My February Bullet Journal

I have a bullet journal for my daily planning and I absolutely love it.  It’s something that can be as simple or as creative as I want to be.  I simply bought a graphing composition notebook from Walmart, and I use pens and colored pencils inside.  I also use inspiration from other people who use the bullet journal technique that I find on pinterest.  All of that said, here’s my February bullet journal technique.

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This is the upcoming week, before I really start planning.  I used a lot of the techniques shared by Kara at Boho Berry for February.  I like the weather forecasts as a graphic used to break up all the writing and the time line at the top of each day as an overview of how  my day is broken up.  Plus, I really like the graphic under each of the days.

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Here’s an earlier week that is finished.  Some of my own additions are the sections for my meetings and the meal plan sections in each day.  I like looking at my day to consider my meal plans, so I incorporate them into each day’s section.  Monday and Tuesday are set up like Wednesday and Thursday with sections at the bottom for meetings and my grocery list.  Friday through Sunday all fit on one page.

My bullet journal is so much fun, and it’s getting quite worn because I take it with me everywhere.  I love the use to color and being able to color through the week if I want to.  I like the flexibility and I have some planned adjustments for March already!

What is your favorite journal technique or paper planner?  Do you prefer digital?

 

 

 

 

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One Way to Beat Procrastination

I wasn’t always a planner.  In fact, I was a pretty bad procrastinator.  My mom can attest to this.  There were many a night she stayed up with me until the wee hours of the morning finishing science fair projects.

I wasn’t any better in college.  It wasn’t until my senior year that I had any semblance of plan.  And I didn’t really develop my planning ahead style until my job at the law firm.  It was there that I learned how to think ahead when it came to balancing paperwork and client interviews.  Plus, I learned the power of a good planner.

This past year I was introduced to another tool at my new job.  It’s called an excel manager.  Since we do a lot of the same training labs for different churches, a lot of the prep work can be standardized.  Basically, we put in the date of the lab, and the excel formulates all the due dates for things that need to get done.  For example, all the workbooks need to be printed the week before, and the logistics email needs to go out to the participants a few weeks before that.

So, at the end of last year, I decided I would try to incorporate this technique into some of the different aspects of my life.  One of those ways was holiday gift giving.  I actually used this tool for Thanksgiving and Christmas last year and it worked great.  I also used it for Valentine’s Day this year.

Basically, there were certain things that need to happen when I exchange gifts, so I listed those in the excel program.

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Then, I put deadline formulas into each one.  For example, I want to have wrapped or mailed the present a week in advance.

Dates

Then I take these dates and put them in my google calendar.  In this case, these serve as reminders, but in other projects, if it’s not reasonable to be able to accomplish a particular task on a particular deadline, then I will adjust it by a week or a few days.  This is probably the best part of this type of planning.  It gives me a chance to think ahead and take my inherent procrastination into account.

I use this type of manager for other aspects in my life as well, and I will share those with you in another post.  It’s so funny to me that I’m such a planner nerd now compared to how I used to be, but, to me, this is really fun!

Do you have a process for planning things in your life?  I would love to learn new ways of doing things!

 

My week in Erin Condren

Here’s this past week in my Erin Condren planner.  I don’t use this planner to really plan anymore, more as a scrapbook to remember because I love looking back on last year and years before and see what I was doing or thinking on this day.  I usually spend Wednesdays working on the Erin Condren planner.  Anyway, here’s the week!

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This was our last week with Foster Pup, who went back yesterday.  We also celebrated National Popcorn day this week.  And then, somehow, this weekend which was going to be slow, actually got pretty filled up.

I’m not sure where I got the popcorn sticker.  I know it was in one of those little extras I get with my sticker order.

Most of the full boxes came from The Sticker Doodle Shop.  The washi tape is from Planner Kate (which was a more actual tape than the stickers she’s made in the past).  And the heart checklists and weekend sticker came from Paper Rose Planning.

The owl stickers I got at the Dollar Store.  The meeting sticker came in a pack from The Container Store.  And the other planning stickers are from Amazon.

How has your month been?  Do you somehow fill up weekends you thought would be free?

Meal Planning

I truly believe that meal planning is an art.  I may not be a perfect cook or baker, but I can meal plan with the best of them.  It took me a few years, but I think I found the best meal planning techniques for me, and I thought I would share them with you.

As with a lot of my organizational techniques, I like to put in as much automation as possible.  So, I have themes that run throughout my week.  On the days I volunteer at the SPCA after work, I used the crockpot.  On days where I might have more time, I try new recipes that I found on Pinterest.  I always try to incorporate Tex Mex into our week (because, hello, we live in Texas, how could we not?).  And I always try to incorporate some kind of pasta (because, hello, we are Italian, how could we not?).

Then, throughout the week, I spend time on Pinterest, looking for meal ideas.  I have three Pinterest boards that I try to keep updated.  The first is my Recipe Lists.  These are all those lists that show up on Pinterest that sound interesting (100 no process crock pot meals, 10 easy dinner ideas).  I don’t always vet these right away, and they may not work, but I look at them later when I have dedicated meal planning time.

Follow Katy’s board Recipe Lists on Pinterest.

The second board is my Things to Make or Try.  These are recipes I either got from a google search, one of the recipe lists, or a pin that I saw on Pinterest.  These have been vetted a little more.  They meet all of my personal criteria which is as follows:

    1. Serving size 2-4 people, although sometimes if it sounds good I will make it and try to eat all the leftovers (but let’s be honest, I only usually eat one, maybe two days of leftovers per meal).
    2. Very few, or basic, ingredients.  I may buy the odd jar of capers, but I don’t want to fill my pantry with things that become more expired than essential to my needs. I do try to stay away from processed food (aka aisle food) but sometimes time plays a bigger factor in that night, and I need something quick.
    3. Very little time at the stove.  I don’t mind leaving something to simmer or bake in the oven, but I’m a very distracted cook, so the less time I have to stir and watch, the better.
    4. Very few, or basic, tools.  I don’t like to buy tools that I will only use once or twice (unless they are holiday specific recipes).  While I think it is quite impressive to have some special gadgets, I can’t justify using them for only a couple of recipes I might make a few times a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Katy’s board Things to Make or Try on Pinterest.

Then, once I make the recipe, and we actually wouldn’t mind making it again, I put it in my third board, Tried it, Liked it.  So, when I have a particularly busy week, and don’t have time to sift through recipes, I go to these recipes.

Follow Katy’s board Tried It, Liked It! on Pinterest.

Another factor as to which recipes I use each week is of course what meats are on sale.  I try to keep it pretty balanced as well.  At least one day we will have fish, one day red meat, one day poultry, and one day no meat at all.  Sometimes we might double up on one type of meat depending on sales, but if I had my choice, I would eat seafood exclusively.  It’s my favorite.  Produce sometimes plays a factor, but more so as sides to the main dish than the main dish, itself.

I stick to week by week plans.  There are some nights I know I won’t have to cook very much at all, mostly weekends and the night we go to the grocery.  So there are breaks in there that I don’t have to plan.  Most of our grocery bills run about $80-90 dollars a week.  Some weeks it’s more, some it’s less.  And of course, remember that there are just two of us, and we buy our household goods (toiletries and cleaning supplies) once a month on a different budget.

One last thing that I’ve started doing, and that is saving a PDF version of the recipe to my computer.  I don’t know if you have had this problem, but on some of these recipe sites, there are so many ads and extras, that I have a hard time finding the recipe on the actual page.  I still like to use my Pinterest to pick the meals, but once it’s moved to Tried it, Liked it, then I usually will also have a back up copy on the computer as well.

What is your meal planning technique?  Do you use requirements to pick your recipes?

What has been your favorite meal to make in the last year (and you have to have made it at least twice)?

My experience with Planners and Journals

I haven’t always been very good with planners and journals.  I took to planning a lot faster than journaling. I like learning new ways of planning and organizing to help my scattered brain find time to do the things I want and still be able to accomplish the things I need to do.  But I’ve never been good at using a journal.  I have several unfinished journals from over the years that I start but never finish.

This past year, I had a new year goal of writing in a journal throughout the year.  I actually finished an entire journal, but the second one I started didn’t get completed.  I do enjoy going back and reading where I was a year ago, so I want to keep trying.  I’ve also tried traditional scrapbooking, but that really didn’t work.  The one scrapbook I actually finished took me seven years to complete.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with finding the right kind of planning and journaling techniques, but when I find that thing that works for me, I get really excited and want to share.  So here is where I am this year.

As far as my Erin Condren planner, it has turned into my almost exclusive scrapbook/journal.  It isn’t as overwhelming as a traditional scrapbook, and I can include things I did at work that day and at home, which you wouldn’t really include in a tradition scrapbook either.  I also like the fact that I can put ticket stubs and parts of brochures into the planner.  It allows me to hold on to keepsakes without it just getting way overwhelming.

At the end of last year, I was introduced to the Bullet Journal technique.  There is a lot of information on this kind of planning/journaling on the internet.  Many people use it in various ways for various reasons.  I like to use it to do my meal planning and my week planning. I use the back sheets for brainstorming and include all of the brainstorms and planned days in the front of the book in the index.  I’ve only been using it for a month, but I really like the flexibility and brainstorm advantages.

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The final major planning tool I use the Google calendar.  I use this for a lot of long term planning and family and work planning.  I have a calendar that communicates with coworkers about things coming up.  And I have a family planner that does the same thing with Michael.  I also plan my blogs and a lot of my errands in the Google calendar as well.

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I am definitely scatter-brained and easily distracted, so making the planning or journaling process fun and flexible really helps me keep my head attached to my body most days.  And I’m sure I will be using different tools in the future (and sharing with you, of course), but for now, this is what is working for me!

Are you a planner or do you journal?  What techniques or tools work best for you?  I’m always up for more advice in this area!

 

Finally Done!

So, for one of my new year goals for 2015, I wanted to finish some projects in my master bedroom.  And now I’ve finally finished and taken pictures to show you!

So, the first thing I completed was my drawer organization.  I bought all of the baskets from Target, and I organized the sock drawer, underwear drawer and pajama drawer20151217_123843.jpg

The next thing I worked on was updating the bedding for our bed.  My pup is nicely modeling for us as well.  I finally got a duvet insert and cover, something I have been wanting to buy for years.  I also got holiday pillows for the bed.  I plan to get another cover for the spring and summer time, but that will be something for next year!

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This is the final project I worked on.  Each picture represents a year we have been together.  I had fallen behind on the frames the last couple of years, but now I’m all caught up and have a plan for the next ten. 🙂

Did you accomplish any goals/projects this year?

 

The Month of November

Here’s my Erin Condren Spread for the month of November:

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November was a tough month, but looking at the whole thing, we had a lot of great memories.  Date nights, time with family and friends, and a lot of time with the SPCA!  Overall, it really was a good month.

The “Always in my Heart” sticker was from Hobby Lobby.  I put it over the anniversary of the passing of our daughter.  It happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year.  I don’t have a link to this sticker, though.

As for the other stickers, I got the paw print stickers on Amazon at Graphics and More.

The Meeting sticker was in a booklet that I bought at the Container Store.  I don’t know if they have this particular set online.  I saw that they had a similar one for school.

The other stickers were from Adorkable stickers on Etsy.  She made Star Wars stickers which are on my wish list to get soon!

I got the road washi tape from Michaels, and I have a few small washi strips that covered up some sensitive info that are from Gingerly Done on Etsy.

Can you believe we only have one month?

When do you buy your monthly stickers?