Friday, August 22, 2014

Erin Condren Planner Review

As much as technology has made my life easier, I am still a paper and pen sort of girl.  I love notebooks, journals, colored pens, etc.  And I really love my Erin Condren planner!  

I will admit, they are pricey.  But I've tried to go cheap. I bought a really nice Target planner. And was left unimpressed.

So I broke down and made the 18-month commitment to Erin Condren. ;)  My package arrived last Thursday, and it was super hard not to skip supper with the family to start filling it in:

They wrapped it for me! It's like Christmas in August!

The planner came with a coupon, as well as some stickers.

The front
This is in the back. They have now included a perpetual calendar to list
birthdays/anniversaries so that you don't need to write them down
year after year.

I love love love a 2 page monthly spread to see all our big events.

I use the 2 page weekly view to write down work meetings,
kids' stuff, my to do list, etc.
The pens were bought from Target... it was a 5-pack. I like to color-code. :)


If you are interested in an awesome planner, check out this link:

(And yes, I know I owe a couple of people a coupon code! It's coming, I promise!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School

Well today was the day.... the kids headed back to school.  
We've got the morning routine down 
(although Keith was training and missed all the fun). ;)

This year, with Boy being in third grade, there will be a considerable amount of homework coming home (my niece is a year ahead of him, so I got to see firsthand what she was bringing home!).  The twins will also have a little more homework than they were used to in kindergarten.  To make afternoons/evenings a little smoother, I'm trying out an after-school routine chart (thanks Pinterest!)  The idea is that they can check off the items on the to-do list, and if they succeed each day, there will be a reward or treat on the weekend. I haven't quite worked out all the details, but will keep you posted!  

Here is the sheet - each child has their own sheet. 
It's in a plexiglass holder so they can use a dry-erase marker to check off each item, 
and then cross off the day of the week as they complete the tasks.


Above this one is a weekly calendar where I will list 
out the activities and events for the week. 
This week is pretty slow as school just started today, 
and soccer won't begin until next week!


I have also cleaned out the 31 organizer I have on the fridge,
 and that will now be command-central 
to keep track of papers coming home from school.





How are you getting ready back to school?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Creating a back to school routine...

T-minus 8 days until the start of school! And to get back in the routine of school, homework, and just the general busyness of life, I thought I'd post about some things we are doing at home to help make the transition from summer to school a little easier this year:

Prepare the night before: Lunches and backpacks are ready to go.  Clothes are set out for children and mom! 
Set the timer on the coffee maker.  Double check your calendar to make sure you aren't forgetting a treat or permission slip. 
 
Here is a picture of the wall/counter right by our back door.  
Under the counter, Keith built cubbies for coats/back packs.  
We use the old shutter for bills/permission slips/important papers.

Hover over this picture to see the "Pin it" button!

Hug It Out: I've read this in numerous parenting mags, so it must be true... right? Sometimes kids are especially needy in the morning because they've been away from physical contact all night long.  Spend a couple minutes just sitting with each child and giving a few extra cuddles, especially to those less-independent kiddos of yours.  

Visualize Your Morning Routine:  I used this one last year and it worked great! It has pictures and words, so there is no confusion.  It's placed on the refrigerator, and lists the steps of what needs to be done. (We eat and brush teeth before getting our uniforms on just in case there are spills.)



 

Get up earlier: Wait, what did she say? That's right, even if it's 5-10 minutes earlier, it gives you a little extra time in the morning. And a few minutes to do some stretches or yoga, write in your gratitude journal, or just drink your coffee in peace before the chaos of the morning.  (I'm still working on this one!)  

Lose the remote control: In our house, there is no t.v. in the mornings, unless all kids are dressed and ready to walk out that door (coats and hats optional).

Stay calm: Know that even the best laid plans can go awry.  Some day you will probably be running late, and that's just how it is.  Take a moment to take a deep breath before running around and possibly yelling at the kids. Good luck with the new school year! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Princess Post

http://darkfaeriecreations.blogspot.com/p/my-illustrations.html

I grew up in a world of Princesses waiting for their Prince Charmings to save them. A land of mystery and make-believe. I didn't see these princesses on tv (as my kids do today), but rather through words.  I devoured books like chocolate, constantly reading (and re-reading) a never-ending supply of books from home and the local library.  No one told me I couldn't, no where was it stated that in my land of make-believe, with princesses and horses and murder and secret clocks, my life would be outwardly affected.  You know, the way it is today.  As quickly as Disney creates a new princess movie, the media and people around me complain about how we need to stop the princess syndrome, we need to teach our little girls independence, we need to show them that it's not necessary to wait for Prince Charming to ride up on a white horse and slay that dragon.

Now I hear about how inappropriate Barbies are because they create a false sense of body image, that girls are too into their fantasy worlds with princesses and queens (but apparently Hogwarts are ok), that we need to protect our girls from society and their extreme images of beauty.  I get that. I totally agree.  We need to do more to get our girls into STEM programs.  We need to have a woman president. We need to have more securities in place so that mothers can have babies and work full time, without the constant pressure I feel every day to be perfect. We need to not force our mothers to go back to work when their babies are less than three months old and pump behind closed doors, rushing home at night to feed their kids dinner, get them to sports, and help with homework, all while trying to clean the house, do the laundry, exercise, and all the other million of things every mother does every day.

So yes, while I am pro-women, I am also pro-princess.  I can't imagine living the chaotic life I live without fantasy.  Without imagination.  Without the ability to lock myself up for a few minutes every day and pretend.  I read books when I can, mostly paranormal mysteries with fairies and vampires and witches. I watch movies, immersing myself for a couple hours in worlds with hot guys and explosions and cars that morph into transformers. I secretly write stories of magic and mystery in my head and sometimes on paper.  I couldn't have done any of this without that magical (and now controversial) world of princesses that I grew up with.

And you know what? All those years of playing with perfectly proportioned dolls and tiaras and wishing for a prince to come save me have made me who I am today. And I'm a pretty damn fine person.  I am a mother of three wonderfully obnoxious children who assert themselves quite often. I work full-time in higher education, coordinating graduation and transfer for 800 students (and that was just in May and June).  I have my own prince - a hot, tattooed athlete who does Ironmans. I'm on the board for my twins club, home and school association, and a professional academic association.  Sometimes I run, sometimes I read books. Either way, today I know I look really good in this skirt and heels I'm wearing.

Confidence is what ours girls need, and I feel that I'm confidently showing my daughter - and my two sons - about how to grow up with a balance of fun and hard work, love and chaos, and reality and fantasy. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The time Meijer stole an idea from me

Recently Keith was at Meijer (sadly, his favorite store), and he found this:


Please note, I already have one... and it didn't cost $40. In fact, we found it in a garage. Check it out on my other blog, Under A Gypsy Moon.

I love a great deal!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Enter to Win Dial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap: Review & Giveaway

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is sharing my thoughts.  I know this page doesn't get a lot of traffic or comments, but I still enjoy doing giveaways for my faithful readers.


Dial® soap has recently come out with a new soap, and I was lucky enough to receive two free bottles to try out at home.  I had my choice of two great scents, but went with the Coconut Lime Verbana, because that's always been a favorite of mine. 

The NEW Dial® Deep Cleansing Hand Soap is the latest Dial® Brand hand soap bringing luxury to your hand washing experience.  This premium soap captures the fragrant essence of freshness, with an exhilarating blend of lime, coconut and verbena. With gentle micro scrubbers, it cleans and moisturizes deeply, for hands that feel sparkling clean.

The kids were excited to try them...







Keira loved that it felt like sand in her hand (the gentle micro-scrubbers!), and the boys liked that the soap was green. After drying their hands, Colin asked what that "yummy" smell was! I could answer that it was the soap.  He sniffed his hands again, then asked if they'd always smell like this.  As long as we use Dial, they will! ;)

The bright colors were a nice touch since it's been a really long and snowy winter.  The green and yellow of the soaps are a nice reminder that spring truly is on her way (despite the impromptu snowstorm we had this morning here in the Midwest)!

The new Dial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap comes in three scents: Coconut Lime Verbana, Yellow Raspberry and Black Sugar, and Water Blossom! Check them out!

Want a Chance to try them for yourself?? Enter the giveaway using the form below for a chance to win a FREE Dial Hand Soap Product coupon!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When I Grow Up

When I was a little girl and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer with one of these three occupations: teacher, cheerleader, writer.

The teacher thing didn't work out as I had expected; while I have a Master of Arts in History, I tried teaching college and found it wasn't for me. Instead, I work with students on a different level, and help them transfer to four-year universities to achieve their dreams.

I never was a cheerleader in high school - pom/dance try-outs were the week before cheer and I made the pom squad. I was lucky - even winning a chance to go to London and dance in the New Year's Day parade!

Writer. Well in my head, I am one. I have a blog. I have my notebook at home. I have about 100 notebooks, journals, and tablets of stories and poems in boxes under the bed and in the crawl space:
  • my first book of haikus in a yellow notebook, told from the viewpoint of a 5th grader
  • my favorite book of poems filled with teen-aged angst and rebellion
  • my black and white notebook with my first vampire story
And many more, too many to list.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing with my life. I have a career, but it is not the one I imagined.  Or is it?

Teacher - Who shows my children right from wrong? How to tie their shoes? Or make their beds? I teach the harder things too - what to do when a classmate is mean, how to act when a driver cuts me off, what was slavery and why did we do it?

Cheerleader - I am my children's biggest cheerleader! When they do well in school or help out at home, I give them praise (despite what some parenting blogs may say!). When my husband runs his races, I cheer from the sidelines and wait at the finish line. When a student calls me with a problem, I go out of my way to help him or her to get what is needed.

Writer - I write here. Some people read it. Is that what it takes to be a writer? Someone to read your words? Or is it just the ability to put pen to paper (because in the long run, I'm pretty old fashioned)? Does what I write matter? Is it any good? Can I be a writer if no one sees it?

I've been thinking lately of plans. Yesterday's post talked of life being short. Today I wonder if I'm making a difference. Did I grow up to be what I set out to be? Or did I just grow up to be ME?