simplify 101
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September 28, 2007

freebie friday is...

today! Yippee!

So this Friday's giveaway is two copies of Simple Scrapbooks latest and greatest special issue called scrapbook play. (And since this week is all about kids, "play" seemed like a fitting theme.) So two lucky blog commenters will win one copy of scrapbook play. Sound fun? Great...here's how to play along.

Post an idea (or two or three) to help me come up with a plan for a scrapbook project for Kailea's Brownie Troop. We want each girl to make a scrapbook this year, and I've volunteered to coordinate this project. (Which is just so fun, don’t you think?) But here's the catch. We won't have a ton of time on an ongoing basis for the girls to work on their scrapbooks. Each meeting is just an hour long...and it's not going to be all about scrapbooking. So I need some really simple ideas...that will allow the girls to record their year in Brownie's and introduce them to this fantastic thing called scrapbooking without spending an inordinate amount of time to do it. I have some ideas...but I just know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all of you will have even better ideas that I haven't thought of. Oh, and we'd also like to keep it economical...so economical ideas are good, too.

I'll keep the comments section open for the next 48 hours...which puts us at 5:00 PM Central on Sunday. I'll turn off the comments at that time and draw two winners from anyone who has commented before the 48 hour deadline. (Drawing will be held Sunday evening or Monday morning.) Good luck and thanks for helping me with this kids' scrapbooking project. So fun...I just can't wait to see what you come up with!

Oh...and for your reading pleasure, here's an article on back-to-school scrapbooking written by Connie Myers (who writes for craftrends magazine.) Connie interviewed me for the article last summer (after my friend Janine referred Connie to me) and then come to find out Connie was at Memory Trends so we got to meet in person. Just another one of those small world coincidences. Isn't it? Anyway...be sure to check out Connie's article for some great ideas on scrapbooking for kids.

September 27, 2007

Organizing Games + Puzzles

Do you and your family love to play games? With the weather (finally) starting to get cooler, one thing is clear. Game season is just around the corner. Woohoo!

So let's get those games and puzzles organized so you can make the most of family game night. Sound like a plan?

Organizegames

Store your games so they're easy to get your hands-on, making game night a more likely (and more enjoyable) event. Whenever possible, keep your games (or at least the family favorites) in the room where you play games. Store them in a family-room cabinet, on a shelf on your coffee table, or tucked inside a storage ottoman. If you play games at the kitchen table, carve out some space in a nearby cabinet, pantry or even on top of the fridge. The closer you store your games to where you play them, the more likely it is you'll get them out to play and put them away when you're all done.

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Consider storing games sideways to make them easier to slide out at game time. Just make sure the lid will stay put so contents don't spill. ;)

Corral small games like card games and pick-up sticks into a long, narrow box. By storing these games vertically it's easy to see what you have. Flash cards and other educational card games can be tucked inside a basket.

Keep score-keeping pads and pencils, or even dice and playing cards inside a brightly colored bucket.

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If one puzzle is good...eight must be better, right? Right. Until all eight get dumped on the floor at exactly the same time. If you've sorted one too many puzzle piece in your lifetime, try this trick. Assign each puzzle a number, and label the backs of each puzzle piece with that puzzles assigned number. For example, the United States map puzzle pieces are all labeled with a #1; the fruit puzzle pieces are labeled with #2 and so on. If pieces from more than one puzzle get mixed together, it will be much easier to sort by numbers instead of trying to distinguish the colors, patterns and shapes on the front of the pieces.

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Happy game playing...and remember to sign up for the "Organize Your Kid's Room" teleclass for even more ideas on how to keep your life with kiddos organized and fun! I can't wait to see you in class. :)

September 24, 2007

organizing tub toys

As part of kid's week at simplify 101, I thought I'd share this:

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a plastic colander full of tub toys! Isn't that fun?

OK...so it's not super full because, as it occurred to me after purchasing this little colander, our days of tub toys are long over. But...we do have a fine assortment of loofahs (or faloofahs as Kailea would say.) I thought we still had a little rubber duck for the photo shoot, but no luck on the duck, so the turtle and fishies will have to do. But...you get the idea. And you can close your eyes and imagine the larger sized colander loaded full of tub toys...all getting dry because of the convenient drainage holes that are built right into the colander. Isn't that fun?

I've had this idea forever...like even during our tub toy days. But I never did find a plastic colander that I liked. Until yesterday. And so even though I'm a bit light on the tub toys, I'm a firm believer that a dry faloofah is a happy faloofah. Are you with me? Of course you are.

So that's todays kid organizing nugget. The colander is from Zak and it comes in an array of fun colors. I picked mine up from my local grocery store, Schnucks (with a link just in case you think I'm pulling your leg on that store name.) If you don't have a Schnuck's in your neck of the woods, check the Zak website for store locations. And have fun keeping those tub toys (or faloofahs) dry!

 

September 23, 2007

organize your kid's room

At long, long last I'm posting some after pictures of Collin's bedroom. I always tend to shy away from posting photos of spaces I organize. Part of the reason for this is because, even though how the space looks is a big part of my personal reason for loving to organize (and adding fun and creative touches) it truly pales in comparison to the feeling that comes from creating an organized space. In the case of Collin's room...we're both a whole lot happier now than we were before his room was organized. It's easier for him to get to his toys so he can play, and easier to pick up when he's finished. Playing more, being more relaxed, just plain feeling happier...these are things a photo of a space alone doesn't show. And these are some of the many reasons to create an organized and inspiring kid's space. (More on that in a second...but first, at long last, some photos.)

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This is the entrance to Collin's room. The most remarkable thing? The floor! It's empty and open and available for him to pull out his Lego's and trucks and spy gear to play, play, play! I love that. Collin and I made the artwork above his bed following the same technique as this. The pieces represent things he's into right now. I probably should have let him use colored pencils instead of thick paint brushes...these are bit abstract but I still like how they turned out.

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These cubicles were in his room before...we just scaled back on the number of books so everything fit better. The red bin contains his "electronic" things like his camera, extra guitar cords and wires, and other small electronic toys and gadgets.

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This is a picture of his closet sans the door. It is truly amazing how much easier it is for him to get to his stuff without the doors cutting the closet space in half. He is truly using and enjoying his toys much more now. It's fabulous! Some day we may put a curtain to cover the door...but really, I like having it open for now.

In case you're wondering where all his clothes are...they're in the dresser. The few "dressy" clothes he has are in the space that you can't see (to the right of the two hanging things you can see.)

Organizing your child's room can be a tricky thing. There's a balance between the child's needs and yours...and navigating through this territory can be dicey at times. I've learned a lot by organizing (and reorganizing) my kids' rooms over the years, as well as working with my client's who are Moms and sometimes at their wits end about their kids' rooms. As I put the finishing touches on Collin's room I thought "I should share this!" There's so much more to it than can be covered in a simple blog post or article. There are so many traps that I have fallen into myself and that I've seen other parent's fall into as they work with their child to organize. So...I decided to put together my first ever tele-class called "Organize Your Kid's Room." If you're tired of being frustrated by toys, and clothes, and shoes, and party favors...this class is designed with you in mind. I hope to see you in class!

To celebrate the kick-off of this new tele-class, all week I'll be posting organizing tips for kids and all their stuff...right here. I'm also going to have some freebies this week...so be sure to check in often and get all the scoop!

September 21, 2007

Memory Trends: Inspiration

I’m back from Memory Trends feeling super motivated, and super inspired. Truth be told…I always kind of dread traveling. And then, once I overcome the inertia and arrive at my target destination, I’m always amazed at how energizing it is (even when I toss and turn most of the nights…getting very little sleep.) Because I don’t love to travel, I don’t really look forward to it. This has its upsides. Everything is a surprise. Everything is a new experience that I hadn’t really anticipated or set expectations for. This recent trip to Las Vegas was no different.

So what was so inspiring?

Teaching. Wendy and I taught to a great group of scrapbook store owners bright and early Monday morning. It’s so energizing to be in front of group of people who are soaking in your ideas, nodding their heads, and really taking it all in.

Learning. After teaching, I changed hats (OK, not literally but that might have been fun) and became a student. Ali taught a totally inspiring class for scrapbook store owners on creating students for life by putting together a scrapbook education program. So, I’ve always been inspired by Ali but this was just a completely inspiring program…and as you know, I’m not a scrapbook store owner.

Learning more. Later Monday afternoon, I attended Angie Pedersen’s class on blogging. Whew…she knows here stuff. And I have a handy checklist to go through to make improvements on my little blog as time permits. Such useful and relevant info.

Food. OK ladies, I love food. I love dining out and trying new things. And Las Vegas has it’s share of fabulous restaurants. The highlight was Japonais, a Japanese restaurant where we got to cook our steak on a 700 degree rock. How cool is that? Cool yes, but even more so delicious. Yum.

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Cirque du Soleil. Believe it or not, I’m still on Monday. We got tickets for the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show. So fun. So inspiring. So unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Amazing.

People. I love hanging out with new people and it’s always so fun to meet people who I only previously knew via email and blogs. At CHA I got to meet my friend Lain, and got to hang out with her again at Memory Trends. (And she recorded a pod cast with Wendy and I so check for that on her blog.) I also met Tasra Dawson whom I’ve been cyber friends with for over a year now (maybe two?) and she interviewed Wendy and I for an upcoming edition of Real Women Scrap T.V. And I met Elizabeth Dillow who was going through that out of body thing that happened to me at CHA: she got to hold her book in her hands for the first time. So much fun to witness (and her book looks amazing! Definitely on my “list.”) And I got to spend time with Jennafer Martin and Angie Lucas who are just so much fun to hang out with. And this is just scratching the surface of the inspiring people I got to be near and hang out with. 

Keynote. Got to hear Stacy’s keynote. And everything I heard is true:  she’s a completely inspiring speaker. It was so amazing to see her live.

Wendy. What can I say…it’s always great to hang out with Wendy. We always find out at least one more quirky weird thing we have in common. This times discovery? We both call our youngest kiddos baby and sweetie pie. Odd.

The amazing thing about going to Memory Trends was that for three days I stepped out of my normal routine of simplify 101 and my family. While I hated packing my bags and leaving it all behind, what I found was a thoroughly energizing and motivating experience. I left Las Vegas completely inspired. Hearing about the books other people were reading, trying new food, seeing new sights, hearing new music, becoming completely immersed for three days into the world of scrapbooking and Las Vegas. (Which I might add is a really interesting combination of worlds.) It all inspired me.

So how about you? Are you feeling inspired right now, or are you in a blinders-on, nose-to-the-grindstone-rut, like I was in last week? While I realize it may not be possible to pack your bags and head to Las Vegas for a few days, there are easy (and often free!) ways to get out of your element and try something new. Here are some ideas…

Take a class. What have you always wanted to learn about? 

Try some different food. Go to a new restaurant or cook-up a new recipe.

Read something new. Pick up a different kind of book, one on a topic you rarely read about. Or, if you’re a non-fiction addict like me, pick up something fictional for a change.

See some new sights. Take a different route to work or when running errands. Go to a museum. Be a tourist in your own town. Go somewhere you’ve never been in your area, and take it in like you’re on vacation.

Listen to some new tunes. Try a new radio station for a day or download a different genre of music on i-tunes.

So there are my latest and greatest get-out-of-a-rut ideas...discovered completely accidentally when I didn't even know I had been in a rut. Imagine that.

So what ideas do you have? How do you get re-inspired and re-energized?

September 14, 2007

check, check, check

It's the sound of things getting checked off of a really, long list. Woohoo!

Catching up on email right now. My friend Amy emailed me this fun link called 100 Reasons to Get Rid of It. Thought I'd share...just in case you're in search of a reason (or two...or 100) to get rid of "it". Enjoy! (Thanks, Amy.)

gasp!

It's been almost one week since my last post! I knew it was bad...but didn't think it was that bad.

I'd love to say that I've been busy cooking all those amazing recipes you left for me (thanks for that by the way) but instead I've just been busy with stuff...deadline for Organize Magazine, client appointments, signing books, back-to-school activities like Brownie's (which means iron-on patches --- woohoo!), getting outfits for school pictures, deciding if we'll sign up for basketball or not, soccer games, etc., etc., etc.

Lots to do so I'm pulling out the big gun: my clipboard and an 8 1/2 x 11 note pad to keep track of it all. So far the list is two columns wide and it all has to be done by Sunday at the crack of dawn...because on Sunday I'm heading to Vegas for Memory Trends. (A genuine woohoo for that one!)

Wendy and I are teaching a class on Monday morning and then on Tuesday we're doing a fun make-and-take at the CK Media booth. So come make and take if you're in the area...we'd love to see you (and I'm sure we'll have copies of the book handy, too.) ;)

Hoping to blog again before I leave...(perhaps even something useful and related to organizing) but first I gotta get through that list on my clipboard.

September 08, 2007

just hanging out...

...with Maggie

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and Sting. (No, he's not here in person...just streaming through the airwaves.) But Maggie's good company, so it's all good.

Everyone else is in bed. (I think we totally wore out Jay with all those book orders.)

So...I'm going to have a little fun playing with my scrapbook stuff tonight. Yippee!

Speaking of play and scrapbook, have you seen this? It's a whole-lotta-fun...as the title suggests. ;) And, so, I thought I'd do as it says and play a bit in my scrap space tonight.

But, before I go, I just wanted to clarify one little thing on the book signing. If you'd like me to sign your book, please let us know in the "comments" during the checkout process. I'm only signing books when people specifically ask for this...because, well, not everyone wants their brand new book altered by me with a Sharpie before they even get it. Know what I mean? So be sure to let us know if you're good with me taking a Sharpie to your copy and I gladly will. :) I'll even write you a little note if you want. Just let us know.

OK...off to play. 

September 07, 2007

the organized & inspired scrapbooker...

...is now shipping! Woohoo! So things are busy at simplify 101! We're signing books, packing books, and shipping books like crazy people. So fun! By the way, this officially puts to rest the rumor that The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker won't be shipping until November. Someone emailed me earlier in the week with that question...I'm happy, happy to say that one wasn't true. Whew.

Want to see what a virtual book signing looks like?

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(It's also what I look like when I'm really tired...but that's a whole other story.)

Gotta' get back to the books. Have a great weekend!

September 05, 2007

blog block

Have you ever gotten it?

Blog block.

Nothing to say. At least nothing that seems worth saying.

Hmmm....

I'm sure it will pass in time, right?

Right?

I could put out a call for more recipes...but then you'll think this is some sort of cooking blog...which it isn't.

Clearly.

But I really had fun sharing recipes last time...maybe we should do that again some time.

OK...how about now.

Here's a recipe I'm always on the hunt for: a really good appetizer. What's your go-to favorite to take to BBQ's, or block parties, or any other kind of get-together that calls for an appetizer? I took chips and packaged French onion dip last weekend. Not terribly exciting. OK, if we're being honest, it's quite lame. But it is the only time I buy chips and dip (because I enjoy it just a bit too much so it's dangerous to have around the home.) So I guess I brought it to the block party, in part, because (despite my vast recipe collection) I don't have that go-to favorite appetizer, and in part, because it's what I like to munch on at a block party. Can you blame me? Chips and dip are just plain yummy.

But seriously, I just know all of you have better ideas. Right? Are you up for more sharing?

Whew. Blog block seems to have come and gone.

Well...maybe that's a bit debatable. But none-the-less. There's a post.

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