Friday, May 31, 2013

High Five for Friday

We have been MIA from High Five for Friday, but we are back in full force. Summer vacation snuck up on us and we went into vacation mode with the blog too! ACK! But, here we are, linking up with Lauren again with our High Five for Friday. Here it goes:

1. Niki got to go shopping, to the doctor and to get groceries, all by her self! Woot!

2. New planners are in the works, for us, our mom & brother and eventually you! Woot again!

3. Shannon flower-ized her apartment. Now that the weather has finally caught up with the calendar, I am all for bringing in some glorious spring colors!

4. Niki got a couple fun tops and some awesome long and lean tanks from the buckle (our favorite). They should be here the beginning of the week.

5. Summer ball is in full swing! Faith has already had 2 games and the boys first game is Sunday. Expect pictures. :) Now to recruit Aunt Shan to help!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Operation: Get it Together version N.2

A big part of Operation: Get it Together for me is getting my children on board with maintaining our household. I have been looking at all different kids of chore charts, online on paper and even apps. But they were all to complicated. I have 3 kids, and several chores that need to be done. I thought about a rotating schedule, but I couldn't really make that work. I thought about switching jobs every week, but didn't really like that either. My kids get bored easily. :)

I ended up with a Chore Jar. I'm sure there are tons of them all over the internet, and I know I have pinned a few. But I wanted just the things that were important to me right now.

I decided to go with 3 categories: Daily, Weekly and Extra Credit. Each of the kids has to pick 2 or 3 daily chores a day. They get completed and at the end of the night they are put back in the jar. Each kid gets to pick 1 or 2 weekly chores. They get put back on Sunday night. Extra Credit are things that the kids are not normally expected to do but can do to earn some extra money, or at my discretion.
I had Shannon whip me up some super cute chore chart cards:
I printed them, and Shannon cut, laminated and cut again. I want them to last for a while.
 Then she made me a super cute label for my container:

I had planned on putting these in a cute mason jar. But it just didn't work out that way. Shannon raided my shelf of extra storage and found this fun green container from Dollar Tree. I just printed this, cut it out and Mod Podged it on my container.

Right now we can't find the lid to the container, so there is no picture of that, but used your imagination for now, I will be back to add a picture when I find the lid!

We have started using it. The kids each pick 3 green chores (daily) and 1 orange (weekly) every day. They love the job of wiping the fridge and freezers, and it pays 50 cents, which they love even more! My fridge has never been this clean. So far, we have done a pretty good job of maintaining our house.

Look for our customizable chore jar kit in our Etsy shop soon!

How do you maintain your household? Are your kids doing chores? At what age did you start them? Any helpful hints to get me through this?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What I'm working on...

Last week I was babysitting Niki's kidlets while she was still in school.  So while the kiddos were playing away I was hard at work!

First on the list is finishing up a customized life planner for Courtney, a winner of a giveaway that we recently sponsored on another blog. It's adorable! And while making Courtney's planner I decided that our life planner could use a little update for the next year too. So I made up a list of ideas that I'm toying around with.

We are also thinking about updating a few of the "sets" in the shop. We are thinking the budget documents first. So we are doing a little planning and figuring out what has worked best for us and adjusting them accordingly. And maybe some fun new colors and layouts too??

What changes or updates would you like to see? Any new documents we should create? Something we should add or change on our life planner??

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Operation: Get it Together - Daily Agenda Freebie

We are still here, honest!
I am clearly not getting things done. I decided I needed to bust out our daily agenda and see if it works for me. We are use all of the things we offer, at some time or another. We are also constantly updating our printables. We take comments from readers, customers and friends & family who use our products.

This is our daily agenda right now, it has to-do, where to be, to eat, who to call, to buy and fitness (including a place to keep track of your water).
Click here to download for the month of June!
Shannon's initial plan was for it to be laminated and used over and over. However, I like to plan more than one day. I do have a planner, but this is so much more in depth! I have the rest of the week roughly planned out. If things don't get done on one day, they just get moved to the next day.
Here is mine, for today! Nothing like real life blogging!
So, we are asking for you to click on the link above, download our daily agenda and give us some feedback! Did it work for you? What would you add or take away? Based on your feedback, we will make some changes and put up a new daily agenda for you to try!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Operation: Get It Together {episode three}

Operation: Get it together continues. Today we are on "pretend Wednesday" but I am including Thursday too, for the sake of not dragging this out too much.
 Wednesday and Thursday tasks: 

sweep and vacuum floors
check counters
clear clutter
water plants
check floors
I also added in dishes, because obviously those need to be done everyday. 
We don't always have to run the dishwasher everyday. But there are dishes used everyday and that means they need to be rinsed and put in the dishwasher. Sitting in the sink being all nasty is not acceptable. Occasionally a few rinsed dishes will sit in the sink until the next day and I'm okay with that if they are rinsed and not getting crusty. Nothing makes a girl crankier than trying to scrub nasty crusty dishes, right?

The floors got swept and vacuumed today. We don't have much area to sweep, just a small kitchen and bathroom. But since our kitchen is right inside our door and people are usually still wearing shoes when they walk though, that needs to be swept pretty often. The bathroom usually goes until scheduled days without much needed in between.

I use a carpet freshener powder before I vacuum. I don't know that it actually does anything beneficial besides making it smell nice, but that's enough for me. The one I use is made by Glade, but I'm sure there are other brands out there.

Counters and clutter are about the same. I am still working on putting away or finding a new (better) home for at least 3 things each day. It's gonna take me a while at this pace, but I'm hoping once I'm out of school for the summer I can kick some serious clutter tuckus. (read: find something without needing an entire search team)

Basically the same story for Thursday, I just added in

I also whipped up another chore chart. I felt like I needed a handy way to track the things that don't need to be done on a certain day, but do need to be done somewhat frequently.
This allows me to track the chores that need to be done weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly but not necessarily in any particular order or on certain days. I just check off what I do and clean the list off at the appropriate intervals.

Also on the docket for the week. ATTACK LAUNDRY MONSTER!! It got a little scary for a while, but in the end I won. That empty spot in the middle is where I sat, through two episodes of Law & Order SVU. uhthankyouverymuch, it took forever!! Now I will just stay ahead of it.

Another project in the kitchen. My freezer got another clean out and reorganization. Actually I was using small trash cans before, but they didn't end up working out as brilliantly as I thought. So I popped in these baskets. The bottom one has meat, the top has potatoes, vegetables and snacks. So far it is working out pretty well.

 How is Operation: Get it Together coming along in your lives? What are you working? What new systems are helping your family have a smooth transition into summer??

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May Goals Update or Operation: Get it Together v N.1.5

Since its the middle of the month, I thought I would do a little follow up and let you know where I stand. Some good, some in the works and some bad. Here goes:

Home & Organizing Goals:

  • Clean & Organize kitchen junk drawer: Not at all. But it's still on the list!
  • Declutter and organize coat closet: But I cheated, my aunt came to babysit and she did it. I still need to declutter, but its easier to do now.
  • Create chore chart & implement it: This is in the works. I have chores printed out. I decided to go in a different direction. The kids and I are working on this together.
  • Tame the laundry monster: Again, cheated. My aunt did this too. But, I've maintained it!
  • Drop off Goodwill stuff: Not yet. I keep staring at it though, hoping it will load itself in the Durango for me. I am hoping to get this done by the end of the week, because school is done Thursday!
Lifestyle Goals:
  • Be more present with my family: This is a constant goal for me. With so much social media and with it on my phone, its easy to "multi-task". I am trying. I will keep working on it.
  • Run 3 miles straight: Haven't ran since our 5K the beginning of the month. FAIL. Still time to recover. I am going to try to get out to run tomorrow school.
  • Work on core strength: Not even once. UGH. I have really fallen off the wagon. I am trying to find it again though. 

 And, since you asked, here are some of our #challengespringcolors outfits. I'm a little sad that no one has participated with us.... so get out there and Instagram that outfit!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Summer Goals

I only have a week if school left. My brain is already in summer vacation mode. It's time for the calendar to catch up.
However, summer vacation means its time to complete all those organizing projects that I put on the back burner because we were too busy. And because I am an over sharer I thought you all should know what my plans were. Maybe you can keep me accountable. 
• organize and purge coat closet
• organize and purge toy closet
• organize and purge my closet 
• paint CT's room 
• paint JT's room
• organize and purge kitchen cupboards 

There are only 6 things. So I need to tackle about 2-4 a month to get them all done before going back to school in August. And you know I will be back to blog about what I do, my inspiration and what didn't work. 

Do you have big organizing plans for this summer? Share your to do list for a little accountability.

This post brought to you by Operation: Get it Together. Join us on Instagram and twitter #getittogether.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent

I am so cheap when it comes to some things. And apparently laundry detergent has been added to the list of things I hate spending money on. So I found this recipe (can you call it a recipe??) on pinterest and went back to the original blog to find out more. Here is the post that I used.

Her recipe is amazingly simple and that's pretty much why I chose it. I had seen a lot of recipes for homemade laundry detergent that are powder form and I just wasn't so sure that I wanted to use a powdered laundry detergent so I kept searching for a liquid version that wasn't ridiculous to make.

Here's what she says to do:

3 Tablespoons Borax
3 Tablespoons Washing Soda
2 Tablespoons Dawn Dish soap
Put these ingredients in a one gallon jug. Pour 4 cups boiling water into the jug. Swirl until ingredients are dissolved in the liquid. Let liquid cool. Then fill almost to the top with cold water. The bubbles will overflow out of the bottle.
Couldn't be an easier, right?
So I snagged up the ingredients I needed. I got them all at WalMart and spent less than $7 on all of it. I used a left over milk jug because I wasn't sure if i was going to continue making this recipe.

Add in the borax, washing soda and dawn....

Then the hot water...

Swirl it around to get it nice and mixed up, then let it cool.

After it has cooled, you just fill it up the rest of the way with cool water. Since my soap is light pink, it really looks almost clear in the jug, but I promise that there is soap in there and it works.

So far I am really happy with it. Plus it's so incredibly cheap! Our clothes get clean and they still smell nice too! 

What homemade cleaners and products do you make??

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Operation: Get it Together

My motto for Operation: Get it Together is Contain the Chaos! The last couple weeks have been crazy between concerts, recitals, practices, my sister-in-law visiting, and just general end of the school year business.
When Shannon started Operation: Get it Together, I knew I had to jump onboard. I talk a good game, and start out strong, but soon my ADHD/Perfectionism take over and if it takes more than 30 seconds and I can't do it perfectly, I'm not going to do it at all. That is no good.
I already shared my May goals, but I also have some everyday things I need to accomplish.
  • Start dishwasher every night, empty it every morning
  • One load of laundry a day. Complete. Washed, dried, folded, put away. 
That's all for now. Too often I start out with a crazy list and I get burnt out after just a few days.

One other really important thing Tim and I are working on (again) is making our children accountable for their own stuff. I have started making the big kids daily to-do lists. I am also in the process of creating a rotating chore chart.
So often it is easier to do a task yourself then teach someone else to do it. And inevitably they will do it wrong (at least in your mind). I am taking the approach that if I don't have to do it, it is done right. I am also teaching my kids valuable life skills. Yes, it might take longer, and yes it might not be done perfectly, but they are slowly taking ownership of our home.

What are you doing for Operation: Get it Together?

Monday, May 13, 2013

April Accomplishments and May Aspirations

Niki posted about how she was doing on her April goals so I figured I should share what I got accomplished in April. 
Time management and obligations:
 1. survive prom-- check. I only forgot to have the pastor say the prayer before I sent the first table, so only a minor glitch, but otherwise it went great and the food was Amazing!
2. Get bridesmaid dress altered- check. I am currently awaiting it's return. Wedding weekend is coming fast! 
3. register for summer classes- half check. I haven't registered yet because none of the classes I need are available until fall, but I am able to take them in the town I live in through a local university, so that's a bonus. And since I have to wait to take those, I'm looking in to a sped endorsement to start too. Might as well pile on the debt right? 

Home and Organizing.
1. get all labels printed, laminated, and put up. check.  

2. finish up spring cleaning. mostly check. I'm still coming up with a few more random things to purge, or reorganize, or sort through. But as far as my actual cleaning, I've made it through the whole apartment.
3. purge, declutter, and organize coat closet- well since we still had snow in May, I put a halt on this one. But I think we might finally be clear of the we'll put this back on the list for May.
4. store seasonal winter clothes- see above.
5. new desk area-  whomp, whomp. still failing at this one. I may have just started avoiding it. 

Blog and Etsy.
1. Update items in the shop-check. I've even finally listed our planners!
2. Get my posts written before the day they go live-  half check- this usually happens.
3. do some projects- mostly fail. moving this to May's list.

So I did eh, sort of okay in April. Not a complete success, but hey things come up and we have lives and {multiple} jobs, it happens.
So for May, when I in theory have a bit more free time. I'm hoping to kick some mega butt. And my biggest goal for May is...

1. Operation: Get It Together. This is kind of a big project that isn't really a project at all. I already started posting about it actually and then decided to keep it going until things truly become a habit for me and I really do feel like I have it together. This started with a simple cleaning plan from clean mama and I'm hoping that by the end of summer I will have the whole apartment de-cluttered and cleaned and rolling in my new habits and systems. This is going to be the biggest goal to complete for me.

2. Make a weekly meal and plan and stick to it. No pizza rolls and other kid foods because I didn't plan anything and have no brilliant ideas!! (also, excellent excuse to try pinterest recipes??)

3.  Make our little brother's planner. His runs out at the end of May.  He has ADHD and uses the same planner at I do and he says it really helps him to manage his time and schedule. (here's a peek at mine)

4. Finish April's not completed items---coat closet and packing winter clothes. I bought ziplock space bags to stash winter bedding and coats in. I"m thinking of just swapping around some hanging and tub things in the closet and only actually packing up the super warm things.

5. Go through closet. Find massive amounts of clothes to give to Niki??? Seriously that thing is so stuffed you can't even find anything.

6. Complete Jillian Michael's 30 day shred....I already started, just have to commit to finishing it! (even if she kicks my butt!!!)

What are you aspiring to do in May??

Friday, May 10, 2013

High Five for Friday

Hey everyone, we hope you all had a great week! We are both getting close to the end of the school year (Shannon is closer than Niki) Woo Hoo! I think teachers get just as excited for the end of the year as the kids do! They get so antsy and ridiculous towards the end and makes me a little bit nuts!!
Of course we are linking up with Lauren again, so be sure to hop over to her blog and check out everyone else's Friday Five.

1. We started off our week running our very first 5K together! It was such a great day and we loved it!

2. Niki's daughter Faith had her music concert on Monday night and she did great!

3. We sponsored a giveaway on another blog, challenge accepted. Allison was our lucky winner! We love doing giveaways! We even offered a coupon code to her readers, so if you're looking to order something be sure to hop over to her blog first :)

4. I brought brownies for my seniors' last day today and cupcakes yesterday. I'm like MarthaFreakingStewart lately. However I must confess, the cupcakes were an impulse purchase at WalMart. But I made those brownies fresh this morning!!

5. We got our Advocare Spark energy drink mixes this morning. We are so excited for them. We love that they are sugar free and provide a great energy boost! Can't wait to put them to good use this summer!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Operation: Get It Together {episode two}

I have decided that Operation: Get It Together will continue. Clearly it is not going to take me one day to truly "get it together" so why pretend that it happened in one post? It is going to take me weeks and maybe even months until my new practices become habits and routines. Anyone else out there want to play along and control their chaos too??

Since Niki and I alternate posting days, this is what I did on Tuesday evening. We can't just go skipping days because I don't post everyday. Gotta have accountability right?

Yesterday's tasks were pretty easy and I managed to get them all accomplished. Woo-hoo! On the list for day was dusting the house (apartment in my case). This is a pretty simple task for me but since it hadn't been done for awhile I tried to make extra sure that everything got a good cleaning. I use a regular wood spray and a multi-surface spray depending on which room I am in. In the living room where we have have a wood and glass coffee table and the TV sitting on the "entertainment center", I use the multi-surface spray so that I can just do the whole thing at once rather than using different sprays for the glass, wood, and TV. For other places that are just wood, I just use the regular wood spray. I have also recently started using microfiber rags for my cleaning. So far they are working out great!

Then for my everyday tasks I did a load of laundry and put away some of the overflow (clean laundry built up from my dryer hiatus). I wiped down all the counters with my favorite Method spray. I have a separate one for the kitchen and bathroom. Each one stays in the cabinet under the sink in their respective rooms. I swept and washed the kitchen floor yesterday because well it needed to be done. So I didn't mess with that floor today. The bathroom floor wasn't bad and today (Wednesday) is sweeping day so it can wait until tonight. I also watered the plants, not sure why that only made it on the list on a few days, but at least they aren't completely forgotten then. I also worked quite a bit on conquering my clutter.

These are the method cleaners that I use for the kitchen and bathroom. 

We have a lot of junk things that just haven't gotten put away or have never really found a proper home. So since I didn't have to work and "we" are on break from darts for a month, we tried to get things cleaned and tidied up. I feel like this is the hardest part of the routine. With three jobs, in three different towns, I do a lot of running home, dropping things and maybe changing clothes or grabbing a snack and running back out again. But with the end of school coming soon (everyone cheers wildly!) I'm hoping that I can get settled in to a nice summer routine and get things really set up nicely so that I can have it together before I go to back to school in August. That's my plan anyway. I know it sounds like a long time, but when I say "have it together" I mean that I want things to be habits and routines that I just do almost automatically so that it doesn't become a disaster that I have to try to recover from. I know things happen- prom, being in weddings, going out of town.....those can all lead to big messes when you come home.

In an unrelated Get It Together task, I jotted down the few things that I needed from the grocery store on my cute memo board that I made from a frame from Goodwill.  (read how I made that here) I tend to lose the tiny lists that I make throughout the week so this is a safe place to store them. I realize that I will have to re-write the list before I go to the store, but at least I will not be missing the items that were on some random post-it that got shoved to the bottom of my purse.

Read about my first day here and my original cleaning plan here. What are you doing to control your chaos at home? What are you routines? I'm open to suggestions here...what has worked or hasn't worked for you? How do you keep your lives streamlined?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

April Recap and May Goals

It's already a week into May. I'm sure you are all dying to know how I did with my April challenge. Here's a hint: not well.

Home & Organizing Goals:

  • Print, laminate & hang laundry labels
  • Clean & organize kitchen junk drawer
  • Declutter and organize coat closet (Started, had to break out boots and snowpants again)
  • Clean/Dirty labels for dishwasher
  • Bind blog planner and blog about it
Lifestyle Goals:
  • Complete the Bikini Body challenge (Made it about half way through the month)
  • Print Planner (Made it through June)
  • Be more present with my family (This is ongoing, so it doesn't get crossed out)
So..... Will I do better in May? Some of the goals will move forward to May, some will get put on the back burner. It's not looking promising, but here it goes:

Home & Organizing Goals:
  • Clean & Organize kitchen junk drawer
  • Declutter and organize coat closet
  • Create chore chart & implement it
  • Tame the laundry monster 
  • Drop off Goodwill stuff
Lifestyle Goals:
  • Be more present with my family
  • Run 3 miles straight
  • Work on core strength
Because every post needs some pictures, here are some of my #challengespringcolors outfits from the last couple weeks!
How did your April goals turn out? Share your recap with us!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Operation: Get It Together

The last couple of weeks I have been feeling a bit crazy, swamped, and out of control. I have been getting behind in my housework and chores and have gotten into a nasty habit of just dropping off my bags when I come in the door and then digging out what I need for the next day. Its a vicious cycle.  So one of the last times I did printables for myself I made this little friend and figured it as about time to put it to use to help me "get it together", hence the post title.

Now I didn't come up with these tasks randomly or on my own. I got a little help from one of our favorite bloggers, clean mama. She gives great tips and plans on getting your home clean and maintaining it. Pop over and check out her cleaning routine tab for lots of great stuff! She tells you all her favorite products and her cleaning schedules. She even provides a free printable each month to help you keep on track! She also offers other great freebies!  I wrote all about my new cleaning schedule here, and all of the great things that clean mama suggests.

So here's what my printable looks like. I just used a theme template I have used for a lot of printables lately. I'm still loving brights, chevron, and arrows. Isn't it cute???

Now I have been trying to follow this schedule for a couple months now, but just haven't been doing so great. I'm hoping a fresh new list on the fridge will keep me motivated and on track.  I added in dishes, just until it becomes a habit and I don't have to really check the list. And as far as the "clear the clutter" item goes, for now my goal is to put away 3 to 5 things that are not in their correct homes. Hopefully this will eventually become put away 1 or 2 things. Or maybe even put away just the things from that day??And since I was dryer-less and am playing catch up on laundry....I have a few extra loads to put away, but I'm working on it.

Today's special area was the bathroom. Everything listed with bathrooms got a good cleaning tonight. I just use a throw away antibacterial wipe for the sink, counters and toilet. {obviously a different wipe for the toilet!} For the tub I use a scrub brush that stays in there all the time, it is filled with vinegar and dawn. I also wiped down the caulking around the base of the tub and gave the toilet brush a good soak in bleach water. Always good to sanitize that thing.

I also just started selling thirty-one and got this baby for myself and decided that for now it's home was going to be in the bathroom collecting dirty laundry. It's a super cute just to waste on laundry collection, but it keeps it from piling up on the floor and it makes me smile to look at it. It doesn't technically help me get things done better, but it does decrease the disaster in-between so I call it a win.

What kind of cleaning schedule do you follow? How do you keep on top of your housework? Do you use a chore chart? The whole family helps out? checklists?