Sadly this weekend marks the official end of summer, and kids everywhere are going back to school. My friend Kelly from Cloudy Day Gray shared a glimpse at her family’s first day of school activities, and I was delighted to see the way she used our Back to School with Neon printables to create a fab back to school party.
I love how she lined her wall with our “First Day of School” photo signs to create a fun back to school photos backdrop — look at her cute kiddos!
Work-life balance is the buzz phrase when it comes to organizing tips. With my design and blogging work, I guess I still technically have “work” to balance, with life, but as we all know, even a mom who has no other job title, has PLENTY of work to do.
Sadly though, the reality is that work-life balance is impossible. What you should be seeking, and what you’re really craving, is how to organize your life. If you can organize and get things done, you will finally feel like you have everything under control!
Mindfulness is another word that you might be hearing a lot about lately. It’s origins come from Buddhism, and it involves focusing all your attention on the task at hand. If you’re making eggs, just make eggs. If you’re playing with your kiddos, just play with your kiddos. This focusing of the mind makes you more effective at any given task, but also it makes life more pleasant. In other words, you will be happier.
For as long as I can remember (which I’ll admit isn’t as long as it used to be) my life has a been an organization disaster. I’m not going to sugar coat it guys — I am a mess! Procrastination is my only form of time management, which is a recipe for so much stress it could literally kill me.
The way our bodies are designed, when we feel stressed, the “fight or flight” response kicks in. Our brain is programmed to react by sending blood to the arms and legs — the parts of the body that are needed to help you run away, and less blood is going to the “irrelevant” body parts, such as the lobes of your brain responsible for rational and long-term thought. Yet I bet you find those body parts far more relevant to your daily life — too bad they’re starving from stress!
The fact is the stress response is only meant to work in the short term, but in the modern world we don’t often have life threatening situations that require us to fight or flight. Instead stress comes in a toxic trickle and our stress response never seems to turn off. Prolonged stress is responsible for increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, suppressed immune system, and can even cause heart disease and strokes. YIKES!
I was recently introduced to David Allen’s organization book called Getting Things Done. The GTD philosophy centers on the idea that your mind is for having ideas NOT holding them. He advocates having a process in place to reliably capture ideas as they come to your mind, so your brain can let them go and move onto something else.
The scatter-brained feeling that we fight, is the rational thought processes being interrupted by ideas and reminders that you don’t want to forget. If we can get those things out of our mind and into some other retrieval storage, we can enjoy a mind that is free from clutter. Doesn’t that sound nice?!
Allen’s idea has been honed to help working professionals organize and get things done, but I’ve modified it for a mom’s life. With the beginning of the new school year, I’m resolving to organize and declutter my life! Who’s with me?
I’m using the Avery Ultralast Binder, which is pretty much the coolest binder ever. The rings have one-tab opening; the pockets are this durable plastic (not the clear kind that will stick to the toner on your pages); and the cover has a frame where you can insert the cover page for a totally polished look! Seriously this baby is the Cadillac of binders! It comes in a few colors, but I am using blue because matches my kitchen… I know, I’m a nerd.
STEP 1: Capture
We’re going to capture all those random thoughts. To begin, sit down with an empty sheet of paper and begin listing out any to-do, reminder or idea that comes to mind. Doesn’t matter what it is, just get it down. In our digital age, we often forget about the power of paper. I love my smart phone dearly, and would never voluntarily live without it, but for this exercise use paper. When you write something down, it frees up space in your brain so it doesn’t have to remind you again.
The end of the school year seems like a perfect time to throw a party! Here in Arizona, an end of school party almost surely involves swimming. Today I have some decor ideas and more fun activities to keep your crew entertained, even if you don’t have a swimming pool.
Teacher Appreciation week is coming up the first week of May, and today I’m over at Skip To My Lou sharing a super-easy gift idea for teachers. Plus I’ve got a bunch more teacher appreciation ideas right here.
First let’s talk about the easy route. I grabbed these iTunes Gift Cards at the grocery store — talk about not even going out of your way. Plus this is bound to be one of teacher’s favorite gifts, and with the free printable packaging idea I’m sharing over at Skip To My Lou, you’re teacher appreciation gifts are as good as done!
I’m not sure who ever coined the term, lazy summer days, because our summer has been anything but. Actually it’s been a bit of a whirlwind and somehow it’s already nearly over. I know here in Arizona we head back to school earlier than most places, but still, with school supplies lining the aisles, here is our round up of some colorful back to school ideas from the archives.
Click the photos to read the details and download our free printables. Also be sure to pin your favorites for later!
Today we have a bunch of easy gift ideas to help you get ready for Teacher Appreciation week next month. We hear teachers spend a lot of time grading papers; so this handmade star stamp is a sweet gift your little one’s teacher can put to good use.
You may be able to find precut blocks of wood at the craft store. We cut our wood from an inexpensive 1×2 board. You may not know this, but 1x2s actually measure 3/4 x 1-1/2 inches… you know, just to be confusing. Using a simple miter box and saw cut these boards down to 1-1/2 inch pieces. The block’s finished dimensions should be 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 3/4 inches. Let the kids sand the block so it’s nice and smooth.
We are all sad that summer is over already. I have been trying to cheer things up with a bunch of fun back to school prep. We’ve decorated our mantle (using this and this), we have been clothes shopping, and of course stocking up on school supplies. I think I’ve mentioned before that buying school supplies is my favorite parts of back to school season. In fact, I have been known to buy a bucket-full of paper, pencils, crayons, rulers, glue and more and keep them in a cheerful bucket on my kitchen counter. I swear it cheers me up as much as a floral arrangement, but I know I’m kind of weird.
I love the project we created for this month’s issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine. It is a super-easy ruler star, and it would look so fabulous on our mantle. I can’t find then one we made for this photoshoot so I’m off to the store today to buy more rulers so I can make one with the kiddos this afternoon — because you know I’m happy for any excuse to buy more school supplies!