Camp Grandma – Book Review

I am so excited to share my first Pop Up Review for Book Sparks! I was selected to read Camp Grandma and am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book.

Marianne Waggoner Day was a stay at home Mom, turned Business Woman, then got promoted to Grandma. Once she retired and started spending with her grandchildren, she realized that her business knowledge could be beneficial to their time together.

From this realization, Camp Grandma was born! In her book, Marianne takes you through various activities she has done with her grandkids that have given them some really wonderful skills to help lead them into a stronger future.

Her book has given me some wonderful ideas for activities to try with my oldest daughter this summer. I look forward to implementing some skill building projects into our schedule and watching her growth.

If you are a parent, grandparent, or child care provider, I highly recommend giving this book a read. It will inspire you to choose some different activities to try with the children in your lives. It is so important to give them a variety tools for their future, I know I love watching my children learn and grow.

This book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Happy Reading!

Summer Reading Recommendations!

Here it is, my summer reading post! I am so happy to be sharing with you some excellent books to add to your reading list this summer.

Have you joined the Leopard Print Book Club yet?! We have some exciting things happening this summer! Including the #LeopardPrintBingoChallenge which just started!

Alright, are you reading to dive in? I sure am, here come some “fintastic” books!

You’re going to need a bigger tote.

(Props to anyone who gets that joke!) ūü¶ą

 

Historical Fiction

Love and Ruin by¬†Paula McLain¬†is the story of Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway’s third wife. This novel beautifully follows their relationship and life in Cuba. Most importantly though, this follows Martha’s life as a war correspondent during World War II. I loved reading about her bravery and learning about some really amazing facts about the war I had not heard before. If you are a fan of WWII Historical Fiction, you will enjoy this book.

Often times when we think of Historical Fiction, we think of WWII. This year I had the pleasure of reading this amazing book by Lisa See. In The Island Of Sea Women, Lisa shares in the amazing life of the Haenyeo women of Jeju, South Korea and the how the wars affected this part of the world. Told through the eyes of Young-Sook, this book travels with her from childhood, all the way up through adulthood. This book is incredibly moving, and I am very thankful that I read it.

 

Real Life Adventure

I recently finished To Share the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins, he shares in his journey riding his bike from the Oregon Coast down to Patagonia in South America. I think what I liked most about his story was that while he shared in the experiences he had while traveling, he also shared a lot of his mental journey through it all. It was really beautiful to see the changes he he went thorough while traveling the beautiful landscape.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed is one of my favorite books. I am so grateful she shared her amazing adventure with us. There are times in our lives when we need to make a change, or do something brave; and Cheryl did just that in her life. She set out and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. In her book she shares the obstacles she faced, people she met, and lessons she learned while out on her hike.

 

Fun Series

I know that some out there are looking for a good “beach read”, or a good, fun series to read this summer. I highly recommend¬†Crazy Rich Asians by¬†Kevin Kwan; this three book series is so much fun. It left me laughing numerous times and he weaves such a wonderful tale of family, and some drama. His characters are bright, comical, and touching. I really think anyone would enjoy reading these books.

 

Mystery

I am sure you have heard a lot of buzz around this book, and if you haven’t read it yet, you have to add it to your summer reading list. In¬†Where The Crawdads Sing by¬†Delia Owens¬†uses the landscape of the North Carolina coast as the backdrop for her beautiful and mysterious tale. This book will leave you longing to visit and see just where the crawdads sing.

If you haven’t yet read one a mystery from¬†Megan Miranda, I recommend you start with¬†All The Missing Girls. This book is actually written backwards and is so creative. I didn’t want to put it down, and it left me on the edge of my seat. You’ll find yourself searching for more of her books after you read this one!

Heartfelt Read

For those looking for a touching, heartfelt read, I think you’ll fall in love with The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by¬†Dan Gemeinhart. This book is a young readers novel, however, I felt it was an a very powerful story. It will leave you laughing, and crying, then it’ll probably make you laugh again. For adults, it will remind us what it used to be like to be a kid. Go out, have an adventure, but don’t forget where home is.

My Top Ten Books

I find it funny that I have had such a love of reading for the last few years, and it is just clicking in my brain that I should blog about it. Hey, I am a mom of two, my brain is a bit overworked these days. I am so excited to share with you ten of my most favorite books. These are in no particular order, and it doesn’t mean that I haven’t loved other book I have a read recently. There are also no spoilers, so please feel free to read on!

These are simply the books that I feel like have stuck with me, and that I find myself thinking of from time to time. These are the stories that I believe shape our lives, change the way we think, and build a home within our hearts.

I hope that you find some great reading suggestions here, and if you have read any of these, pop into the comments and let me know what you thought of them. I would love to hear what your favorite books are as well!

 

Harry Potter –¬†J.K Rowling

If you know me, you know I have a strong love for Harry Potter. These books are amazing and hold some of the best life lessons. Within these books we find friendship, love of family, and acceptance of others. J.K. Rowling created such a beautiful world that anyone can escape into when we need break from reality.

If you haven’t yet given this series a try, please do yourself a favor and jump on in!

 

A Man Called Ove –¬†Fredrik Backman

I picked this book up after the movie adaptation was nominated for an Oscar in the Foreign Language Film Category at the 2017 Academy Awards. This book will leave you crying, only to turn the page and have you bursting out with laughter again.

It implores to take a look at the various relationships we have in our lives and reminds us that we may not always know what is going on when we all go home.

The film is also available on Amazon Prime and is a really great watch if you are looking for something to do this weekend!

 

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry –¬†Fredrik Backman

This is beautiful story about the love between a Grandparent and Grandchild, and the incredibly special bond they share. I greatly enjoyed the adventure the little girl goes on in this book and the wonderful net of characters Backman weaves together.

The story through out the book brings to life the fact that simply because life has been very hard to many, that doesn’t mean they are not worthy of friendship and acceptance. Just be sure you have tissues handy when you read this novel, you’ll need them.

 

All the Light We Cannot See –¬†Anthony Doerr

Fans of Historical Fiction and WWII novels will not be able to put this book down. It is one of the best books I have had the joy of reading. This novel is told from two characters on opposing sides of the war.

The tale is both sweet and intense at times. I didn’t want to put it down, and got through it in a matter of two-three days. The history shared I found really intriguing and enjoyed the various things I learned about the Resistance during WWII.

This is one of the books that stays with you long after you have ready it.

 

Sweetgirl –¬†Travis Mulhauser

Are you tired of me talking about this book yet? I sure hope not because I am not going to stop! Taking place is the frozen landscape of the Upper Midwest, this novel is the journey of 16 year old Percy, and her struggle to get a baby to safety,.

This book is very well written, and left me on the edge of my seat waiting to read what would happen next. There are some great twists and turns in this book and I have found myself recommending it over and over again.

So consider this your recommendation, read this book!

 

Wild –¬†Cheryl Strayed

Besides the fact that a lot of this book takes place in Oregon (my home state) this memoir is an incredible tale about Cheryl’s life and finding herself. I believe we have all had moments in our own lives where we feel we aren’t sure where we are going and need to figure out who we are. In Wild she shares of her experience in hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the people she meets, and the dangers she encounters.

If you are in a period of your life when you are feeling unsure about what step to take next, give this book a try; I hope it helps you to find your own path.

 

Life of Pi –¬†Yann Martel

I wish I had all of the words to share how much I love this book. It is an incredible story and will change you in ways you don’t realize. This is a novel about survival in the harshest of circumstances, and the will to live through it all.

When you are at a time in your life when you just need to feel something, this is the book read. This is also one of the movie adaptations that I have seen that sticks incredibly close to the book, I was very impressed with it.

 

The Art of Racing in the Rain –¬†Garth Stein

Alright dog lovers, this one is for you. This novel is written entirely from the point of view from the dog, and it is an amazing story. It give us a glimpse into how dogs think, and how much they truly love us.

This book will make you angry at some points, and you will just want to will the dog to be able to speak. It is very well written and shares an amazing story, I hope you give it a chance some day and enjoy it as well.

 

Bridge to Terabithia –¬†Katherine Paterson

Yes this is a book for middle schoolers, and I think a lot of adults should read it. This is the story of a young boy and the unlikely friendship with the new girl at school. It deals with family, imagination, and what childhood should be about.

It is a quick read, but very good and really makes you think about how you were in your younger years, as well as how you are with your own children.

 

The Little Prince –¬†Antoine de Saint-Exup√©ry

I read this book in one night, and oh my goodness, I am so glad I did. This is a book that I think adults should read as well. After seeing little things online about The Little Prince, I ended up finding this copy at a used book store and thought my daughter would enjoy it. Well, when she said she didn’t quite understand it, I decided to read it, and could completely understand why. She simply is not old enough yet. I told her when she was older, I was going to have her read it again.

This book helps us to remember the enlightenment we had a children, and give us a view of various people we meet through our journey on earth. If you are heading into an profession that will give you the opportunity to be in a leadership situation, this is a great book to read!

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise – Book Review

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Happy Friday, and welcome to my first book review! I have no idea what has taken me so long to actually do a post on books, because I love reading! This review will contain NO spoilers for this Dan Gemeinhart book, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise.

My oldest daughter, Riley, and I came across this book in our local Barnes and Noble¬†shortly after it was released this year; it actually caught my eye first because the cover is adorable. (I know, “Don’t judge a book but it’s cover”, but let’s be honest, we all do it.) I read the synopsis, which you can read¬†here¬†on Dan’s website, and thought it sounded like a really interesting novel. Riley was looking at it when a Bookseller approached us and raved about it! She and I discussed the book a bit and she let me know that there was a few spots of light language, which, as a parent, I appreciated hearing.¬†We decided to purchase it, with the understanding that I was going to read it first to be sure it was appropriate for my daughter. I am SO glad we got this book, it did not disappoint, and I think I finished it in maybe two days. I really mean it when I say, I did not want to put it down.

The book is told from the point of view of a 12 year old girl, Coyote Sunrise. She and her dad, Rodeo, live on the road, in an old school bus they renovated to make a “home” after her mom and sisters pass away in an accident. They haven’t been home to Washington, in five years. Coyote hears from her Grandma that they are going to tear down the old park in her neighborhood, and she crafts a plan to get her Dad to drive them all they way back home.¬†While trying to see her plan through, the duo come into some amazing adventures, find some wonderful characters, and learn a lot about each other.

Dan’s creative writing and imagination left me doubled over in laughter, and full of appreciation for the kindness the characters showed to each other. He paints a wonderful picture for the mind as you travel chapter through chapter, wondering what is going to happen next. This novel is full of morals, positive interactions, and thought provoking moments. If you’re looking to be uplifted by a book, this is it.

There was a few spots of light language through the book, but it is not excessively used; the words were: Damn, Hell, and Pissed. Since reading it, I have found myself recommending this book to other adults, and feel like it is a great read for parents. I felt like this book taught me that it was okay to be a kid at times; to remember that I was young once. It also left me craving for an adventure!

I definitely feel like this book is appropriate for 9 year olds and up. My daughter has read the first three Harry Potter books, so I am comfortable with her reading a book that has a little light language in it. (Obviously we have talks about those words and she understands that they are not ones we use.) If you have a kiddo with an adventurous spirit, they will love this book.

If you are a parent, PLEASE read this book! Remember that we need to do what we can to support our kids, and that they have things in life that we may not understand, but are highly important to them.

Please let me know if you read this book, and what you thought of it. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Why We Need Feminism – My Reason

No, that is not me in that picture. I came across this while scrolling through Pinterest one afternoon. I have enjoyed seeing these various posts by others, but this one in particular hit me like a truck.

It is by Kate Ward, Editor-in-Chief of Bustle.com. I honestly felt like I was going to burst into tears as her twenty-one words sank all the way through to my soul.

This isn’t a post about men bashing, this isn’t a post about bashing my husband, his job, or anything of that nature.

I love my husband with my whole heart; he works so hard to provide for our family. He has worked incredibly hard to get to the position he is in and will continue to work hard to move further on in his career. I am so proud of him, and am here to help support him everyday; the good and the bad. I offer my advice where I can, and listen to his ideas always, as well as he listens to mine.

Outside of our home though, his job is his life. Not mine. I’m married to my husband, not his job.

I wish I could count the times I have attended various events with him where people have only asked me about him, or his job, not me. Where other males haven’t even given me the time of day or acted as if I was invisible, even though my husband and I were standing together.

I wish I had a dollar for every time one of those men suddenly acted as if they were “happy to meet me” when my husband proudly introduced me. Or for anytime I have attempted to participate in a conversation, only to be looked at as if I am about to be patted on the head, given a cookie, and then asked about my children.

I have a life too.

I read a large variety of books, I lead a Book Club, as well as I attend another book club. I run and participate in races, I also volunteer in our community. I run this blog, I help people with home and life organizing, I enjoy photography, and a variety of other wonderful things.

Please, ask me about them. Please ask me about MY life.

Please! Stop asking wives ONLY about our husbands, and their jobs. We have names, we have lives, interests, and hobbies.

Take the chance to get to know us, and you’ll find that we are pretty great people as well.

THIS is why I need Feminism.

Organize Your House, Organize Your Life – Welcome Home

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We made it! This has been such an amazing month of organizing our homes and our lives. I truly hope that you all have gotten some great tools here to continue maintaining these habits. I want to finish off this series with one more amazing lesson I learned, and would love to pass it along to you.

I remember Oprah saying years ago, “Your home should rise up to greet you.” And that has always stuck with me. Your house should be a place of comfort, calm, happiness, and joy. This doesn’t mean having expensive things, to me it simply means having a space that is clean, clutter and mess free. It means that the spaces in my home inspire me and bring me happiness.

As I began this journey, one thing I had decided for myself at the beginning of the year, was not to do big parties anymore. I love hosting, I just need to focus on doing things on a smaller scale. I knew that if I made changes to my formal dining room would help me stick to this decision.

This room was only really used twice a year, for the parties, otherwise it was just…there. At times it was a catch-all, other times I’m sure the room felt completely ignored. I decided I wanted to turn it into a reading room as well as a play space for our young daughter.

In my husband’s office we had a small couch, and in our living room we had an accent chair and side table. I moved all of those items into that space, took the leaf out of the table that was already in the space to make it smaller, and moved some of the toys in along the wall.

I immediately fell in love with this space! It is so warm, welcoming, and comfortable. The space makes me feel inspired, and our daughter loves it! (As you can see, our cat loves it too.)

This room is now used everyday, and we were able to clear some of the toys out of the living room, giving us more space in there as well. It’s amazing how a few simple changes can make your home that much more comfortable. I truly feel that my home rises up to greet me each day!

I encourage you to find a space in your house and create even just a small section of relaxation. For the readers, having a reading corner is very inviting.

A space that is quiet and comfortable to go to at the end of the day where you can enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or wine will help you ease into your time at home. It can help us be more mindful and patient with our families.

In closing, being sure that our living rooms and kitchens remain clean and straightened, as well as making our beds each morning, will help our home continue to rise up and greet us each day.

Organize Your House, Organize Your Life – My Favorite Things

Happy Tuesday! Can you believe we are down to the last two posts of this series? Thank you so much to everyone who has been following along, feeling inspired, and getting organized!

I’m excited to share with you some of my favorite things for organizing my house, as well as keeping my life organized and on a positive path. I hope that you are able to continue to implement my suggestions and make this a great year!

Enjoy!

Home Organization:

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Large and Medium Drawer Organizers – The large drawer organizers work perfectly in our play room to store various Barbie or Disney dolls. The dolls can be sorted and stored without being crammed in with risk of bring “injured”. These work great in many other areas of the house as well; bedrooms/closets, garages, etc.

The medium organizers I also use in the play room for other various toys, as well as in my closet for some lightweight scarves, undergarments, my lotions and backup body washes.

Countertop, Single, and Small Drawer Organizers РI use the Countertop style in at least three different areas of my home. In my office/craft room they help sort pens, glues, etc., the one in my bathroom sorts out my backup makeup and skin care items. Then in my closet I use one to sort out my travel items so when we are going anywhere I am able to quickly pack my toiletries; as well as unpack them when I get home.

I use one single drawer in my bathroom to store my backup contact solution, toothpaste, etc. (Note, the link will take you to a set of four, but in store you might be able to find a single if you are only in need of one.)

The small drawer organizers are so great for a variety of things! I use a couple of them in the play room to sort out small Barbie accessories. These would also be perfect for office supplies, or even make-up supplies and brushes.

Y-Weave Baskets¬†– If you have been following along with all of our organizing, you’ll know that I have a variety of these (Medium,¬†Small,¬†and¬†Rectangular) through out my kitchen and bathroom. These are great for keeping items sorted into categories and contained! No more messy pantries and bathroom cabinets.

Storage Totes & Tubs РOh how I love a good storage tote or tub! We use the 18 Gallon tubs for storing our various seasonal/holiday decor, and garage items. I love the Shoe Box size for use in our game closet to sort out various games, cards, crafts, etc. I also use them to sort out the various LEGO sets our oldest daughter has, and other like toys in the playr room. They work wonderful in my kitchen and keep my baking items sorted. Basically these are just amazing and I use them everywhere I can. I also love that they are inexpensive and come in packs of five!

Life Organization:

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Planner¬†– As I talked about in a¬†recent post, a good planner will help you get much more organized. Being able to see your month laid out, with all of your appointments and engagements will help you prepare for each week. Spend time each Sunday to add and update anything, and be sure that any specific appointments, or events are also added into your phone’s calendar.

Monthly Meal Plan¬†– I know at times this can seem like a daunting task, to plan our meals every month? Yes, it works! Since I have started doing this for my¬†family grocery shopping has become so much easier, and my days aren’t suddenly stressed with the thought of, “Oh my gosh, what’s for dinner?!” I feel so much more prepared each week knowing that I have everything I need for meals.

Cleaning List¬†– Since implementing this my house has been cleaner, tidier, and just all around more positive. It’s so much easier to focus on one thing a day rather than trying to do it all at once. Not to mention, it is also much less time consuming!

52 Lists Journal РI received my 52 Lists for Happiness as a birthday gift last year and I was so happy to be able to begin the new year with this practice. Each Sunday I sit down and fill out one of the lists; it really helps to focus on lifestyle, positive thoughts and goals. If you are looking to start living a more positive life, I recommend this journal.

Personal Development Journal РMy husband, knowing my love for Edna Mode, surprised me with this journal when he returned home from a business trip a few months ago. I decided to use this journal when I am working on some Personal Development. It helps me to focus on where I am actually needing to work in life and helps me to see the things I no longer need to focus on. If I am reading a personal development book that has practice prompts, I am able to use this journal to do them and easy refer back to them for reminders.

Goals/Dreams Journal РAt times I feel like my brain is always going; like I have too many tabs open on a computer screen. While some of them are just the day to day things I need to keep on top of, I also have ideas, dreams, and goals I would like to work on. Having a separate journal for these thoughts helps me to get them out of my brain, sort of like closing a tab, and helps me to see where my brain and heart are trying to lead me in life.

Plann App¬†– Probably the most useful app on my phone! I can easily and quickly add, delete, and plan out my¬†Instagram¬†posts for the week. I can do all of my captions and hashtags within the app as if I am creating a post in the Instagram app. I can the easily schedule when I want them to post. It’s a very simple app to use and when ready, all I have to do is hit one button and it takes me to my Instagram to make my post live. I am able to see my feed and place pictures in order before I start scheduling them to post.

 

 

None of the links in this post are affiliate links, I have not received any compensation for sharing them.

Organize Your House, Organize Your Life – Get It Together, Post Three

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Hello and Happy Monday! I hope you all had such a wonderful weekend! This week I am going to be finishing up this series of getting ourselves and homes organized. I am really looking forward to the content I have prepared for you all.

Today I am going to share a bit about the other things I do to keep my household clean and organized, as well as maintaining the work we have already done. Before I continue on though, I want to ask you if there is anything I can cover that I have not already? Pop into the comments to let me know!

Cleaning:

One thing I implemented into my household a while ago was a cleaning schedule. This has made it so much easier to tackle the various chores that need to be done. Cleaning used to take up all of our time on a Saturday or Sunday, but not anymore! By breaking up the tasks into smaller pieces and doing one thing each day, will not only keep your house looking much cleaner, but you will find that you get your weekends back. Think about the various tasks you need to complete for your home to be clean, and break them up into days that work best in your schedule. For instance, we do bathrooms on Sunday because we are all home and can all take care of them together. I keep this schedule taped up inside of a cupboard in my kitchen.

Another thing I do each day is tidy my home, multiple times if needed. I pick up my youngest daughters toys a couple of times a day, readjust pillows/blankets on the couch, keep up with dishes (nope, do not let them pile up!), I make my bed every morning, and I make sure to put things back where they belong after I used them.

Keeping your house tidy will help you to continue to feel less stress, and more positivity in each day. These very simple tasks take only a moment or two to complete and leave my home always looking clean and orderly. Our oldest daughter has her own daily chores list that she completes when she gets home from school each day. Her list includes simple tasks such as sweeping, putting her clothes away, helping fold towels, etc.; all depending on the day of the week. By including children in the house work we will help them to learn responsibly and prepare them for life as they get older. We like to show our children that we work as a team in our home, we all have our chores, we all pitch in to maintain a clean household.

Meal Planning:

The other thing we recently started doing in our home was a monthly dinner plan. Toward the end of each month, I start a new calendar (I love these free printables from iMom) and we choose a different meal for each evening through the month. This not only makes grocery shopping so much easier, but I think it is actually beginning to save us money. I am able to create a shopping list quickly, and feel much more prepared when I head to the store. I started doing this mostly because I was tired of trying to figure out dinner each day, so by planning ahead, I have that time back to focus on other things! I keep this calendar in the same cupboard, opposite door, from the cleaning schedule I mentioned above.

An additional tip for meal planning and prepping: I never run out of various ingredients/foods. I keep a few cans of broths, cream soups, beans, etc. that I use frequently, on hand at all times. If I see that I am running low, or know that I will be using an item, I will purchase a backup when I visit the store. Thinking ahead this way will also save us time, and if an item is on sale, money!

I don’t do this just for canned goods,  but for snacks, my daughter’s lunch items and household cleaning/paper products. I have a section on our food pantry for “backups” and our paper products are stored in our laundry room. Basically, you’ll always be one step ahead!

Maintain:

Now that we have done all of this cleaning and organizing, it is time to maintain it! This is actually quite simple. Tidy your home everyday, in addition to one chore; put things back where they belong each time you use something. One of the biggest tips I can give: stop putting things off. It is so easy for us to get stuck in the “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ll do it later” spiral. You’ll find that many tasks only take a minute or two, and the more we put them off, the more they pile up, and the longer it will take us to do them.

Once a season, do a clean out. Since you should have started the year off doing big one, the others this year (spring, summer, and fall) should take less time. It is such a good idea to stay on top of the stuff that may have gathered during the few months, and to be sure that the organizing you have implemented is remaining intact. This is a great way to do a reset of your house and think about what areas might need a little extra attention.

All of this work is to help us ease stress, and give us a little extra time in each day. You are doing a great job and I am so proud of you for showing up for yourself!

Until next time, happy organizing!

 

Organize Your House, Organize Your Life – Get It Together, Post Two

Happy Friday! We are so close to the end of January, and hopefully you are all a bit more organized, and are still feeling motivated.

I know that sometimes we can “lose a little steam” when working on big projects such as cleaning out your house. Give yourself a day to take a breath, regroup, and sort the tasks you need to do in order to finish. Once you power through the last of it, you are going to love the feeling of accomplishment!

Today, I want to talk a little more about getting our lives together; mainly about PLANNERS!

I’m sure we have all been there, we buy a planner with grand intentions of using it, then after a month, it’s collecting dust or is stuck in the back of a drawer. Well not this year it’s not!

First, I am going to be bluntly honest when it comes to choosing a planner. All you need is a planner set up how YOU would use it, and a pencil. Yep, that’s it.

I personally see these “DIY planners” full of stickers, colorful additives, etc. as a waste of time and money. Now don’t get all up in arms at me; if you find that these extra pieces truly help you to actually use your planner, and keep organized, that is wonderful!

Just know, if you think that going out and spending a bunch of money on a planner, stickers, and colorful pens is going to help you to actually use it, you’re most likely wrong. You are going to spend more time trying to get all these stickers in there than actually scheduling out your week and month.

When I say you need a planner set up how YOU like it, I mean the way the layout is printed. I purchased my planner from Barnes & Noble, and while it did come with stickers, I cut those pages out and gave them to my daughter.

Personally, I like tabs so I can flip to months quickly and easily, I also like that each month starts off with a full month calendar, then is broken down into weeks/days following that page.

On my monthly calendar I can see all of my various appointments, events, etc. As for the weekly/daily pages, I can easily list out the tasks I need to work on for that specific day or week. As I navigate this year with my planner, I will be using it to also focus on the social media and blog posts that need to be completed, as well as my family’s day to day schedules.

Now, how will you make sure to use your planner? That’s what Sunday’s are for! A couple weeks ago on Instagram I shared what “Self-Care Sunday” means to me. For some it may mean laying on the couch binge watching TV. For me it means sitting down with my planner, my 52 Lists Journal, and setting my intentions for the week.

I have found that starting off every Sunday has kept me so much more organized and prepared! I am able to start my week off with such amazing positivity, and it helps me to keep my motivation up.

This doesn’t mean that I only look at my planner on Sunday’s, this simply means that I plan everything out. I also make sure to add needed appointments and events to my iPhone calendar.

Being able to see all of your engagements will help you to better prepare for you week mentally, which is a great way to get your life organized! Having a better sense of clarity in our minds will help us to ease stress and feel more calm.

Take a deep breath, and get to your planner!

Taking Care Of Me

Last weekend I made such an amazing decision. I left our girls in Daddy’s able care, checked myself into a local¬†hotel,¬†and took some time for ME. It has been probably 6-7 years since I have done something like this, so yeah, I was way overdue.

Being a mom is so fulfilling, wonderful, and I love it. I just allowed myself to get a little lost in the routine of it all. Being a wife and mom means I am the main caregiver in the household. I simply needed to remember that it is okay for me to take time for JUST me; to rest, recharge, and do what I want to do – without interruption. I need to remind myself that when caring for my family, I need to be sure to care for myself too.

The day before I went it had snowed, like 3-4 inches of it, and when I arrived it was a little drizzly out. Being an Oregon girl, this is my favorite kind of weather when I want to just hang out and read. I loved my view, the rain pattering against the window, the beautiful trees, and the remnants of the prior day’s snowfall. My room was so clean and warm, I feel like my muscles released some tension the moment I walked in.

My plan for the rest of the stay was to read the Rachel Hollis bestseller: Girl, Wash Your Face, make sure my planner was up to date, and continue on with my 52 Lists for Happiness journal.

Basically, my plan, while very loose based and relaxed, was to just focus on me. I really needed to take this time to check in with myself and see how I was feeling. This was my time to think about what I was doing with my day to day, besides just taking care of my daughters. What is it that I really want to focus on?

I remember walking in, putting my things down and looking around the room. You know, as one does in any hotel. I took in the view, checked out the sleeping, sitting, kitchenette and bathroom areas, and allowed myself to settle in a bit. I felt such a sense of calm, it was beautiful. Once I stepped out of the bathroom I thought, “I kind of want to shower.” Then it hit me. I COULD! One thing as moms that we don’t always get to just enjoy, is showers. I know at my house it feels like another task at times; something I need to just get done quickly in the evening. It felt so good to just shower, and let the warm water wash away my tension. I got into some comfy clothes after and began reading.

The entire rest of the afternoon I spent my time with my book and snacking. Yeah, I totally took my own food and snacks, I didn’t want to leave the room at all. It was amazing to just sit in that space, both physically and mentally, the rest of the afternoon and evening. I took breaks, got snacks, and checked my phone periodically. That’s one important thing I want to share, once I settled in, I put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode. I didn’t want the distraction while there, I didn’t want to hear any notifications. This was MY time.

I didn’t leave my room until the next morning when I went down for breakfast, which was so good. I took down my journal, my¬†52 Lists¬†work book, my¬†Brendon Burchard¬†book, and my planner. I enjoyed a warm, filling breakfast, and worked on some of my personal growth.

Since checkout wasn’t until noon, I went back up to my room and finished reading my Rachel Hollis book. Yes, I FINISHED it! I read the whole book while there, it was incredible. I even allowed myself to just lay on the bed and rest a little bit more before leaving. Since I had only stayed one night, I didn’t have much stuff, so I had packed up most of it before heading down to breakfast. I wanted to be sure that I was maximizing my time while there, and doing little things I could (like packing my own simple foods) to be sure I wasn’t busy with anything unimportant.

If you follow me on¬†Snapchat¬†you’ll know one of the things I have been encouraging others to do is to make their bed in the morning. It is such a great and simple way to start the day. It is one task accomplished and keeps your home looking clean and together. I made sure to pop the picture below up on Snapchat before I left, to show that no matter I am, I start my day with purpose.

My entire stay at the Home2 Suites was wonderful, and when I arrived home to my family I found myself much more relaxed. The feeling of being recharged is one I have not felt for a long time, and it has helped bring on much more clarity.

I was able to really start focusing on what I want to be doing in this world, and how I want to be showing up for myself and others every day. If you are a mom, or a person with a very busy schedule, I highly recommend you take a YOU day and check into a hotel, read, rest, relax. Focus on you and do your Life Audit and really figure out what you want to be doing with your time.

Just don’t forget, make your bed.