Using an agenda as a bullet journal…and being more organized as a result


I used to create and print this eleaborate calendar. It was great, but too big and too bulky, and it wasn’t very durable. It was also time consuming to design and assemble.

Enter this pretty little $14 agenda from Anthropologie.

It has whole month calendar pages

And weekly pages as well.

There are also blank pages in the back, which I’ve used for a number of things. Some of them I have used to paste in my own pages.

And on others, I draw or write in whatever I need it to be.

Now that I’m getting into bullet journaling, I can see how these boring, handwritten lists will be much more eye catching in the future.

I met a girl at a teaching workshop I attended earlier this year who had a gorgeous bullet journal. She graciously allowed me to photograph it.

I am learning to use my agenda to organize the things I am scheduled to do, the things I need to do, and the things I want to do. I am also using it to set some goals and keep track of other things.

Each evening, I look back over my day and I look to tomorrow to get a good idea of what I need to accomplish. I also make sure I’m ready for the next day.

I am encouraging my readers to share their agendas. How do you use your agenda? What does it look like? Do you make your own from scratch or customize a pre-made one like I do? Please comment and show me your agendas.

Have a wonderful Thursday.

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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Deck the Walls: How to Find Low Cost Art that Looks Great 

I don’t like to hang a lot of things on my walls,  but I do love a nice gallery wall.  I also love finding art that matches the room’s Décor,  but also stands out. Since art can be costly and I don’t have a lot of money, here are a few of my favorite ways to find cheap art that looks great. 

1. Make it yourself 

I’m not artistic in the least.  I cannot draw or paint.  What I can do is make my own subway art on Ms Word. Type it out, change the colors and fonts, print it, and frame. 

2. ETSY and Pinterest are your friends

This gallery wall is in my daughter’s nursery.  We purchased two of the prints from ETSY, while the other two were found on Pinterest.  All were printed by us, here at home. Sources listed here

3. Botanical prints: widely available on the Internet 

I love, love, love botanical prints.  If it weren’t for trying to have a little variety in the house, I’d have them in every room.  They are widely available on the Internet, and ate usually free.  I get most of mine from The Graphics Fairy. There are a lot of them on Pinterest as well. 

4. Catch the sales 
We also shop sales at Hobby Lobby and Kirklands. I’ve been known to window shop, find things I like, and wait until they come on sale.  It takes some patience but it’s kind of fun. 

5. Use photographs to create an interesting gallery 

Sites like Shutterfly have frequent specials and offer cheap photo printing. Walmart photo and Walgreens offer cost effective photo printing as well. I personally love pictures and we have them all over our house.  

What are your favorite places to find cheap art?

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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Making an entry way when you have no entry hall 

Currently, our home has no mud room or entry way. When you enter the door, here is what you see.

We do have this lovely sofa table and mirror and I like how it looks in this space. What I don’t love is how the table catches everything and how the space is so boring. Just look at all that wasted space behind the front door!

Our plans for our home do include an improved Kitchen and laundry room, with the addition of a mud room. This could be years away, so we’d like to repurpose this entry into a mini mudroom of sorts. Here are some ideas I’ve found:

These would be awesome for behind the front door.

From “Downright Simple”

We don’t have a lot of room behind the door so this would be great.

From “Apartment Therapy”

We also talked of adding a hall tree on the wall where the sofa table is now.

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Or maybe this one, but in white:

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Either way, we are looking for something with a storage bench and an upper shelf. Something that looks built in.

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Once we build our new mudroom, we would repurpose this hall tree elsewhere.

What does your entry way look like?

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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Back to school lunch ideas

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of packing lunches. I am coming up on my eighth year teaching (I got a late start) and I have packed my lunch most of those years.

Now that my oldest daughter is entering kindergarten, I will be packing her lunch as well. One of my favorite products for packing lunches is the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox. You may recall last year when I gave away a Lunch Blox kit.

I bought four of the kits so we could each have two. One to wash and one to use. We have the sandwich size, which is also perfect for salads. 

Veggie salads (source)

And pasta salad (source)

Perfect for sandwiches (source)
And other entrees as well.

For the next few months I’ll be periodically sharing ways to use the Lunch Blox system and I’ll even be giving away one of the systems in October. Stay tuned!

​​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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Mommy Mondays: Arranging your child’s clothing to encourage dressing themselves

My daughter just turned five this past weekend. She loves clothes and is independent in a lot of ways, but in other ways, she still needs lots of help.

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My daughter’s bedroom closet, while large, only boasted one high shelf and one closet rod. Last summer my dad and I made a vertical closet shelf and installed it in the middle, as well as adding more rods along the bottom. You can read about that here. 

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I decided to create a system in which she can reach everything she needs on a regular basis. Her winter hats, colored tights and coat hangers are all stored on the top shelf, since she doesn’t need them often. Her gymnastics clothes, swimsuits for swim class, underclothes, jammies, tops, bottoms and shoes, though? Right in her wingspan 🙂

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The boxes are actually diaper boxes that I covered in fabric. I made the labels with MS Word.

Her undies, jammies, swimsuits, hair accessories, shirts and shorts are stored in this dresser.

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Each drawer has a different function. Here is what her pajama drawer looks like. Her undies drawer is the most organized, but I’m not going to show my daughter’s undies on the Internet.

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We use drawer organizing baskets in the other drawers, but the tops and shorts don’t fit in them. I do try to keep them in neat folded stacks, but as I’m sure you can understand, my kiddo does actually get clothing out of these drawers, so they often look like this:

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Yikes. That’s one thing I’ve just had to let go of, but I do encourage her to help me re-fold and neaten up the drawers every week.

Having your child choose their own clothing and have access to all of it is a great help to them. Don’t forget, though- they do still need guidance in making presentable outfits. Check out my child in this colorful get-up:

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Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you tomorrow for a back porch retreat 🙂

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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Laundry room reveal

As any DIY blogger/wife can probably tell you, sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. That’s sometimes true in my house as well. While my husband couldn’t deny that our laundry room was not functional, he didn’t see my vision.

Since the birth of our second daughter this past fall, the laundry around here has more than tripled. Which isn’t surprising. Our laundry closet is located in our hallway, on the otherside of our bedroom wall. Before my dad and I got ahold of it, it consisted of a really high (read:unreachable unless you’re Lebron James) shelf and one rod. It used to look like this:

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That’s pretty bad, huh? And the fact that I couldn’t reach the shelves meant everything was stacked on the washer and dryer…where it  kept falling off in the floor during the spin cycle. 🙁

Enter my dad. He built these awesome shelves, which I love. I can reach them and I have room for everything.

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I also bought these great metal baskets from our local Dollar General. I love them.

I painted the shelves white and added this “wallpaper.” It is really shelf liner with an adhesive back. It’s easy to change out if you get tired of it and mostly easy to put up.
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I have wallpapered shelves before but never actual walls. From this experience, I learned wallpaper is a pain to install and I never want to do it again. Well,maybe in about ten years. After I did the wallpaper accent wall, I felt like something seemed off.
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The walls needed painting. So off I went to our local big box and picked up some grey paint.

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Hmmm. That’s better. Don’t you think?

Then, after I painted everything, I reloaded the shelves. Here is the finished product. Not too shabby, huh?
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Way better than the before.

I do want to talk to you about the challenges and lessons that came about from this project. The first is that wallpaper is a PAIN. I loved how it looked once I was done but I wanted so badly to give up several times. If you look closely there are several spots where mine isn’t perfect. I did my best to match up the pattern, but I’ll be honest. In the areas where the pattern is less visible, it isn’t all perfectly matched. I have learned from this experience that I don’t like wallpapering. If you hear me ever mention wanting to do it again, feel free to slap me.

Also, I did not tape the trim or ceiling. This is the first time I have ever painted a room and not used tape. I didn’t do a perfect job. There are places on our trim and ceiling that I need to touch up. I have learned that it is best to trim out a wall with a brush with a short brush and angled bristles. You also need to take your time and not hurry. A good quality brush is also better.

Other challenges include moving heavy appliances by myself. Don’t do this. Wait till you have someone to help you. I moved mine may enough to work around them and then almost got stuck behind them. I almost called my daughters’ daycares and told them off I didn’t show up to pick them up, to call 911 and send some EMTs to get me unstuck 😉 In the end, my back is sore but nothing bad or embarrassing happened.

And as for the hubs: when he called around four and informed me he hasn’t heard from me all day, he asked what I was up to. I swear that guy has a radar. When I told him I’d been working in the laundry room, he asked what else I’d done. When he got home from work and saw the finished product, I was surprised to see he likes it, too. Maybe he should turn me loose on a few more projects. Just saying.

I am happy with how this “room” turned out! Stay tuned for more updates soon!

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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Newly-improved school supply storage

We have been searching for a more efficient way to store my oldest girl’s homework and school supplies. She will begin kindergarten this fall, but we work with her a lot during the evenings and we “homeschool” in the summer. Because we need two incomes, we cannot afford to homeschool during the school year, but we certainly can in the summer.

We had been storing her homeschool supplies in an Olaf tote bag:

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I think you can probably see why it wasn’t working.

I loved the look of these homework stations, but I needed something that would be out of reach of her little sister.

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I had seen a few homework caddies, so I decided to repurpose a plastic caddy I already had. It wasn’t working well for holding my cleaning supplies. I liked that it is plastic and will wipe off easily.

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I selected a few items we need most often and popped them into the caddy.

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All other school stuff was placed into a fabric bin and sat on her playroom shelf. We can just go to the bin and get what we need.

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This is working so much better! We can find everything we need and we can put the caddy on top of the shelf, out of sister’s reach. We can also pick it up and carry it where ever we happen to be working.

How do you store your homework/school supplies?

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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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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Organization: a new command center

The whole purpose of a command center is to help you manage and organize your home.

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When we first made our command center, it did a great job of organizing and managing our home. Over time, though, it was a different story. Oh, it was still nice, attractive, and useful, we just didn’t use it. We talked about it and we realized why we weren’t using it: the command center was located in our office, and we don’t walk by it unless it’s intentional.

We began looking around our home for a more traveled area in which we’ll pass by the command center several times a day. We don’t currently have a mudroom, but it is on our long term list of things to do. We didn’t want to put it in our living room and there isn’t a good place in the kitchen.

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One side of our pantry (the side that isn’t pictured above) doubles as a coat closet. We also park our shoes in here when we come in the door. I also have to go in there in the mornings to collect my purse and the diaper bag. It’s kind of like our “mini-mud room.” Therefore, the pantry seemed like the most logical choice.

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I started by moving the hanging rack down a bit to accommodate the command center. I also removed any unnecessary bags from the hooks- for instance, Emorie’s swim bag was still in here. The child is not currently in swimming, as it is February. Out it went!

I simplified the command center quite a bit, by reducing its size and making it function better for us. I sometimes felt the large command center we had before seemed overwhelming. The cleaning checklist was moved to the laundry room, since that’s where the cleaning supplies are stored. Just made better sense to me.

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Sorry about the boob light reflection in the glass 🙁

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All in all, I really like how this turned out! And it’s getting way more use as well 🙂 Send me pictures of your command centers. I’d love to see them!

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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Linen closet overhaul- DIY

My linen closet was a source of great frustration in our home. It was built, I suspect, as an overflow space for the two master bedroom closets. I believe this because it contained two main shelves, two removable rods and a tall cubby shelf off to one side. Usable space was plentiful, but the way the closet was installed, most of that space was generously wasted. I had only two shelves to stack my towels, which were constantly falling into the floor each time you opened the door…which meant more washing for me. Something had to be done.

I honestly wish I’d thought to take a before picture, but I honestly forgot. This picture was taken shortly after the shelves were installed, but pre-paint. You can’t see the cubby shelves from this angle.
Semi-before:
                               

After: a colorful, pretty, and functional linen closet that makes all our items easy to find. No more avalanche of towels every time we reach for only one towel.

Total cost:
Lumber- 46.60 (we had enough left over for another project).
White paint: free- already had on hand from another project
Nails: $4.00
8 Fabric drawer bins: $8, Dollar Tree
3 Glass canisters: $3
Ceramic vase: Ikea, <$1
4 Locking containers: 4.97 each (I bought 5)
Total cost: 87.35 (*The lumber accounted for more than half the total cost).

Since we weren’t using the closet rods, we opted to remove them. We chose to make the newly added shelves removable so the rods could be used if necessary.  The “wallpaper” that you see on the shelf wall is actually wrapping paper that I already had on hand.  The lumber used to create the shelves was purchased form Lowes for about $50, and was by far the most expensive component of this project. We originally intended to purchase paint-grade lumber, but none of the stock was really usuable. It was split, had lots of knots and just didn’t seem to be durable enough for my shelving. We opted for a better quality lumber instead. I chose brown fabric bins that I found at the Dollar Tree to store items on the cubby shelf, and the glass canisters were picked up from Dollar Tree as well. The little white pot was purchased at IKEA for less than a dollar.

I organized my bath linens and bed linens by color. making them easier to find. I do prefer white linens as they convey a sense of cleanliness and order, but we do have a few colored towels on hand. Lesser used items like flannel sheets and bulk items like toilet paper are stored on the hard-to-reach top shelf. Dangerous items like first aid items and medications are stored on the second highest shelf and out of our two-year-old’s reach. I utilized locking bins for both mine and the hubby’s meds, as well as kid’s medicines. They are organized by their function (allergy/sinus, stomach, pain/fever).

All the bins and containers got color-coordinated labels I found for free on the Better Homes and Gardens website. I ran them through my laminator to make them more durable.

Our luggage is stored under the bottom shelf and performs double duties- our extra duvet and travel hamper are stored in the tall suitcase, and our bathroom bag is stored inside the blue duffel.

I believe organization should be three things: Practical, pretty and inexpensive.
It needs to make sense or there is absolutely no point whatsoever in doing it. If it doesn’t help me or save time, I’m not going to put forth the effort to keep it organized. It needs to be pretty because that also motivates me to keep it organized. Plus, who doesn’t want a pretty linen closet? I have to open it each and every day, so why not enjoy the view? Also, we don’t have tons of income at our disposal, and if I did, there are things I’d rather do than spend it on my linen closet. I am a big proponent of using things you already have on hand for new purposes.

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