to invite me if they work out, I went for hill training with Whitney.  Over 8km of running and hills to learn that I am not running properly on hills.  Tiny footsteps and on the front part of the foot only.  I was hitting the ground with my whole foot.  Oops.

So I'm going to bike to work this week and keep on track. 

No need to wait until January to get on track.  What are you doing "on track"?

September 21, 2011

Watch This Wednesday

I remember "Organize" magazine coming out last year but I thought it was cancelled.
I was fooling around and found the website and it is current.

I am particularly fond of the lists.  Tee hee.

Tools and tips for getting organized. 

Love it.

Do you purchase organizing items online?  Where do you shop?

September 19, 2011

Monday Message

I have moved!

What changes are you ready to make?

September 16, 2011

Fun Friday

It's another Friday night and we are all feeling tired tonight.  

Three weeks into the school year and schedules are being resumed and now homework has been added to the schedule for the first time.  Learning to create balance with time management can be hard for a twelve year old.  Goodness, it's hard for anyone at any age.   Track and field has begun try outs which means being at the school for 7:15am.  No slow down for Mr. Mike who is working long days and into the nights.  He has had to settle for a five minute day in review before I pass out at 9pm since I have been biking to and from work everyday.  To my new office.  With a desk.  ... But I'll tell you more about that on Monday.
So with emotions high and energy low we are settling in for an easy night of movies on the couch.

We recently got rid of the cable television and switched to Netflix.  I couldn't help but love the affordable cost ($7.99/month) along with the choices that make me feel in control of my television for a change. 
Air popped popcorn-free and it can be made while everyone dons their blankets and pillows in their preferred spots.  Italian sodas made from Torani syrups and Soda Water-healthier alternative to pop but still feels special.  Maybe some kitkat bars that I have kept hidden. 

Fun Friday doesn't have to be high energy activities.  Sometimes the low key events are the best.

PS.  Congratulations to my friend Rhonda Steed who welcomes her fourth child, Oliver, into the world! 

What movies do you like best?  Is there a particular family favorite? 

September 15, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

I have to admit that I'm not great at using my coupons.  I enthusiastically cut them out and put them into my purse to have ready at the checkout but regularly forget they are in my purse or wind up buying a better priced item.  I also see many items in the store that I do not see a coupon for in the paper or flyers.

Yesterday I tried something different.  I found my local store online and after doing my research ahead of time I looked at what was on sale. Almost all stores have an online flyer section.

I found my Presidents Choice products here.  You can even find your specific store which may have local deals.

I was on the hunt for school snacks and quick meals for my panty refill.  I see Astro's Balkan yogurt on for $1.99 and Danone Creamy or Silhouette yogurt for $4.99.  Both regularly used up at our house.  Maxx Scoop multi-cat litter is $5.99 which is a $2.99 savings.  Excellent.  Unico tomatoes are .99c which is awesome.  Stock up on that item.  Catelli Healthy Harvest is $1.99 which is great if you are switching from white pasta.  Raspberries for .97c ... oh my.

Update:  The yogurt was gone so none for me.  Tomatoes were plentiful so I stocked up.  Found the pasta no problem.  The raspberries were dark and mostly going bad so I skipped them. 
Overall I stuck to my list today and got out of there under budget.

Do you coupon?  Do you use sites to download coupons?  What ones?

September 14, 2011

Watch This Wednesday

Here is an article from the Vancouver Sun that caught my eye.
Would you watch this show?  Would you be involved in a show?

I think that the more disorganization is put in the media, the less shame is attached to it's disposition.

September 13, 2011

Tips on Tuesday

Meal Planning.  We all think it's a good idea but most of us don't put it into action.  Why not?  Does it seem like too much work?  One more thing added to a list that is already overwhelming you? 

Let's take away some of that stress and break it down into steps you can manage. 

Inventory.  Do you ever find yourself standing in front of open cupboards, gazing like a deer in headlights, wondering what to pull out of your hat for supper?  In order to make great meals, you need to know what's in your pantry.  Before everything else, take a pencil and paper to do an inventory of what you already have in stock.  I like to break the page into categories familiar to a shopping list:  dairy, meat, grains, fruit/veg, misc. canned...  Do all cupboards, fridges, freezers and storage spaces.  You might be surprised to find that you are hoarding canned chickpeas and have no fruit whatsoever in the house, like I did.

Basic Supplies.  Start to make a shopping list based on your inventory to fill in your lack of basic supplies.  Remember all the food groups or better yet, remember all meals and snacks for each person in the house.  These will be items that you need all the time to make the most basic meals.

Meal Selection.  A new list includes favorite meals, go-to meals, quick meals, frozen meals, crock pot meals etc....   Any meal that you regularly make and those that you would like to add to your repertoire. Ask the family members what they would like to have or if they would like to help out in the kitchen one evening a week to help with this family chore.   Everyone needs to learn to be proficient in the kitchen. 

Meal Planning.  With a calendar in hand as well as your shopping list, start to fill in what meals go where.  It's like a puzzle.  What meals will you eat on nights that you don't have much time?  What meals will be slow and simmered to make the house smell good when you get home?  Once the calendar is filled in, top up your shopping list to include any items that are not in your inventory or basic supplies. 

We have done meal planning and we have flown by the seat of our pants.  I much prefer the meal planning.  It takes away that extra stress during the witching hours and lets me enjoy the family instead of the kitchen.  The children like that they get a say in what is going on the table too.

Do you meal plan?  Do you go to any websites or blogs to get help? 

September 9, 2011

Fun Friday

As a crafty and organized Mom I tend to have many ideas on what I want to do with my time, my children and my husband.  If I forget to write it down or put things to the back of my mind for another day then I may not remember my great idea when I do have an unscheduled moment.

Lately I have been using some down time to gather my ideas, likes and personality on Pinterest.

It's a spot to make as many topic boards as you like and "pin" what you find into those boards.
For example, I have one to inspire me to get off my chair and go running.  Or maybe the one for DIY crafts that lets me indulge in fun, tested activities that will match my energy level.

The children have gotten involved too.  They like to review my picks for Animal Love, Food, Cupcakes and Cake Pops.  Be cautious when pinning in front of children.  Every once in a while a Rude and Crude, but maybe funny to an adult, pin will show up that you might not want them seeing.

Be prepared to get lost in the pins.  At first I had to be tapped out of gazing at the computer screen for love of seeing all those great ideas in one spot.  I suggest putting a timer on to keep you in line.  Besides, what's the fun of pinning unless you get up and do the activities you find?

Do you or someone you know "Pin"?  Share and I will follow.

September 8, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

I like a good deal.  No let me rephrase that.  I get a giddy, hand clapping feeling when I get a good deal.  I have been known to get side glances from my husband when I giggle in public when I get a good deal.  Saving money makes me happy.  When you have a family of five you have to watch the budget carefully.  Especially when your children have growth spurts and drive you crazy. Like with the shoes that don't fit that you just bought or the pants that look like floods that were suppose to make it at least until the winter break.

What are we buying today? 

I am on the hunt for summer shoes.  Yes you read that right. 
Summer shoes for 2012.

Seasonal clearance is going on and you can get amazing deals on things that you will need every year.  My husband found a pair of sandals for $3.00 so we picked up two pairs. That's two years of sandals for a man who is very particular about his footwear.
We also found sandals for my youngest at $3.00 each and we got them in two sizes so that they will last the whole summer.  Her feet will be the next to spurt so I don't want to get the same size that she is in now. 
Sneakers are also in clearance so that new styles for school can be displayed.  Last year's style will fit just as well on my children's feet and with a 50% - 75% savings, I am a happy camper as well.  Let's just call them "vintage" to make everyone happy.

I noticed that the summer clothing is now marked down but there is so much of it that I will wait a little longer to get a few things. 

Next week we will be looking at school supplies.  Stores have to make room for Halloween so I'll be taking advantage of their clear outs. 

What have you bought to stash away for later? 

September 7, 2011

Watch This Wednesday

I turn to many different people and places to get and stay organized.
Today I want to share a few websites from magazines that I like. 
As I was waiting at the check out counter the other day I  wrote down a list of magazines that caught my eye but that were not in the budget. 

Real Simple  - my favorite
Good Housekeeping
House and Home
Style at Home
Family Circle
Today's Parent
Whole Living
Martha Stewart
Woman's  Day

Every month we can find clutter solutions by reading how others are dealing with everyday problems.  We can also read what the experts in the industry have found to create simplicity where chaos once reigned.

What websites do you visit for inspiration? 

September 6, 2011

Tips on Tuesday

Back to school also means back to bedtime routines. 

We are fairly relaxed in the summer and tend to let each child listen to their own internal clock (within reason) to go to bed and feel rested the next day.  As September approaches we taper the late night owl habits and instill a healthier schedule with a 7am alarm clock in mind.  Each child is different and has specific sleep needs.  On the weekend Dan is the guy that I have to go into his room and flash the lights to get his attention and send to bed at the early hours of the morning as he is entranced by a book or game. He needs a good 8-10 hours of sleep to be in any kind of good mood on a school day..  Meaghan is dead tired at 9pm and passes out long before anyone in the family.  She is fairly easy to get up in the morning and is happy with 10-12 hours sleep.  Paisley is a mid-night sleeper.  Not midnight though.  She still needs at least 10 hours sleep and is quite happy in the morning.  Personally,  I need at least 8 good hours of sleep to be awake and friendly in the morning.  Anything extra is nice but not necessary.  I used to love lounging in bed and reading before getting moving but as I get older I tend to jump out of bed faster.  Resting in bed is now reserved for special occasions.

How do you schedule bedtimes?
Communication and Consistency.

We talk about the upcoming bedtime schedule and prepare the children for the changes.
We make their bedrooms a retreat so that they are comfortable and capable of going to sleep happily.  This may mean new books or a good reading light or small toys to keep them quiet.  No electronic devices before bed except music.  None.  We have always had quiet time before bed to encourage reading and as the kids have gotten older it really does make it easier for them to fall asleep.   I know many parents with televisions and DVD players in their children's rooms, not to mention gaming systems.  Do what works for your family.  For us, this was not something I was ready to do and I have very strict rules about Nintendo DS systems that they do have.  Friday and Saturday nights only and if your chores and homework are done.  I have had a few meltdowns about how "other kids" have much more lenient parents and they get to "play" more often.  "Oh well" is my response.  I want to raise readers not gamers.  I want to raise children who play well with real people and not just imaginary characters.  Most of all, I want sleepers.

As for consistency, we have the same schedule each night but each child has an age appropriate bedtime.  Bedtimes are open to negotiation at the beginning of each school year but can always be revoked if actions do not reflect a well rested child.  Flexibility for special events or holidays is always a choice.  Rigidity can be stressful.

You are the parent and have the child's welfare in mind.  Sleep is extremely important.  Get them to bed!  The added bonus is time for you to relax with your partner or doing your own reading.

What are you doing to help your child get to bed?  Do you have a special routine?

September 2, 2011

Fun Friday

After a week of school, work, obligations and stress, it's nice to come home on Friday to relax.  Yet the house is full of people who also are wound up and need to relax.

How do we open up and connect?

We have Fantastic, Fabulous, Fun Friday Night!

What's that you say?
Tell me more.

Well, it usually starts at dinner time. 
1.   Sit down together to a scrumptious meal (made by daddy because mommy is better at the baking).
2.   Next we do a check-in.  Each person (even Mom and Dad) gets a chance to talk about their week.  Uninterrupted. They have to say at least one thing that was good about the week and one thing that was hard or frustrating.  This is a great time for life lessons or tales of "when I was young" to relate to your child. Be ready for eye rolling and laughter.
3.   Finish your table time with a lovely dessert that will keep everyone Mmming and Ooh-ing for a few minutes.
4.   Last but not least, end the night with an activity.  We have a list of activities to choose from at our house.  Crafty Mommy has actually made them into a deck of cards.  Each week a different person gets to choose a card. (We go from oldest to youngest to be fair)  The parents get to veto one choice in case of budgetary restraint or weather conditions etc...

Our cards include the following activities:  Go for a walk, Play card games, Bake, Movie night, Road trip, Play with the cricut, Play video games, Read together, Play in the garden, Do a craft, Board games and the ever popular Wild Card in which any card comes into play.  Feel free to add any other activities to the list.
Since this is on a Friday night we usually are a little more lenient with the bedtime structure too.

Fun Family Night Card Set
I made this out of peel and stick cards meant for business cards.  I found them at the dollar store in a pack of 10.  Then used the Cricut machine to create the titles.

We used to do this as part of our Family Home Evening on Monday's but it always felt rushed.  Moving it to Friday gave us more freedom and peace.

After a while the kids start asking about Fun Friday and I may even throw in a "check-in" on other days if I see that we need it.  We have even been known to keep a special Fun Friday a secret to keep the kids on their toes.  Kids like structure and they like to know that they are special.  They also like to see that Mom and Dad are working each day to be better just like them.  Our struggles help them realize that they are not alone.  Together we communicate and connect so that our family stays strong.

Connect with us:  What would you add to our list of Fun Friday activities?  What are you doing to stay connected and to relax with your families? 

September 1, 2011

Welcome Back!

It's time to take off the sandals and get back into work mode.  Especially because we had frost this morning.

This summer had it's ups and downs and I am ready for regular scheduled programming.
I need to work on myself, my family and my business.

I have some new ideas to try out so that I can share my organized life as well as some of your lives too.

Monday Message-I will share a tidbit about myself and what's going on in our lives.
Tips on Tuesday-Get organized a little at a time with tips from myself and other organized people.
Watch this Wednesday-See who or what's organized in various media.
Thrifty Thursday-Coupons, Upcycling and other saving on a dime.
Fun Friday-Lighten Up and learn something new.

Join the fun and send me an email if you would like to be a guest speaker on a specific topic or if you would like to add to a discussion.

Upcoming topics: Pinterest, Bedtime routine, Date on a Dime, Meal Planning

Happy September everyone!

No one is good at everything. 
Everyone is good at something. 
Live your passion.