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Friday, June 16, 2023

It's NOT Christmas!

 If you have followed me for even just a short time, you know I love Christmas- like, a lot. And it shows in my stories and posts even when it's months and months away. Sometimes I get a little heart for it and sometimes I get unfollowed for it. And once in a while I get a message or two reminding me the order of the holidays 😂  

Here's a little insight that is a short read- but still too long, I think, for a  caption or a story.

Summer- It’s fun. More fun when we meet at the beach.  But I am no longer a classroom teacher, so I’m still working. It’s not like it was before. 

Halloween- Love scary movie season with Boop. But they are all over 19, so the candy and little ones aren’t a part of it for me any more.

Thanksgiving - I prepare meals and sit at the table with the people who mean the most to me multiple times a week. So that one day a year only stands out for the parade, the dog show, and the trip to see Christmas lights that night. 

Then there’s those glorious days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The shopping.  Baking. Choosing our tree and decorating. The movies. And finally Christmas Day. The absolute best part of the year. 

Lockdown in 2020 was made brighter by me realizing “Hey, this is my house and if I want to get in the attic and pull out decorations there’s nothing stopping me!”

So I have garland and lights on the mantle. I burn Christmas candles almost everyday. There are other Christmasy things here and there. I have a Christmas playlist that I listen to while I grocery shop each week, and I watch at least one Christmas movie every week. 

I took that amazing feeling that used to be reserved for just a few  weeks at the end of every year and made it last all year long. And I continued it for ‘21, ‘22, and this year as well. 

And I have been lucky enough to connect with people online who love it just as much. ❤️ I’ve learned that the seasons, holidays, and vacations that mean the most to us are all relative to what stage of life we are in. 

So you might see a countdown here or there. When it gets closer, I am all about it.  

Until then, I’m excited to see what makes you happy- whether it’s the beach, trick or treating, or Turkey day. I encourage you to celebrate whatever you can, whenever you can. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Adding New Sticker Books to the Stash

When I first got into the stickers and all the accessories, I was working out of a cart. And after everyone would go to bed (or if I had time alone), I would pull everything out and work on the couch if it was planner stuff and at the kitchen table if it was for the memory keeper.
Needless to say, that was not working for me- at all. So I commandeered a desk from Squish's room, refinished it, and VOILA! I have a place for me and all my planner stash!

One of the drawers is dedicated solely to my sticker books. To make it easier to see which was which, I used some of the tricks I saw on Instagram and Pinterest. Those are pretty straight forward, but there's one more little thing that is a big help.

Luckily I just hit the new release jackpot and got the LAST four that have had me on edge while I search for them. I took a few shots as I was getting them ready to add to my desk so I could share how I set them up.

I could not wait to get my hands on Happy Year, Colorful Boxes 3, Free Spirit 2, and most of all Botanical. All the heart eyes for that one! 

Since I am looking down on them with them being in a drawer, I decided to write the name of the sticker book on the top left. 

I just use a regular chalk marker. It's forgiving enough if I make a mistake when I am writing it on there and strong enough to stay put. (And trust me, I am ALWAYS touching them).

After I get them labeled from the top, I turn them around and cut off the bottom elastic. I know. Some people have a hard time with this. They think that the books aren't going to stay closed. 

They will. Unless you are folding the front cover behind the book, they are going to stay closed. 

I originally started cutting them off  and tying them to the top because ..... I saw it on the gram! Lol. Seriously, everyone else was doing it so I thought I needed to, too. And it was a kind of helpful to look for a certain color top when I was flipping through them. (This was before I was writing on top).  BUT then I started accumulating more books, and many of the color elastics are the same (or very close). 

Not only does it help to identify, it also helps to hold the pages together if they start to come loose. 

Now there's one more thing I do before I add them the drawer to be used. Some of you will gasp. I know that there are many who keep their books with the elastic on, no writing, and perfectly pristine. And that is OK. That works for lots of people. But I am using them ALL the time. I am constantly thumbing through to find the perfect sticker for a weekly spread or for an accent in the Memory Keeper.

And even though they are so easy to identify, I still came across one more tiny thing that kind of bugged me. The front of one book would get caught on the back of another book when I was putting them back in the drawer. It was those darn grommets that hold the elastic on. So......

I decided to cut them right off. Just that little black strip on the back.

So when I slide them in and out of the drawer I don't have to worry them catching and bending the front cover. It doesn't do anything to the functionality of the book. It just makes it easier to store them. 

This is a quick pic of the rows- totally not in any order- other than the striped washi I put on all the Happy Memory and Big Sticker books for when I am working in my Memory Keeper. It just makes organizing a little easier.

So that's it. When a new sticker book comes into the house, it gets snipped, tied, and labeled and it is ready to join all the other beauties that already live here.

If you have a great tip, leave it or the link for it in the comments. I would LOVE to check it out! I am always on the hunt for new ways to plan and play with my planners.

Head over here to see which Memory Keeper I am currently using, along with my favorite Happy Memory Sticker Books. I also have a list of the tools that I use to create my memory pages every week! Be sure to follow so you'll see when I add something that I actually use and love!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Meal Planning Helper!

Well, here we are! I took the pictures to make this tutorial on my blog over a month ago. Actually, it may have been over two months ago. I think I was mostly nervous because it has been so long since I have written anything longer than an Instagram caption.

It used to be my favorite part of the night, to sit down my with laptop and write about what was going on or what I was using in my classroom. And while things have changed considerably, I do still love sitting down to write every night. Except now I am writing in my planner or catching up in my Memory Keeper - basically doing something at my desk.
I wanted to share one of the things I made for my planner to help me out in the meal planning department. (Y'all know how much I love that!)
I was going to make this a video instead of writing about it, maybe the next time I make something I will think about the filming before I get started. 

This little tool that I made for meal planning has come in so handy! 

Like many of you, I shop once a week for groceries. And also like many of you, I am a lone ship on the ocean of meal planning. They are not much help, especially since I have taken out so much of the bad food that we used to eat. They know I am going to say "NO!" so they don't bother. 
These cards that I made are not only adorable, but they have really been helping me out for the last two months. 
Let's take a look at the finished product first:

I made these cards with meal ideas of things we ALREADY like and eat. Some of them are Whole 30 and some are not (but you can see that). I used a  Happy Planner photo insert to set the cards in. They live right next to my grocery list in my planner. That way when I am planning for the upcoming week, I can get ideas without having to ask everyone in the house. It makes planning for week so much easier. On one side of the page, I have Whole 30 meals and on the other side I have, you guessed it, Not Whole 30 meals.

It really was super simple!

First, I went through all of my old meal plans and made a separate list of entrees and sides. Things that repeated themselves often were obviously going to make it onto the cards.

I set the list aside, and cut a 4x6 photo card into 4ths, The size is important because we want these to fit into the photo page when we are done. 

Now the fun part: STICKERS! 
I used stickers from the Happy Planner Food Value Pack to decorate the bottom of the cards. I was trying to go all healthy, but the burger and the mac and cheese were just too cute!

Ok, the next part gets a tad techy- but not really. It was just a matter of scanning these four little cards on my printer/scanner. I scanned them as a photo, opened a Google Slide and placed the scanned picture in the background. I was then able to type the headings and lists. When I printed the page, I just cut out the cards separately and placed them in the photo holder. 

If that sounds like too much work, then I have a link for you! Now, using this means you will be skipping the sticker step and your cards will look just like mine. But if you are in it just for the functionality, then this is just what you need! 
After you click this link, it will tell you to make a copy- that's so we all aren't writing on each other's meal cards 😉

Once you open it, you can change the headings, the lists, the fonts- make it what works for you- and I'm telling you, this really works for me! I've been using it since the beginning of February this year and it has made a big difference!

After you print your "cards" on card stock or regular paper (and it doesn't really matter because they will be in the protector), you place them in the page next to the pages you meal plan in .

I have placed a few post-its on the page in my planner since I have done this, And I make a note that I need to go back into the computer, add a meal, and reprint. This will be really simple to do, just a matter of editing and reprinting.

I never in a million years thought that one book would be so important or serve as many purposes as this one does for me. I do have tons more to share. Whether or not I will share them with via video, instagram, blog, tweet- who knows-?!!? It all depends on the time of day, the amount pictures I took and whether or not I am having a good hair day! 🤣

Below are some of the materials I used while making this tool for my planner! Let me know in the comments if you are able to use this, too! And also, if you have any questions about how I set it up- I would love the feedback!

Also, check out my Amazon Storefront for other items I constantly use for Planning and Memory Keeping!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Grocery List I Don't Hate

It is just amazing to me how much grocery shopping has changed now that we are making better choices. Don't get me wrong- I still HATE going to the grocery store, and I still hate planning the meals, and blah blah blah. But at least I am organized and not wasting a boat load of money while I'm doing it.

Just click on the picture below to get the editable Google sheet that I made for my grocery list. When you click it, it will prompt you to make your own copy (that way we all aren't writing on each other's lists).
When you get ready to print pay attention to how many pages- you only need page 1.

And if you are printing this to insert into a Classic Happy Planner, you can set the custom printing size to 87% and it makes a perfect size- you just have to trim a little off before punching!

Happy Meal Planning! 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Half of Thirty

Before I get started on writing this post about the first half of my Whole30 journey, let me preface by saying that for the last 20 years I have treated my body like a garbage can. So there is a very distinct possibility that the start of ANY healthy program would show great results for me.
Also let me say that there aren't any affiliate links in this post. I'm not trying to sell you anything or profit in any way by sharing with you.
I am just overwhelmed at how things have changed for me.

Let me tell you (in one paragraph or less, please) why I even chose to start the Whole30. For years I have had issues with my stomach. Pretty much everything I ate affected me in a not so positive way. It got to the point this school year that I was taking two water bottles to work in the morning and not eating anything until I got home for the day.....just in case. Yes, I went all day without eating for 8 months. And I gained weight. I wasn't active and when I did eat, it was not a  good choice. Ever.

I started hitting the walking trail pretty hard at the beginning of Feb this year, and I was putting in some serious steps. But there weren't any changes in my body- not how I felt or how I looked. The Dr wanted to run a series of tests.Wanted to say that it was IBS and that I should take this little blue pill (not that one) 20 minutes before I eat to prevent the issues..

I decided I don't want to live like that. I needed to do something different.

So I searched and read several reviews and results from different programs. I needed to find something that was going to change the way I eat. I also needed to find something that he was going to do with me. I told him about the program and ordered the book.

When the book came, I read it from front to back. I made notes, marked recipes, and made copies of pages for him to carry in his lunchbox as a reminder.

And on May 9th we officially started the Whole30.
I'm going to tell you our results "so far" before I tell you what we have gone through.
As I am writing this, it is Day 14 and I have lost 24lbs. He has lost 37lbs. (And by doing so I have broken the ONLY rule that I had no willpower against....the scale. I was changing so fast, I had to know! You are not supposed to weigh yourself for the 30 days. I would like it known that I did hold out for seven days).

Did that grab your attention? I figured I'd hit you up with some numbers before I got to the end to keep you reading.

What Are Rules?
They are pretty simple. Until you figure out that these seven things are in everything we normally eat.

For 30 Days:

NO CARRAGEENAN (I didn't know what that was until I started either).

The book gives you some great recipes to start with. And also a 7 Day meal plan- to give you an idea of how to incorporate last night's dinner into breakfast. And then there's google and pinterest for finding more. I was most worried about the alcohol and the sugar. The alcohol really isn't that big of a deal. (But have you met me)? And I really don't mind not having "sweets". But it's not just sweets- sugar is in EVERYTHING. Ketchup, taco seasoning, dressing. And if there's no sugar, there's probably soy. Tuna, some hot teas, most seasonings I wanted to try. It is pretty restrictive when it comes to seasonings, but I am cooking with a lot of garlic, ginger, lemon, and regular old salt and pepper.

If you have done the Whole30 or you know someone who has, you know that while the results come fast, they do not come without a ton of work. I think it's worth it though, for us to see what we WERE putting in our bodies and to change the relationship we had with food for so many years. I thought I would list a few things that have been the best AND the most trying for the last two weeks.

One of the hard parts in this house is NOT EVERYONE IS DOING IT. So while I am planning and prepping and cooking and storing all this wonderfully delicious food, I am also making regualr dinners for the crew! We have come to a compromise, though. There WILL be repeats in the same week. Since Moose and I aren't eating the share of those meals that we used to, there's plenty for leftover. I was very frank and told them this was going to happen when we started. I refuse to throw out perfectly good food (as was visably noticeable by the weight I had gained).

On the same vein, they are trying the new recipes that we are having for our meals and liking a lot of them. So that means those meals can come back  when the 30 days are over. And Schmoopie has been eating fruit like crazy. There has been so much more in the house than before. And so much less of the junk that used to fill the pantry,

I have been IN the kitchen for two solid weeks. No joke. There's is not a convience factor at all. I cook/prep his breakfast and lunch for the following day every night. His containers have a special place  on the shelf. And I make my breakfast and lunch fresh everyday (because  I don't like cold eggs). And then there's making sauces- homemade mayo. homemade dressings. homemade kethcup.

To go along with all the cooking, there is a buttload of clean up! (That's where the kiddos come in)

You TALK ABOUT FOOD ALL THE TIME.You have to talk it over with you partner to see if they like the food that you're having,

You will READ MORE LABELS in your life that you ever have! The disappointment in both of our eyes when we see something that will taste devine but inevitably has sugar or cane sugar in it!

We had SEVERAL days in the first week where we were pretty grouchy. And there were a few headaches, but it all passed pretty quickly.

Those are some of the things that have been a little aggravating. BUT there have been so many NON SCALE VICTORIES. My skin feels and looks great. I have a boatload of energy. My clothes are way too big and that means I get to do a little shopping before we leave for the beach! Neighbors and friends who don't know we are doing the Whole30 are noticing and commenting on the changes. And we are changing the way we think about food! (I think that is going to be key).

And it's important to note that we have also upped our movement during this time. I am walking a few more miles everyday and I added resistance bands and yoga (courtesy of Youtube and Amazon Prime Video) .

It is our plan already to incorporate this new way of eating into our everyday when the 30 days are over. We just have too- plus I think I would miss all the fruit!

My plan is to get back on here at the end....I have a pic in a dress that I bought for a trip we took in the beginning of the month- I can't wait to try it on at the end! Maybe I'll even post a pic!

Have a great Holiday Weekend!

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