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!

  Gallery 4

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.  

Pumpkin-corner

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.

Witch-legs


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!?!?

DSC_8428

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!

DSC_8429

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!

DSC_8447


How to Stick With Your Goals When Motivation Wains

23-styled-desk-2

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!'

or

'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!

23-main-2

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.

23-main

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!

23-styled-desk


 


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!