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30 October 2015

12 Weeks of Christmas {Week 5}


I used to love shopping, not so much anymore. I like my time better! I want to have an idea of what I am looking for before the time comes to start shopping. 

I like this style of list, I have one similar.
https://suburbstothesticks.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/christmas-gift-list-kids_page_1.jpg

I use the list as I make decisions. I use the pad on my phone to track ideas.
And I use Pinterest now to start gathering ideas for Hostess and Teacher gifts!
Some things need supplies purchased ahead of time, and rather than buy everything at once. I would like the decide a little early and have them ready before the last minute!
I have a big ol' board of ideas right HERE! Find all of the ideas below there too!

So far a couple of my favorites are
and
and this is pretty cute too!


So this week isn't as much as DOING, as it is gathering ideas. The Black Friday ads start to show up soon and knowing what you are looking for before getting sidetracked by all the door busters makes it much easier!
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26 October 2015

Meal Plan October {Week 4}

I can't believe we are so close to Halloween! It has sure crept up fast!
This week is a lot more mellow than previous weeks, and I could not be more excited about it!

Monday~Family Birthday Dinner
Not sure exactly what the plan is yet.
Tuesday~Mac N Cheese
This super easy meal has become a staple here, everyone eats it and it's not super spendy to make!
Wednesday~Chicken Taco's

 Another easy, cheap and family pleaser! Those always become staples.

Friday~Lasagna Casserole
I don't have lasagna noodles, I doubt I will grab any. Going to use what we have in our cupboards and fridge and see what I can put together. I have an idea. 
Do you do any special meals on Halloween?
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23 October 2015

12 Weeks of Christmas {Week 4}



Last week I tried to decide what recipes I would be attempting, and I have my list of ingredients to watch for in the ads! I only did Thanksgiving for now, once we get set with that I will do Christmas too!

This week is an easy (ish) week, I don't want to add too much to our plate while we are wrapping up Halloween prep and a few sports seasons.

I'm prepping for Christmas Cards and all that goes with it!

Just a few easy steps!

1~Email, Call, text your friends and family to see if they have had an address change since last year.

2~Schedule a photo shoot if that is your thing, or plan a day to do them yourself. The sooner the better. You don't want to run out of time to mail them.

3~Plan outfits for photos. Pinterest is full of great ideas for coordinating!

4~Start addressing labels, even if you just stick to return addresses, that is a big chunk out of the way!
Keep a package of envelopes and pen in your car, have 5 minutes to spare, get some done!

5~Decide on the cards you want to order so all you have to do is add your picture!

Nothing too time consuming or really difficult, just tedious and a lot of time.
Check out these super printables and adorable take home stickers too!!
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BxkNv1Mgg0gleTd1RzVDaFpqQUk&usp=sharing

Click to Download, from Yellow Bliss Road. SO cute! Get the kids to help color them in :)











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19 October 2015

Meal Plan October {Week 3}



I just cannot keep avoiding fall food! I love fall and those Halloween specials are on TV! It's time for fall food!

Monday~Pot Roast
Because nothing is as cozy as Pot Roast!
Loved this recipe!

Tuesday~Cowboy Lasagna
New recipe I am trying/tweaking
Or maybe not? It's our anniversary and I have no idea what we are going to do
 
A favorite here!!

Thursday~Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Making enough for leftovers!
  Friday~Nachos
Going to put that leftover pork to good use!!
Weekend Meals
Have to be easy and quick! Probably baked potatoes and mac n cheese!
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16 October 2015

12 Weeks of Christmas {Week 3}


Week 3 I am focusing on MEAL PLANNING AND RECIPES!
It might seem a little crazy to start that 2 months ahead of time, trust me, you don't want to be doing huge grocery trips when everyone else is, missing out on Elf! 
So start now, take a few minutes and save hours later!

1.  Write down, or pin or save on your phone, ALL the recipes you know you will use!
this is adorable!

2. Break down those recipes so you know how much butter, flour, seasoning, chicken stock, etc. That you need.

3. Check the ads and sales flyers for the place you are going anyway.  When something on your list is on SALE, get it now!  

4.  I keep a brown bag in the bottom of our pantry for non perishable items I need for the Holidays, that way they don't get used.

5.  As you get a collection of stuff going it can be easy to lose track of what you need for which recipe. If you have the space, try something like this! Even on a smaller scale would be helpful.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/68729336107/

If they are small, you can rubber band them together, or separate into smaller bags.

You will have 8 weeks to prep before the insane crowds for Christmas and 5 weeks for Thanksgiving!

Let's not make grocery shopping something we are dreading!
 
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15 October 2015

Cozy Fall Home Essentials

Fall just calls for WARM and COZY!
Warm colors and warm drinks, comfort food and pumpkin everything!

We have Halloween stuff up until Halloween, but usually right after Trick or Treating I pack it all up while we unwind.  I am on the hunt for Fall stuff, not Thanksgiving, just Fall.
I am NOT looking for all things pumpkin or leaves. I am just choosing a couple colors that already go with our home, which is mostly grey, black, white and browns.  I am maybe looking to add a little orange to that mix and some yellow and a touch of gold.
Some things I am watching my favorite resell pages and thrift shops for:

A couple pillows like these!

http://amzn.to/1GHhUKW
http://amzn.to/1NcZiay 

I really love the sweater pillows! So cozy!

 And I need a couple of these, I haven't attempted them before but I might!  
Anyone make these?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/247404515/scented-velvet-pumpkins-set-of-4-olive?ref=hp_mod_rf

And I am LOVING all these cute tartan throw blankets!






And to mix it up a bit I love this!!
Sources for all this stuff right here!

We keep our blankets and a couple extra pillows in this basket, it's fun to be able to add a little color but not have it take up much space!
totally should have swept again before taking this, eh, real life.


And while I would love to go all out and do everything seasonal, I am doing just my favorites!
Swapping out some pictures, changing up our chalkboard. I love these!





adding a couple of signs and doing our mantle  





Once the big stuff is done, I like to add just a couple smaller things that aren't too loud or big or attention grabbing. Cute subtle things. 

 Love this!
I don't know that I would hang it, but on the mantle maybe.

And these seem like a simple DIY, would look cute in a little vase!

And doing our kitchen table
  This year our table is quite a bit smaller though.

http://cupcakeskissesncrumbs.blogspot.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-breakfast-table.html


What do you change out for Fall?
Any Favorite DIY projects?!
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12 October 2015

Meal Plan {October Week 2}



Kids are out of school for most of the week, guessing we will be with projects a lot of the week before sports in the evenings. Quick and easy is my goal for the week!

Monday~Pork Roast
In the pressure cooker with green enchilada sauce and rice! No recipe, it's too easy for that!
Because we could use some leftovers for Wednesday! And everyone loves this!
Wednesday~Tater-tot Casserole
I have made a couple versions, not sure what I will throw together, depends on what we have in the cupboard!  
Thursday~Taco's
Easy Easy Easy! We need an easy day!

Friday~Grilled Cheese & Soup
Or mini pizza's. I haven't decided yet. 
Whichever we have more of the ingredients for and the time for!
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09 October 2015

12 Weeks of Christmas {Week 2}


Alright, now that I have my list of things we want to do and things we will need to do all done I am moving on to week 2. I am keeping my lists of things to do on my phone, so much easier, no chance of losing it. I always have it, etc. 
 I also wrote some down though, things we need to decide on as a family.


Week 2 for me is about budgeting, and scheduling! Now that we have some ideas of what we want to do, we can narrow the budget down and start getting things on the schedule (flexible) before things get crazy!

There are a lot of methods to budgeting, or saving year round for Christmas.

Whichever way you do your budgeting, having it in place is kind of freeing and a great guideline to get started!

And if you are like me and don't like to cross stuff off in your planner, you can print off blank calendar pages and use them until things are more set in stone. We have to wait for basketball schedules, family parties we aren't hosting, etc.

 

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08 October 2015

Planners make me happy! Here's why


6 Reasons I use a planner!

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/brittaniegordon1229
1. I don't over schedule!
 If I make plans without my planner handy, there are bound to be overlapping things going on where I don't want them, creating stress and dysfunction.

2. I am a better friend and mom!
 I don't want to be that flaky mom/friend that is rescheduling (often) because I didn't use my planner.  It still happens when things come up last minute, but I wouldn't want it to be a regular thing.

3. I save money!
 I can group my things that need to be done in town, saving me the extra trips, and wasting gas!

4. I do my job better!
 I can prep ahead of time and spend 5 minutes instead of waiting until it's sprung on me and spend way more time, and sometimes money! Creating less stress because I can be prepared!

5. I have more time for important things!
By combining all of the above, I leave time for family, and I make time by keeping things streamlined and grouped together, like errands.

6. It makes me HAPPY! 
I am a nerd, no shame in that. I love the stickers, the great pens and I feel good knowing I have my act together (a little)

I love and USE an Erin Condren Life Planner
I can't wait to share more about how I use it!



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06 October 2015

Pumpkin Roll Truffles

I LOVE Pumpkin Roll, but I am also impatient and not so good at making them. 
I needed something easy, few ingredients that I could make a lot of in a hurry, we only get 1 good nap around here!


I had a little extra time and a few ingredients the other day, so I threw these together!
SO easy! Just a few ingredients and a little time.

1 yellow or vanilla cake mix
1/2 C water
1 Can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
8oz room temp cream cheese
3 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1 Tbs Pumpkin Pie Spice
White chocolate chips

Mix the first 3 together, spread in a 13x9 greased cake pan
Bake following directions on box

While that is baking, in a large mixing bowl.
Mix together the cream cheese, spice and powdered sugar.

Once the cake is done, take half of it and crumble it into the
cream cheese mix and mix it together well. 

Using a cookie scoop, scoop onto parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.
Freeze a couple hours

When you are ready, 
melt the chocolates, dip the truffles and put them in the fridge to set. 

They won't last long!
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Mama Capsule Wardrobe

I did it, took the plunge and am doing a capsule wardrobe. Now I couldn't just get rid of everything, so I am starting with just Fall! For Fall I have a capsule wardrobe. It doesn't feel as intimidating as going full fledged off the deep end.
I started down this path in April, HERE.
*Some pieces in the laundry
 
Once we moved in and got settled I was so excited for Fall, but it's been 80 so many days still that I felt like I had to leave my summer stuff out. I just packed the tank tops away that I wore, donated what I didn't!

Being a Stay at home mom and Housewife means I don't need a work wardrobe, that might make it a little easier for me. I need cute, easy care stuff to grocery shop, carry babes and sit at ball games in. Deciding what type of clothes you NEED before you start will help.
The article I read suggested 
15 tops
9 bottoms
9 pair of shoes
2 dresses
2 jackets
For me, I would have 0 problems meeting that 9 pair of shoes!
I have boots, moccasins, converse, flats, workout shoes, work boots and a pair of heels.
I also don't have a lot of bottoms. I am a pretty basic dresser and don't have a whole lot.
3 pair of jeans (all a little different) 2 skirts, 2 leggings and 2 pair of jeggings.
Dresses are another issue, I love dresses! I kept like 4! And tops is hard for me too, because a cardi is a top and I love cardigans! I kept out a total of  22 Tops! BUT, 5 of them are undershirts.
 Not sure if that counts.
I didn't buy a single thing to make all this stuff work. I wanted to find a top for underneath cardi's but I didn't find THE one at a decent price so I just went with what I had and I will make it work.

Love how they have it displayed here!
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/68726977596/

I think the key for me was making sure pretty much everything went together. So I could just mix 'n match it all. It has made laundry much easier, and we have more space in the closet!
 This graphic made it easy to imagine some outfits!
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/68728651579/

I didn't count undergarments, cami's etc. Workout clothes or pajamas, 1 special occasion outfit or swim suits.

Want some direction on what to keep?
Check out all of these options! 


Not sure how it makes laundry easier? 2 big reasons!

1. I don't try on 4 different outfits (which usually end up on the floor, then laundry) because I know everything works right now!

2. I can keep better track of how often I am wearing jeans and sweaters. So I am not washing them unnecessarily.

If you are thinking about taking the plunge, DO IT! Try it for a season.

 This for sure fits in my goal for the year to REFINE, which seemed like it was put on the back burner while we moved and packed.
 I still have a couple months to make a big difference for our family.



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05 October 2015

Meal Plan {October Week 1}

This is our last super busy week before we get a small break! Lot's of pressure cooker and slow cooker meals!!

Monday~Baked Potatoes
Pressure cooker, because they cook in such a little amount of time!
We just load ours up with leftovers!

Tuesday~Pork Burritos
I just toss a roast in with some enchilada sauce in the pressure cooker and then shred it all together once it's done!
 
Wednesday~Lasagna Soup
Have some leftover marinara in the freezer should make this a quick prep.

Thursday~Mac 'n' cheese
Pressure Cooker style! 

Friday~Chicken Taco's
On the fly before the football game!
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02 October 2015

12 Weeks To Christmas {Week 1} Your Plan

12 weeks is all we have to plan and prep! Why start so early? For me, I want less hustle and bustle and more time doing the things I want to do and love, and more time to be with our family!
Prepping a little at a time for a more PEACEFUL season.

So I am starting this 12 week countdown plan. Starting with a PLAN to not over schedule, over commit or over do.

I am using this week to get things planned out.
A list of what NEEDS to be done, things like.
~ Meal plan
~Cards if that is something you do
~Housework
 ~Wrapping

Activities we WANT to do
~New traditions we might want to try out
~Old Traditions we love
~Making cookies
~Service projects we plan on helping with

These will be different for every family but it's a good idea to get a list started! You don't want to miss out on something because time got away from you, or spend all night wrapping and be groggy in the morning.


Maybe you want to really go overboard on your planning, get a binder! There are plenty of sections you can keep organized and spend a bit more time.
Minimal effort more your style? Writing ideas on a piece of paper is a good start! 
It doesn't have to be intense and take hours of time to get organized.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/68729235748/


Anyone want to join me?!
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6 Steps To Slay That To Do list!


 Sick of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, frazzled by all the little misfires in the day? Me too. Letting them totally throw me off balance and ruin whatever flow I may have had going. Ending the day feeling like a failure far too often.
I have to get back to a routine and get some normalcy 'round here. Started with my To Do List


I needed to focus on what is truly important, not that I could skip the little jobs that need to be done, but being more efficient and getting to the good stuff. Being INTENTIONAL and not just haphazardly making it through the day. I have to know how I am spending my hours so I make sure I am spending them on the right things. Some things I will be able to scrap altogether and others I will have to find a better way to do, or less to do.

I am a BIG FAN of writing my list down, I love my list app too, but writing it down and checking it off just FEELS GOOD!



1.
First and SO important, remembering that your to do list is a tool, a partner and NOT an enemy to be 
glared at and stabbed with your pen <<<<<< GUILTY over here!
 A cheerful outlook can go a long way.

2.
Dream a little.  Put some things on the list that might seem like a dream to get to. Inspiration to get the must do's done, if nothing else. I like to see something I am looking forward to mixed in with the laundry and orthodontist appointments.

3.
Categorize.  Here that looks like kids awake vs. kids asleep/at school
There are just some projects that are not kid friendly.
 Also, make sure you include your daily tasks. Makes it easier to get a real idea of your day.

4.
Prioritize! This is such a huge part of making sure I get to the important stuff!
 I like to start with a huge list, everything I can think of, just get it written down.
You can always remove stuff if you need to.
 I like to color code my list, sometimes it's 3 colors. Sometimes 4. I have a few pens I use
~urgent
~important
~not urgent
~Fun

http://amzn.to/1LkPHkG
 Find my fave notebook HERE


5.
Split big things up! For projects that you are dreading or that you just can't block out an hour or more for, split it up! You can split nearly any project into 10 minute bits.  That huge laundry pile, file sorting, junk drawer clean out, writing an email or letter, you get the idea.  And schedule that 10 minutes on your to do list, even if it's on there 3 times throughout the day. 10 minutes isn't too much out of a day and getting a start on a project might propel you to add another 10 minutes of it to your to do list!


6.
 Plan for obstacles! Because we all know there are plenty of them! Obstacles, time sucks, distractions. Whatever you want to call them, plan ahead and skip right past them.
Some of my obstacles of the time suck variety are TV, computer/phone and magazines. Some obstacles that are of the precious variety? Kids! Sometimes they just don't want to nap, or they need their 4th snack after breakfast.  Be prepared and have some options. I make sure that I have the coffee pot ready in the morning, plenty of snacks, baby's bed ready for nap and I don't even turn the TV on! I do like podcasts while I am working, nothing visual to pay attention to with those.

Be real about how long things take. Not sure how long something really takes? Use your timer and find out for next time.

Been doing this for the last week or so and already I have seen a huge improvement in the amount I am getting to each day and my perspective! It's not perfect but I don't look around at the end of the day and feel like I did nothing either.


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