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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!


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!!

end of school activities
sports camp
hockey camp
music camp

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

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

Flow with Intention
Father's day (remember I live in Luxembourg)

Christmas prep
Geekling 6's birthday
Geeklette's birthday

Christmas prep
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.


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. 


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.


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! 


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. 

  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. 


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


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?


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. 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.


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.


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!


How to Have Your Perfect Summer

Ahh summer! Those lazy, hazy, crazy days.


Actually, I find this phrase very fitting, because once school lets out, I get into a groove of lazing about, feeling free after that last frenzied rush of parties and end of year festivities that always fills my planner to bursting at the end of school term. I throw all semblances of a schedule out of the window, tired of it's confining structure after a long school year, settling into a bout of blissful laziness.

Those hazy summer days call to me, telling me to relax and enjoy. I have earned it after all. The end of the school year is always so busy and I deserve a break. While, all this may be true, I find that if I take this 'break' too far, I can end up whiling away my summer and before I know it, school is about to start again and nothing is ready! No supplies purchased, and worst of all we didn't hit any of the fun things we set out to do at the beginning of the summer. We rush around in a crazy effort to fit in at least one or two activities, all the while getting things prepped for school. However, most items on our Summer Bucket List remain unchecked off.


Whether you have school children or not, I'm sure you can recognise this behaviour in yourself during your summer holidays.

Now, I know 'Planning Your Summer' sounds completely insane. It's the opposite of what you're supposed to do. All year long, we need to rush about, sticking to schedules, and yet summer is supposed to be the more lax time of year, laid back and mellow.

Laura Vanderkam has this to say about it, in her book I Know How She Does It:

"While planning leisure time seems like a contradiction, we have a tendency to do things that we plan... Overcoming that initial resistance to planning can massively increase the amount of fun in your life."


I'm not saying that every moment has to be planned out and that your summer days need to be as structured as the rest of the year. It's simply that if you plan for activities to happen on specific days  they are much more likely to happen than if you just casually say 'Oh we should take a day trip to the lake sometime before school starts'.

Let me help you Plan your Summer!

Come join me in my newest class at Big Picture Classes. I help you not only dream up the best possible summer imaginable, but also how to fit it all in without summer feeling like it's rushed past you in a wink. We will make a beautiful list of dreamy summer activities for your planner, plan all of it into your daily schedules and then there's even a bonus lesson, where we make an adorable little mini album to document the summer!

Follow this link to class and start today!  PLAN YOUR SUMMER!
No worries if you don't have a Big Picture Classes membership yet, you can take my class with a free trial membership.