Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How do you MOMage? *Stephanie*

Meet my friend Stephanie:



Long story short...we went to the same small town highschool together many years ago and share lots of common friends, but our paths crossed a few years ago through a mommy meet up group. She is hands down one of the most creative Super Mom's that I know. 

On top of being a working mom and wifey she does.it.all.

She plans crazy awesome birthday parties for her daughter:



She makes Ace of Cakes style awesome cakes



She takes Mama-razzi to a whole new level arranging super cute mini photo shoots for her little Diva Bella




She's does the DIY thing and made a bedroom and playroom any 5 year old girl would dream to have



And last but certainly not least...She's a Crazy Texas Cheer Mom just like me! She is even crazy enough to coach a rec team much like I did!



More about Stephanie:




Age: I am 26
Profession:  I am an executive administrative assistant for an oil and gas company. I actually work with my mother-in-law and knew her before I met my husband!
Who is in your family:  My husband, Mike, and I have been married almost 6 years and together we have one beautiful little girl, Bella (5 years old). We also have 2 dogs, Jack (our chihuahua/terrier stray) and Zoe (our chihuahu/beagle), and 2 cats, Simon and Toby. And we just got a saltwater tank that we have some pretty neat fish and things in! Oh, and Bella has her own Beta fish! :0)
What is your decorating style?: I would say my decorating style is pretty traditional. 
Who does the cooking at your house?  I, unfortunately, do all the cooking in my house! I wish I could say I enjoy cooking half as much as I do the rest of my other hobbies! But I can still put together a pretty delicious meal! :0)
Can you share a family favorite meal with us?  Probably one of our favorite meals is my cajun chicken creole served over a bed of sticky rice.
How do you take care of YOU? I spend my 'me' time at the gym! You can find me there every day during my lunch break and on sundays. It's about the only "me" time I get! I also enjoy going to zumba twice a week! It's a lot of fun and a great way to dance and shake all the stress out ;0)
Whats your #1 MOMaging tip?  My only MOMaging tip (because organization is not my best quality) is that with our over the top busy schedules and my husband's odd work hours we like to come together at the end of the day for some family time. Whether it's making a family movie night, playing a board game, or taking the dogs on a walk... it's a great way for us to unwind and come together! And I find the closer we are as a family, the smoother our life runs!

Don't you just LOVE her? :) I always get so excited to see what fun things she has working on! Hopefully I can get her back on here soon to give me some cake making and photography tips!

Thanks Stephanie!









***DO YOU THINK YOUR A MOMAGER? SEND ME AN EMAIL WITH A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF HOW YOU MOMAGE AND SOME PICTURES OF PROJECTS YOU HAVE DONE AND YOU COULD BE FEATURED IN OUR NEXT 'HOW DO YOU MOMAGE'***

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Problem With **Store Bought** Planners Just say no to "Pink it & Shrink it"

I absolutely loved reading all your responses to my question "what do you HATE about store bought planners" It seemed we all had so many of the same issues which leads me to wonder...WHY ON EARTH HASN'T THIS ISSUE BEEN ADDRESSED! Alright then...if no one else is going to handle this...I will. I am going to take some time over the next few weeks to really get down to the root of the problem with common store bought paper planners and help you understand how a MOMager system could be helpful to you as well as hopefully helping you understand what your specific time management and agenda organizational needs are. Quit beating yourself up with the thoughts of "Why can't I just make this work!?" Sometimes you just have to realize that your not a round peg and your just not going to fit in that hole................but that's ok, some of the best people I know are as square as can be :)


A couple years ago I was doing some research on Mom planners and I came across an article that talked about the "Pink it and Shrink it" design form that most large scale calendar and agenda companies used when making planners...they just figured "lets take our standard issue "man planner" color it pink with pretty flowers and make it cute and small....that outta satisfy female buyers!" And unfortunately...it kinda did... we took the bait. We were so excited to go in to the office supply stores and find pretty planners "JUST FOR US" lined up right next to the cold utilitarian man-planners. "LOOK!! the cover is PINK" we said! "Look at these inspirational quotes from influential women in history!" we proclaimed! "and LOOK there is a side bar for a "grocery list!" "and it even fits in my purse!!" we just couldn't contain ourselves. so we plunked down $35 on this new planner...got it home full of buyers joy and thoughts of "this is going to CHANGE.MY.LIFE....I'm FINALLY going to get it together!" then when we sat down and started to fill it in...and that's when our dreams of organizational calendar bliss went down the tube.



THE BOXES AND LINES ARE TOO SMALL

 Shrink it? Really?? why! on average, women have larger "bubbly" hand writing so the small lines and boxes can never fit all our appointments...what should be one appointment taking up one line with "place & time" now takes up two, or your handwriting spills between the two and it all looks messy......their solution? Take away the lines! stopppppppp! why on earth would that be helpful? now our handwriting is slanty since it has no clear guide...and still the box is no bigger!


THE MOMager SOLUTION

 The boxes in my monthly calendar that I keep inside my seasonal planner have 6 lines that are spaced to accommodate a 24pt font which is more than large enough for a bubbly hand writing.


The calendar also spreads across 2 full pages so the boxes are large enough to get all your info for one appointment in on one line: "Dentist 4:00" all right there!



A MOMager Tip:

 When thinking of Monthly Calendars think of it as the place holder. You are simply booking the time there so you don't double book, when given an item that needs to be scheduled it should always go in your monthly calendar first in a very simple form: Item, Time, Person. 


If there are more details needed, make note of these in your ramblings book. Then when you are stocking your folder for the week, grab your monthly calendar, and put any of this weeks happenings on your week at a glance page...this is now the space to add detail. 


So in Thursday's square we now write "Dentist 4:00 - cleaning w Cheryl in Rockwall" now I know exactly what is going on. 


BONUS TIP!

 I MOMage 4 people in my household; as well as my home, small business and volunteer positions. This means that I have a lot of stuff to keep track of...and the absolute best way for me is COLOR!


 I will go in to more detail at a later date about my really intricate highlighting system but basically I have a color for each individual in my family as well as the other items I handle. So instead of having to write out "Jason Dentist 4:00" which might be a bit squishy in that space...I simply highlight "Dentist 4:00" in light blue and I know that he is going to the dentist. VERY easy. 

  
Have you checked out The MOMager Shop? If you are wanting your very own MOMager system you can now order a completely custom planner system in either Digital OR Printed form! Go Check it out!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

W.O.W. The MOMager #3

Goooooood Monday Morning! I hope you all had a WONDERFUL weekend! I spent most of mine packing BOO! but I did manage to get out on Saturday and do a little shopping while the little was napping and the big one was at a birthday party. 

I was supposed to go to lowes for boxes.....I came back with this: 


A $5 garage sale table that is going to be PERFECT as a nightstand for Skylar's new room since she is finally moving to a big girl bed...I also picked up some primer and paint to refinish the table as well as another project I had the bf working on while I was out...................Oh ya...and a little black dress to wear for girls night out ;) (and yes I got boxes...but I am so sick of looking at boxes right now that I'm not even going to think about putting a picture of one up here lol)

Since the weather was so nice, we spent Saturday evening outside working on some projects.... 


(I promise he owns more than one shirt...he just happens to be wearing this one every time I point a camera in his direction)

While we were busy working on projects the girls rode their bikes and scooters ..... then the next thing I know....THIS happened: 


Naked baby in slippers? yup....thats my kind of crazy ;)

of course we made her put her dress back on...she was less than thrilled about this...


But at least we let her keep the slippers on.


my big one spent most of her evening tumbling around the yard and contorting her body in to strange cheer positions that make my muscles ache just looking at.

It was a wonderful last weekend in our sweet little rental. <3


But...we must MOVE forward (heh...terrible pun) I've got this weeks folder stocked and ready to go! 



"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths" ~ Walt Disney

I am so excited to embark on this new journey...but I'm going to just come out and say it...this week is going to be a brutal gauntlet of punishment. If I can make it through, sanity in tact, I will be a happy girl in the end.

Its weeks like this, that I honestly can't imagine life before my file folder system....With all the running around I have to do this week, I am SO glad I will have everything so easily accessible in such a small handy folder. When I see that I am coming up on a potentially stressful week, I tend to overplan just so I can attempt to wrap my head around things...this means copius amounts of list making, time lines and delegation (honey do) lists. Once I  have it all planned out on paper, the actual tasks seem a little less daunting.

Did you hear I announced a Winner for the MOMager giveaway? Did you also see the super exciting BIG announcement. I'm so excited about all of it!


Later this week I am going to let you in on some Moving Day Tips 



My Awesome friend Stephanie is also going to stop by and be the first in my "HOW DO YOU MOMAGE" series...she is cake baking, photo taking, room decorating, cheer coaching, crazy awesome working momma that I just adore! Isn't that cake amazing?! she totally made it!


Its Moving week kids! Its a big week! its also the week of  my first big home project...we are refinishing our  ugly kitchen cabinets this weekend....lets hope this goes as smoothly as I want it to! 

Lets ALL make this a GREAT week :)


We Have a WINNER!!!!

A BIG congratulations to my very first giveaway winner! Using Random.orgs random number generator entry #6 was selected as the winner! Congratulations to 


JULIE 

who wrote:

I am so enjoying this blog, I came from another blog member who is in our office. She's right, it's the most useful system and it looks so together!
My problem with store bought agendas was how thick they are. Then they'd get thicker and thicker and expensive! I tried using a mommy manager and it was useless! Who only needs five lines to plan meals for a week? 
I'm looking forward to all you can share to make it all easier for me!

an email has been sent so we can start setting up your complete MOMager system!!!

I am going to do something a little crazy...for every 100 followers that I get, I will giveaway a MOMager System!!!! So make sure you are following! Tell your friends and family members to follow...the sooner we get to 100 the sooner you can WIN!

Can't wait that long to get your hands on a MOMager System? let me clue you in on a little secret..............ok so its kinda a big secret .... ready?!


THAT'S RIGHT!!! I've opened up an etsy shop so you can finally get your hands on your VERY OWN MOMAGER!!!!! :)


I am getting it updated with product as quickly as I can but moving day is fast approaching and I am going to be totally honest with you...I might be a bit preoccupied this week so just be a little patient with me k? :)

GIVE ME FEEDBACK! 

Let me know about what product you want to see available in the store! 

And I would also like to personally extend a very VERY heartfelt thank you to each of you who have taken the time to read my blog, give me such praise on this system and take a chance on entering a giveaway on my little piece of blog heaven :) It is because of y'all that I absolutely love doing this. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

MOMager Giveaway!


Well...We got our closing date... unfortunately its not until next week. boo. :( So ever the over achieving optimist that I am...I'm going to find the silver lining and come up with Plan B...bigger and better than plan A..............but first I'm going to take a nap. ha. Just keepin it real folks!

I do have some REALLY cool things in the works right now that I am SOOO excited to announce to you guys...its B.I.G and I promise your gonna love it!

But for now...make sure you have entered the MOMager Giveaway you can enter by posting what you HATE about store bought planners Here! The Giveaway closes at 11:59pm CST Friday, May 18th so please make sure you have entered. The winner will be picked at random and announced On Monday, May 21st.

So Enter! And May the Odds be Ever In Your Favor! (I'm so sorry...I just couldn't help myself hehe)


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tips for an Organized Move


Well we have finally sorta kinda nailed down a closing date and moving day :) As long as there is no big flubs we will be able to close on Friday the 18th....worst case scenario, we close Monday the 21st. For my sanity and everyone else involved in this process, lets hope it works on the 18th because I can't even begin to think about what kind of nightmare a mid week move with no sitters, no moving helpers and a holiday weekend on the horizon. Ya..............lets just not even go there ;)

So right now I am really focusing on getting everything packed up and squared away. As I mentioned before I have moved 8 times in the last 10 years...so I have become quite the expert on the whole pack/move/unpack process. 

I figured I would share some of my stay sane tips and a free printable for you to organize your own move!

I will preface this with saying I am only moving 3 streets over (same neighborhood...same school...I don't even have to cross a main road to get to my new house tehe) so my moving tips might not ALL apply to someone who is packing up for a cross country move, but most of these can be tailored to fit any move of any size.



Make a timeline.

From the minute you get that "you've got the place" phone call the first thought that goes in to most peoples head is "omg I gotta pack!" now...don't rush in to packing mode if your move is 6-8 weeks out...that would just cause a lot of unneccesary chaos for your whole family. follow this super easy timeline and it will help you get from "you got it!" to "home sweet home" :)

6-8 weeks out: DECLUTTER!!! Round up the whole family and go through every room and closet throughout your whole house and ask yourself this question "Do I love this enough to move it?" Keep in mind when asking yourself this that if you say "yes" you are saying that its worth priceless box real estate (boxes arn't cheap!), worth the effort to carefully pack it, worth the effort to lug the box to the moving truck then worth the effort to move it to its new home, unpack it and put it up. All of that right there should reallllllly make you think about how much you love your stuff.
1 month out: have a moving sale! check you my tips for an organized garage sale  here!
3 weeks out: pack up your decorative items, books, and rarely used items such as holiday decor, extra linens and specialty dining items.
2 weeks out: get down to "staged" mode...get your house down to the bare minimum...the things that you use on a daily/weekly basis...it should almost look like a staged model home by now. This would also be a good time to start taking pictures and shelves off walls and patching/repainting walls.
1 week out: It's like a vacation! think about the things you would need on a 2 week long vacation...everything else should be packed...now is not the time for fancy meals and craft projects...pack it all up, eat off paper plates and spend this time getting the last of your goodies packed up!

Check back next week and i'm going to give you some tips on what to do on your first day in your new place and how to make your first week at home a time for organized unpacking and fun new memories!

Get all your info in order.


There are a LOT of loose ends to tie up when you move, its so much easier to have it all in one easy to find place. I have created a Moving Info Sheet to house all of my important information such as new utility information, address changes, a time line for the first few days in the house and a list of moving helpers and babysitters.


Get Packing.



this is the obvious part of moving...but rather than having a bunch of boxes labeled "MISC." take the time to organize your boxes at least by rooms that they are going in to at the new place. Even better if you can keep similar items in the same box. Once you have your boxes packed up CLEARLY label each box with the contents, room it should go in and any special notes to the movers such as "Fragile" or "Heavy." It also helps to have a running log for you as the MOMager to keep on you through out the process...that way, when you move in and you need to get to the box that has your linens and towels you know to go to box #17 rather than sifting through all 6 boxes that are sitting in front of your upstairs linen closet. To make this easy, I have created this simple printable...I keep it on a clipboard and make notes of each box as I tape it up.

Make a Supply Box.


A moving supply box is going to make everything easier on everyone...but especially easy on you. The box should be located in a central spot and should be stocked with:
-a tape gun
-extra packing tape
-scissors
-screw driver
-newspaper or packing paper/bubble wrap
-various sizes of ziplock bags for small items
-label maker
-dry wall filler supplies to patch holes from pictures
-sharpies and a pen
-Colored sticky notes to make note on large furniture items as to where the item goes (if you are moving a long distance, I suggest using blue painters tape for this and writing directly on the tape...this will keep the sticky from falling off mid move)
-a clip board with your packing list
-a work apron to keep it all together when you are on a big packing binge.

Make a Box Room.


This might not be possible for everyone but if you have an extra room or a rarely used room (formal living area? dining room?) make this the box room. this will keep your living spaces from looking like a box mine field. This is actually our living room that has been empty for about 2 months now..........see those gorgeous stripped walls? swoon...ya, I spent about 12 hours on those one sunday afternoon.....we signed on our new house the following Thursday lol. never fear, I have a plan to do something very similar to this in the new house :) 

And when it all seems way overwhelming and like the biggest most unmanageable task ever....walk away. clear your head. remind yourself of the beautiful space your about to inhabit...the clean slate...all of the possibilities...put your big girl panties on and get back to it. 

And because I <3 y'all so much...here are my moving printables just for you all for freeeeeee!!


This too shall pass :) 




Monday, May 14, 2012

W.O.W. the MOMager

Good MONDAY morning :) I hope all you MOMagers out there had a wonderful Mother's day weekend. :) Mine was full of birthday party shuttling, packing and moving prep but I did take time out on Sunday for a really yummy brunch with my mom and my girls.

We went to this great little restaurant downtown. after a super yummy breakfast of Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict with Italian potatoes, blueberry muffins and french toast (it was just as decadent and delicious as it sounds I promise hehe) we spent some time on the restaurants roof top lounge. 

My little one had so much fun watching all the cars pass below us, she kept talking about us being UP!!! :)
 


My big one was in full on tween-ager mode...she was far more content "hanging out" in the lounge area playing on my phone and looking cool ;) 


I did get her to give me a quick mothers day smile though :) 

And when it was all over with, I gave myself the best mothers day present I could think of...A bubble bath and a 9:00 bed time :) it was delightful!

And now its Monday! 


This is what my Monday morning looks like...my MOMager system and a red bull all ready to go!


I've got this weeks folder packed and planned for a SUPER busy week. This weeks quote is there as a reminder that this really is YOUR life...and though you should respect the opinions of others, don't allow them to rule your life. 

"The more you love your decisions the less you need others to love them."

I am SO excited to say that we have finally made it to MOVING WEEK :) unfortunately...we are still iffy on which day will be the actual closing/get the keys/pop the cork and celebrate day, but we are thinking sometime between Wed-Sat if all goes well. **FINGERS CROSSED** 

This week I am really focusing on packing and moving. Check back tomorrow for a post on how I am MOMaging my way through this move with my Moving Folder a piece of my "Priority Project" file system :)

And don't think that this DIY House blog has been completely taken over by my MOMager things...Wednesday we are going to look at my Inspiration board for the Kitchen Face lift.

And don't forget about the MOMager Series Giveaway going on Here.

HAPPY MONDAY!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A TOE-tally Awesome Gift!

A couple months through the year are big time Birthday Months...October, January and May are huge for us with lots of friends and family that have birthdays around the same time. When this happens, I try to plan ahead so I'm not at Target every Saturday of the month trying to figure out the "perfect" gift for these people only to settle with a so so gift shoved in to a store bought gift bag. 

Samantha has 4 of her very best BFFs birthdays this weekend and next, and with it being so close to summer time I came up with this TOE-tally awesome idea :)

Now I don't know about everyone elses girls, but my daughter and her friends are full fledged in to the whole "tween" thing...they are 7 going on 17 so simply going to the store and buying a Barbie isn't really an option anymore. They love American Girl dolls, but lets be honest here....that stuff is like "from Grandma for Christmas" kinda presents ;) However this little gift is sure to please, its cute, fun and trendy for the girl, easy to put together and inexpensive for the gift giver, and it offers a utility aspect for the birthday girls parent ... a cute new beach towel and flip flops plus they don't have to unpackage a million tiny plastic pieces! 


This is all you will need to get started:
-A beach towel
-A pair of flip flops
-A bottle of nail polish
-A small bottle of nail polish remover
-An emory board
-Some cotton balls
-A small drawstring bag (I get these in the wedding aisle at hobby lobby)
-Some cardstock tags
-Some tulle that matches your overall theme


First, make your "nail bags." using the drawstring bags, slip a handful of cotton balls in along with the emery board, nail polish and remover, tie the bag closed. These are so cute you could just stop here! Wouldn't this make a great party favor? or stocking stuffer? Love it :) 


Next open up your towel so its about three times the width of your flip flops (It really helps if you buy the towel prefolded...you only have to unfold it once in the middle and you still have the nice clean lines everywhere else) Simply set your flip flops and nail bag on top of the towel in the center with about 3 inches sticking out of the top. get about a yard of tulle or ribbon and center it under the towel.


fold the right side (the inside) over the shoes, then fold the left side over so it all kinda rolls up, tie a knot in it with your tulle. Everything should feel very secure in here...you should be able to stand it up and turn it upside down with out the flip flops or nail stuff falling out...if it feels loose, push your flip flops in further or tie the tulle tighter.


Make a cute gift tag...I just printed out some little tags using free fonts I downloaded and glued it on to some cardstock then punched a hole in the top corner.


thread your tag on to the tulle, tie a bow, cut any excess off the tails and there you go! 



Arn't they fun! We are all ready for a fun weekend of birthdays with besties now! 

**Don't forget to check out the GIVEAWAY I have going on over here! The contest will end NEXT FRIDAY MAY 18th @ MIDNIGHT**

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blah Blah Blah: My Ramblings Book **POST #4 IN THE MOMAGER SERIES**

Take a look at this:

See that chaotic scrawling? that is notes I was making at about 2am last night when I just couldn't stand laying in bed anymore with these ideas running through my head...I was so scared that if I fell asleep I would "lose" them. So I got up and went straight to my Notes section of my Ramblings book and jotted my free form thoughts down.


This book is really a great little tool in the "goes everywhere with me" portion of my MOMager System...it's what keeps all of the reference material that I will need at any given time. and it makes a great hard surface to write on when I am sitting through my 4th carpool line of the day ;)


The notebook I am using is from the new Martha Stewart Line at Staples...I LOVE the quote on the inside of the front pocket 

OBSESS OVER A GOOD IDEA
"Almost nothing beautiful or brilliant happens unless a person has thought about it a lot" - Eric Maisel, PH.D.

Oh, Martha...she just GETS me ;)

Notice I have divided a plain 100 page spiral notebook in to 4 25 page sections...SIMPLE. 

LISTS


I've been a list maker for as long as I can remember...seriously, I remember writing lists in kindergarten...my mom is a list maker...and my little mini me is turning in to one as well. I make lists of lists to make...I make lists of things to do or to see or to read or to research...etc. Point is, I make so many lists that I really need a specific section dedicated to list making alone. 

NOTES


Next is my Notes section...like I said above, this is for free form thought, or for literal notes in regards to a meeting/special project. Now if your brain thinks better freely like this, then I would suggest you take out the lists section and double up on notes....but for me, I need a list...the notes is just a helpful place to jot stuff down. 

EMAILS


I get a lot of emails. A LOT. and they range everywhere from chatty with my wonderful Nana to PTA information to really important Cheer Emails telling me where I need to be and when a mere 24 hours before I need to be there. Point being, these are important; and since email is my preferred mode of contact (seriously, dare you to try to get me on the phone...its almost impossible) I like to make sure I am getting all of the information I need and responding accordingly. As I check my emails through out the day (I try to only check them twice...while sitting at my computer...If i check them on my phone on the go, I tend to forget to tend to them) I will make note of the important information...make note of any response I make and then file the email in to a folder in my inbox. Yes I have a color code system for this as well...its just a sanity thing :)

CONTACTS



I am probably the worst person with keeping up with addresses....3 times a year (2 birthdays and christmas) I send out mass emails, texts and facebook messages "Need your address, gotta send out birthday invites!" So I finally forced myself to make a place that I will keep all of this stuff handy. Do you see my super awesome way of keeping track of these? Yup those are address labels. Peel & Stick. This way, I have the info in hardcopy with me in case I need to quickly send out a note or find an address...but best of all, these are already saved in my computer in address label form, so when invite and christmas card time comes around, all I need to do is print and I'm done! (sorry you have to look at a blank page...I <3 my friends and family enough to not blast their personal info all over the internet)

Now I know some of you are going to ask me..."what do you do when you run out of space" thats the beauty of this stuff...it allows you to change with the season! it lets you get that fresh start feel 3 times during the year. It will satisfy your clean slate needs all by keeping things simple and portable. The amount of space I have allowed myself should last me through the summer season. And when fall comes around, all I will have to do is find a pretty new notebook that fits my current style and eye candy needs...seperate the sections using sticky tabs and print out some new contact labels and I'm done! 

To those of you who think "wow that is a lot of work.....why not just keep everything in one place? why not just make it last all year?" Because that doesn't work for me. I've tried it, I don't like it so now I'm doing things MY way and I encourage you to do the same :)



**In search of your own custom MOMager System? leave a comment on this post telling me what you HATE about store bought planners and agendas...I'm looking for ONE lucky friend to be the recipient of their own complete File Box System! Complete with custom weekly folders, file box, Summer & Fall seasonal Planners and a Ramblings book...$100 worth of organizing goodies all for you!**