Craft cabinet woes

Some people have a craft room. I have a craft cabinet. It’s a rather nice setup compared to the packed chest and drawers I had at our old house. I’m not complaining, so please don’t think that.

The cabinet has a nice amount of space, but it’s not organized anymore. It needs a good cleaning out and a little reorganizing.

I’m not 100% sure what I want to do to it yet, but I’m eyeballing all of that wasted space on the doors.

I’d like to use the cabinet to do something like this:

Source: Martha Stewart Living

This craft cabinet makes good use of the space and is super organized and attractive as well. I would want to do something like this. I have a bad habit of buying organizers and decor when I can easily make something using materials I already have.

I’m challenging myself to create organizers for my craft cabinet, using materials I already own.

Tune in not next week, but the week after next week for the final result.

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoise HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Getting organized with Cozi

Our family is going through something of a transition, and as a result, we are trying to manage our time better and organize our lives better. 


Some time ago, I heard about an app called Cozi. At the time, I owned an Android phone and Cozi wasn’t available on Android. 

Now that I am an iPhone user, I decided to give Cozi a try. First, set up your Cozi with all your family members. You can also tie one account to the phones/devices of all your family so you can all keep one another updated. We have even synced my Cozi account with my daughter’s iPod Touch. 


This way, when you input calendar events for each family member, it color codes them and uploads them to each family member’s phone. 


Here’s a sample weekly calendar layout. See how each of our events are a different color? 


You also get an email from Cozi on Sunday nights reminding you of your schedule for the week. 


You can also upload recipes and schedule them for certain nights. Cozi will even build a shopping list of all your ingredients.


Cozi also includes a built in shopping list AND a to-do list. The type A in me is loving it, y’all. 

I love using Cozi. It has helped me to remember appointments, keep up with meals and shopping lists, and create a to do list to help keep everything straight. And best of all, Cozi is free. There is a premium version but the free one does everything I need. 

I highly recommend you give it a try.  For more information, visit the Cozi website. 

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Back to school: how we save time in the morning 


Preparation is key to a less stressful morning. Do Anything you can do ahead of time to get yourself prepared for the next day. Some people are far better at this than I am, but I still want to take the time to share what works for us.


1. Use an agenda to be more organized overall

I like to read my agenda the night before to make myself aware of any to do list items for the next day, and any appointments or meetings we might have. This way I don’t have any “surprises” and I know what I’m facing (for the most part) when walking out the door.


2. Get your clothes ready the night before. 

I like to lay out everything I’ll need AND make sure it’s ironed the night before so I’m not scrambling in the morning. This includes workout clothes and my work outfit, down to undies and shoes. I do this for my kids’ clothes as well.


3. Use grab and go breakfast items. 

I like to make several breakfasts ahead of time and freeze them. Then I just grab them, heat them and eat them. It saves a lot of time.

4. Put everything you’ll need by the door. Then you can just grab it and walk out.

5. Pack lunches the night before so you aren’t scrambling to do it in the AM. 

6. Unload your dish washer at night so you can put your dirty breakfast dishes in the dishwasher before you leave. 

7. Check your bags the night before to make sure you aren’t missing anything you need. 


Lastly, don’t forget to say goodbye to your loved ones!! I hope this list has been helpful! What do you do to prepare for your day the night before?

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Trim Healthy Mama cooking day part two

Freezer meals are one of the surest ways to save time in your busy schedule. I’m a teacher with two small children, one who is extremely busy with a number of activities. Time constraints make it easy to fall into the fast food trap. 


Perhaps you remember my post two weeks ago when I posted about my breakfast cooking day? I ended up with three weeks of breakfasts frozen in our freezer, which is definitely making our mornings easier. 

I just used this printable meal planner I made and it made the cooking day so much more organized. 


To download, just right click on the blank pages and save to your device. For best results, click “fit to page” and print on 8.5×11 paper.

I used my second cooking day to make freezer dinners and some condiments. One of the great things about the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook is that they include a “freezer to crockpot” note in all their crockpot recipes. This tells you how to easily prep your meals for the freezer so you can just take them out and pour them in the crock pot.

At the end of the cooking day, I had  made peanut junkie butter, sugar free chocolate syrup, sugar free strawberry jelly, sweet and tangy salad dressing, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

I also made whatcha want Mexican chicken, Cajun cream chicken, lazy lasagna for two…

Wicked white chili, 

Wipe yo mouth BBQ,

Taco soup 

And rich ‘n’ tender stew


This will make my nights so much easier AND ensure that my family has a healthy meal each night for dinner. 

Here is my recipe list. All are Trim Healthy Mama recipes and are sugar free and white flour free. Some special ingredients are required.

Peanut junkie butter

Slim belly jelly

Sweet and tangy salad dressing 

Chocolate syrup

Balsamic vinaigrette 

Lazy lasagna

Cajun cream chicken

Watcha want Mexican chicken 

Wipe yo mouth BBQ

Wicked white chili

Taco soup

Rich and tender soup

Hope you’ve enjoyed this list! Keep your eyes pealed for yet another cooking day in the near future.

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Tips and Tricks Tuesday: How I use my agenda to be more organized

As we prepare to go back to school, I am trying to make sure I’m as organized as possible. There have been cooking days so the freezer will be stocked with healthy meals, there have been closet and dresser cleaning days, and now I’ve purchased a new planner as well. I was enjoying bullet journaling, but it wasn’t the best use of my time. 


I looked at pricier planners like those designed by Erin Condren and Emily Ley, and while I liked them, I wasn’t sure I could justify spending $60 on an agenda I’d only use for a year and a half. Enter the Day Designer by Blue Sky.


Cute, lightweight, and only $20. The front pages of the agenda contain spaces for setting goals and creating a plan for accomplishing those goals.



It also features both monthly spreads and weekly spreads. I have started color coding my calendar entries: one color for each family member and a separate color for church activities.

I use it to record activities and appointments for all four of us, plus work and blog stuff for me.


Each calendar has a space for a to do list, setting goals, and reflection.  


I use the weekly spread to track habits and set three main goals. There is also space to record things you’re grateful for.


I also track fitnesss plans, blog posts, and plan meals. A weekly to do list is included as well. 


There are also blank pages in the back where you can do whatever you like. I use them to make lists, plan blog posts and record important dates:




I like to use sticky note pads for my shopping lists and things that are subject to change, such as Christmas lists and thrift store shopping lists.


Each night before you go to bed, reflect on the day, but take a peek at tomorrow. What do you need to do? Where do you need to be? Looking at your agenda each day ensures that you remember what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to be.

How do you use your agenda to simplify your life?

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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10 ways to get organized before school starts


Some of us have only precious few days until school starts back. Others of us have a little longer, but chances are we are all beginning to prepare for the school year.

Even if you haven’t yet bought school supplies, I bet you have at least obtained a supply list so you’ll know what you need.

Today I’d like to share a few tips for getting organized for the new school year.


1. Clean out your children’s dressers and closets.

This will not only help you to be able to find things more quickly; it will also help you to see what school clothes you need to buy. When I cleaned out my daughter’s closet, I realized I didn’t need to buy as much as I thought I needed. 


2. Don’t wait till the last minute to get school supplies 

Go school shopping as soon as you get the list (if you can). Waiting til the last minute can mean some of your supplies with be hard to find.


3. Create a designated homework station

Have an area free of distractions where your student can concentrate and have all his or her supplies on hand.


4. Have a pin board or folder to display artwork or important papers. 


5. Plan and create some make ahead meals 

The beginning of a school year is always crazy but you cannot sacrifice nutrition. Make ahead some nutritious meals and all you’ll have to do is take them out of the freezer and cook them. 


6.  Start practicing your family’s back to school routine at least two weeks before school starts

No one likes waking up a cranky, sleepy kid and dragging them out of bed. To make it easier on everyone, get back into your school routine by going to bed early and waking up early before school starts back. 


7. Purchase a calendar or agenda that works for you and use it 

Write down everything and get into the habit of checking over your calendar each night before you go to bed. 


8. Establish a cleaning routine that works well for your family. 

Few can clean their whole house all at once every week. Establish a routine where you can clean a little bit each night. 


9. Prepare for tomorrow as much as possible on the night before.

Before you go to bed, get ready for tomorrow as much as you possibly can. Pack your lunch, lay out clothes, make sure your clothes are ready. Put your bag and everything you’ll need by the door. Put the coffee in the pot and set the timer. Know what you want to eat for breakfast. Mornings are stressful, but preparing for them makes them easier. 

10. Relax and look forward to the new school year. I hope your summer has been wonderful. 

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Simplify your morning routine

No one in my house is a morning person. In fact, everyone in my house dislikes waking up early and getting out of bed.

You might say for this reason, our mornings are always rushed. Here are a few tips for getting yourself out the door in a relatively calm fashion, even when mornings aren’t your favorite time of day.


1. Be as organized as possible. Having to look for things not only makes you late, it makes you stressed. If you know where everything is, your day will start much easier.


2. Prep your outfits, right down to undies and accessories, the night before. Then you just get up, get ready and get dressed.


3. Set the timer on your coffee pot and eat a make ahead breakfast. Mufflets, pictured above, can be taken out of the freezer, popped in the microwave, and eaten on the go. Overnight oats is a good option too.


4. Put any bags you’ll need to take either in your vehicle the night before, or by the front door. This helps you to not forget things you need to take.

And lastly, don’t forget to look at your calendar/planner/to do list each night to see what you need to do the following day.

Have a wonderful day!

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Who cares about organizing….and why you should!

I try to do a post each week on organizing: usually I post about something I’ve organized, or I share some organizational tips I’ve learned along the way.

I am asked the following questions on a regular basis: why is organizing so important to you? AND why should I care about it?

As a teacher of middle school students, I have been able to observe that some people are naturally more organized than others, while others are extremely disorganized by nature. Those who are disorganized can become organized, but they really seem to have to work hard to change their natural tendencies.

Since childhood, I’ve been the happiest and functioned the best in an orderly environment, but some of my most used organizational strategies are things that I have had to teach myself to do.

Being organized has a lot of benefits, and some of them are even beneficial to your health. Surprisingly, organization is something that has been widely researched. Today, I’d like to share some of those things with you.

  1. Being organized creates a calming environment.

Having a place for everything and putting everything away makes for a more tidy, less cluttered environment. According to a study by Personality and Psychology Journal, women who had cluttered homes had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, not having a designated place for everything leads to losing things. Not being able to find something when you want or need it can make you stressed out and frustrated. This leads me to the next point.

2. Being organized saves you time.

I once read that the average person spends four years of their lives looking for things. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that my days run much more smoothly if I don’t have to search for the things I need. I also know from experience when things are not located in a timely manner, it takes time to find them, and then I’m stressed and running late. When you are a working mother, you have to juggle getting yourself and your children ready in the mornings, and you actually have to leave. Time tends to be tight at our home in the mornings, and the less I have to look for, the better. I don’t want to be redundant, but I’ve already mentioned how having to locate something takes time and makes you frustrated. Wouldn’t it be so much better to spend that time doing something you’ll actually enjoy?

3. Being organized increases productivity.

Not only can clutter distract you and stress you out, it can also decrease your productivity.The Journal of Neuroscience said looking at too many things at once can actually overload your visual cortex and interfere with your brain’s ability to process information. Having an organized work space means that you can accomplish more things at a reasonable pace. I know from personal experience that if I leave my desk messy at the end of the day, just the sight of it will stress me out the next morning. This was starting my days off on the wrong foot, so I knew I had to tidy up my desk top at the end of the day.

Making to-do lists of things that need your attention help you remember your tasks, but it also feels really good to check off those completed items.

4. Being organized can save you money.

How many times have we bought something to replace an item we needed but couldn’t find? What about when you buy something you already have a lot of, because you didn’t know how much you already had? This happened with me in our pantry. Before I re-organized it, I got really slack about putting things away in the pantry. Then, I ended up buying several canned foods we didn’t need, because I couldn’t see the cans to see what was already there. We ended up with about 8 cans of corn, when we really only needed 3 or 4.

5. Being organized can help others in your family to become more organized.

Sometimes, modeling good organizational habits CAN help our children to learn the same ones. I say “sometimes” and “can,” because some children still require a lot of effort to become organized adults. I’ve also read studies that suggest being organized improves your relationships with others for many of the same reasons I’ve already listed above.

Because I cannot leave this post without offering some tips, I thought I’d share a few of those as well. To become more organized, start by writing down everything you need to remember or need to do. Checking off completed tasks truly does feel good. Also, when you’re tackling a big job, break it into smaller pieces. This actually helps you to accomplish the task completely, and it makes it far less overwhelming. My last piece of advice is to be flexible. Often, I have unrealistic expectations and I will cram too much into one day. It’s hard, but sometimes I just need to accept that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. Rushing through a job just to get it done ultimately helps no one!

Have a wonderful week. I have some great organizational posts to share with you next week.

 

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Mommy Monday: organizing strategies that will get your school year off to a good start 

Now that we are in “back to school territory”  I thought I’d share some ideas for staying organized during the school year. I have found as a student and as a teacher, the more organized and prepared you are, the better your day will be. Since I will be the parent of a school age child for the first time this year, I’m trying my best to make sure we’re prepared and organized.

1. Create a handy and organized place to store school supplies

How much easier will it be to tackle that homework when you have your school supplies in an easy to access place? We love being able to grab up that caddy and haul it over to the dining room table.

2.Use folders to organize paper work 
Here’s an idea we are just now trying. Get an inexpensive pocket folder. I like the plastic ones as they’re more durable. Use one side to stash papers to bring home or take to school and one for homework.

3. Have a designated routine

Your school days will run much more smoothly if you form a routine and stick to it. Homework will be less of a battle if you designate a time to do it. Stay consistent and it will work.
4. Have a special place for your child’s bookbag 

This one goes right along with having a routine. Have somewhere for your child’s backpack to hang as soon as they walk in the door. I like to put everything else she’ll need right there beside it (shoes, coat, etc.)

What tips can you share for preparing for a successful school year?

​​Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoise HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Simplify Your Daily Routine: Mornings

morning routine

Mornings at our house can be super stressful. We’re often in a hurry, stressed out, and in a bad mood. Last summer, when I was expecting Aubrey, I knew I needed to get a handle on our rough mornings before  we were the parents of two!

I decided the easiest way to combat the rushed, stressed morning was to plan ahead as much as possible. The night before, we set out tomorrow’s outfit, pack lunches and pack school bags and bottle bags. We put any non-refrigerated items by the door so we won’t forget them. I even load the coffee pot and set out my coffee cup.

We’ve taken that a step further. When we first walk in the door in the afternoons, we immediately unpack dirty bottles, repack the bags, and repack the lunches. Doing this first helps me have plenty of time to remember something I may have forgotten, It also helps us to get the important things out of the way so we have more time for fun.

Eventually, I’d like to get even better at this and prepare lunch items on Sundays I can grab and toss in mine and my daughter’s lunch boxes. I’d like to plan all my outfits on Sundays as well, but this can be difficult in North Carolina with our fickle climate. There really isn’t a way I can prepare bottles in advance, though 🙂 I’ve decided there is no need to wait until she starts kindergarten in August- why not try now?

I’ll keep you updated as we try to get better at simplifying our daily routines. What do you do to simplify your daily routine?

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, The Turquoise Home, A Place of My Taste, The Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My Pinterventures, The Lady Prefers to Save, The Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish Cottage, Bluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential Mommy, Christine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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