Phone tips PLUS my 3 Favorite Apps

Phone tips PLUS my 3 Favorite Apps

Fun fact of the day: On average, people between the ages of 18-24 look at their phone on average 74 times a day! As a mom, I’m sure that number is higher. I’m constantly looking at the weather (I literally forget what the weather said in minutes), checking email, making sure the kids are being appropriate on Snapchat, checking the school’s facebook page, checking lunch menu and referencing Pinterest for my supper menu ON TOP of the typical 74 checks!

Just as we unclutter our homes, our minds, we also need to unclutter our phones!

  • Go through and really decide what apps are necessary and cut the rest that aren’t bringing value to you!
  • Shut off notifications that aren’t life altering!
  • Decide how you can use your phone to better your days. Do you need a scheduling app? Reminder app? List app?
  • Pick a venue for photos! Photos clog up your space quickly! Make a plan to upload these as soon as you take them whether it be to Facebook albums (you can make albums private for only you to view so you can quickly upload to Walmart/Walgreens to print later), or to a photo printing place such as Snapfish, another option being loading them into your Google account.

My 3 Favorite Apps

Scheduling: My favorite scheduling app is Cozi. Not only does it color code, but it is shareable! You can add your husband, children, even mother or mother in law onto the app as well! This allows them to easily pull up what is going on. You are also able to make shopping lists within the app, which are also shareable (Thanks husband for grabbing the milk and toilet paper tonight!). The best part- it’s FREE!

Google Drive: This is where I keep track of random brain dump moments, create lists, and jot down notes. You can open it from anywhere later and it’s also shareable. Again- it’s FREE!

Voxer: Voxer is basically a walkie talkie for your phone! My husband has it as well as my girls. With the click of a button you send voice messages to each other. It is like a voicemail without the hassle! You can also share video, pics and text through the app. We all love it! Guess what- it’s FREE!

Do you have a favorite app for your phone? Share below!

Preparing For Back To School!

Preparing For Back To School!

July is almost over, can you believe it? Soon the days will become shorter, our tans will fade, school will be starting and we will be finding ourselves back into a new routine.

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As the end of July comes to a close, now is a perfect time to start preparing for August. Here’s some tips for what we as moms can be doing now to prepare for the August rush:

  1. Decide bedtimes now. You may not start them yet, but letting your children know what time they will be going to bed can save you an argument in a few weeks. My children will all be in school, but different schools. We adjusted bedtimes based on that. I also let my oldest who will be going into High School what her curfew will be.
  2. Designate homework spots. This will apply to all of my children. My high schooler will need a spot away from everyone to do studying, my middle schooler will need somewhere close to mom to work and my preschooler just needs to be aware that when the girls are there.. he is not. Those spots will also have a basket of supplies such as scratch paper, highlighters, pencils, scissors, glue stick, index cards and a calculator.
  3. Decide a filing system. The first day of school the kids come home tossing papers around. With 3 kids- papers get misplaced easily! I set up a command center with folders so as soon as they come home, their papers go in there for me to go through. I’ll sign what needs to be signed and check homework after supper. This is a huge chaos repellent! haha!
  4. Decide chores. Let them know what sort of chore system you’ll be using and get in the practice now. During the summer my children have more chores than normal. School time they’ll only have 1 or maybe 2 short ones.
  5. Go through their clothes! This is one I dread! Have them go through drawers, closet, and under bed to get an inventory of what they’ll be needing so you’re not overspending. Nothing like buying 5 new pairs of jeans to find out their’s 6 pairs in her drawer already that she “forgot” about!

School time can be so crazy. There’s a lot to do! Starting now and preparing can help alleviate some of that chaos down the road. Now for my bloggers/direct sellers/wahm’s, I have some tips for you as well!

  1. Get your planner ready! Map out things that need to happen such as team meetings, retreats, conferences, etc. This way when you get the basketball schedule, you won’t be surprised, you’ll know what’s going on!
  2. Plan your work hours as well as your NON work hours. For me, the hours of 4-8pm are the busiest. So much to get done in 4 short hours before bed. My phone will be on silent so I can spend that time with my kids. Instead of working now whenever I can find time, in the fall I’ll be setting morning office hours. Adjust your schedule as you need… just set some hours AND communicate them!
  3. A new season is ahead. Whether it be your products changing or your blog posts changing to focus on a different season, start brainstorming ideas. Once school begins it’s hard to remember every single thing. Think about starting a brain dump journal next to your bed or on the table to jot things down as you think of them.
  4. Think of adding some technology on your phone to help juggle the roles of being a work at home mom such as adding in an app like Cozi. This way in between picking kids up you can glance at your phone and see that you need to pick up dishwasher tabs and milk on the way home. You can also use the calendar option to color code who’s doing what when.
  5. Use time such as waiting at the school to pick kids up to do some social media posts, scopes, or quick videos. Take your brain dump journal with you and implement some of those ideas you’ve had! I have an office-on-the-go bag that I have worked out of all summer. I’ll continue to do so in the fall!

I hope some of these tips are helpful! This next week is a great time to start fresh and plan what you want to happen. It’s a transition for kids to go back to school… but it’s also a transition for the moms! If you need more help preparing for school time, make sure you email me or you are more than welcome to join my Facebook Community by clicking HERE.

Going offline, what I learned!

Going offline, what I learned!

The average American can spend up to 11 hours a day using technology including TV, radio, computer, phone, game systems, and dvd players. 11 hours!!! That is almost half our day! No wonder our brains are exhausted, we are constantly multi-tasking, forgetting important events, and missing special moments with our children!

Last week I had enough. My husband saw it coming. My level of stress had been pushed way beyond the threshold. I told him for Mother’s Day, I would be perfectly fine with being dropped off at a dead end road for the weekend, just be sure to come back on Monday to get me. Stress can do terrible things to a body. It can cause headaches, body aches, fatigue, blood pressure issues, stomach issues, menstrual problems, back aches and just create an unpleasant attitude! I am a busy mom, I have a lot on my plate. I can usually hold it all together pretty well (at least I think) but there always comes a time where we just need to unplug. That’s where I was…

Instead of dropping me off at a dead end road, my husband decided to take us all camping for Mother’s Day weekend. It was absolutely what I needed. Here’s what I learned..

1. Hold hands with your children. The little hands that used to wrap around my finger as we crossed the street are now growing to just under the same size as my own hands. They still grip as tight as they once did as toddler hands.

2. There is something so serene in walking through a bed of wild flowers. As young girls, my daughters would have picked a few to take back home and even put some in my hair. This time we just admired their beauty (and smell) and looked at how they were used. FACT: Bluebells used to be used as a diuretic. The sap from the plant was also used as an adhesive.

3. Catching a toad straight from the lake takes team work. Yet watching a 4 year old show that toad love, wanting to build it a home, constantly checking on it to see if it’s alright shows the love and tenderness his little heart already has.

4. Quiet moments alone with my husband don’t happen near as often as they should. We don’t have a lot of time for dates, we never have. Each year as our children get older, we find a few more extra minutes to be alone. This weekend the children snuggled together for a bedtime movie and as a couple, we just sat next to the fire enjoying the company. It’s hard to imagine what life will be like as our children are grown, but we need to make more moments with each other now.

5. I forgot my hair comb, bobby pins, skipped my normal shower day, wore a sweatshirt that smelled like campfire and no one cared! No one! Not even me!

6. We made more memories this past weekend than we could ever imagined. There is no evidence of them as they happened on Facebook. There is no hashtag associated with the pictures, there is no check-in’s associated to them, here is no likes anywhere, no tags. Just pure, raw memories stored in our own personal storage box. To be honest, it was nice to have people actually ask us how our weekend went versus liking or posting on an album of photos.

7. I have no idea what happened in other people’s lives that weekend. I don’t know what was trending nor any newsworthy information. When Monday morning came, I had no desire to go back and check either. I had enough excitement of my own, I didn’t care what was happening elsewhere.

8. I shut off my notifications…. and I survived! My phone does work without it constantly beeping, chirping, buzzing and lighting up! My battery level lasts a lot longer as well!

9.So much of what I do, we do as a society, is based on social media. My job is on social media, as are my customers, team, friends and more. I can’t give that away totally but I can control when I am on it, setting some limitations, and knowing when I’ve had enough. I do think there has to be a healthy balance. Shutting off during our busy evening routine, shutting off for meals, putting it away during conversations, leaving groups that you don’t participate in, unfriending/following people who you don’t actually converse with or that may be draining to follow are all things that can help!

10. Finally, my babies are growing up. They are becoming their own unique individuals with their own needs. One thing remains.. they need their mom at face value. They deserve my full attention, not partial. They deserve those moments with me. They deserve those deep conversations as they get older.  They only get one childhood.

In closing, I’ll share a collage of how our “Offline” Weekend went. I encourage you to look at how you spend your time online and with your children. An offline weekend will be happening more often in our home. Maybe it is something you need to incorporate as well. Your mind, soul, body, and family will thank you!

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Time Management Series: Routines!

Time Management Series: Routines!

Routines are so important! We teach our kids routine right away. We change them… feed them.. burp.. feed them… burp. As they grow we instill morning routines and bedtime routines. As moms, we need those sort of routines too! Today we will talk about different types of routines/systems that may work for you. With everything, it is trial and error!

First step in deciding routines is brainstorming which systems you need first. Examples can include: bettering your morning routine, night routine or cleaning. Then decide if you want this to be a daily, weekly, or monthly system. Let’s break down some examples.

Beginning of Week/Sunday Night Prep:

Sunday nights at my house, are what set me up for the week. I go through my planner, make sure everything is up to date then share with the family. This way everyone is on the same page about what will be happening. Since I’m a wahm, I also let them know if I’ll be needing some extra work time. Occasionally, I’ll have the husband have a supper night with the kids. I’ll cook and have it all ready, but when he gets home it’s my time to head down and get some quick work time in without kids. The kids just think this is a fun night with dad! I also go through and meal plan, set laundry days, other task days and chores. We will get into that in a minute. Here’s some other ideas of ways to get your week set on Sunday nights:

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  1. Meal Planning for the week
  2. Set a grocery day followed by setting a grocery list where you’ll see it
  3. Check weather and get an idea of what kids will wear through out the week, or if you need to look for umbrellas!
  4. Check if any library books need to go back, or papers signed back to teacher
  5. Have a quick meeting with significant other to see what they have going on
  6. Have a quick meeting with kids to see what they have going on. Tests, etc.
  7. Monday’s can be the worst. (Believe me! haha) Make a make ahead meal for breakfast such as muffins, burritos, pancakes.
  8. Set breakfast ware out on table for                                                                                           morning in case things are running behind
  9. Set little’s clothes out, as well as your own!
  10. Set a post it note on the bathroom mirror to encourage you!

 

Nightly Routine

This is probably the biggest routine that I grumbled about, yet it was the routines that once I got in the habit.. I learned real quick how crucial they were! I’ll be honest, I’m not a morning person. Actually, I’m not really a night person either. I will tell you that I can rock 1pm like no one’s business! My husband always tells me that I should get up early to get things done before the kids wake. For some people that may work great. For me, it’s torture. I decided that since I’m being whiny about mornings, I will start preparing the next day at night. Here’s some things that I do in the evening versus morning to give you some ideas:

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  1. Shiny sink system (will go over more in a minute)
  2. Journal. Unleash all those thoughts at night then you can sleep better!
  3. Brain Dump. Physically write down things that you say “I’ll remember this tomorrow”. Chances are, we won’t remember!
  4. Clean off the counters
  5. Pick up
  6. Set out breakfast supplies
  7. Make sure there’s milk!!!!
  8. Walk after supper
  9. Decide kid chores for next day
  10. Shut off your phone!!! Enjoy a few minutes in the quiet, fully relax yourself!
  11. Set out your clothes! As a sahm, this encourages me to actually get dressed each day!

 

Morning Routine:

Mornings can be pure chaos! Mornings help set the pace of the day so it’s important to find your routine quickly. Think of how your mornings are now, then how you’d like them to be. Next, what needs to happen to get things how you’d like them? Maybe you are a morning person, so you can take some of the things off the nightly list and get them done first thing in the morning. Here’s some other ideas:

Morning Routine

  1. Kids.If your kids are chaotic in the morning, look at their routine. Do they know exactly what they need to do every morning? My girls routine looks like this: wake up 6:45, breakfast, dressed, teeth, check bag, feed pets, get on the bus. Setting them up the night before with setting out clothes and make sure back is packed and ready can eliminate a lot of fuss.
  2. Take a few minutes before the kids get up to have some quiet time. A 15 minute quiet session, yoga, meditation, or devotional can really uplift your mood!
  3. Eat a great breakfast! Get a water bottle ready                                                                                too!
  4. Make your bed! It’ll look so nice having that done first thing in the am!
  5. Print a graphic or chart for the littles. Laminate and have them use a dry erase board to cross things off as they complete. This will help them learn their routine as well!

Cleaning Routine

Getting in a routine for cleaning has helped tremendously as well. This is always a huge question among moms! You can sit on Pinterest and look all day at examples. I use the power hour system that we talked about on my last blog post. Be sure to check back there. I do a weekly blessing each Monday which gets out the windexing, vacuuming, quick bathroom clean, etc. I also use Fly Lady zones. You can search her up for more information. Basically, I have one zone a week, for instance the living room. I have all week to get the living room totally clean such as dusting, vacuum under furniture, wiping down fixtures, etc. The next week I have a new zone. It works great for me. Before I was constantly trying to clean the entire house top to bottom. It was too overwhelming!

Videos

Here are some videos I’ve made that may help you decide what will work best for you as well!

Weekly Home Blessing Click Here

 

 

Planners.. what YOU need to know!

Planners.. what YOU need to know!

Planners are so important! To me, it’s my daily item that keeps this mama sane! Everything is in there, my kids know not to touch it, my husband knows not to move it. It shines in all it’s glory on my kitchen counter! Planners are so hot right now! There’s so many ways to use them, decorate them, layouts, stickers, washi tape, buy on Etsy, make your own.. it can be overwhelming! So we will take this in strides!

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What kind of planner style do you have/want? 

  1.  Do you want just monthly calendars? Would weekly lay out benefit you? Would you like them to start on Sunday or Monday? These are questions to think about before heading further in.
  2. If you’re new, a planner from Walmart or Dollar Tree will be just fine. This way you can start small and inexpensive. If you do well with planning, you can graduate on up to bigger planners. Many people dive right in with a $50 planner then don’t use it. Start small.
  3. If you have a lot going on such as work schedules, children, sports activities you might want to consider something where the monthly lay out is big enough to write multiple things in each box.
  4. If you’re a wahm or blogger, you may want to use something that has weekly layouts or something where you can customize the options to add in printables that will benefit your business.

Next is decide how you’ll use it. This is best shown by video. I’ll link a few videos here, there are more ideas on my channel so feel free to browse! Click the link to take you to them!

  1. Monthly Planning! This video will show you my monthly planning. I typically use some pretty extreme planners, but this year I told myself I could do it with just a general planner.
  2. Happy Planner I caved! I got a nicer planner! In the past I’ve used disc bound planners and I really love the versatility.
  • Regular planner Pro’s: Easy to carry, cheaper, not fancy, not out a lot of money if it doesn’t work. Con’s: Not able to customize it
  • Disc Bound Planner: Pro- totally something you can customize. Able to add in things such as work planner, notes, cleaning schedule, meal planning. Con: cost does add up. You will need an extra punch for this.
  • There are other options as well. Some use planners from Etsy, some make their own with printables. It really boils down to what YOU will use! I will be going more in depth with my planner, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel above to see future videos!

 

At the end of the day, you need to find something that will work for you! Using a planner will cut out the “what is going on” question! You’ll be able to see visually what is lined up for the week. Knowing that makes it a lot easier to balance your time!

If you use a planner, comment below with what you use! I’d love to see!

 

 

 

Beginners Guide: Time Management (Mom Version)

Beginners Guide: Time Management (Mom Version)

Finding a balance as a mom is excruciating. I said it. I have yet to meet a mom that says she has everything completely balanced and life is perfect. I don’t think that’s possible. Every day is different, every month is different, each season, each stage of children… all different! You get things in line, another baby comes along and changes things.

So if you’re feeling like you can’t grasp things guess what… IT’S OKAY! Phew, right?!

This week I am going to go over the biggest question I get. Time management. I have so many moms that ask me how I get everything done each day. Well here’s a hidden secret.. sometimes I don’t! There are days that even I call my husband and tell him that Mom needs a time-out! So if you’re in a place where you just feel like you can’t get a grasp on things, you’re going to want to keep reading!

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So here’s how this week is going to work. I will be covering the following:

  1. Planner. What you REALLY need to know.
  2. Power Hour! I swear by this!
  3. Systems! SO important… routine, routine, routine!

 

Now there is something that I want to get out of the way…. read this TWICE!

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Now take a deep breath and take a mental note of that. One of the BIGGEST problems we have as a mom is comparison! We can really beat up ourselves over this. No one has the same amount of kids, at the same age, with the same hurdles day in and day out. Everyone has their struggles. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for your family, but you will find it! Put your blinders on, grab a pen and paper, get a good night’s sleep, and let’s get our lives back on track!

If you’d like some weekly encouragement, accountability, and even more ideas I’d love to have you join my Facebook Community, Organized Chaos! Click here to join!