Monday, May 6, 2013

31 Days to An Organized Summer: The List

I can't believe it is already May! Illinois had a weird Spring -- it was late arriving and tempetatures have been below normal with a lot of rain and flash flood warnings. To say summer is sneaking up on me is an understatement. Beings that I am a stay at home mom this year, I am determined to make this summer the best yet. I have a lot of water play, crafts, indoor and outdoor activities and of course, field trips, planned for this summer. I am spending the next three weeks (only 15 days!!) preparing for summer. I want to be able to pull out any craft at any moment, to be able to pick up and go to the pool in ten minutes -- not an hour it usually takes me to gather our stuff! Therefore, I made a list of 31 Days to an Organized Summer. I'm leaving his first full week of summer (which is the last week of May) up in the air -- no plans for now, we will see where it takes us. He can be lazy all day or play outside all day - his choice!

In the meantime, here is our list for 31 Days to an Organized Summer:

1. Decide and sign up for summer camps. (Luckily a private school in the area offers great weekly themed summer camps for two hours a day at an affordable price! He will be doing several of those, along with some classes at the YMCA and a campout at the Zoo)
2. Make a summer bucket list. (to display somewhere in the home where we can always see it)
3. Make a daily routine schedule. (Although we may not follow it to a tee, I'd love to have a schedule of themed days and what we should be doing one hour to the next.)
4. Organize outdoor toys. (The bubbles, kites, sidewalk chalk, balls, helmets...all need to be easily accessed and easily put away!)
5. Organize the toy room. (We are currently getting rid of some toys he is no longer interested in and need a better system to store those we are keeping.)
6. Finish the swing set. (We started this project a year ago. I would at least like the slide & swings to be in working order by June 1.)
7. Make bags for: BBQ, Bonfire, Picnic, Pool, Etc. (I'm thinking handled totes I can easily grab & head to our destination)
8. Make a summer caddy with sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, etc. (and find a place to store it...near the new cubby system, perhaps?)
9. Create a snack system. (A drawer that they can easily access with pre portioned, healthy snacks)
10. Plan end of the year gifts for school. (This includes both the teachers and students in his class.)
11. Make a "Welcome to Summer" banner and basket. (There are all kind of ideas out there to welcome your kids to summer. I plan on putting several into action this year.)
12. Host a P.O.O.L. Party {Party On Our Lawn Party} This one is still optional. With Lucy's birthday so close, I'm not sure I can pull off another party this quickly)
13. Create a shopping list for summer supplies. (I've been leafing through  my Pinterest boards and magazines for ideas for crafts and games. I want to have the necessities to do them on hand)
14. Create craft storage/caddy for the kids. (I want an easy and safe system for them to have access to the craft supplies any time creativity hits, or when Mom needs a few minutes to herself)
15. Make a countdown to summer. (Only fifteen more school days!!)
16. Spring clean the house & tie up loose ends. (There are a lot of random "need to do this" thoughts in my head -- hoping to finish those items and clear the head for summer.)
17. Plan weekend getaways. (Hoping to venture to Branson & Chicago this summer, along with a weekend camping trip to Jellystone Resort.)
18. Plan field trips. (Although I want to be able to get up and go, I do need to plan in advance for places like Cardinal Baseball Games, Raging Rivers, Six Flags, etc. for ticket and babysitter reasons.)
19. Come up with a chore system and allowance. (Rhyse at home all day = more mess. It also is more expensive for those trips to get a sno cone & ice cream. I'm hoping to change our current system just a little to get the most out of chores and allowance this summer.)
20. Organize closets for "play" and "good clothes." (Summer play = dirty play. I need to be sure that both kids, and Daddy, know which clothes are for which purpose, so we aren't ruining any good clothes.)
21. Make summer house goals & budget. (There are a lot of things we'd like to do around the house this summer, unfortunately, the budget does not allow for them all to be done. I'd like to sit down with the hubby and organize our thoughts and numbers as to what will actually happen.)
22. Redo command center & control journal for summer. (Right now, these are both full of school schedules and calendars. We need to switch all these out to summer camps and pool schedules.)
23. Redo bill binder. (It will no doubt be an expensive summer, given all the field trips, summer camps, and supplies for at home activities. I also want to revamp our bill binder so I spend less time paying bills and more time playing with the kids.)
24. Make a summer binder of ideas from magazine tear outs. (I am a magazine hoarder. I'm trying to combine all my tear outs into a binder so Rhyse can pick an activity, game, or craft he wants to do from the binder.)
25. Organize tball stuff & get new gear. (We need to organize our uniforms, bat bag, positions, baskets for games, opening day treats, etc. Rhyse also needs new cleats & a new helmet.)
26. Get Rhyse's computer ready. (We just purchased him an older model desktop computer. It needs cleaned up and updated. Along with blocking inappropriate content, I would like to bookmark some safe sites that he can play on and browse.
27. Create a reading challenge. (I'm not sure if I am wanting to do minutes reading or locations to read, but some sort of checklist worksheet to complete over the summer to keep up on his reading skills.)
28. Make busy bags and create storage for them. (Most of these will be geared towards my toddler. She can play with a busy bag while I work with my son on money skills, telling time, writing and reading.)

I'm leaving the last three open, as I am confident more ideas will come to me while preparing for others. I've already started crossing off several items on the list and will share each one with you each day. I'm so excited for summer and ready for sunshine & flip flops!! {just not a swimsuit}

Happy Sunday!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Beginning

I'm baaaacckkk!! Recently, my family & I have decided I am going to give the whole "stay at home mom" thing a whirl. I'm really excited to start this new chapter of our lives -- a chapter that includes well balanced meals, a clean house & laundry, as well as a lot of quality time with my kiddos doing crafts, going on outings, & making memories. I am also a little nervous -- nervous for the financial challenge, nervous to fail at housekeeping & nervous to take advantage of the time with my kiddos. So, to hold me accountable, I decided to dive back into blogging. (YAY!!) My goal with blogging is to not only make sure I am finishing what I start and making the most of my time, but also to document my doings for in the future. To help organize this new chapter in our lives, I have came up with a timeline on how I {roughly} would like to spend my days here at home. This schedule is suited for during the school year, while my son is in Kindergarten. Come summer (in just a couple months!!) we will need a whole new schedule.

5am-6am: Exercise
6am-8am: Prepare myself & the kiddos for our day
8am-9am: Clean up house & plan day
9am-11am: Productivity Time {deep cleaning, crafting, etc.}
11am-12am: Lunch & Clean Up
12pm - 2pm: Paperwork {phone calls, computer work, bill paying, etc}
2pm-3:00pm: Clean up House & Begin thinking of dinner
3:30-4:30pm: Activity Time with Kiddos
4:30-5:30pm: Dinner & Clean Up
5:30-7:30pm: Family Time {crafts, game nights, movie nights, etc.}
7:30pm : Begin Baths & Bedtime Routines

My ultimate goal is to get all of the housework & household duties done by 3:30pm, when I have to pick my son up from school. I want my evening hours to be spent with my husband and family, making the most of every moment I am given with them. At 3:30pm, my computer will turn off and all burdens will leave my mind. To help with this, I will keep a running list of the things I randomly think of that need done. I will work on this list during my productivity or paperwork time, but not during my time with the kiddos.

So -- wish me luck on this new journey my family & I are about to embark on. With the new schedule, I have a lot of organizing & cleaning projects I am looking forward to doing. Therefore, a lot more blog posts! Tomorrow I will be posting about Spring Cleaning!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back To School Checklist

I can't believe summer is almost over! School starts August 20th for us, so we are on our last week of "official" summer. We are still trying to squeeze in last minute fun -- including a trip to the water park, a picnic, a "water" day at daycare & a camp out in the backyard. There is also planning to be done to be prepared for next week. Rhyse will be going to Kindergarten, so school will be much longer and involved this year than in the past. I'm wanting to make as smooth as a transition as possible, along with keeping our family sane and organized. Here's my "Back to School" Checklist to get the family ready for school.

To Do:
  • Schedule hair cut.  Check!  He already got it cut and looks as sharp as ever.
  • Gather physical/exams for registration. Check!
  • Schedule a shopping day. We had a fabulous day spoiling Rhyse with a full day of shopping.
  • Label & pack school supplies.
  • Schedule lunch making in planner. I set an alarm on my phone and wrote it in my planner  for every Sunday afternoon. This will allow me time to decide if he is hot/cold lunch and make a trip to the store, if needed.
To Make:
  • Teacher's Gift: Clipboard
  • Countdown to first day
  • 1st Day of School cake
  • Kit for Rhyse's backpack:
    • wet wipes, band aids, insurance card
  • Place mats for breakfast/dinner
  • Backpack tag
  • Clothing labels. I made hanger tags for his clothes, so we can pick outfits out on Sundays. Hopefully this will be a time saver in the morning.
To Buy:
  • Backpack. He actually found a Tony Hawk one that he loves!
  • Lunchbox. Purchased the lunch box to accompany our lunchbox containers.
  • Lunchbox containers. Purchased 4 containers off of No more baggies!!!
  • Kleenex
  • School Shoes. He actually got two, due to the BOGO sale and his awful taste on the first pair.
  • Jeans. Got to love Old Navy's $10 jean sale!!!
  • 1st day of school shirt
To Organize:
  • Homework Caddy
  • Schedule for days of week
  • School memorabilia tote
  • Morning/evening routine
  • Family message center
  • Update family calender
  • Update family binder
  • Carve out a spot for school papers
  • Create a spot in fridge/pantry for lunch supplies
To Print:
  • Lunch Ideas
  • School Printable: lunch money/notes
  • Lunchbox notes
  • Kindergarten sign for pictures
  • Get to know you/get to know me tags
  • How was your day printable
  • Lunch menu planner
  • Write letter to Rhyse on first day
  • Back to school fairy: Outfit/book
1st Day Pictures:
  • Photo checklist
  • Chalkboard:
    • When I grow up
    • Write name
  • Printable "K" sign
  • Speech bubble
  • Kindergarten with sidewalk chalk
  • List of favorites
Whew!! That's a list to keep me busy for awhile. Luckily, I already have a good chunk of it in progress, or accomplish. I will post all the projects as I go!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April wasn't one for the books. Hubby had a crazy work schedule and I felt like I was taking on too many tasks by myself.  I will do a post tomorrow on all the projects that kept me busy in April -- everything from crafts with the kids, DIY things for the house and tons of sewing projects! I also kept busy with a few Parent-Teacher-Organization events, coaching my sons' tee ball team, volunteering at the MS Walk and spending time with my friends and family.

As you know, I always like to start the month off with my "Monthly To Do List." I refer back to this list every. single. day. I always sit down on Sunday nights and make my weekly to do list, taking items off of this monthly list. This gives me the opportunity to choose what I'm in the mood to do that week, but also ensures that everything gets done. Although not everything gets done every month, I do feel like I am a lot more productive with a list and I LOVE the joy of crossing items off.

Here's what I have to look forward to crossing off this month.

  • Set my goals for the month. (Hence the list.)
  • Check monthly tickler folder.
  • Plan May Ways To Play Worksheet.
  • Shopping List:  
    • Mother's Day Gifts
    • Dress for a Wedding
    • Two Birthday Gifts,
    • Teacher Appreciation Week Items
    • Last Day of School Gifts (Teacher & Kids)
    • Sit N Stand Stroller
    • NorthFace Backpack
    • Finalize my IKEA shopping list.
  •  SYC:
    • Award a scholarship
    • Summer Plans
    • Enlist in a co-sponsor
    • Opening Day for Baseball Sign Ups
  • Financial:
    • Pay/Record May Bills
    • Record May Cash Flow (with help of cash envelopes!)
    • Renew Jeep License Plates
    • Look into Purchasing a New Car
    • Save for Chicago
  • Computer:
    • Order/Upload April Pictures
    • Update iPhone
    • Clean Out Email
  • Mother's Day:
  • Mom Squad:
    • May Outing: Craft/Activity & Snacks
    • Print June Ways to Play
    • Post May Ways to Play
    • Post May Events
  • House
    • Outside
      • Garage Light
      • Landscaping Bricks
      • Plant Plants
      • Plant Grass
      • Decorate Doors
    • Garage
      • Finish Walls
      • Organize 
  • Chicago
    • Book Hotel
    • Buy Chicago Go! Card
    • Agenda
    • Pack
  • Tee Ball
    • Opening Day Bags 
    • Coach's Shirts
    • Clipboard for Games 
    • Batting Order Form
    • Game Schedule for Parents
  • Lucy's First Birthday
    • Order Smash Cake for Photo Session
    • Print: food tent cards, napkin rings, water bottle wraps
    • Make Floor Cover
    • Make Centerpieces
    • Make Antennas
    • Favor Bucket & Bubble Favors
    • Voting Board
  • Diaper Party
    • Make Invitations
    • Plan Details
    • Make Shopping/To Do Lists
  • Garage Sale
    • Declutter Downstairs, Attic & Garage
    • Declutter Mom's House
    • Price Items
    • Put on Map, Craigslist & Newspapers
  • To Do
    • To Do Pile (I keep a basket of items that need attention, example: buttons that need fixed)
    • Menu Plan
    • Blog Calender
    • File Bills, Crafts & Magazine Clippings
    • Spend Time at Grandma's
    • Write in Baby Books
    • Date Night with Josh
    • Finish Command Center
    • Finish Family Binder
    • Take Photos of Kids Playing in the Rain
    • Take Rhyse to Six Flags
    • Take Kids to Pottery Hollow
    • Summer Plans
    • Fill Out FASFA
    • Register for Basic Skills Test
    • Finish my MIL's grey pillows
    • Shampoo Carpets
    • Finish Two Scrapbooks for a Cancer Auction
  • Pinterest To Do List
  • Carried Over from April:
    • Finish Baby Books
    • Garage Sale to Do List
    • Finish Bill Binder
    • Lucy's Glider
    • Lucy's Closet Trim (& floor trim in closet)
    • Living room Window Trim
    • Living room Floor Trim
    • Trim in Hall Closet
    • Download Free Fonts
    • Finish Lucy's Pillowcase Dress (make another?)
    • Day You Were Born Capsules
    • Make a Countdown
    • Order Lucy's Birth Picture
    • Finalize School Information
    • Clear Hard Drive
    • Reschedule Bed & Breakfast

Is your month as busy as mine?? I LOVE a busy month! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Finish It Friday!

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I've wrote a post. I've done numerous projects thinking I was going to post them, but I've spent my evenings and nap times Spring Cleaning/DeCluttering, instead of blogging. I will do a mega-post soon of all my freshly organized closets & the little projects I have been doing the past month. As for now -- I'm so happy it's the weekend. It looks a little dreary out today, but that's not stopping me from having big plans this weekend. Here's what's on the agenda:

Play List:

- Make a must buy summer wardrobe list for each member of the family.
- Do something fun with the kids: Bowling, Monkey Joe's, Chuck E Cheese???
- Try a teeth whitening recipe.

 To Finish:


- Renew license plates for the Jeep.
- Work on the exterior of the house: Hang a light on the garage, schedule grass seeding & lay landscaping bricks.
- Finishing touches on the porch: Fix air leak, put up new rubber & add vinyl to the front door.
- Make DIY dryer sheets.
- Make Lucy's cake t-shirt and birthday hat. 
-Order 13 sports bottles and reusable shopping bags online.
- Empty the "To Do Basket" so it's a clean slate for May.
- Work on the kids' baby books.
- Make a garage sale to do list.
- Check A/C vents -- I feel like we will be turning it on soon!
- Schedule kids' summer camps and lessons.
- Finish my new Bill Binder.
- Rhyse's Kindergarten paperwork. I need to call the dentist and find his physical.
- Sew curtains & pillows for my Mother In Law's room.
- Download free fonts.
- Make a printable of why I love each kid.
- Fix the pillowcase dress I'm making for Lucy.
- Make "Day you were born" capsuals for the kids.
- Make a countdown.
- Order picture from the day Lucy was born.
- Gather all my school information.
- Reschedule Bed & Breakfast.
- Clean hard drive on my laptop.

It seems like a lot to do in one weekend -- and it is -- but I always like to clear my to do list for the next month. Since this is the last weekend of April, I will be a busy bee to start May with a clean slate :)

Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Goodbye, March...

March was a crazy, busy month. I think I may have expected too much out of myself and made my to-do list a little large for being someone with two children and a husband to tend to, a house to clean, a full-time job to work, a tee ball team to coach and a youth group to sponsor. I have completed nearly everything on the monthly list, but I am exhausted. April's list is going to be a lot shorter and less stressful. Here's what my March To Do List ended up looking like at the end of the month:

  • Set my goals for the month. (check, hence this list)
  • Check my monthly tickler folder. There was actually nothing in it, aside from monthly checklists.
  • Create a Spring Cleaning checklist. (I'm not going to actually start cleaning until April). Check. I will Spring Clean April 1-15th, doing one room per day.
  • File my taxes. FINALLY filed. Now just waiting for my return! :)
  • De clutter my spring decor. I used two baskets and some plastic eggs for an event and put some other Easter baskets in a donation pile.
  • Do a March Photo Challenge. I wasn't always timely, and I sometimes rushed to snap a photo just to have one, but all in all, it was kinda fun! I made it to March 23rd.
  • March "Ways to Play" sheet with kids. Unfortunately, not much of this got done. We did take a trip to the Zoo, attended a play date, a friends' birthday party, and lots of time riding the four-wheeler. I'm going to be better about this in April!
  • Buy gifts for Dad's birthday & Mom/Dad's Anniversary. My mom & I went in and bought my dad a $200 Marine boat battery. Not the most exciting gift to purchase, but something he wanted and wouldn't buy himself.
  • Make a card for Aunt Amy's birthday. I actually just pulled a pre-made one out of my stash and personalized it with her monogram.
  • Get outfits for kids photo sessions - Rock N Roll theme. I stressed about this one and didn't need to. The photographer had plenty of outfits on hand! Can't wait to get the CD and see all the photos :)
  • Attend a friends' bridal shower -- need gift. Check. Ended up doing a BBQ Basket with various BBQ and grilling supplies/spices and put it in a monogrammed tub. I tried making "Mr" & "Mrs" aprons and failed miserably.
  • Host a Crop for MS with SYC. Made $300 to donate to MS Society.
  • Have a pledge banner at the high school for National Kick Butt Day. This didn't get accomplished, due to timing.
  • Host Breakfast with the Easter Bunny with SYC. Went perfectly! :)
  • Pay & Record March Bills. Such a relief to pay the bills at the beginning of the month and not have to worry about it for another 30 days.
  • Get/Make a St. Patrick's Day shirt for Rhyse. MiMi came to the rescue on this one and picked one up for him.
  • Make a St. Patrick's Day bow for Lucy. My first bow making experience. I see a lot more in my future :)
  • St. Patrick's Day treats for school & daycare. St. Patrick's Day was on a Saturday, and I ended up with strep throat the week before. Therefore, no treats for either.
  • St. Pat's crafts for daycare. We were going to stamp green peppers to make four leaf clovers. The peppers were even purchased, but the craft didn't happen.
  • St. Pat's decorations and crafts for home. (see Pinterest board here) I made the wooden rainbow boards for the mantle, made a button rainbow and printed a Subway Art.
  • Make kids Easter baskets. They are bought, I just need to spray paint them and add their names.
  • Buy Easter outfits for the family. (Three Down, One to Go!)  I still need to find Josh a shirt and maybe some new shoes to go with mine!
  • Make shopping list for Easter basket fillers. Planning on purchasing each kid a new pair of Nikes, a personalized bag chair, a movie, beach towel, pool/sand toys & lots of candy.
  • Easter decorations and crafts for home. (see Pinterest board here) I haven't had much time to do any crafting lately!
  • Upload/Order February Pictures.
  • Update iPhone.
  • Clean out my email. (I try to do this once a month...and I dread it every month) I even took this one step further and unsubscribed from some emails I never read anymore.
  • Clean out my hard drive, per hubby's request.
  • Do any and everything in my "To Do" folder.
  • File bills, Rhyse's crafts and magazine clippings. (Another once a month job)
  • Look into summer camps/lessons for Rhyse. Thinking karate and horseback riding lessons.  All summer camps are printed, I just need to make some
  • Sign up for summer classes myself.
  • Take the kids to spend time at Grandma's.
  • Start a coupon club. (still deciding on this one. I really don't need another obligation on my list)
  • Write in kids' baby books. (monthly chore)
  • Go on a date with Josh. And only Josh.
  • Book our hotel for Chicago.
  • Make a "savings jar" for Rhyse to spend in Chicago. (Thinking this one) Turned out SUPER cute!
  • Post March events on Mom Squad page.
  • Plan Mom Squad March event. We had a play date at the park with a snack and lots of outdoor toys. A good time was had by all!
  • Put finishing touches on Lucy's room.
  • Put finishing touches on living room. We finished the pallett table, but still need to finish the trim.
  • Powder bathroom: paint, floor trim, new lighting and decorations. I have everything picked out, just need to do some online ordering.
  • Dining room: buffet table, dining table, new chairs, decorations. Decided to skip this room for now and move outside and get some work done on the landscaping.
  • Buy a blank calender for handprint art.  It's purchased, we just need to add our handprints to it :)
  • Make a bucket list.
  • Download free fonts to my computer.I can NOT figure this out?! I've followed tutorials and can get it in my fonts folder, but it doesn't show up in my word program. Any sugestions?!
  • Implement a cash envelope system.  I made the envelopes, but I think it's going to take a lot of trail and error to get the budget just right. This will be a work in progress.
  • Add memories to a jar to read on New Years' Eve. I used a paint bucket I had on hand and it turned out super cute!
  • Create a weight loss plan. I'm going to do the Couch to 5K, as well as The Starter's Exercise Plan.
  • Print Spring Must Take Photo List.
  • Create a printable of why I love each of my children.
  • Learn to sew a pillowcase dress. I have the pattern cut and the sewing machine threaded. Just need to sit down for a few minutes and get this done!
  • Make "Day you were born" capsules for kids.
  • Start a growth chart for kids. The board is stained, I need to add the numbers.
  • Make a countdown.
  • Make house cleaning cards. I did this and LOVE it! So fun :)
  • Make Lucy's first birthday invitations. CHECK! They are in the envelopes and the envelopes are addressed! :)
  • Start on one year milestone book.  It's started.
  • Re-Do an antique high chair. It looks fabulous in bright yellow!!
  • Order birthday cakes. They are going to be amazing!
  • Finalize all  birthday party decorations, ideas, etc.
  • Take Lucy's 9month photo.
Hope you had a fabulous March! Here's to a fantastic April!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring has Sprung!!

I am SO excited that Spring is here!!! I have the urge to clean, de-clutter and reorganize. I also have an urge to get fit and ready for swimsuit season! Since Lucy is only eight months old, I still have my fair share of baby weight to lose. Hubby and I are starting the "Couch to 5K" running plan this week and I'm ready to start running. My goal is to lose about twenty pounds by Lucy's first birthday {June 27}! Along with losing weight, here are a few other items on my Spring "bucket list."

  • Fly a kite with Rhyse.
  • Go on walks and to the park as much as possible.
  • Plant our grass ....again!
  • Lay landscaping bricks & begin the landscaping process.
  • Have my windows open until the heat gets too much to bare.
  • Find coordinating Easter outfits for the family.
  • Make personalized Easter buckets for the kids & fill.
  • Dye Easter eggs -- one of my favorites!
  • Color with sidewalk chalk.
  • Organize our outdoor toys for easy access. 
  • Start coaching Rhyse's t-ball team!! So excited to be his coach :)
  • Head to Chicago for a weekend wedding. 
  • Spend a week in Chicago with my mom & the kids.
  • Make a trip to IKEA!
What's on your Spring fun/to do list??