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August 29, 2006

love a sale?

If you love a sale, are looking for a new calendar or want to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping, then Shutterfly has just the deal for you. Their personalized calendars on sale. Love that!

We make a calendar each year for the kids' Grandmas and Grandpas, and hands-down, it's always their favorite gift from us. So ... you can use this sale to get yourself organized with a new family calendar and / or get a jump start on your Christmas shopping with a fun, personalized gift. What a deal!

August 25, 2006

back-to-school project ideas

Are you getting your family ready for back-to-school? Whether school has started for you or not, here are a few simple ideas just for back-to-school.

Idea #1: Create backpack tag.
Here's one I did for my daughter.


I simply covered a chipboard flower using Mod Podge, added a sticker with her initial for the center, and voila! a custom name tag. I left her actual name off the tag for safety reasons (just don't want her name on her back as she walks down the street.) But this tag makes it easy for her to know which pack is hers in a crowd while maintaining her anonymity. (Her name is printed inside in permanent marker.)

Idea #2. Make an event out of shopping for school clothes.
Plan a day for school clothes shopping complete with lunch out or a trip to the ice cream shop. Before heading out, have your children try on all their clothes from last year to see what still works. Put outfits together and figure out which pants need a top, which tops need a bottom, and so on. Write your shopping list on acid free card stock, snap a few photos of the shopping event, and you've got the makings for a scrapbook page!

Idea #3:  Get your artwork binder ready for the new school year!
Remember this project from the end of last school year? Get this year's binder ready ahead of time and keep it up as you go. Your kids can join in the fun by creating a cover page at the start of the year and a back page at the end of the year.

Have fun!

challenge update

I promised I'd share my progress on the 12 week goals ... so here we go!

Goal #1: purge my college text books and notebooks by August 22nd.
Progress: mission accomplished!

Goal #2: implement a workable chore system for my kids by August 21st, and consistently follow through. The system will be easy to follow, even for my daughter who isn't reading yet. I will consistently follow through on making sure it gets done and reward them appropriately. Also, need to decide on an allowance system.

Progress: mission almost accomplished! Yep ... I'd say I'm almost there. We've defined what the kids will be responsible for and we've set up a checklist system and created clip boards for each of the kids to use. We've also decided basically on payment. Chores are top of mind for me on a daily basis --- so I'd say I'm pretty close to consistently following through. We need to add some things to the system. There are a few chores they don't fully understand yet and we have to work through this. But all in all ... we're well underway. And I must say ... much farther along than I would have been were it not for "going public" here. But ... like most ongoing things ... my chores system is a work-in-progress. So all in all I'd say I'm happy with our progress.

So what's the system all about ... well, they each have daily chores which include things like making their beds (which come to think of it they didn't do three weeks ago --- yea, a total victory!), clearing the dishes, setting the table, getting themselves dressed, helping to make lunch, picking up their things each day before bed, doing homework and so on. Basic things. We took away the dog responsibilities after one too many incident of the puppy eating the older dog's food. The consequences were just too stinky. So it was a very beneficial tweak in the system.

We also have weekly chores. I think I'm going to update their chore charts so they can do one extra chore per day --- things like sweeping the floor, sorting laundry, putting laundry away, and so on --- instead of leaving all of this for the weekends.

One part of the system was to make it easy to understand for my non-reader (the little girl on the yellow bus from yesterday). So I created this:


It has a picture of each chore along with the words. It's hot off the press --- so I'll let you know how it goes.

All in all, it was a successful 12 weeks. I know these two things would have fallen off my radar screen were it not for all of you --- so I thank you. Thank you for all of you who joined in, commented or just read along silently. Because of you, I have a bit less clutter in the form of college text books and a few less chores on *my* daily to-do list. And ... my daughter is learning to spell the days-of-the-week and various chores because of this little challenge. Yep. I'd call it a win. :)

update: My husband took the photos I used in the little book. And I laminated the photos using wallet size lamination pouches.

August 24, 2006

time's up!

That's right ... the 12 week challenge is officially over! How did you do? Here's what I'd love to know:

  1. Where were you when you started? In other words, how did you feel and why did you decide to join in the challenge?
  2. Where are you now? In other words, it's time to toot your own horn loud and proud! Tell me about your progress and more importantly, let me know how you feel about it.
  3. Do something today to celebrate your progress. Even if you aren't as far along as you'd like to be (or as far along as you thought you'd be) do something today just for you! Take a walk. Take a bubble bath. Go get a pedicure. Spend some time scrapbooking. No matter where you are in the pursuit of your 12 week challenge, I bet this is true for each of you: you're farther along than you would have been if you hadn't participated. Right? And that, my friends, deserves celebration! Congratulations! I'm so excited for you!!

I have a full day of appointments today ... so I'll post about my progress in the 12 week challenge tonight ... OK? Can't wait to hear from you!

August 23, 2006

my little girl is on a big yellow bus ...

right now ... as we speak ... her little self is headed off to kindergarten on a big yellow bus.

Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday she was attached to my hip? I carried her everywhere ... mostly on my left hip. And today she used her own two feet to climb up the steps on the big yellow bus. She used her own head to pick a good seat --- a window seat so she could wave to me. She waved and the big yellow bus drove up the big hill taking my baby off to school.

Yesterday was her first day. Today it hit me. She's in school now. Where did the time go?

We had a great week last week getting everyone ready for school. Fun projects. Trips to the park. So much to post about. So much to share.

But for now ... I just need to go figure out where the time went ...

August 15, 2006

little bits of randomness

Random thought #1: one week left in the 12 week challenge! We're almost there!! Keep up the great effort all of you ... I'm so proud of what you're accomplishing. I can't wait to hear the final updates next week at this time! For me ... it's time to *sprint* to the finish line ...

Random thought #2: I sent out my ezine this morning ... it had a bunch of ideas to make laundry more fun. Sounds good, doesn't it? Wish I could just make it go away altogether ... but in light of that, making it fun is a good second bet. Not yet a subscriber? Take a sneak peek here and then be sure to catch all the latest and greatest by signing up here.

Random thought #3: My kids and I are hanging out at home this week getting ready for school and what not. We've reorganized both rooms in preparation for the new year ... and the time of year when life gets totally nuts for me and my family. I just love the energy a clear room creates! I think it's one of the many, many reasons I absolutely love what I do.

I've finally learned how to organize with my kids. (It's so easy when it's someone else or someone else's child --- there's just a dynamic when it's your own offspring. Know what I mean?) My daughter is very decisive. She can decide instantly if she wants something or not ... and I've learned to not second guess her decisions. Talking her into keeping one thing she's ready to let go of stops *all* momentum. Yesterday, we had none of that. It was great! I didn't even flinch when she said goodbye to Mr. Potato Head ... and, honestly, I wasn't ready for him to be leaving us so soon. ;)

My son ... very indecisive. I have learned to expect it to take twice as long as it could to tackle his room and closet. He actually loves organizing just has his own thoughts about how it should be approached ...and he gets very distracted by the decision making. But he loves the end result and he's even good at arranging and displaying his little treasures in his room.

So all in all, it was so much fun to get their rooms in shape. We even rearranged the furniture --- something I used to LOVE to do as a child. Did you do that, too? I swear my bed was in every possible place it could have been in my room at least once before I moved out to go to college! What fun.

Alright ... enough randomness! More later :)

August 11, 2006

may I see a show of hands?

Great! OK. Raise your hand if you saw this and as soon as you possibly could ran here to get some of your very own teeny, tiny galvanized bins?

Yep. I thought so. And guess what? My hand is raised, too! I think I walked past them a few times ... but for heaven's sake ... that dollar section is right at the front of the store. Every time I walked past them, I heard them calling me. "Take me home ... Cathy has some ... Ali has some  ... Cathy's cool... Ali's cool ... do you want to be cool or not?" I mean really, how much willpower can one girl have?

Eventually I caved, forking over three bucks for three of my very own teeny, tiny galvanized bins.

Now, I know you're out there. You saw it, too, didn't you? Come on ... tell me I'm not alone. You thought, just like I thought: "Cathy has these. Ali has these. I must have these, too!" And you got them. Am I right?

I think I am and it really makes me feel better about myself to believe I am not alone in this teeny, tiny galvanized bin saga. (And ... between you and me, I've seen these little bins in your homes and in photos you send me. I know, you could have thought of this on your own ... but really, you saw it on Cathy's blog, too. Right?)

OK. Good. You can put your hands down. Alright, let's have one more show of hands. How many of you have put these tiny little gems to use?

Ah ... well, I'm pleased to announce, my hand is at long last raised high and proud. I have *finally* found a use for my $3 investment! Big news. Yes? And guess what, it's this week's creative challenge! Yippee! It's a quick and simple one if you jumped on the teeny, tiny galvanized bin band wagon. A bit tougher if you didn't. But, anyway ... here she goes.


Fun and simple! (My favorite kind of project.) It took just a few minutes and a few on-hand supplies to create a functional, little organizing tool.

So what's this for? Well, remember these? All the little notes go from the distractions pad into the mini in box. Ultimately the items on the notes get transferred into here onto the appropriate list. Now, certainly I could put everything right into the Circa --- but my goal with the distractions pad is the quick-and-easy-get-it-out-of-my-head-now approach so I can keep focused on what I'm really working on. And ... I don't take my Circa to bed with me or bring it into my kitchen. So, I have three mini in boxes --- one in the office, one in the laundry room (steps away from the kitchen) and one in the bedroom. Voila!

Have fun and have a great weekend!

August 10, 2006


Lots of change going on around here. Big change and little change ... significant change and insignificant change. But change none-the-less.

Tomorrow is the end of an era:  the last day of daycare. Ever. I simply can't believe it. I wrote the last check on Monday morning. Washed the bedding (a crib sheet mind you!) for the last time over the weekend. And now ... it's finally here. The very last day. I can't believe my little girl is old enough to have a monumental change like this in her life ... going from daycare to "real" school. It's simply astonishing.

And then there's another less monumental but really significant change. Loreal changed my shampoo! This is a huge crisis. It's insignificant in the big scheme of things while at the same time being truly significant in the day-to-day-mental-well-being-little scheme of things ... you know what I mean? I'm here to tell you my hair has never looked so bad as it does with this "new and improved" shampoo. So what's a girl to do? Well, here's what I did. I emailed Loreal with this:

Hi ... I wanted to let you know I have been using your Vive hair products for color treated hair for years --- and absolutely loved it. Until you changed it. I am so disappointed. Not only is it more expensive, but my hair looks awful. Utterly and completely awful! It looks greasy, flat and like I haven't washed it in days and days --- even though it has been washed just as much as always.

I just can't figure out how a product like this could have made it out your doors. Your products are typically great --- this one is a huge disappointment.

I thought you should know.

I'd want to know if it was my company. Wouldn't you? My hope:  they'll bring back the shampoo I loved that only cost about 2 bucks a bottle. In the meantime, I need advice. Can you recommend a good shampoo --- preferably one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg (or leave your hair greasy --- oh, right, that would disqualify it as good --- even if the manufacturer considers it new and improved!) I'm desperate! I'm writing to huge, multinational companies and complaining --- clearly, I'm desperate. So any advice is welcomed with open arms. Oh and is my beloved color vive still available in your market?

Here's to change big and small! No matter what else, at least it's good for a little dose of perspective.

August 08, 2006

two weeks ...

that's right ... just two weeks left in the twelve week challenge. How's everyone doing?

We're good on the chore front ... still have the last bit to finish up with the non-daily chores and making it friendly for my little non-reader. Thanks all for your great ideas and tips on this ... my wheels are turning! I'll post here as soon as it's "done." The kids are doing well with the daily lists ... and we're getting in the habit of remembering to do everything on the list. Less nagging. More getting done. That's what it's all about, isn't it?

I'd love to hear how you're doing ...

have you had your dose of summer fun?

Love the summer fun going on at Big Picture Scrapbooking. Gotta check out Gretchen's project --- how fun is that? Love it. Cute. Creative. Organized. Simple. Did I mention I love it?

And Renee ... she's making me want to paint a room. (I'm thinking Jay will nix that one ... we have just a few too many things going on at this very moment. But I can *dream* of new color, right?)

Stacy and her team is at it again. So brilliant. So fun.

Oh ... and check out my little story about my favorite day this summer.


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