Create Back To School Dates with Your Kids to Make the Best kind of Memories

10-tip-in-back

I remember it so well, they are some of my favourite memories of childhood. Each year, my mom would gather up my school supply list and me and we'd set off just the two of us. Getting one on one time with my mom didn't happen too often with 5 children in the family. So it was a very special treat for me. We would find all my supplies for school and then we would shop for clothes. Most often it would be Woolworth's (which then became Zellars) and afterwards we'd stop at a little restaurant famous for their carrot cake and a fortifying cup of tea for my mom.

There was still one more stop. 

Before we'd head home, we'd often stop at my Aunt Sally's. Mom would get to have a chat with her sister (I'm sure she was glad of it after arguing over clothes with her pre-teen daughter) and my aunt would demand that I try on each and every new outfit and would make a huge fuss over how great I looked in each one. I felt so special, so loved. 

10-styled-desk

3O years later.

These memories still lived strong in my heart. They were fabulous days, but in all honestly, I had never thought of doing them with my own geeklings, it was simply easier to take their supply list, go to the store alone and to purchase their new clothes on line.

Then, along came Stacy Julian. The AMAZING Stacy Julian. I want to BE Stacy Julian when I grow up. Or Molly Weasley, I'll take either :D

Stacy posted that she was taking her children on school supply shopping trip, just like my mom did! She sparked a little fire under me, but I still didn't plan those trips. 

Why not?

Well, because, I guess I've already said it, I really didn't PLAN it out.

That's right, me, planner girl extraordinaire, didn't think to plan this special moment with my children. Actually, I never really thought about it that way. 

I tried, I really did, but with 6 geeklings and an 8 week vacation and being gone for most of those weeks, it's not as easy as you might think!

10-main

Last year, when school has only just finished, I decided I would plan those school shopping trips with my children. I wrote them in on the calendar! We weren't going to be home much, so that first date, with geekling 5 was only a week or so into the summer holiday!

With each child, I headed off, school list in hand, my own list of the other things they needed (of course I made a list) and we got as much crossed off as we could. Then we went to lunch, just the two of us, they chose the resturant. There was also a lot of Pokémon hunting since it was so popular and brand new last summer.

10-title

Now that the new school year is looming close, why not plan a date with each of your children. Grab your planner and schedule it in right now. 

To get more great planning advice for back to school, check out my new class at Big Picture Classes PLAN YOUR BACK TO SCHOOL and send your kids back with ease! In the class, I shares my tried and true method for calmly navigating the new school, music, and sports schedules—as well as all the papers that come home every day—during back to school time. Pop on over now and be READY this year! 

PLAN YOUR BACK TO SCHOOL

 Here's a video showing how I put this page together. Check out the awesome pull out tip in!

Happy Planning!


Teach your Children how to be Organised

3-styled-clips

I always simply assumed that because being organised was something that came naturally to me and was something that has always made me giddy, that my children would be the same way. The thought never even crossed my mind that I would have to TEACH them how to be organised!

Some of you may have children that are just naturally organised, but by estimating how many adults need guidance in becoming organised, I think it's safe to say that more kids than not need to be taught how to do it.

3-styled-desk

Here are some simple first steps that you can take to begin teaching you child to become organised.

  • Give them a planner
    Don't just hand it to them, however, take the time to show them how it works. Tell them to write down EVERYTHING, check it often and cross or check things off as they make progress.  Do it with them for a week or so, check that they are writing down everything and help establish the habit of checking to see what homework, projects etc they have to do.

  • Teach them how to set intermediary deadlines for bigger projects. Procrastination is everyone's worst enemy and I feel like a lot of us have a natual tendancy to leave things to the last minute. Teach your children that working away at a larger project little by little makes the task easier and there's no big stressful push the night before it's due. Encourage them to do some work on an up coming project when when they have spare time. This teaches them not to leave things to the last minute.

  • Set a schedule for homework. When children know what's coming next there are less questions and protests. Also knowing when homework time is, allows them to ease in to work mode more easily and settle into their studies faster.

  • Have them tidy their room everyday. Putting away the day's toys, books and little 'treasures' that children seem to accumulate, prevents things from getting too messy and getting to the point where the job of tidying becomes overwhelming.

3-summer-styled

If you are looking to get organised for the new school year, pop on over to my new class PLAN YOUR BACK TO SCHOOL. It started today and you can learn noe only how to get everything and everyone ready for the first day of school, you'll also learn how to keep yourself organised all school year long. So check it out, so you can corral those papers, tackle the long Back to School to-do and never forget a gym bag or permisson slip again! 

PLAN YOUR BACK TO SCHOOL

Today is the last day to sign up and get your FREE bonus handout for class. Sign up in the green tag below. Do it now, as I'm sending out the link tomorrow and I won't be resending it!

If your child is crafty, watch this video together and help him/her to decorate their planner. It will motivate them to use it.

 

Happy Planning!
 


Why We Love School Supplies and the Office Supply Store So Much

Notebooks, Pens and Paper, Oh MY!!

Ahhhh, I LOVE walking into any store the is time of year! They are all full of sharp pencils, stacks of pretty notebooks, their blank pages screaming of potential, and flowery pencil cases ready to organise all your supplies and look fabulous while doing it!

27-desk-spreadproject made with the fantastic Hip Kit Club June kits

Some of us are simply paper people. The sight of paper, the feel of it, just makes us happy. Some people collect shoes or they travel, me on the other hand, I like paper! I prefer paper to digi any day, but don't worry, I never let my iphone out of my sight. Even still, I truly am a paper person. I even drafted this blog post out on paper before typing it in. I tried to get organised with a digital calendar once, years ago. I Lasted about 2 days until I was late for an appointment and missed another completely! I went back to paper and it hasn't let me down since!

Being a paper person can't be the only reason we love school supplies and the office supply store. I know people who don't even own a paper planner (GASP! I know, right? The horror!) and they use their phone to track tasks and appointmenets and they LOVE office supplies too. 

So, besides being pretty, what is the appeal of office supplies? What makes something as basic as paper so appealing?

Here are my thoughts, I've got 4 reasons why we love office and school supplies and 4 ways you can use those pretty little supplies that sneak their way into your cart, even if you have no practical use for them...yet ;)

27-flower-pencil

Why we love office supplies :

  1. Potential
    When we see those shiny new school supplies hitting the stores barely a week after school has ended for the year, our mind goes to all the potential they seem to hold. Potential projects, potential uses for them, the potential we must hold within ourselves somewhere, that we could discover if only we can find the right notebook to release it.
    That potential is there, pretty notebook or not. So tap in to it and live up to it. The world is waiting! If you need some guidence on tapping into your potential check out my class PLAN YOUR DREAMS at Big Picture classes.  You’ll learn how to determine what your goals are—whether big or small—and how to break them down into manageable steps. My tips and tricks will help you incorporate these steps into your schedule and get you on the right track to achieving your dreams! 

  2. A Blank Slate
    A new notebook is the modern day version of a blank slate. All those blank pages represent a new start for us. A chance for us to change our old habits and start a fresh. This is a similar feeling to what we get around New Year's. When that calendar flips, we are magically going to be transformed into someone who works out an hour before going to work every morning, and finally writes that novel. However, the same thing happens with school supplies, we get the notebook and pretty new pen but nothing happens. No magical transformation. If you are serious about changing your habits, check out this blog post I wrote about how to successfully start new habits long after the motivation of New Year's has passed. The Biggest Secret To Achieving Your Goals

  3. Hope.
    New things always bring hope of happiness, right? New babies, new clothes, new cars, new school supplies. Hope is wonderful, however, just remember that you are the only one that can make you happy, not a fancy pen or a pack of pretty labels. You make the decision of how things affect you, you can't look to external gratification to change you view on life. Be a cup-half-full person and decide how you are going to react to the things that life throws at you, the good and the bad.

  4. To Be a Kid Again. 
    School stuff is generally for kids, right? And being a kid was fun, so it's only normal that we think of all the first days of school and the fun we had with our friends. Those stacks of looseleaf and binders in the store bring back happy feelings. Enjoy it and maybe reminise with an old school friend on Facebook.

27-desk-2

Now, here are 4 Ways You can Use School Supplies and Justify Purchasing all the Cuteness:

  1. Use a pretty notebook and pen to make progress on your goals. Back to School is a great time to reignite your passion for your goals. Use the notebook and pen to plan and record your progress.

  2. Plan and track your lessons in Plan Your Back to School. Choose a pretty binder or notebook just like you did in school to write down all progress and notes. You'll be ready when my new class Plan Your Back to School opens on August 14th. Put it in your planner! Or sign up here and I'll send you an email when it opens.


     
     

  3. Plan and track your lessons in Plan Your Dreams. Use another notebook or binder dedicated to my class on discovering and Acheiving your Goals.

  4. Organise your Purse. Those cute pencil cases make great organisers. I have several in my purse, one for kids crayons, one for my watercolour crayons and a water brush pen and another for a mini first aid kit.

27-main
So there you have it, I hope that this makes Back to School shopping a little more fun this year. If you are looking to get organised this school year, my newest class at Big Picture classes will be right up your alley. I chat about it a bit more in this video where I also share my process on making htis bullet journal spread. Grab a cup of tea and hit play!
 

To learn more about my latest class, PLAN YOUR BACK TO SCHOOL, simply pop over to Big Picture Classes.

Happy Planning!


Gratitude Makes for Happy, Productive Planner Girls

Summer vacation has only just begun here in Luxembourg, in fact we are only 2 weeks in. However in those two weeks we've had a LOT of fun! We've also been in the spirit of summer for some time now as there were lots of parties and end of school festivities before school actually let out for the summer.

20-IG-planner-girl

I love a good list, or 2 or a whole planner full of them! As planner girls we tend to always look to the future and list out what we want to do, what we need to do, and sometimes we forget to look back. The scrapbooker in me likes to look back, see what I've done, what I've accomplished. Looking back and remembering is a wonderful way to express gratitude for what we have and what we've done. Today before I share what I still want to do this summer, I'm sharing a list of 10 things that I have enjoyed so far.

20-be-you-cluster

Here are 10 things that I have been enjoying this summer:

  1. Hector's Canada birthday party!
  2. The end of term school party SCHOULFEST
  3. Outdoor concert where the band played on in the rain
  4. Esch-sur-Sure
  5. Jacques' birthday
  6. Summer salads
  7. Reading outside in the shade of a tree
  8. My early morning runs
  9. Eating meals outside at the table on our back terrace
  10. Reading for a bit before getting out of bed in the morning

    20-Main-blog

Of course, I wouldn't be a good little planner girl if I didn't mention 10 things that I'm planning to do this summer! I'm listing them here and of course putting them into my planner!

  1. Visit with all my relatives in Canada (we leave Aug 10)
  2. Meet my 3 new nieces (Aug 6 and Aug 11)
  3. The geeklings' Music Camp concert (Aug 5)
  4. Listen to a pipe band 
  5. Go on school supply shopping trips with each of my geeklings ( scheduled so far: Aug 1 and 3)
  6. Have my cousin cut my hair (she's a true artist)
  7. Make blueberry pie with Nova Scotia blueberries
  8. Go to the beach in Canada
  9. Enjoy a Tim's coffee... or many! (first thing I'll do when I get off that plane!)
  10. Have a little adventure in Paris (Aug 6-7)

What is on your bucket list for this summer? Have you been checking those items off? Or are you just hoping that you'll get to them sometime before the summer is over? If you are feeling the crunch, that summer is coming to a close and you aren't doing all those wonderful things you dreamed about doing back in the spring, check out my Plan Your Summer class as Big Picture Classes, don't let summer pass you by! I'll help you make a fantastic summer wish list, negotiate schedules to ensure it's all doable, and turn your summer bucket list into a gorgeous addition to your planner. Then, at the end of the season, we'll compile all your summer memories in a mini album. You'll be sure to have the best summer ever when you Plan Your Summer!

Lesson-4-promo

Watch the process video here to make a pretty summer planner spread, all products are from the Hip Kit club June kits. Grab a frilly summery drink and hit play!

HAPPY PLANNING!


5 Tips for Staying on Track When the Summer Sun Calls

If you have a goal or project that you are working on, summertime does not mean that you need to put your passions on hold. I know the lure of the sun and sea can be strong, and it definitely does not have to be all one or the other, all fun or all work. You CAN have both the summer fun and make progress on your goals. 

13-grasshopperThis dashboard was made with my June Hip Kit Club kits

I've got 5 tips for you today so you can continue to make progress towards your goals while still enjoying the summer fun.

5.  Give yourself rewards for making progress. You don't need to be taking huge steps in the summer, but simple, steady progress will keep you on the right track. Not only will you take steps towards your goal, you will be continuing with the habit of working on it, which is a lot easier than trying to start back up again in the fall. Simple steps are all you need to keep the habit alive.

Setting yourself rewards that motivate you can really help you make this progress.  For example, if you are writing a book, try hitting your daily word count before hitting the pool with the kiddos.  Or maybe once you finish a painting, treat yourself to an ice cream. Make the rewards something that you will really enjoy and make sure their sizes match the goal you set yourself. An ice cream cone is a bit small for finishing a whole manuscript and a spa trip is too big for doing an hour's research.

4.  Reduce the number of hours you are working. This can be easier than it sounds! If you are happier (from being outside, enjoying the summer) then you will be able to work better and in shorter amounts of time. Enjoying life allows you to get into the flow of things once you settle down to work, so you should be able to do more, and better, work in a shorter period of time.

13-arrows

3. Set your working time for your goals for early in the day or late at night. If you avoid the typical 9-5, you'll avoid working in the heat and you'll still get to enjoy the sunniest part of the day, instead of working. If you do have a typical 9-5 day job, this can apply to tasks there as well. Try to get your most important work done (the work that requires your mind to be at its best) in the first few hours of the working day. If you are working on a goal or dream out side of your day job, try working on these projects first thing when you get up, you can even set your alarm a half hour early and take advantage of the cool temperatures and quiet house. You'll be fresh and clear minded.

2.  Make yourself some lists and a schedule. You knew this one was coming, right? ;) Work out when will be a good time for you to work and what to work on. If you feel distracted in the summer, for example, do some of the leg work that doesn't require much brain power, for example, those necessary, repetitive tasks. Maybe something that you can bring to the poolside with you. Checking things off as you get them done will keep you motivated.

13-main-blog

And the number 1 tip:

1.  Remember WHY you are doing this! You will be so much happier when the fall comes around that you've made progress towards your goal! Why are you working towards this goal? It's got to be something that really lights you up and just feels right, all the way to your very soul!

If you don't have a goal that you are currently working on but want to, or are having troubles figuring out how to work towards your big dreams, check out my class at Big Picture Classes, PLAN YOR DREAMS. I'll help you use your planner to make your dreams a reality. You’ll learn how to determine what your goals are—whether big or small—and how to break them down into manageable steps. My tips and tricks will help you incorporate these steps into your schedule and get you on the right track to achieving your dreams! Pop over now and check it out.

PLAN YOUR DREAMS!

If you don't have a Big Picture Classes Membership, you can use their 2 week trial membership to take the class. Check out my other classes while you are there.

Here's video for my process of putting this dashboard together.

Have an AWESOME Summer and Happy Planning!

13-Awesome


6 Quick, Fun Vacation-Friendly Projects to Make On the Go this Summer

Can you hear your craft room calling you while you are out enjoying the sunshine? Are you longing to make something eventhough you are enjoying your summer road trip? 

Summer is the time when you want to be outside, in the sun, enjoying freedom from regular routines. It's time for vacation, road trips, long plane rides, sitting by the pool and basicially time away from home and your crafty supplies. I love this break from everyday life and the monotony it can bring (eventhough, I admit, I love the security and comfort of my routines). However, I know I'm not alone when I say, my fingers get soooo itchy to do some crafting! I've heard this over and over, summer after summer. As crafters we love summertime, but it usually means less crafty time and we miss it! We need it!

6-main-blog

Sure, you'll be fine if you wait until the cosier days of fall. Your pretty papers, stickers and goodies will still be there waiting for you. But, why not make a few adjustments to your crafty habits so that you can craft during the summer.

Here, I have 6 projects that you can do this summer. They are all quick and easy, aimed to satisfy that crafty craving I know you'll have this summer! I've chosen these 6 especially because they are do-able while on the go! That not only means that you can do them on a road trip, but on a train or a plane, by the pool while your children splash, and also simply outside, on your back deck with a tall glass of lemonade. 

The trick to making things easy while crafting on the go is to have a little bag or case with supplies, and to keep it simple. Check what you will need for each project and don't go overboard with too many choices. If you bring too much stuff, you will not only get overwhelmed by trying to keep everything organised in a tight space, it's also a lot easier to craft when you have fewer choices. Sure you may think 'why didn't I bring more pink stickers?!??' but, use this limitation as a challenge to get your creative juices flowing and find different solutions to your usual crafting habits. I suggest creating little kits for each project in a little baggie and stashing them all in a bag with a small case for your tools.Read over the list below and decide which project you'll make first. Choose the one the jumps out at you and gets you giddy and longing for your pretty supplies and start there.

  1. Decorate a Tip-in in your TN. A small and simple project but one that can really make an impact in the design of your spread, as well as adding more writing space. It's a great little spot to record some of your memories or sites seen on vacation.

    22-tip-in-close

  2. Make a One page Mini Album. Bea Valint has lots of fun and gorgeous projects. I love her one page mini album. Paige Evans has also done a version of this project. It's a great little addition to your planner, I think I'll tuck mine into one of the pockets of my vacation planner. 
    To make to this on-the-go-friendly, all you need to do is to pre-cut the cutfile that Bea so generously gave us. Make sure when packing your supplies, you include everything you need for all those fun details.

    Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 14.51.17image from
    myshinystudio
  3. Make a  Take Along Memory Keeper I make one of these books for each of my children every year to take on vacation. They have lots of pockets and a space for photos and writing so they are great to hold vacation memorabilia, write about sites they've seen and adventures they've had. Why not treat yourself and make one just for you. They are addictive to make so you may find that you are making them for everyone you know! I like to make mine ahead of time so that they are a gift for my children on the plane ride to Canada, and I also like making them in advance so that I can use my sewing machine to put them together. However, I have a FREE class with a hack so that you can put them together with out a sewing machine making them something fun to make while on the go! 

    Plan

    Sign up right here to get the FREE Take Along Memory Keeper class
     


  4. Make a planner clip or two. Planner clips are a quick and easy project. I usually use hot glue, but there are so many glues out there that you can easily make these without hot glue. Planner clips are totally do-able on the go. Just make sure if you are crafting in a car or plane or any other closed space, to choose a glue that doesn't smell strong!! I have an entire class devoted to planner clips over at Big Picture Classes. There are dozens of clips in that class, pop over, choose a few and make them today!

    Lesson-1

  5. Make your own TN insert or Dashboard to take on vacation. A simple, yet effective way to shake things up in your planner is to add a new dashboard or TN insert. Why not create something summer themed to get you into vacation mood every time you open your planner? To avoid having to take a big heavy hole punch along, pre-punch your holes before you leave home. It will make life on-the-go simpler and your bag a lot lighter. 

    13-dash-in-planner

  6. Set up the pockets of your planner for vacation. Add some pretty little things that you will need on vacay, some of your favourite washi wound on a card, some sticky notes, stickers, die cuts and even a little notebook. I recently made a Youtube video where I decorated my Malden pockets. Pop on over to the VIDEO to get some inspiration. 

    29-pockets-main

 

In the video below, I make a bullet journal spread to house my bucket list of summer projects, I've got a frame for each project I'm going to make. This'll keep me accountable and of course it was another excuse to get crafty in my planner ;)

Which project will you make first? Drop me an email (or better yet, tag me on instagram - it's quicker and easier during busy summer days!) with a pic of your summer project! I'd love to see. I think that I'm going to start with Bea's adorable mini.

Happy Planning!


The Ultimate Packing Guide for Moms, When You Really Just Want to Pack It In

29-pocketsI've decided to use my new toy Malden as my vacation/summer planner. Can't wait to fill it up!

I've always been a little strange, but when it comes to this, I'm such a weirdo! I absolutely LOVE to pack! It actually makes me kind of giddy. Like, really giddy! Unpacking on the other hand, not so much. So that's why I'm sharing tips on packing and not unpacking! I have 16 years worth of child friendly packing experience and we've traveled a LOT with our geeklings! I'm going to make life easy for you this summer and share my favourite Do's and Don't's when it comes to packing for your children. PLUS, I have a fun bonus for you! Free packing list printables for you and for your little ones.

Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

Here are my packing guidelines when it comes to children:

DO's

  • Plan Ahead - Knowing what you have room for (in your car, plane baggage allowance etc) and what  you will need when you get there (beach gear versus an all inclusive) will help you know what you should bring and you can then make a list accordingly.

  • Decide what you REALLY need - What can you get by without (Do you really need 3 pairs of flip flops? Per child?)? What can you rent or purchase on site, so that you don't have to lug it along. We often borrow pool towels from the hotel with a deposit and buy floaties while we are there and pass them on to other guests that are just arriving as we are leaving.

  • Let the children pack for themselves - Give them a list, better yet, click the button below and download my printable list for them (just add the numbers of each item they will need depending on the time you will be gone).

     Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

    There's one for older children and a simplified doodled one for those little ones who can't read yet. They can even colour it in.

    Packing-list-image

    Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

    Yes, even young ones can pack for themselves! I do always inspect things, though, before they go in the suitcase, as my 15 year old tends to try and include his entire room, while my 11 year old forgets pyjamas almost every time!

  • Encourage your children to pack light - When I was younger my aunt was taking her children for a short trip to a hotel with a pool. She challenged them all to pack light and I believe the one with the least amount of stuff won a prize. They all lined up for their mom to inspect their small bag, except one cousin didn't have a bag. He stood there, proudly, hands empty, with only his toothbrush in his pocket. 'Don't you know there's a pool?' asked one of his sisters, to which he responded by tugging on his shorts a bit to reveal his swim trunks!!
    Ok, so that's an extreme example, but packing light gives you freedom! You aren't bogged down by several large bags, there's no extra weight fees at the airport and there's room for souvenirs to bring home.

    Have ALL passports, for everyone in the family (even the hubster's), all tickets, documents etc., EVERYTHING, in ONE place - Whatever you do, don't let the children have their own passport. My little ones always want to take it out and look at their photo, that's just asking for it to get lost. My teens don't realise the crap we'd be in if they lost theirs, so they won't pay close enough attention and I just won't take that risk. Keeping everything in one place, keeps them safe, if your planner has a big enough pocket that's a great place to keep everything! Plus, when you get to customs or the ticket line, it's quick and easy to whip them all out at once and hand them over and you're not holding up the line. I'm going to put all of our passports and documents in the deep, last pocket of my Malden.

    29-first-pocket
  • Pack small bags for each child for the car or plane - Kids get bored soooo fast and you don't want them in front of a screen for the entire trip so make sure that they have books and crayons and toys to keep them busy and to minimise the 'Are we there yet?'s. I love to put a little wrapped gift in there too. Usually it's an activity book, pens and one of my take along memory keepers. I make one for each of my children when we go on a long trip. They use them mostly to store all the bits and pieces they collect as souvenirs. There are lots of pockets so it's a great way to keep it all in one spot. They can even write a trip journal on the inside and record what they've visited.

    Journal
    Sign up in the tag below for my free class on how to make some take along memory keepers for your kids! You'll get some free cutfiles too.
     

    DON'T'S
     
  • Don't let your children bring ALL the toys - let them chose their toys and books, but be selective, you don't need to bring the entire contents of their room. A small bag, that they can carry, with light books and toys is just perfect.

  • Don't let your children have too much screen time - We've noticed that the more time our children spend in front of a screen, the crankier they become. They are impolite, impatient and restless. They also fight even more than usual with each other after too much screen time. Depending on the length of the trip, we set a time limit where they have to read, sleep or play (usually about half the trip) then they can have one hour with their ipod/ipad/whatever.

  • Don't bring round crayons or little cars on a plane - Before leaving we fish out the pencils and crayons that are triangular or hexagonal in shape instead of smooth cylinders. We've lost quite a few over the years as they've rolled off the tray table, onto the floor and to the back of the plane, under some cranky, kid-hating old man's carry-on, never to be seen again. Dinky cars have gone the same way. Now, you may be thinking, what's the big deal? It's just a crayon and dinkies cost less than $2! But, when you have a toddler (that refuses to nap on the plane) that wants to colour with the RED crayon and the RED one has been missing for about 3 hours now, you know there is going to be an epic tantrum! Even older children have been know to flip out over toys that have rolled away. Do yourself (and everyone sitting around you) a favour and leave anything that rolls at home.

Now, that you know what to DO and DON'T, it is time to start packing! Click the button here and download your packing lists.      Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

  There is a girl version and a boy version for the little ones and a versatile, ultimate list for you. This one is great to print off for your older ones as well.

Packing-list-plus-toothbrushHAPPY PACKING, HAPPY PLANNING

and have a fantastic trip!

PS If you'd like to see my tips for decorating planner pockets, you can watch me do it in this youtube video:

 


Come plan the second half of 2017 with me - Summer Goals

I'm a planner girl, I love a good list and getting organised actually makes me giddy, so planning for my goals for the rest of the year should get me excited too, right? Yah, but it usually doesn't.

However! Once I finish, I always feel fantastic, I've got a plan, I've got a purpose and that motivates me! So let's get to it!

22-with-flower

The most important part is to start with what I know is coming, what I need to do and what I already have lined up for myself. Then, I will have a better picture of the time and energy I will have left. This really helps to decide what I want to do versus what is possible for me to do in the coming months.  So let's break this down by month with some of my favourties, lists!!

July
end of school activities
sports camp
hockey camp
music camp

August
trip to Canada (YAY!!)
next Big Picture class due

September
Hot French hubby's birthday
Back to School( for a mama of 6, this is a BIG deal with lots to do - check out my class Plan Your Back to School, coming Aug 15 to Big Picture Classes!)
Geekling 3's birthday

October
Flow with Intention
Father's day (remember I live in Luxembourg)
TEACH at PLANNERCON EUROPE!! Yippee!!!

November
Christmas prep
Geekling 6's birthday
Geeklette's birthday

December
Christmas prep
Christmas
Canary Island trip 

I know that fall is always a busy time for me, Back to School and Christmas ALWAYS take more out of me than I think it will, so I try to keep anything extra to a minimum. We are away for most of the summer this year, so if I'm being honest with myself, to keep myself sane, I will not add any new projects to my plate for the rest of the year and just hack away at the things that I am currently working on and expanding these lists. Christmas prep, for example, needs a whole planner of its own (check out my class, Plan Your Christmas, at Big Picture for more info on that). I need to pack for 8 people, buy and send 40000 gifts, take a unique photo (I need to outdo my photo from last year and the year before and the year before that!)

Christmas card 2016
Christmas card 2016
Christmas card 2016
Christmas20132014 is still my favourite!

I love making my own cards and I make about 110 or so Christmas cards and need to address and send those. I want to make T-shirts for all 27 cousins like I did a few years back.

Cousin-shirts

Knowing all this in advance helps me soooo much! I know what else I need to do and what else I can take on.. I know how to better arrange my time to make life run more smoothly. I know that I can buy all my gifts for my Canadian relatives and leave them in Canada when I go home this August (I do that every year I go home). I can start those T-shirts now, at least asking my sisters-in-law their children's sizes and ordering the shirts. Doing things now, when things are relatively calm, versus in the midst of the Christmas crazy, makes Christmas actually enjoyable for me. 

22-Magic

So as I look at this list, I can make my plans for the gaps (not many in the next 6 months) and make sure that life is do-able. It's important to move forward and set goals for yourself, but you have to be able to get some sleep too! Knowing what's coming will let you know how much, or how little, you can add in.

22-Tip-inAll goodies for this planner spread are from the May kits from the Hip Kit Club. You can see how I put the tip-in together in the video below.

HAPPY PLANNING!!


How to Find Time For Yourself When Your Kids Are Home For the Summer

It's summer vacation, YAY!! Time to rest up and relax and enjoy that summer sun. Whether you are a stay at home mom and your children are home for the summer, a teacher who is off for the summer or a working mom taking a couple of weeks off it can get tough having your children around 24/7! I know, I have 6 of them! 

Six-list

Let's start with this story: Finally, after doing crafts with your children this morning, preparing and eating a picnic together on a blanket in the backyard and spraying them all with the hose at the hottest part of the day, you send them all off with popsicles and tell them to 'go play outside in the backyard.' They all run off and you settle on the patio with a tall, cold glass of iced tea and that summer romance book that you picked up at the air conditioned library on yesterday's excursion to beat the heat.

You get about half way into the first page and your littlest runs up with popsicle juice running down his chubby arm. 'Mama, I sticky.' You get him cleaned up and give him a new napkin and send him off to sit on the steps to finish his treat. You take a sip of your tea and continue reading. A paragraph later, your daughter arrives, 'Mom, I have a popsicle stain on my shirt!' You tell her it's not a big deal, it'll wash out. She runs away to play and you pick up your book again, but your little one is back again to give you his sticky popsicle stick and napkin, 'Mama, for you' except it comes out with the 'r' pronounced as a 'w'. His face is also very sticky and you take him in and wipe his face, all the while thinking of your book.

You settle back in your chair, pick up your book, this time you get to read almost whole 2 pages before someone needs you. This time it's your older son, 'Mom, I can't find my soccer ball' which you sort of remember seeing under the hedge when you went in to get that napkin earlier, he runs off with it just as your daughter comes back saying 'Mom, I'm bo-ored!' in that way only kids can where they drag the word out into 2 whiney syllables. 'Can Julie come over?' Your little one comes back, he has heard his sister. 'Mama, I wanna fwend too!!' he whines. Your older son is back too, all he need to say is 'Mom (again in 2 syllables) and your shoulders start to creep up around your ears.

That one little word, mom, that usually brings you so much happiness, grates your nerves in the worst way when you want a minute to yourself. And because you have yet to respond in less than 4 seconds, your daughter whines an impatient 'Mah-um!'

And. You snap.

'I just need 5 minutes of peace to read my book!'

Sound familiar? Yah, me too...  sigh.

But, there's hope for you this summer!

8-clipsTo see how I made these clips pop over to this youtube video

I have 5 tips that you can use to prevent this from happening, 5 ways for you to carve out precious time for yourself, so that you can enjoy the summer freedom as much as your children. They need the rest and fun, but so do you! You can't take care of them 24/7 if you aren't taking care of yourself first. 

Grab that glass of iced tea and read on:

  1. Hire A Teenager - Let a neighbourhood teenager (or your own teen) take your children for an afternoon, preferably to a park to get them some fresh air and room to run around. You can have a nice quiet afternoon to yourself or get some work done. whatever your body and mind needs on that particular day. Teens are always looking summer jobs so why not make it a regular thing?

  2. Keep Your Children on a Schedule - Grab your planner and create a flexible summer schedule. Everyone is happy when they know what's coming. Okay, maybe 'happy' is not the word they would use when they know that putting away laundry and weeding is what's coming, but there are no questions and less 'I'm bored!' They know what they need to do to get what they want. I like to have them get their chores out of the way in the morning and then they can get a bit of screen time after lunch. 

    15-love-dream
  3. Have a Rest Time or Nap Time everyday - Depending on the age of your children, they can either read in their rooms or nap or play quietly, on their own. Even if your children don't take naps anymore during the school year, they may find they fall asleep during their rest time in the summer. Especially, if they are up late due to nights that are too hot to sleep or summer evening activities. This way they can get up early and take advantage of the day before it gets too hot, nap, and then be rested up to continue into the evening. If you have children that share a room, I suggest sending one of them to your bedroom so that they can rest properly, without chatting and playing with each other. The key is to do this everyday so that they will come to expect it and if you decided to skip it for the day and do something else, it will really feel like a treat to them to skip nap/rest time to do something special. This will give them energy for the rest of the day and you a whole hour or more to yourself. Go ahead and add it to your planner now, I'll wait :D

  4. Steal a Cuppa - Things get rowdy, kids get loud and that makes one frazzled mama! If you notice that you seem to need a break everyday at the same time, then take a cup of tea or tall glass of something cold and go into a separate room and close the door, telling them they are not to disturb you for 10 minutes. If your children are not old enough for you to leave them on their own, still try going far enough away from them to make the point. Your children will soon learn that 'tea-time' is mama's alone time, they can't come ask you questions or request your help, but you will be back at their beck and call soon enough. This one takes a bit of time for them to get used to, be firm and send them away if they come before the 10 minutes is up and eventually they'll understand.

  5. Schedule in the Time you Need - Whatever you do, make time for yourself! Like the saying goes, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! If you schedule it in, if it's down in the planner, you will be more opt to comply. Treat it like an appointment and that will make it more likely to happen. Go on, write it in your planner now!!

15-bujo-inspire-blogTo watch how I made this bujo spread watch this youtube video

I know some of these sound harse, but having your children home ALL summer long can get really tough on a mama so don't be hesitant to try some of my suggestions even if you find them bit 'strict'.

If you would like to learn ways to negotiate your schedules and free time to fit in as much summer fun and relaxation as possible then join me in my latest class at Big Picture Classes. It's called Plan Your Summer and that's exactly what I help you do. 

PLAN YOUR SUMMER 

If you don't have a membership at Big Picture yet, you can take my class using their free trial, sweet!

HAPPY PLANNING!


7 Fun and Dreamy-Worthy Things to Plan this Summer

Does Summer seem to rush by you with a blink of an eye and before you know it, it's already time for woolly sweaters and hitting up the school supply section for cool planner goodies? Sometimes as Fall approaches I get a pang of regret, I feel like I've missed opportunities to fully enjoy my summer. Does that ever happen to you?

1-hello-love

Even if you do max out your summer enjoyment, I've got some great ideas for summer fun, ideas that you may not have done yet and will make your summer so dreamy, you won't want it to end. So keep reading, these ideas are all of the memory-making kind ;)

There are lots of tradition summer fun activities, like roasting marshmallows and a trip to a theme park, and they have probably already made it onto your Summer Bucket List. Below, I have 7 great ideas, real, FEEL-GOOD activities that you can add to your summer bucket list for this summer. Some of them are simpler, and some of them are more extravagant, but all of them will make your summer truly special.

Pick the one that speaks to you the most and add the very next action steps into your planner. I've listed the first 3 possible steps for you. Add these to your planner and tackle them right away.  Some of these task may seem silly (like purchase groceries) but sometimes we don't always see the very next steps and we either get ahead of ourselves in our plans or are held back because we don't know where to go next.

1-clouds

1. Star Gazing - There's nothing that can take away your worries like seeing how vast and endless the universe really is. The night sky can help you dream and reflect while you lie back and enjoy a relaxing evening. You may even see a shooting star.

 Planning steps to take:

  • Check the weather forecast for a clear night to lay out under the stars, you don't want a cloudy sky to mess everything up.
  • Find some blankets that you don't mind lying on the ground.
  • Google some constellations so you'll know what to look for.

3

2. Make Homemade Lemonade - Once you see how easy it is and how much better it tastes than purchased lemonade, you'll be making it on a regular basis.

Planning steps to take:

  • Find a recipe that you like, here's the one I use: Lemonade recipe
  • Add lemons to your grocery list.
  • Purchase lemons.

3. Whale Watching - The surprise of spotting a whale in the distance and marveling as you watch it swim is a feeling you will not soon forget. Seeing the majesty of the beast in it's natural surroundings is way better than any thrill you'd ever get on even the most exciting roller coaster. There's something about nature that really speaks to your very soul.

Planning steps to take:

  • Research whale watching and figure out which place is closest to where you live or the one that you'd most like to visit. I recommend Nova Scotia, but then again, as it's my home province, I'm quite biased :D
  • Check your calendar for available travel dates.
  • Research travel prices to see if it's doable for you this year.

1-dream

4. Camping in the Backyard - I LOVE camping, it's so much fun. However, the worst part about it for me is the packing! In the backyard, there's no packing! Also if you aren't too fond of campground bathrooms you'll enjoy all the comforts of home, all the while, still roughing it. If you have children, they will have so much fun with this simple yet memorable activity which has a lot less of the trouble that a proper camping trip entails.

Planning steps to take:

  • Decide if you want to sleep under the stars or if you will use a tent.
  • Check the weather for rain for the night you'd like to camp out.
  • Make a list of supplies needed (don't forget the marshmallows!).

5. Dance to the Summer's Hit Song - You hear it on the radio ALL the time, it's beat is catching and you often find yourself tapping your foot on the gas pedal as you drive. But have you actually turned it up, let it all loose and danced your heart out to it? Every year, the hit songs are the most fun to dance to. This really isn't something you need to plan, but if you don't take the steps below you might just forget to dance to that song!

Planning steps to take:

  • Download the song.
  • Close the curtains if you are shy.
  • Turn up the volume!!

6. Visit your Local Farmer's Market - There's nothing like REAL food straight from the farm to nourish your body and soul. The Farmer's Market is a great place to begin if you are trying to cut back on processed foods and eat real foods instead.

Planning steps to take:

  • Research (or ask around) if there is a farmer's market close to you and if it has lots of produce or if it is mostly arts and crafts.
  • Find out when it is held and book time off if it's during the week.
  • Make sure you have cash on hand, go to the bank machine if necessary.

Eiffel cross stitch

7. Take an Epic, Dream trip - This may be something that will need more planning and maybe it's too late for this year, but if  you never plan it then it will never happen!

Planning steps to take:

  • Dream BIG! Where have you always wanted to go? Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney?
  • Research flight availability and prices.
  • Decide if it's do-able this year or if you need to put it into your planner now for next summer.

 

To get more summer activity ideas and step by step instructions to plan your best summer yet, pop on over to my newest class at Big Picture Classes, PLAN YOUR SUMMER!

 1-blog-mainall goodies from my May Hip Kit Club kits

This video shows my process for creating the spread above, it would be a great place to record your dreams and plans for your Summer.

 

Happy Planning!