Saturday, March 30, 2013

Planner Organization, part 3

Here is how I started organizing all my planner extras.  I love this little pouch to hold sticky notes and other stationery.  It opens wide so I can see everything.

This bag, kind of a mobile office, stays close by with other items I need throughout the day (my main desk is downstairs so this is very helpful to me!).

Pretty easy access to everything:

All tucked away when I need to clear off the table.

Here are the first two posts:

I actually got another binder (at a verrrry good price) and passed the Apex on to Sean.  I am hoping to get pics soon!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A little of this and that...

Some things I have taken pictures of that don't have much to do with anything.  :)

I finally got Eli's baby panel framed.  

Luke has been building and building.

We made some really good banana muffins.

It seems like I have a lot of dry pantry goods (various beans, rice, other grains, nuts, etc).  I am going to work on meal plans that use these up.

The back door after playing in the snow....

And because it just looked like such a mess, I had to take a picture of the living room.  I want to remember more than just the super clean/organized times!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Planner Dream Team, part 2

I never thought I would use 2 planners at once.  What a crazy, superfluous notion.  However, in my quest for the "perfect" planner I am trying a few things out.  One is the Filofax Apex (testing to see if the personal size will work as a wallet and be big enough to hold my essentials).  Since I already had a nice Franklin Covey, I just could not purchase the Apex (even on sale for less than $15!) without knowing I could still make use of it.  I didn't like the idea of looking in 2 different places for things I need.  But, to be honest, without a planner, I was looking all over for things I need. So, I decided to use it as sort of a home management binder.  I keep what I want with me while out and about in the Apex. Anything else goes in the stay-at-home Franklin Covey.
So, here it (he/she... should I name it???) is.
First of all, although it is not leather, it has a nice, soft feel.  I also like the wide clasp and magnetic snap.

I love, love the inside cover.  There is an slip pocket, a zipper pocket, 4 card slots, plus a window slot and a pocket behind them.  I keep a smaller Shaklee catalog in the slip pocket.  Receipts go in the zipper pocket until I can get them filed (lots of room in there so I put it off longer!).  The flap behind the card slots holds any bills or items that need payment that are not part of the regular monthly budget.  The card slots hold smaller sticky notes.
I use the vinyl card holder for pictures.


The pouch has a sweet letter from my sister folded up on one side.  Flip it over and you can see a large sticky notepad and extra stickers.  Then come my divider sections.  I used scrapbook paper and removable index tabs to make them.  I just used what I had in my craft/office supply stash.

I stuck my monthly calendar back in here since the Apex doesn't have one.

I use sticker dots here (and my weekly pages) for recurring events for this month.  I just write it once at the top of each column next to the matching dot.
The sections are: Thanks, School (for home-school), Budget, Shaklee, Ideas, Projects, Holidays and Home. 

In the "Home" section I have a pocket I cut down from a used-up spiral notebook.  It has paint colors in it.

At the end are my address pages.  Since this stays home, I did away with my old address book and copied everything here.

The back has a slot holding a notepad.  I make a to-list on here (mostly for Shaklee right now), tear it out and stick it in the right section.  The pen loop is the faux leather and elastic.

Two buddies just hanging out.

My main complaint with the FC was the small ring size.  For a larger planner, it doesn't seem to hold a lot.  The Apex rings are the same, if not bigger.

I currently use the end of our dining room table as my office space.  I keep things tucked away in bags for quick clean-up (yes, part 3 of this tantalizing series).  I keep them stacked on top of each other to save space.

And just one more shot for the heck of it.

Happy place.  :)  I know there are more pressing matters in life than organizing, but I am thankful God gives me such enjoyment in it.  It is such a help in running my home and raising up these boys.  So, whether I eat or drink [or plan or write or stick or highlight or clip] I want to do it all for the glory of God!  (1 Corinthians 10:31, my paraphrase)  :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Planner Tour- Filofax Apex Personal, part 1

I have long been a paper loving planner.  For the past several years I have experimented with home management binders.  For some seasons they worked really well.  Lately, though, not so much.  So I went on a hunt for a new planner.  Little did I know I would find a sub-culture of planner lovers.  :)  There are even youtube videos and blogs dedicated to planners (I had no idea!!).
To make a long story short- I got one kind (Franklin Covey Classic) and loved it so much I wanted to carry it around with me.  But, it's just too big for all that.  My dream planner from the beginning is a Filofax Malden in ochre (I think... I am still deliberating).  Some obstacles to that right now:
1) $ I can't justify that expense right now (especially with a newish planner right by my side!)
2) I want a smaller size so I can carry it around with me, but not sure there will be enough room in it.
As I pondered I came across the Filofax USA site and saw they had a 60% off clearance.  Some of the lower end binders are really affordable on clearance.  I looked at a few, checked reviews, etc.  I settled on the Apex Personal.  I really couldn't find many reviews- serious Filofaxers are partial to their leather, I think :) But I liked the insert selection a little better (and figured if I did get another, I could reuse them).  So, I got one.  I have a very sweet & patient husband. :)

Without further ado...
I was really surprised at how nice it felt.  I guess I was expecting some cheap plastic cover.  It is vinyl or something, but very sturdy.

It lies flat right away (didn't expect that either!).  The inside cover has one card slot and a pocket.  Since I want to use this size as a wallet I would want more storage.  For now, I just have my 3 most-used cards in the pocket.  They all 3 fit with ease, probably room for one or 2 more.  The pocket holds some tabs I use for meal planning, a sticky note pad, a blank note card/envelope and a card I need to mail in the back.  The fly leaf holds a reminder note and another sticky pad for shopping lists.

There were no monthly planning pages.  I will have them at some point, but I don't want to spend any more money until I am sure of the size working for me.  
I do have the week on 2 pages for the rest of the year.  This layout is working for me right now.  I use the Martha Stewart tabs for weekly tasks I don't want to forget.  I move them to the next week when completed (idea from OrganizedJen).  I use colored dots to indicate recurring events during the week so I don't have to keep writing them out.  

Close-up of my meal planning tab.  I used a cut-down piece of scrapbook paper and made a column for the days.  Using the sticky tabs I wrote meal choices from my winter menu.  I like being able to swap them around.  Also, I take the tab off and put in in the menu section to use for next time.  

At the writing of this post I have made all the scheduled meals. :)
After my week on 2 pages I have a vinyl pocket with address labels in the front (not shown) and stickers and tabs on the other.  The heart stickers are to put on days I exercise (need all the incentive I can get!).

The divided sections are still under construction as I am taking my time thinking about what I want in there.  So far I have some lists, contact info and meal planning.

The back has a holder for the rest of my cards and stamps.  The zipper pouch holds extra tabs.

In the back of the zipper pouch I have money from Nicaragua (we are going there on a mission trip this summer and I love seeing it).
There is one slot that could hold a notepad.  In it I have my checkbook and a pouch with my son's birthday money (to open a savings account).  Clipped in the pocket I have a larger sticky notepad.  On it I write all my to-do items.  As I add them to my weekly pages I cross them off.  This keeps my daily notes from getting too messy and I don't have to flip back to the previous week if I didn't get to something.  
And the pen loop is elastic.

Overall, I am finding this planner to be very accommodating.  I almost got the pink.  I live with 3 little boys and a manly-man husband.  Sometimes a girl has to take pink where she can get it.  However, I am so glad I didn't.  Not only do I really like the gray, there is a certain someone who has claimed this planner in the event I do upgrade.

He loves leafing through the pages and keeps telling me I am using "his" planner.  I think it's quite adorable.

And what about the Franklin Covey, you might be wondering???  Oh, I have already put it to good use.     Another post coming on how I am using them together.    

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Organizing and Easter Crosses

The game cabinet needed some sprucing up so I added it to Sean's to-do list.  The drawer above the cabinet is the catch-all for rogue pieces that don't make it back in the box.  He put every thing back together and straightened the boxes.

I am trying to do different activities with them during Lent.  I want them to look forward to Easter with great anticipation of what it means to us as believers in Christ. 
They painted these crosses with watercolors.  For the first time, I think, they both took their time and made a thoughtful work of art.  We talked about what the cross means means and hung them on the t.v. cabinet.  We use them as a reminder to talk about Easter.

"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the 

Easter people and hallelujah is our song."

-- Pope John Paul II

Silly Boys

This is what happens when the toddler disappears and comes back with his tub seat.

Middlest and littlest brothers:

These two crazy boys... never a dull moment.

Making a race track- I love how Luke is looking at Sean.

Sean pulled his own tooth.  He was very proud of himself.  We got him this t-shirt at Old Navy and he loves having a shirt like Daddy.  I think we will be seeing a lot of this one.

Making Snow

We pulled out a Christmas present (experiments!) and decided to make snow.  "This'll be fun and pretty easy to clean up," said the crazy mom in denial.

But first, while I was setting up the station-o-play here's Mr. Innocent pulling junk out of the cabinet.

The boys loved adding water to the crystals and watching them grow into soft, mushy snow.

And it continued to grow and slowly take over.  Kind of hard to wipe this stuff up.  And you're not supposed to let it go down the drain (something about it retaining a ridiculous amount of water and taking over your plumbing...).  I let  the boys play and tamed my inner you're-getting-stuff-all-over-the-floor beast.  They had a lot of fun.  And it was worth the mess.  :)

And this little cutie hung out with me in the kitchen while they played.

Everyday stuff

As usual, I loaded pictures from my camera and now I have a bunch of posts to catch up on.  Here are a series of days hanging out at home.

Luke working on numbers- he was so proud of himself!

I'm looking around for fun games for Sean on the computer.  There's so much available, but we still haven't found a favorite.

I loved finding Luke cozy with a book.
These boys of mine love tea time.  And they go all out with buddies and extra cups & saucers.  Before Sean got Polar, this was his bear of choice.

I don't even know when I took this, but he was still so I got him!
Luke loves having "work" to do while Bubba does his.  This calendar notebook has been great for him.  

I usually feel like I don't take many pictures, then go on a spree and take pictures of everything!  I am thankful to have them, though (especially when I catch up on the blog).  One of these days I'll actually print them.

Birthday Adventure

Continuing the birthday celebration, we headed out to Pigeon Forge first thing Monday morning (after loading the car and last minute clean-up!).  We went over the beautiful mountains into Tennessee.  We had fun looking at the frozen waterfalls along the road, the breath-taking views and going through tunnels.  The boys' favorite part was the "biggest nets we've ever seen" (in little boy excited voice!) attached to the sides of the mountain.
We stopped at a place (can't even remember the name) that was known for throwing rolls.  Well, the boys loved the idea.  And that was really the only good thing about it. :)  At least we got what we went for!

Sean is some kind of dinosaur attacking it's prey (his hands are claws).
We got to the resort too early to check in, but since they gave us a free ceramic turtle to paint (as a gift for the birthday boy!) we went to the little pottery shop and let Sean and Luke paint.  That was fun (I've always wanted to do that with them!).  We left the pieces to be fired.  Then we just decided to change into pool clothes and head to the water park.  I did not even bring my camera because I didn't know where to keep it while chasing little people around.
After a few shenanigans getting checked in, we made it to our room.  It was a little crazy getting unloaded and then a nice man trying to sell time shares came up and was talking to us (all the while kids are crawling about and Jeff & I are trying to get food and bags put away!).  We got a free blanket, though!  We got some dinner and Jeff took the boys back to the park while I got Eli down.  And that was day #1.
The next day we got up, ate breakfast and headed to the Titanic.  No cameras were allowed so I got squat from the visit recorded.  We had a lot of fun, though.  At the entrance we were greeted by a "maid."  Sean said "I'm a big fan of the Titanic, you know."  Inside, Sean kept going ahead and yelling "Holy Moly, you gotta see this!"  Good thing we were the only ones there for a while.  They liked touching the cold water and standing on (and sliding down!) the slanted deck displays.  And at the gift store Sean was finally able to purchase his long-awaited Polar, the Titanic Bear (with money from Grandaddy & Shirsh).  It came with the book and some bracelets.  He got the smaller bear, opposed to the bigger, plush one.  He said it was not as expensive, plus it was closer in size to the real Polar (love that boy).  Luke got a puppy and Eli a little polar bear.

We went to a brick oven pizza place (Big Daddy's).   They brought the kids dough balls to play with then took them to bake for dessert.  Sean made a Titanic and Luke ended up with a puppy head. 

We went to some shops after lunch.  Of course, all family trips include a real, paid-for ride on one of those contraptions that kids love.  

Sean kept his Polar with him the whole time :)
We picked up their works of art when we got back.  Sean has 8 black dots on the shell for his birthday.  Luke did such a good job on his heart (my crafty boy).

Jeff took the boys to the park in the afternoon while I was with the napping Eli.  I did some Shaklee work and enjoyed the quiet.  And maybe a little something Jeff got me, too...

After nap and play, we went into Gatlinburg and Jeff pulled up to the Melting Pot for dinner!  Eli was super fussy and I ended up taking him out to the car while Jeff and the boys finished up.  It was a fun experience, though.

We got back and spent some time at the water park.  I brought Eli back early and put him to bed.  I tried to get some pictures of this wild child.

The boys came back and watched t.v. on their sofa bed (Eli was in the other bedroom).  

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast (Pate McMuffins!) and packed up.

My little monkey boys.

We are so thankful to God to be able to make memories like these.