10 Planner Inspired DIY Gift Ideas You can Start Today

Christmas is right around the corner!

Did I just give you a bad case of the heebie jeebies? Don't worry there is still lots of time to do everything that you want, you simply need to start now.

If you are hoping to make some handmade gifts this year, then you really need to start now, if you haven't already. The Christmas season is a busy one and you may not have the time to get crafting once the concerts, parties and bake-a-thons begin. 

To help you along, I've put together a list of quick and easy planner inspired gifts that you can make, either for that planner girl on your list, or someone who doesn't plan at all. I've included links to instructions to make things super easy for you!

BEAUTIFUL BOOKMARKS - These pretty bookmarks are perfect for a planner girl or your favourite bookworm. If you have a few earrings that have lost their mate, this is the perfect gift idea for you to make.

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 RECIPE AND MEAL PLANNER - A great gift for any cook or busy mom, even if they don't use a planner. You can decorate a simple planner so that they can plan their weekly menu, and store the family's favourite recipes all in one convenient spot. This link takes you to my class Gift Of Organisation at Big Picture Classes, a class about gifting planners for other uses besides planning.


DIY STASH BOOK FOR ALL YOUR SECRET STUFF - I always wanted to have one of these when I was younger, an innocent looking book that really houses hidden treasures and memorabilia. I've made one as a gift and it's fun to make and a super cute idea for anyone on your list, young or old.

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DIY ZIPPER BOOK COVER CLUTCH  - A fun project for anyone on your list, especially book lovers. They can use it as a purse, to hold their planner, or their current read.  

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DIY TEA CUP CANDLES  - Do you drink tea or light a candle when you plan? This gift is feminine and romantic and though quick to make, it makes an impressive gift.

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DIY INSPIRATION SMASHBOOK - So pretty and feminine, or change up the style for a man on your list. Journals and smash books are a wonderful gift for anyone. 

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GRATITUDE JOURNAL - Nothing makes us happier than realising all of the wonderful things we already have in our lives. Decorate a planner for someone to use as a journal and record the things they are thankful for. This link takes you to my class Gift Of Organisation at Big Picture Classes, a class about gifting planners for other uses besides planning.


EASY LEATHER CORD KEEPER DIY - Inspired by our leather planners and TNs, this cord keeper is a beautiful little gift to keep those freakin' headphones from tangling! Got a teen on your list? Why not whip up one of these today?  

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LEATHER HANDBAG TASSEL - Do you have one of these on your planner? Make one for someone today! If they aren't a planner girl, they could hang it on their handbag.

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PLANNER CLIPS - Planner clips are so fun to make! You can give them to a planner friend or as book marks for the bookworm on your gift list.  This link takes you to my class Planner Clips at Big Picture Classes.


Let me know in the comments if you plan to make any of these and please tag me on Instagram (caravincens) if you do, I'd love to see! 

Pinch Me!! My PlannerCon Europe Dream

Have you ever been in a place with wonderful people where you felt like everything was perfect with the world?

Have you ever felt so happy and absolutely giddy about something that you had a permanent smile on your face 24/7?

Have you ever been somewhere where all your nervousness simply melted away (even if you were speaking in front of 300 people) because you felt at home and that this what you were meant to do?


This is how I felt all last weekend!

I was at PlannerCon Europe and it was amazing!

Pcuphoto from PlannerCon Europe

I've been to scrapbooking events before and they were fantastic but there was something about this event that had me in giddy mode all weekend long. These were my people, this was not only papercrafting, but planning and organising too. Plus, there is something so refreshing about going to an event that has been organised by people who specialise in organising, by planner girls! It ran like clockwork and everything was on time,  well thought out and planned to perfection.

I've also never felt so connected to so many women at once. The entire group was smiling, happy, kind and friendly and I feel like I've made over 300 new friends who 'get' me!

I gave two workshops, Plan Your Christmas and Plan Your Dreams and the feedback was amazing. It felt so good to know that I'm inspiring women and to see their beautiful faces hopeful and excited to try things that I taught. I was there representing Paper House Productions and of course everyone loved their gorgeous stickers and goodies.

AutumnCollexFullAny wonder with these fantastic products!

Another huge highlight was getting to meet Erin Condren and hear her speak! Her story is so inspiring and her message rings so true for me. I want women to accomplish their biggest dreams, that's why my Plan Your Dreams class is my favourite one to teach. Her talk and the quotes on her products all speak right to my heart. She told us things like 'Turn your Dreams into Plans' and 'Believe you can and you will'. I love teaching women exactly HOW to do this, by dreaming up a wonderful life and then how to plan it out.

Erin condren

There is so much more I could tell you, I could go on for days. Instead I want to challenge to you find something that lights you up and makes you smile a goofy smile all day long. So big and goofy that your cheeks hurt the next day. In my Plan Your Dreams workshop, I challenged the ladies to come up with 100 dreams, big and small. And in that big list of dreams, to find one amazing dream that jazzed them up and got them excited to work towards it. Be it a big dream or small, I'm challenging you to do the same.

Tell me all about the dream that you are working towards in the comments below.


PaperHouse, Gillio and Erin Condren Oh My!!


I am such a lucky planner girl!

I am teaching workshops for PaperHouse at PlannerCon Europe this weekend in Belgium!

I loved planning these 2 workshops so much and now, I get to plan everything else for my trip to Brussels. I've got a very detailed packing list, my itinerary is planned to the minute and the hotel is booked. My entire weekend is going to be amazing!

If you are going, I'd love to see you, please come on up and say hello. Of course come to my workshops too, all workshops are included in the entry price and I'm teaching PLAN YOUR CHRISTMAS Saturday at noon and PLAN YOUR DREAMS Sunday at 4pm, the very last workshop so make sure you stay for it, it's my favourite class that I teach.


If you aren't going, I will really miss you, I wish all my planner friends could be there :D But, for those of you not going, these classes are the live versions of my Big Picture Classes workshops, so pop on over there and you can follow along. 

Plan Your Christmas

Plan Your Dreams

For those of you who can't come, I've got a treat for you! I've added my Christmas printables back into my Etsy shop and they are all 50% off, for limited time! Simply use the code CHRISTMAS at the checkout.


How to 'PLAN' for Creativity

Halloween-gilioSome creative fun in my Gillio with PaperHouse's Wicked Good collection

There seems to be some belief that to be creative and artistic, you need to wait for some 'magic', creative inspiration that hits you, all of sudden, out of the blue. I'm not saying that these blasts of creativity don't happen, they do! And I'll talk about them in a minute.

Even if you get a great idea, you have to have the skill to implement it. You need to work on your craft. Practice it. Wayne Gretkzy didn't just walk on the ice one day and was an amazing hockey player - he worked at it. Sure, he had a natural talent but he improved on it and his passion for it motivated him to practice. We all have a natural talent at something - we simply need to find it, practice and fine tune and perfect it.

By simply working at your craft (be that your pretty planner, scrapbooking or pidgeon pose) you will get better, they don't say 'practice makes perfect' for nothing! Sometimes, especially in the early stages, you will makes things that you don't like and that's okay! The first time you rode a bike, you fell! Why should papercrafting be any different. We can't be an expert the first time we try something.

Now, about those blasts of creative inspiration...

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

 They do happen and usually it's when you least expect it. And more often than not, it's when you are not distracted by other things. At times when you are just about to fall asleep or you're in the shower or while you are driving. Your body is busy, so your mind is free to wander, to open up and that's when new ideas can pop in! Inspiration doesn't like to strike with original ideas when you are scrolling IG or Pinterest.

Whenever Einstein was having a physics problem, he'd pick up his beloved violin and play. Inspiration would often strike and he'd be able to solve the math. Even if it didn't, he'd enjoy the time he got to spend playing Mozart.

Halloween-gillio-updateI gave this old dashboard a quick make over with products from PaperHouse. Those witch legs!

So, leave yourself time to let your mind wander. Turn off your music in the car and in the shower and turn off your phone well before you are ready to drift off to sleep. Give your mind time to shut off. It's ok to simply lie there and relax before sleep comes. 

Have a notebook handy, or, you can change a ring from one hand to the other. When you wake up, it will feel odd on the wrong hand and it'll prompt you to remember what you though of as you were about to drift off. It works great for the shower and while you are driving too!


Here are a few other idea to practice when you are having trouble getting inspired:

  • Go somewhere new or try something new, change your usually routines.
  • Play. Let go of the pressure to make something pretty, even try a different hobby
  • Do your decorative planning at the same time every day/week, having a routine will train your mind to know this is when the magic happens
  • Dance it out! 

I'm off to Brussels for PlannerCon Europe this weekend to help ladies there Plan for Creativity while Planning their Dreams and Planning their Christmas. Will you be there? Don't be shy, come up and say hello! Click here for ticket information: PlannerCon Europe tickets

People Will be Begging You to Organise their Next Event!

Lesson 1 flowers

You know those parties and events that you go to and everything is amazing? It runs so smoothly, in fact, that you don't even think about all the work behind it because everything just seems so effortless. Well, that's due to excellent planning! I have a new class, Plan Your Next Event at Big Picture Classes that will teach you how to pull off an event like that, too! You'll be congratulated for your organizing and coordinating skills, and you'll leave your event proud of a job well done!

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Planning and preparing for a big event or a project can be overwhelmingly daunting! There are a lot of moving pieces. There's so much to do and prepare. Where on earth do you even begin?

I'm a mama to six, so there's been no shortage of events and parties that I've needed to plan. Since I've planned many an event and project and I've got it down to a science now, I'm going to share my magical scientific formula here with you in my new class with Big Picture Classes.

Follow the steps in the lessons in my class and people will be begging you to organise their next event!

Don't let planning a big event or project overwhelm you again! In Plan Your Next Event, I share my time-tested method for organising and implementing a process to make event planning simple and easy. Set up a dedicated event planner to get yourself organised, map out and categorize your to-dos to stay focused, and create a calendar with deadlines along the way to make sure everything gets done on time. Plus, get tonnes of tips for decorating and customising your planner to stay motivated and inspired! At the end of this class, your event guests will be begging you to plan their next event! 

Pop on over right now and check it out: PLAN YOUR NEXT EVENT!

Lesson 5 dashboard

3 Easy 'Tricks' to Plan and Make a Fab Costume in Time for Halloween

DSC_8977All goodies from PaperHouse Productions in my Commit30 planner

I LOVE Halloween!

I adore it!

It's not so much for the bats and the spiders - I do think those are pretty cool - my love of Halloween is really all about the COSTUMES! I almost went into costume design in university and eventhough I chose biology (why I find those bats and spiders so interesting) I still love making costumes.

Handmade costumes really look so much better than those icky nylon ones you buy off the rack at Target. You know the ones that are basically a onsie and ties at the neck. Woody's cowboy vest and boots printed right on. If you'd like to make your own costume, whether you are an expert seamstress or this is your first time, There is still lots of time!  You simply need to plan it out. Check your planner, see how much time you have to dedicate to your costumes. Then, calculate how much time you'll need to make the costume(s)... then double that!! It always takes longer than you think, believe me, I am absolutely talking from experience here ;)  Next, take a good honest look at your October schedule and see if it's do-able.  


If it looks like you may be cutting it close, I have a few tips to help you carve (pun intended) off some time:

Buy the basics - You can find simple pieces of clothing to use as the base of your costume. 

My 4 year old wanted to be a yellow and orange triceratops last year. I bought a yellow sweat shirt so that I could spend my time of the fun part which was the head piece. I made a hood to house the head piece and sewed it all to the sweat shirt. I sewed some front feet to the sleeves. He then wore a pair of his own orange pants with the tail attached to elastic around his waist.

Triceratops full Triceratops
Search Your Home - You don't have to make everything

My 6 year old wanted to be Han Solo, just like his big brother had been the year before. Honestly, this was the easiest costume I've ever 'made'. I found an old pair of riding boots that fit him (his brother has huge feet and had worn my favourite brown Scapa boots!). I stitched red ribbon down the length of a pair of his jeans, found a white shirt and stitched a simple vest from some leftover fabric. His Daddy's belt wrapped around his waist twice finished the outfit. The blaster pistol was a bit of a challenge. Nerf had one but it was white and orange (why tho???) so I simply painted it brown and metallic grey like Han's.

Han Full Han pose
Adapt Costume Pieces that you already have - get creative and reuse older costumes

My then 10 year old (the one who had been Han first) wanted to be Darth Maul (do you see a Star Wars trend? It's gets better so keep reading), I had a grad gown in our costume closet that usally got picked over as the kids rooted around looking for things to dress up in. So, I cut it up a bit. using strips cut off of the length for the belt and hanging bits at his waist. We used hockey tape around his wrists and boom! He looked fabulous! 

Darth Maul full Philippe-Darth-Maul-2016

I learned to sew when I was 13 and I've been making costumes every year since.  I even turned my Hot French boyfriend into Frankenstein less than a month after we met. Apparently he had fun, because he's still letting me dress him up all these years later.

My favourite costume creation of all time has to be my Queen Amadala from 1999. The new Star Wars movie had come out and there were huge 12 foot posters of the main characters hanging from the ceiling of our movie theatre, including Queen Amidala. I saw it as a challenge!! Google was brand new and so there we NO photos of her online so I made my hot French fiancé take me to movies probably twice a week. I'd stand and sketch her costume from the poster while he waited in line for tickets. I really had no pattern and I made the headdress with one of those foam wreath forms on my mother's head while we gossiped.

Queen-AmidalaUnfortunately this is the only photo I have of this costume, even more tragic is that fact that if I want to take a new one, I'd have to lose a few (or 10!) pounds.

You may be a newbie at sewing, and this may seem daunting, however if you love to decorate your planner and if you want to make your own costume, then I'm sure you've got the talent to make something simple yet fabulous! So grab your planner and come up with a plan and schedule it in! If you have trouble creating plans for big projects like this (and events too) well then you are in luck! I've got a fantastic new class coming out on Monday, Plan Your Next Event at Big Picture Classes. Don't let the title 'trick' you, it's also geared towards planning a project like costume creation :D Click here to find out more or and sign up in the green tag below to get a reminder email when class opens on Monday.


Become that Organised Mom that Everyone Envies -Your Ultimate Guide

You know that mom, the completely together one who is always arrives at the bus stop on time, her children look immaculate, the daughter with a fantastic braid that looks like it took forever to do. Her son is standing there with a cake box with a homemade cake (that would rival anything on Pinterest) for his birthday celebration at school. And as you run up, puffing behind your children, you notice that her youngest has his library bag and you slap your forehead! You forgot it was library day for the primary class! She also looks fabulous, and you know it's because she went for a run this morning, like she does every day. And you know this for a fact because you see her run past when you groggily open your bedroom curtains each morning, that is, if you've dragged yourself out of bed early enough.  

How does she do it!?!?


Why do you always feel behind? How come it seems like everyone else has it together? Will you ever feel like you aren't drowning in to-do's?

Here's a little secret...

You don't need to do it all to be on top of your life and to stay organised!

It's not about having a perfect, clutter free home ALL the time, it's about making sure that you and your children are happy and on top of things for the most part. And I'm not just talking about picking up their rooms.  It's not just about having homes for toys and school supplies. It's about schedules, chores, school work and having everything they need as they go out the door each morning. 

Stay tuned to the end of this post for a free checklist to help you stay organised.

There's a lot more to being an organised mom than labelling the toy boxes. 

Click to Tweet and share with all your mom friends who are struggling to keep up.

The internet is full of ideas, there are Youtube videos, and IG pix and Pinterest boards dedicated to labelling toy bins and organising clothes, but that won't make you an organised mom. It's a way of life, a collection of habits and it's something you can learn! Totally doable my friend!

Today we are going deeper, to the more fundamental basics to maintaining organisation. It's not a one and done kind of thing! However, once you've got a handle on the fundamentals, it becomes a LOT easier to keep up. Then you can label the entire house if you like, but first you've got to lay down the foundation and make that mind shift and create small but mighty habits to change your life and those of your children for good. The pretty labelled baskets are the icing and cherry, sprinkles etc on that fabulous, homemade, organising cake!


Here are 7 things that Organised Moms know and do, and you can too:

 1. Understand WHY you are doing this. 

It's not to have a spotless house and pristine children. What's that saying? Trying to keep the house tidy with children is like trying to shovel the driveway when it's still snowing. Nah, it's not to keep up appearances or to have a magazine worthy home! 

You are doing this so you can LOVE on your children more, instead of yelling at them to find their shoes and hurry up. So you can play a board game with your children instead of cleaning up their messes. Make fab memories instead of spending time searching for that darn permission slip that was just here yesterday.

2. You are teaching your children to be responsible.

Quit doing everything for your children. Nothing bothers me more than parents who let their child run wild in public and then go around cleaning up after them, at any age! Give them jobs to do around the house and make sure they do them! Mine all have a list (1 job for every year in their age, my 4 year old has 4 daily jobs, my 16 year old 16 of them!!) that they must do every non school day before they get any screen time. They take turns emptying the dishwasher, taking out the garbage/recycle/compost and I expect their rooms to stay tidy.

Make them finish anything they've signed up for. This teaches them respect for their coaches and teachers. It also teaches them not to give up. Success is usually accompanied by perseverance and hard work. It also usually comes soon after we decide NOT to give up!

3. Give both yourself and your children some grace.

No one is Perfect. You will miss a birthday party or forget to send in a form, it's bound to happen. Apologise to your child and then give yourself some grace, it was a simple mistake and everyone makes mistakes. Hopefully, the tips in this post will keep mistakes like this to a minimum in the future.

Your children will also make mistakes. Some requiring more discipline than others, but remember to be kind to them, they are only human. Small humans who are still learning how this big world works.

A good way to reduce the amount of mistakes you and your children make is to reduce the amount of activities they are involved in. They don't have to do everything! It adds stress to their little lives, they need time to rest and play and so do you. Keep clear time in your schedule and theirs, take care of yourself. Less stress and less activities means less opportunity for mistakes. 

4. Have a Plan for everything.

This is a big topic because there are a lot of things to plan when you have children, if you do have a plan, your lives will run a lot smoother. You need to plan in time for chores and decluttering, time to meal plan and cook, when to fill out forms and deal with all those school papers. Have a plan for dealing with toys, memorabilia and what you all are going to do during long car rides or while waiting (quick drive-by soapbox moment: stop giving your children your phone to entertain them while waiting!). And as moms we are always waiting for our children aren't we? While they are at lessons or activities or the doctor or dentist. Develop a plan for anything in your life that doesn't seem to be working for you.

5. Everything needs a place in your home.

Make a list of all the things that you routinely are searching for, school forms, library books, gym bags, keys etc. Anything and everything that you waste precious time scouring your house looking for. Now for each of these you are going to create a spot in your home where these items will live, ALL the time ;)

We have a shelf by our front door for our library books. When the children want to read them they come here to get them and put them back when they are done, so when library day comes along, all we need to do is grab their books. There's also a cupboard dedicated solely to those 'extra' bags, those bags they need to take once or twice a week, gym bags, pool bags, and music bags. Again, it makes grabbing them super easy. I have a spot on my kitchen counter where my children deposit all the forms and papers they bring home where I can deal with them. For more info on this, check out my latest class with Big Picture Classes, Plan Your Back to School. This class is not just for those first days back at school, it's designed to help you stay organised all school year long.

There's also a large shelf in a cupboard in our dining room where the younger ones do their homework with extra scribblers, pens, pencils, erasers etc.  And rulers, oh how they go through rulers!!! I even tried the so-called unbreakable ones, they snapped sooner than the regular ones ;)

Another place you need is an 'out the door spot'. Ours is simply along the wall right by the front door. The night before, the children place any bags or extras they need in this spot. After, I pack their snacks in the morning, I put their school bags there. They all grab their things on the way out the door, I usually leave last and make sure everything is gone, there's often a sad little gym or library bag left behind ;) I suggest this place be highly visible and shouldn't get hidden away. A basket by the front door is perfect.

6. Have a Morning Routine for you and your children.

One of the most important parts of a morning routine actually starts the night before! Plan in some time in the evening to prepare everything they will need for the next morning and put anything that's ready in your 'out the door spot'. Don't forget to get the children to help. 

Having a Morning Routine will let the children know what to expect every morning, so there are no surprises. Mine know that they have to have finished eating by 7:20, dressed, washed and teeth brushed by 7:30 so they have time for shoes, coats and to grab their bags and be out the door by 7:35 to catch the bus.

To help create a morning routine for your family, check out this blog post 7 Steps to Create a Morning Routine that is Peaceful, Powerful and Perfect for YOU There is even a free morning routine workbook, to help you get it figured out.

7. Have ONE calendar for the whole family. 

Everyone should have their own planner for school work and activities and of course, you'll have your own pretty planner, but ALL the family's activities and tasks should be written on ONE calendar that you check every night before bed, and every morning so that nothing gets forgotten. I have a whole lesson on this in my new class Plan Your Back to School.

There are lots of things that you should be writing on you calendar besides doctor's appointments and soccer practice. Some things to include on this calendar are tests and assignments, school trips, theme days, show and tell, fees that needed to be sent in, gym and music days. If you've ever been in the school yard (or in the FB/whatsapp group with other moms in your child's class) and a mom said something that triggered you to say 'oh, yeah! I completely forgot, thanks for the reminder!' these are the things that go on the calendar. Use a calendar that works best for you. I use a wall calendar, my mind works better with paper, and everyone in the family can see it. You can also sync your calendars digitally with your older children's phones and set alarms on your own phone. My phone is continuously ringing some Doctor Who or Star Wars alarm to remind me of one thing or another!

There you have it! Those are the basic, fundamental ingredients for a fabulous homemade, organising cake! (Sprinkles are optional, but always preferred!) Pick one of these ideas, try the one that gets you jazzed up the most and start there. Implement it today and work on it until it becomes a habit, and keep on adding the rest of my tips until these habits become carved in stone and you are that Organised Mom that has everything together and the other moms all envy you!!

I've got a great checklist to get you started! Print it off and hang it in your kitchen or add it to your planner. Click the button here to get yours.

Click Here to Download your Organised Mom Checklist

Pop on over and check your email and you'll find your checklist waiting for you!


How to Stick With Your Goals When Motivation Wains


It gets tough! It really isn't easy going after your dreams. All the motivational quotes say to live your dream and shoot for the stars, but there aren't a lot of quotes out there that tell you how hard it's going to be! Maybe what they should say is this:

'Shoot for the stars, you'll drive yourself mad in the process, but it's worth it!'


'Live your dream, after you sweat, toil and survive on coffee and miss all your favourite TV shows for years to get there!'

Sometimes, things are going great and then you hit a wall. Or you simply get tired of working so hard. This is normal and it's so important that you don't give up because usually, this is where a lot of people throw in the towel. However, it's also the spot right before things get easier and you actually succeed in your goal!


Granted, you've got to keep going, but sometimes it's best to take a step back for a sec, analyse the situation instead of stumbling on through, miserable. Here are 5 things that you can do to get your motivation back on track:

  1.  Know WHY you are doing this! It's got to be a reason bigger than the reason to give up. It's got to be something that will continue to push you forward. It has to be for you and not to please anyone else. Google some phrases that reflect your reasons and chose an image that motivates you and washi tape it to your computer screen or above the kitchen sink.

  2. Take a break if you need one. Don't burn yourself out, you need to be in good shape when you get to your goal so that you can fully enjoy it. Take a break for as long as you need, but I suggest a short of a break as possible. And don't forget to schedule the time to come back to it

  3. Find some motivation. If someone else has succeeded in what you're trying to do, research their story. If you are writing a work and are getting worn out, watch some videos of an author on a book tour. If you are training for a marathon, read an article about marathoners and how they feel after the race. If you are planting your garden for spring, look at photos online of lovely tulips and daffodils.

  4. Be your best you. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep and eating properly. Put down the junk and processed foods, please! Yes, you with the Diet Coke! I see you. You shouldn't be eating that crap at all. Stick to real food. Go for a walk or a run, leave the headphones at home, it will clear your mind and you'll get some exercise at the same time.

  5. Ask yourself: Do I really want this? Sometimes we continue to work towards goals that we are no longer passionate about. If you answer No, then it's really ok to let it go. Becareful however, sometimes we confuse the lack of motivation for that thing we really want with actually being over it. If you answered Yes, then try and figure out what is killing your motivation. Go back to tips 1-4 for help.


There you have it! Let me know in the comments what big goal you are working towards. It you need/want any more help feel free to email me at cara@thehootingpirate.com or check out my PLAN YOUR DREAMS class 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!

I've got a fun video for you, grab a cuppa and hit play to follow along and make your own motivational spread. 

Happy Planning!



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


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. 


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!


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.


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! 


 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


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.


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.


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! 


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!