Friday, December 5, 2014

gifts for yourself this Christmas?

Ohmygoodness, I was soo blessed this morning reading the most recent blog post over at The Art of Simple. They were suggesting giving gifts to yourself this Christmas and at first I rolled my eyes thinking this was more of the "Me" generation but upon further reading, I was encouraged by their 9 suggestions and in fact was already giving some of them to myself this year!  

I finally ordered our Christmas cards but since they are going to take about a week until they are ready, I decided to go ahead and address some sheets of labels (by hand) so that I can just stick the labels on the envelopes when they arrive. This way I can get a few batches done at a time and not be overwhelmed. 

A suggestion from The Art of Simple was to wrap gifts as you purchase them - this is a very good suggestion as I have had many Christmas Eve's frantically wrapping piles of presents when I would have much rather wrapped throughout the month.  

Part of slowing down is enjoying a daily tea break. The Art of Simple suggests a "daily timeout" and linked to a photo of Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Tea. My favorite tea this season is similar - it's Candy Cane Lane - a decaf peppermint green tea - yum! 

One big stress reliever for myself is doing most of my shopping online. I've never enjoyed shopping at malls or stores. It's just not my thing. My little guy is having a choir concert at the mall and his older 3 sisters did the same when they were in 4th and 5th grade. So as much as I try to avoid the malls, me and my parking angel will be taking a trip over there (bah humbug). 

I hope you will take a trip over to the Art of Simple (hopefully I have linked them enough on this post that they won't mind I shared their photo). They have a link to many other great articles and also a link for some free gift tags.

I want to bless you with some free gift tags too! The ones I'm sharing are from Thirty-One and they will be a darling addition to any gift you are giving this season.  I hope you enjoy them and thank you for dashing along this journey with me!

Gift Tag Printables:

Monday, November 24, 2014

31 days until Christmas

Last night I got out my trusty Holiday Planning Binder...

opened it up to the very first page....the Ultimate Holiday Checklist from Southern Living

whereupon I read...."Step 1 Mid-to Late October:"

That's not really the encouragement I was looking for.

Do you use a Holiday Planner?  If so what are your favorite ones and when do you get started?

Some of my favorites have been:

Christmas Countdown:
It's free and this is their 17th year on the web.  They started their countdown on Oct 26.

Holiday Planning Workbook 2014 by Living Well Spending Less:
I have some old checklists of theirs from 2013 but I just hopped on their site and found they will send a Holiday Planner for free directly to our email inbox and it includes their "12 Days to a Stress Free Holiday Challenge" via email beginning November 15. 

Fly Lady's Cruising Through the Holidays -    FlyLady is very detailed and sends emails not just daily but often throughout the day with reminders as simple as "put on your shoes" so it can get overwhelming if you don't adjust your notification settings. 

I'm going to go with the Holiday Planning Workbook by Living Well Spending Less. Maybe the challenge will work for me since I would be only 8 days behind instead of 2 months like the others. 

Now...first, Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creative Memories Open!

Creative Memories is back!!!  

Hooray and Yippee!!

A NEW Owner, Caleb Hayhoe, has purchased the patents, the equipment and the CM name. He has brought back the traditional bookcloth coversets, photo-safe pages, and page protectors that I love! Also, assorted paper packs! Oh, joy!

I've seriously had a 20-year love affair with my Creative Memories albums and supplies. Unfortunately some mismanagement of the company stuff caused the joy to be sucked right out of it. For the first time in years (besides the brief launch of Ahni & Zoe) I feel hopeful again.

This verse kept coming to me the past week or two so I looked it up on Pinterest and found someone had put it to photo (I think photo credit goes to Darrell Creswell):

I mean all I ever wanted was to get my bookcloth albums, pages, and tape runner you know?  Everything else is frosting.  And I do love frosting!

Want to check it out?  You can visit my website link here:

The wait is over!

Happy Scrapping Days are Here Again!

I'm so excited! Are you?
What do you think of the website? 
I love how interactive it is.  You can flip through the designed page refills.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ways you can GIVE this Christmas

I goggled "organizing for Christmas" .....31 million results popped up in .41 seconds!

So...I'm not alone.

Last year I made a promise to get started on Christmas much earlier this year.
I'm proud that I remembered November 5th.

Our church is encouraging us to participate in an Advent Conspiracy:

Worship Fully

Spend Less

Give More

Love All

I'm reconciling this with promoting my Thirty-One Gifts business. Every time you shop with with a home-based business you can be sure that home is being blessed by your business. Plus Shopping is fun! Shopping helps our economy! We have cute stuff that actually helps you get organized and look cute doing it!

Yet, we can taper it down a LOT and we can end the relentless pushing of sales all season long.  Christmas is about so much more.

Many direct sales companies have programs in place that support local and national charities and organizations through the sales of their products. Not to mention the very family that has the home business. When families are strong, communities are strong. 

Here are just a few ways Thirty-One gives back:

.31 cents donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities with every purchase of a Cinch Sac in Red Wave

.31 cents donated to a non-profit organization dedicated to empower girls and women including their mission partner, GirlTalk

.31 cents donated to a non-profit each time someone adds a Gives Care Ribbon to one of their bags.

These are just a few examples. There are many, many more. So when you are shopping this holiday season not only spend less but look for products that give back. .31 cents may not seem like very much but Thirty-One has been able to give millions of dollars back. Millions! In fact, since 2012 Thirty-One has donated over $36 million in products and cash to non-profit organizations committed to women, girls and families through their Thirty-One Gives mission (Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Today Show Toy Drive, Girl Scouts USA, American Heart Association and more)!

I've got my Christmas Organization Binder dusted off and ready to use this season.

But this year I will be sure to add:  

Worship Fully

Spend Less

Give More

Love All

Have you heard of the Advent Conspiracy?  What are your thoughts?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Skipping Halloween 2014

a Barbie, a Special Ops, a Tiger, and a Kitty

No trick or treating - except the special ops guy hit a few houses on our street sans the makeup. He was invited to a Birthday Costume Party earlier this month so I checked "Halloween" off my list thanks to that event! (thank you, thank you, thank you!) We also had a big rivalry football game on Halloween this year so again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I just wasn't in the mood for Halloween. I have never been a fan but this year seemed especially gory with all the real-life gore happening. Maybe I should turn off the news.  

When Blondie and Jelly were little I never let them trick or treat. We didn't need to because there was always a school or church festival to attend with plenty of candy and dress up time. 

It wasn't until we moved into a neighborhood that attracts hundreds of trick or treaters that I let them join in the fun. And it was fun!

Thinking I would be "that mom" who passes out giant size candy bars and hears all the "wow! go to THAT house! they have full size chocolate!" (because that was a memory I have of that ONE house in the neighborhood where I grew up)

Instead I heard "Oh, my mom does that too."

"Can I have the Skittles instead?"

"Can I have two?"

and then they trade masks and come right back down the street again....

Our local elementary school puts on a Fall Festival which was always billed as an alternative to Halloween - a safe place to trick or treat. I have noticed the Fall festival has gotten gorier and gorier with the costumes. Then there was a request asking if some parents could build a haunted house for this year's Fall Festival -- I'm not sure if they ever did, but I was just Done at that point.

I have volunteered at this event for years and every year there are pleas for "we don't have enough candy." And every year I've volunteered I have noticed the majority of kids do not go through the festival in one loop, they stay 2-3 hours and go through the loop over and over and over...leaving with enough candy to last them an entire year. Which reminds me of birthday parties these days and how a lot of kids ask for 2 or 3 pieces of cake. What is up with that?? When I was a kid....

I know, bah humbug!

So this is where my 4th born gets jipped because I'm almost 50 years old and I am Done with this holiday. I asked him what his favorite candy is and told him I would get him a King Size bar of that and call it good!  He didn't seem to care too much but I did take him to a few houses on our street and it was really awkward because he didn't even have his face makeup on. Just a camo shirt, shorts and tennis shoes (and someone even said "I like your costume!" bless her!). Oh My Gosh what is happening to me? I have such good kids that sometimes I take advantage of how obedient they are.

Before you think I'm a selfish, boring momma, I did let Jelly host a pre-game party with 10 of her classmates. They came over for pizza, rootbeer, hot cider and a candy bar. Now that was fun! For me. I ate my way through that party in bite-size Twix. Having a football game on Halloween was a great excuse for me to turn off the lights early and call it a night. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mix and Match patterns with Thirty-One

I thought this was appropriate for #ThrowBackThursday - my Large Utility Tote pictured on the left is one of my very first Thirty-One bags! It came in my Starter Kit back in 2011 when I became a Consultant!  

Thirty-One Gifts changes their patterns with the seasons, retiring and updating patterns. But what I love is how the patterns always seem to coordinate so I am never "stuck" with a retired pattern that won't match anything.

The bag on the right is my new Essentials Storage Tote in Navy Lotsa Dots (from Fall 2014). I love how these 2 totes look so great together even though they were purchased 3 years apart!  These are my "shopping buddies" that go to Costco with me.

Another benefit is I love seeing these bright pretty colors when I open my trunk during the rainy Northwest days of Fall and Winter. They make me happy! 

If you have Thirty-One totes, what patterns have you mixed and matched from different seasons?  You can post a photo on my Facebook page, I would love to see how you are coordinating yours! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

back to school 2014

After an amazing summer of unusually warm temps the mornings start to turn cool and it's time to go back to school.  18 years with Blondie and she will not be joining her siblings in the annual Back to School front door photo session....she gets to sleep in and start College later this month!  So my nest is 1/4 less full.......

Our Jelly in the Middle started 11th grade this fall. She gets her own room and her own car this school year as Blondie moves on to college and will not be featured in our annual Back to School photos!!  Jelly is happy she can get herself to school on time this year and not have to rely on big sister to drive her. This is a big year for Jelly as she now takes the "top spot" as the oldest sister living at home. 

Sugar is in the middle of Middle School this year. In my opinion, the ickiest of school years. She gets to move into Blondie's room while Blondie is away at college. I think this is a good year for her to have her own space. 

 And last, but certainly not least, is our Mr. Mr. (who no longer wants to be called the Prince). I love his puppy dog feet in these photos! No doubt he has quite a bit more growing to do and I do predict he will be the tallest of our 4 kids. We are blessed to have boys in our neighborhood that he plays with frequently although he does love his sisters too. 

I have 4 kids in 4 different schools this Fall....but 3 kids living at home and each will have their own room. New season....always a new season....looking forward to what this one will bring.