Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

balancing the old and new me

Something amazing happens when you have your first baby.  You are changed.  There are so many changes, and they come all at once.  Many of them are hard changes.  At least they were for me!

The hardest change for me was time.  There are still 168 hours in the week, but the way I used those hours changed dramatically.  Gone were lazy Saturday mornings of watching the news and drinking coffee with my husband.  I’m not saying the change was a bad thing, it absolutely was not.  But, figuring out how to use my time, not waste any second of it; that was more of a challenge.

I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday while I was watching a youtube video on file organization – yes, I was really watching a video on how to organize my filing cabinet!  As the lady was going through what she does, I thought to myself, “huh, that is exactly what I used to do before I had children.  Why am I not doing that now?”

My word for this year is Intentional and I have been working really hard at using that word for every aspect of my life.  My time with the kids, the amount of planning I do for homeschooling, organizing my life, finding time for activities that feed my soul, my marriage, the food we eat; everything. 

I started the beginning of the year wanting to get back to the basics.  What I knew about myself before having kids, and how I can fit that in with my life and how I am now.  It all seems to come back to time. 

If it is important to me, I need to make the time.

Of course, if I was telling myself these things four years ago, I would have laughed.  Making time seemed absolutely impossible!  I was walking around like a zombie, not sleeping, having to stay on top of raising a two year old and a new little baby.  Making meals and snacks, cleaning and organizing the house – ha!  It was challenging, to say the least. 

Even now, with two older (6&4) and one baby it is hard.  But, I have finally realized that I can’t be the best version of myself if I am not making that time.  It means saying no, it means waking up early or staying up late – but definitely not both, it means letting my kids do messy crafts so I can make dinner, it means going through and de-cluttering the house so there is less to take care of.

I’m finding the new version of me to be confident and happy and that is a good thing.  I have spent too many years being on the pessimistic side of life.  Realizing how amazing my life actually is, and seeing all the blessings that God has bestowed on my family is humbling.

I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my children, and I am thankful that I get to be with them every day.  However, I also need me time.  It isn’t me being selfish – although I definitely felt that way for a while.

One thing that I started doing that has helped spark my creativity lately is to get more into planning again.  I have always kept a planner.  A paper planner.  I have tried multiple times to get into using an online system.  Google calendar – I’ve tried it, I can’t seem to get it to work well for me.  I do like having it available on my phone, computer etc.  But, I don’t update it the way I do with a paper planner.

Last yearI finally bought an Erin Condren Life Planner.  I absolutely love it!  And it has allowed me some easy creative time when I am planning on my week.  I never realized there was such a community of planners online, but I guess you can find just about everything online.  You can get $10 off your order by clicking here.

My older two, especially Emma, have jumped on this planner bandwagon as well.  They are now about all things washi tape and stickers.  I have to say that it has given us all a creative outlet during the day.  It is nice to have something, even as small as planning, become a fun activity to do with my kids.

If you are trying to get back that creative spirit, there is an amazing bundle sale right now for all things DIY, whether it is home d├ęcor, writing, sewing, or knitting.  There is something for everyone!  Definitely check it out, but it only goes until tomorrow at 9am, so don’t miss it!

What are some of your favorite hobbies?  Do you have any tips to share on how to keep the creativity flowing when your schedule and life seem to be non-stop?

There may be affiliate links in this post.  If you click on a link and purchase something, it will support this little blog and not cost you anything extra!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Finding Time for Creativity

There aren’t enough hours in the day, right? With work, helping the kids with their homework, preparing meals, cleaning up after everyone and putting yet another load of laundry on, there’s very little time for sleep – let alone DIY and crafting!

But do you look at that bare wall in the den and that tatty tablecloth on the kitchen table, and just wish you had a few hours to do something about them? Or do you browse through those wonderful crafting successes on Pinterest and think to yourself that “one day” you’ll have a few more minutes to yourself so that you too can create something incredible?

You’re not alone – there’s a huge community of people out there who are feeling just as frustrated as you are!

Thankfully though, there’s an exciting new product to help you quickly and easily get into (or back into) the creative projects you’ve been desperate to start. It’s called The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and it’s a collection of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry.

For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 69 eBooks and eCourses.

And let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information.
Topics in the bundle include:
  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Paint colors and interior design
  • …and a whole lot more (69 eBooks and eCourses in total) – to help you be inspired or get started with your next DIY or crafting project!
There’s no need to worry about information overload though: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!

Hurry though! The Ultimate DIY Bundle will only be on sale for 2 days – from 9am EST on Monday, March 31 until 9am EST on Wednesday, April 1.

You can buy with complete confidence because you’re covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.

Not only that, but The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with 4 awesome bonuses, worth over $150. That’s 4x the price of the bundle alone! These include:

A free $15 Store Credit PLUS 8×10 Art Print from Hope Ink ($43 Value), a free online class from Craftsy (up to $71.95 Value), a free sewing pattern PLUS a Premium Video Class from UpCraft Club ($19.99 Value), and free, full digital copies of Where Women Create Magazine and Greencraft Magazine ($20 value) from Stampington and Co.

So, don’t miss your chance to grab The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and get 69 incredible eBooks and eCourses for just $34.95. All you need to do is take action by 9am EST on Wednesday, April 1!

This amazing deal ends in just…

Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Quotes

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
~Doug Larson

Thursday, March 26, 2015

31 Bags in 31 Days Update

Have you been wondering how my 31 Bags in 31 Days project is going?  I haven’t abandoned it, in fact, I am going strong!

I realized that my family had an awful lot of clothes to get rid of.  It was kind of crazy to see all that we had, and to realize that we only liked half of it and only wore half of that – at least that is what it seemed like!  After going through the kids clothes, my clothes, and even Matt jumping on board to pare down some of his old clothes, I think I met half of my 31 bags goal.  OK, perhaps not that many, but it was significant.

After going through the clothes and the toys, I wasn’t quite sure where to go next.  I had already filled 20 bags.  A lot of that was going to different homes, but there was a significant amount of stuff I trashed as well.

It was, and still is, time to get to the more difficult stuff.  

The first stop I made was my yarn stash.

I love all things fiber.  Actually, all things crafty, but we will get to that in a bit.  I have had a lot of yarn for a long time.  I love it all.  But, I realized there were several skeins that I was never going to use.  Some were skeins I thought I would love, but then couldn’t get into knitting with them, and others were pretty but not practical for what I actually will knit.  So, it was time to start getting rid of some of it.  And I did.  One bag of yarn out the door.

I got through the yarn and then looked over at boxes of fabric and a huge scrapbook organizer.  I knew it was time to start weeding out what I don’t use. 

I started scrap-booking about 15 years ago.  And unfortunately, it has essentially stopped at this point.  I don’t have the time, or I don’t make the time, to work on scrap-booking.  When I was able to leave all of my supplies and scrapbook pages out in a craft room, I was more apt to work on it.  That room has now been taken over by my children!

I am sad to say I haven’t gone through my scrapbook supplies in a couple of years.  Instead, they just sat in a travel organization system in my room.  Once I finally made the time to go through it, I realized there were a lot of stickers that were no longer usable as well as a bunch of other stuff that I wouldn’t use in the future.  Out went a bag full of scrapbook supplies.

Once I went through my scrapbook supplies, I thought the next logical place to go would be my pictures.  This is what I have been working on for the past few days, and it is a lot more difficult than I imagined.

I literally have pictures from when I got my first camera, way back in 1990 – at least that is the date on the back of the pictures. 

Obviously this has slowed down my 31 bags project a little bit.  I’m not planning on throwing away all of my pictures, however, I am weeding out the pictures.  I have always been someone who hangs onto everything that might have a memory attached to it.  But, I am finally in the frame of mind where I can get rid of a lot that isn’t meaningful to me anymore. 

It is going to be a long process to get all of those pictures organized, into albums, and on the shelf; one that needs to be done.

I think that I am pretty close to hitting my 31 bags goal, but I have a feeling that this project is going to continue into April…I made the mistake of going into the attic to look for something.  That is my husband’s domain, and I can tell there is a lot that is just being stored at this point, not used.

How are you doing with your de-cluttering?  Have you found areas that you don’t usually look at when de-cluttering, but have finally decided to take on the challenge?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

knitting and reading

I was confident that I would have a FO to show off today!  I got Lucy into bed, I came downstairs ready to watch 19 Kids and Counting and finish up this little shrug for Emma.  Unfortunately, I ended up staying downstairs for about 15 minutes before one of my older kids started having a meltdown - we are all sick again.  So, instead I went back upstairs to be a mama.  

But, I only have to finish the border and then sew up the arms, so I think I should have it finished this afternoon!

My reading is essentially the same as last week.  I am still reading the John C. Maxwell Leadership book.  It is really good.  I am on chapter nine right now, and have spent a good bit of time underlining the previous eight chapters.  I hope to have a full review up sometime soon.

With the kids, I just started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  I absolutely love Harry Potter.  I jumped on the bandwagon the summer before number five was released, and have read all the books numerous times.  I actually read the series aloud to Emma when she was a baby - I got tired of reading fairy tales and board books, so I started reading what I wanted to read to her.  But, now I am reading the first book for my oldest two and they actually understand it.  They seem very interested, so we will see how far we get.  The books definitely get dark as they move along, so I don't expect to read the entire series to them.  

What are you knitting and reading this week?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Summer Travel and Staycations

It seems like winter really is on its way out.  And for that I am thankful!  I know that I am looking forward to opening up the windows and turning the heat off!  Feeling that warm sun on my face is what I am most looking forward to in the next several weeks. 

When it starts to warm up, I start to think about summer, and the endless possibilities of staycations.  We live in New England, and I often say that I would rather stay in New England during the summer months – it is literally the most wonderful weather ever, and makes up for the extremely long winters.

Whether you plan to go away on vacation this summer, or stay close to home, there are many apps available to help with your planning and for when you actually get to your destination.

I love the fact that there are so many travel apps available.  I can easily go on my phone to Expedia, Orbitz, or Kayak to look at the best deals for the all-inclusive travel experience.  Honestly I like to go on and randomly check how much it costs to fly to Orlando just to dream about my next Disney vacation! 

If you are getting on a plane, the iPad Air 2 has over over 10 hours of battery life and 128 gigs of memory, which means there is plenty of room for movies and music – and books – to get you to your destination.  Also, the urBeats In-Ear headphones are wonderful for noise-cancelling on those long flights. 

Once you get to your destination you can use the awesome app Around Me to show nearby restaurants, banks, and other amenities.  Also, I love using Google Maps to figure out where I want to go.  My husband and I love to just get the kids in the car and go for a long drive on the weekends and having the US Cellular 4G LTE network available makes figuring out where the heck we are a lot easier!

It is also nice to be able to document your whole trip – whether on Instagram or just in pictures kept on your phone.  Easily upload them to snapfish to make albums and keep your pictures in folders to show to friends later on.

And if your kids are becoming more independent and doing some travel on their own - make sure to get the Parent/Child cell agreement so that everyone is on the same page with cell usage.

I know I can’t be the only one excited for warmer weather.  Are you planning any fun getaways this spring and summer?  Or do you prefer to stay in your area (like we do) during the beautiful summer months?

This is a sponsored post by US Cellular.  I am a member of the US Cellular Blogger Brigade and was compensated for this post.  All opinions and information are my own.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Quotes

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility.  It's easy to say, 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.'  Then there are those who see the need and respond.  I consider those people my heroes.
~Fred Rogers