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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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  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. 

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  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. 

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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!


The Ultimate Packing Guide for Moms, When You Really Just Want to Pack It In

29-pocketsI've decided to use my new toy Malden as my vacation/summer planner. Can't wait to fill it up!

I've always been a little strange, but when it comes to this, I'm such a weirdo! I absolutely LOVE to pack! It actually makes me kind of giddy. Like, really giddy! Unpacking on the other hand, not so much. So that's why I'm sharing tips on packing and not unpacking! I have 16 years worth of child friendly packing experience and we've traveled a LOT with our geeklings! I'm going to make life easy for you this summer and share my favourite Do's and Don't's when it comes to packing for your children. PLUS, I have a fun bonus for you! Free packing list printables for you and for your little ones.

Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

Here are my packing guidelines when it comes to children:

DO's

  • Plan Ahead - Knowing what you have room for (in your car, plane baggage allowance etc) and what  you will need when you get there (beach gear versus an all inclusive) will help you know what you should bring and you can then make a list accordingly.

  • Decide what you REALLY need - What can you get by without (Do you really need 3 pairs of flip flops? Per child?)? What can you rent or purchase on site, so that you don't have to lug it along. We often borrow pool towels from the hotel with a deposit and buy floaties while we are there and pass them on to other guests that are just arriving as we are leaving.

  • Let the children pack for themselves - Give them a list, better yet, click the button below and download my printable list for them (just add the numbers of each item they will need depending on the time you will be gone).

     Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

    There's one for older children and a simplified doodled one for those little ones who can't read yet. They can even colour it in.

    Packing-list-image

    Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

    Yes, even young ones can pack for themselves! I do always inspect things, though, before they go in the suitcase, as my 15 year old tends to try and include his entire room, while my 11 year old forgets pyjamas almost every time!

  • Encourage your children to pack light - When I was younger my aunt was taking her children for a short trip to a hotel with a pool. She challenged them all to pack light and I believe the one with the least amount of stuff won a prize. They all lined up for their mom to inspect their small bag, except one cousin didn't have a bag. He stood there, proudly, hands empty, with only his toothbrush in his pocket. 'Don't you know there's a pool?' asked one of his sisters, to which he responded by tugging on his shorts a bit to reveal his swim trunks!!
    Ok, so that's an extreme example, but packing light gives you freedom! You aren't bogged down by several large bags, there's no extra weight fees at the airport and there's room for souvenirs to bring home.

    Have ALL passports, for everyone in the family (even the hubster's), all tickets, documents etc., EVERYTHING, in ONE place - Whatever you do, don't let the children have their own passport. My little ones always want to take it out and look at their photo, that's just asking for it to get lost. My teens don't realise the crap we'd be in if they lost theirs, so they won't pay close enough attention and I just won't take that risk. Keeping everything in one place, keeps them safe, if your planner has a big enough pocket that's a great place to keep everything! Plus, when you get to customs or the ticket line, it's quick and easy to whip them all out at once and hand them over and you're not holding up the line. I'm going to put all of our passports and documents in the deep, last pocket of my Malden.

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  • Pack small bags for each child for the car or plane - Kids get bored soooo fast and you don't want them in front of a screen for the entire trip so make sure that they have books and crayons and toys to keep them busy and to minimise the 'Are we there yet?'s. I love to put a little wrapped gift in there too. Usually it's an activity book, pens and one of my take along memory keepers. I make one for each of my children when we go on a long trip. They use them mostly to store all the bits and pieces they collect as souvenirs. There are lots of pockets so it's a great way to keep it all in one spot. They can even write a trip journal on the inside and record what they've visited.

    Journal
    Sign up in the tag below for my free class on how to make some take along memory keepers for your kids! You'll get some free cutfiles too.
     

    DON'T'S
     
  • Don't let your children bring ALL the toys - let them chose their toys and books, but be selective, you don't need to bring the entire contents of their room. A small bag, that they can carry, with light books and toys is just perfect.

  • Don't let your children have too much screen time - We've noticed that the more time our children spend in front of a screen, the crankier they become. They are impolite, impatient and restless. They also fight even more than usual with each other after too much screen time. Depending on the length of the trip, we set a time limit where they have to read, sleep or play (usually about half the trip) then they can have one hour with their ipod/ipad/whatever.

  • Don't bring round crayons or little cars on a plane - Before leaving we fish out the pencils and crayons that are triangular or hexagonal in shape instead of smooth cylinders. We've lost quite a few over the years as they've rolled off the tray table, onto the floor and to the back of the plane, under some cranky, kid-hating old man's carry-on, never to be seen again. Dinky cars have gone the same way. Now, you may be thinking, what's the big deal? It's just a crayon and dinkies cost less than $2! But, when you have a toddler (that refuses to nap on the plane) that wants to colour with the RED crayon and the RED one has been missing for about 3 hours now, you know there is going to be an epic tantrum! Even older children have been know to flip out over toys that have rolled away. Do yourself (and everyone sitting around you) a favour and leave anything that rolls at home.

Now, that you know what to DO and DON'T, it is time to start packing! Click the button here and download your packing lists.      Click Here to get your Packing Lists!

  There is a girl version and a boy version for the little ones and a versatile, ultimate list for you. This one is great to print off for your older ones as well.

Packing-list-plus-toothbrushHAPPY PACKING, HAPPY PLANNING

and have a fantastic trip!

PS If you'd like to see my tips for decorating planner pockets, you can watch me do it in this youtube video:

 


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!

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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!!

July
end of school activities
sports camp
hockey camp
music camp

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

September
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

October
Flow with Intention
Father's day (remember I live in Luxembourg)
TEACH at PLANNERCON EUROPE!! Yippee!!!

November
Christmas prep
Geekling 6's birthday
Geeklette's birthday

December
Christmas prep
Christmas
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.

Cousin-shirts

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. 

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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.

HAPPY PLANNING!!


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! 

Six-list

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. 

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  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. 

PLAN YOUR SUMMER 

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

HAPPY PLANNING!


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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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24 Ways to Stay Organised

When you are organised, life can feel as easy as a vacation. Here are 24 tips and tricks to help you feel happy, relaxed and calm in your daily life.

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  1. Set alarms on your Phone. These are great for time sensitive tasks. I set alarms for everything from bus pick up reminders to calls I need to make on certain days.

  2. Have an assigned spot for your keys and purse. This tip will save you so much time, every time you walk into your home place your keys and purse in their designated spot(s). You will always know where they are and you won't have to hunt them down when you need to leave. Plus, you'll love it so much that you will want to find homes for everything else you use on a regular basis.

  3. Have a place for your planner. Like your keys and purse, it'll make it easier to find your planner when you need it and it gives it importance in your mind as a key part of your life organising system.

  4. Have everything that is scheduled and/or time sensitive for everyone in the family/household (appointments, schedule, kids activities, events, deadlines, etc) in one calendar or planner. Life is easier to schedule if you have everything in one place. You won't have to hunt through 47 different planners and calendars to find out if someone is free on a certain day or to know what's on the schedule for any given day.

  5. Establish habits. Habits make life so much easier, as if it's on auto-pilot. This is especially true for those boring or annoying tasks.

  6. Establish a morning routine. This gets your day off to a great start and enables you to attach new habits as you become more and more accustomed to your routine. If you'd like to learn how to set up your perfect morning routine, check out this post here.

  7. Review often. Looking back is a great way to see what's working and what's not. Check out this post for more on this!

  8. Cut out what isn't working. Keep an eye on what's not working and if you can get rid of that squeaky wheel, do so as soon as you can. If you can't, then try to simplfy or change it so that it is working better for you.

  9. Visualise the end results, your final outcome, and work backwards from there. If you know the reason WHY you are doing something in the first place, it's easier to do the tasks and get them off of your to-do list as you move forward towards your goal.

  10. Do a little bit every day to build consistancy. Things can get done a little at a time. Even if you are going slowly, it's better than not starting at all. Building consistency creates habit that will eventually make the tasks easier too!

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  11. Be prepared. Boy scout or not, life is unpredictable so always be prepared for what could happen. Just remember not to spiral down into becoming a Debbie Downer and focusing on all the bad things that might happen.

  12. Plan in time for the unexpected. Leave space in your planner for things that may trip you up, especially if it's for an appointment, deadline or other time sensitive things that you can not be late for.

  13. Don't over schedule yourself. Even if you are physically and mentally capable of knocking 712 thing off of your to-do list in one day, it doesn't mean that you should! If you keep up that pace, eventually you will burn yourself out! Here's a post with some tips on this.

  14. Schedule in Breaks. Don't forget to take care of you! You need a bit of rest and recharge through out the day. Write a tea break into your planner or schedule time to play with stickers and paper in your planner.

  15. Tell someone and be accountable. By letting someone know of your plans, they can help make sure that you do it by checking in with your progress and reminding you of deadlines.

  16. Have someone give you a deadline. If it's a task or chore that doesn't have a built in deadline, have someone create a realistic one for you and then hold you to it and if you're late you can owe them a coffee or something. If you don't have someone to do this, try the Flight app who send a donation on your behalf to a charity you hate if you fail.

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  17. Simplify! The simpler something is, the easier it is to do it and to keep at it.

  18. Declutter everyday. Or most days ;) By doing it on a regular basis, you will form a habit of decluttering and it keeps your house, purse, desk and mind clear and working like well oiled machines.

  19. Have regular braindumps, then organise the items into task lists. This keeps your brain clear and stops it thinking the same thought ('I have to do , abc, xyz plus 4 million other things!'). Think of it as decluttering your brain.

  20. Learn from your mistakes. We all make them and failures actually help us learn and move forward.

  21. Don't write things on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes. Once it's out of your head, you'll probably stop thinking about it and if you lose that scrap of paper, it's gone! Plus, it's more recopying, just put it into your planner in the first place!

  22. Don't fight your Planner. If it isn't working well for you, it's probably not the best planner for you. Tweak things, change things around or get a completely different planner system, whatever it takes to get one that suits your needs.

  23. Change your rings. If you find yourself somewhere you can't write and something pops into your head (why doesn this always happen in the shower, while driving or just as you're falling asleep?), switch one of your rings to a different finger. If you habitually wear the same rings on the same fingers, finding one on the opposite hand (after your shower, when you get home or after you wake up the next morning), it will feel odd and prompt you to remember that thought that popped into your head.

  24. Have fun! Find systems that don't feel like such a chore, making them pretty really helps me. If that works for you, great! Make things pretty! If not, if it feels more like a distraction than anything else, find what does work for you and do that.

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 All goodies used in this dashboard are from my April Hip Kit Club kits. 

 


 Happy Planning!


It's Never Too Late to Make Your Dreams Come True

What do a blogger, a marathoner and parachuter have in common. Nothing necessarily, but in this case, they are all over 100 years old. But, we'll come back to them in just a bit :D

'In nine hundred years of time and space and I've never met anybody who wasn't important.'

                                -Doctor Who

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Everyone is important and has a life to live and a gift to share with the world.

If you aren't sharing your gifts with us, what is stopping you? What is holding you back? Do you believe that you are not able? 

If you feel that you can't dream big and achieve your big goals, then think again!! Eleanor Roosevelt says you should 'do one thing every day that scares you.'  Life really is short, it's in the everyday that memories and acheivements are made little by little. As short as life is, there is still lots of time to do what you do best. Life is amazing and it's for living, whether you are young or only young at heart.

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The idea of old age is changing. In the 90s, the cast of FRIENDS was teasing Ross about kissing the old lady librarian, who was 50 years old. Now, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow and Courntey Cox are redefining 50, along with many others! Think about it, if that 50 year old lives until she's 80 or more, that's 30 years! That's a long time she'll have to achieve her dreams!  Just think of all the things that you've accomplished in the past 30 years... Life is for living!

Here are some amazingly inspiring stories:

Dorothy Custer parachuted off a bridge for her 102nd birthday.
Flo Meiler started track and field at 60 and now she's still winning medals in her 80s!
Olive Riley began a blog at 107 yeras old.
Buster Martin walked the 2008 London marathon at 101.
Jennifer Figge swam the Atlantic at 56 years old, the ATLANTIC!

If sports (extreme or not) aren't your thing, that's perfect! Not everyone was put on earth to jump off of a bridge. The thing is to find out why you were put here. What are you supposed to share with us? What do you want to do most in the world?

If you don't know what you'd like to do, if you don't know what your dreams are, then you can download my FREE Dream Printable that has lots of prompts that will help you figure it out. Just pop on over to this link to get it:

FREE Dream Prompt Printable

I recently made this Dream Spread for my planner, it's in my bullet journal so I can take a peek at it whenever I need a bit of inspiration. I wrote in some of my big dreams and left room for more when the inspiration strikes me.

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Of course, not everyone grows old gracefully and stays spry and able to do amazing things, so in order to stay youthful, in mind and body, you need to take care of yourself and that starts now! Whether you are 18 or 80. There are two big factors that I see to keeping youthful and spry: eat right and move your body. Let's look at these two important things more closely:

Eating right.

This does not mean the latest health craze. Quinoa, smoothies and gluten free will go out of fashion just like Atkins and fat-free.

What you need to do is eat REAL food.

The closer a food is to nature, the better it is for you. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to eat raw wheat from the field, it simply means that you need to watch out for processed foods. This is really hard if you live in the States. EVERY thing comes in a box! I mean, I've even seen apples slices in the grocery store! What you don't realise is that they are covered in preservatives to keep them from going brown and those presevatives are not food. Most processed food is not food! They are full of chemicals plus, there's added sugar, salt and fat that you're body can't handle.  

It doesn't mean that you can't have cookies, cake and all your favourites, it just means that you need to make them yourself. The lure of fast food is strong in the States and more and more in other countries. There's a burger joint on every corner, but if you can keep fast food and processed food to a minimum you'll be all set. You don't need to cut it out all together, just reduce it. Your body doesn't recognise the processed stuff and doesn't know what do do with it so it stores it as fat, making you gain weight and feel lethargic. And you can't chase your dreams if you don't have the energy or not even around to do the chasing!

Move your body!

I'm going to tell the story of 2 women I know, best friends from high school. I met them both when they were just turning 50 and were both about the same weight. One lady was walking on a regular basis and is still very active today, and she was worried about her friend who wasn't very active at all. A few years had gone by and the second lady started putting on weight, content to spend time at home watching TV. We were at a wedding once, when they were in their mid 50s, we were planning to walk from the church to reception with the first lady in our group, not a very long walk, maybe 20 minutes. The second lady decided to stay at a cafe near by, have a coffee and a piece of pie and take her car to the reception. This may seem like a little thing, I know I brushed it aside as a minor thing at the time. But after years full of little decisions like this, these two women are leading two very different lives today. They are 67 now, the first lady goes on hikes with her husband on a regular basis, walking all day sometimes. The second lady, needs a cane to walk and most times resorts to her wheelchair. 

Taking care of your body not only allows you live a longer, healthier life, it also gives you the physical and mental stregnth needed to do all the things that you want to do with your life. Your dreams will keep you young in your heart!

'The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.'

           -Coco Chanel 

What are you thinking out loud? What is your gift to the world?

Don't forget to download your Free Dream Prompt Printable!!

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A Planner Girl's Adventure in Scrapbookland

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Planner girls and Scrapbookers are sisters in papercrafting crime. These two worlds are not so dis-similar however many differences there seem to be. We are all connected by our love of stickers and paper!

A couple of weeks ago, I met my sister-in-law, Violaine, in Parc Floral, just outside of Paris for our annual scrapy get together. I was a scrapbooker before coming over to the planner side (and I still scrapbook, just not as often as I used to) and we've been going to this event every year for about 7 years now. She's pregnant and decided to only come for one day, but I went for 2 days.

DAY ONE

Celebrate Altered Book Album

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Debby Schuh always has the most amazing classes and she's the main reason we go to these events. Her classes are fun, unique with absolutely adorable projects! This first class was no exception. However, it's hard to cut and stick when your fingers are numb from the cold. The event organisers hadn't turned on the heat! My feet were also numb and I couldn't feel my bum! My chair got so cold that even sitting on my coat didn't make a difference. We took a coffee break, the warm cups, defrosting our fingers, helped a lot. We also took a bathroom break to get out of the cold room and the lukewarm water of the sink felt like it was burning my frozen hands! Neither one of use was able to finish the project. :( I will though, it will make a great little planner!

 Christmas Joy Album

Christmas

After a quick lunch, where I accidentally bought my preggo SIL a sandwich with jambon de parme, (Oops!) we were back with Debby and her Christmas album. I love having my Christmas album all done in advance, so that when December rolls around, I can simply add photos and memorabilia and not have to worry. Doing it in the spring means that I don't have to add in yet another project to my fall to-do list, which is always crazy full!

Eventhough they had finally turned the heat on, the room was still not warm and we were chilled through from the morning. Also being quite chatty I didn't finish this one in class either, but I did get it finished on the train ride home while watching Outlander on my phone! I felt quite spoiled being able to travel alone without all my geeklings constantly needing things from me and the younger ones climbing all over me.

We did a bit of shopping after this, but I only bought a few things. I limited myself to only 3 rolls of washi (I have so much already), some stickers and I found a mini Happy Planner! It's so cute, even if I don't have a purpose for it just yet. Most of the stands sold primarily stamps and stencils, which a I usually don't know what to do with, but that changed on Day 2.

 

DAY TWO

My Story Book Album

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I went back alone the next day, crossing the entirety of Paris with the Metro all on my own, and started with this cute class from Debby. With no sister-in-law to chat with, I did finish this project in class, and I got a chance to chat a lot with Debby too.

 
Rainbows and Butterflies 

Terhi-page

When I saw that my friend, Terhi, fellow Hip Kit Club Design Team member was teaching, I made sure to sign up for one of her classes, even if I seem to be allergic to mixed media save a splash of watercolour here and there. Tehri is the queen of mixed media and she made it sooo easy! Just look at what I was able to make under her guiding hand!

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She showed me some of ther pages and if you think her work looks amazing online, you should see it in real life, knocked my socks off!  My most favourite  part of my time with Terhi was being able to sit and chat and get to know her better! Imagine the sweetest, kindest person you know, got her? Good! Now, imagine the most talented. Mulitply each by 4 and add them together and you get Terhi! She's fantastic and I love her to bits!

After coming home, I sat down, took what she taught me and made this for my next Hip Kit Club assignment:

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I think I'll be adding a little more mixed media to my planner from now on ;)

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Dream a little Dream Album

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My last class, I was back with Debby Schuh. She really is the reason my SIL and I go back to this event year after year. I was looking forward to this one as much as the Christmas one! It was a twist on the elastic system used in Traveller's notebooks. It's like a creative TN with super powers! I think I'm going to use this as some sort of memory planner since there are 12 pages. 

Super-TN

This idea is unique and absolutely genius, not to mention gorgeous. I'm sure I'll be making variations of this in the near future!

The not so good stuff

No review would be honest if there weren't some cons to balance all these pros. Everything was not sunshine and roses over these 2 days. This little planner girl CANNOT overlook poor organisation in a company who's sole purpose is to ORGANISE events! Sure, a few bumps in the road can be expected, but it's been 10 years that they've been holding this event and each and every year there have been major problems. I mean come on, heat seems like a pretty basic thing when it's only about 8°C outside! I was not alone in thinking that I was just another dollar sign walking in the door and I more than likely will not be going back. 

Ok, let's not dwell on the negatives, let's look at another photo of pretty things!

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However I'll follow Debby where ever she holds a class in my corner of Europe and I'd love to meet up with Terhi again!

Happy Planning!