5 Tips to Plan the Best Summer Ever

6
May
2015

Summer-cal

Summer vacation can either bring feelings of anxiety and stress to mind or it can bring excitement and joy!  For many moms, it causes stress and an overwhelm that can almost knock you down.

I know, I was that mom.  Wondering what to do all summer long with my kids once the school bell rang.  As a work-at-home mom, it can be even more challenging to get the most out of summer, while not falling way behind with the business too.

I knew I was not the only mom to struggle in this area, so I created the Confident Mom Summer Survival Calendar – and I am excited to say this is the 5th year anniversary for this ready-made summer fun plan.

It is a practical resource to get your summer ideas all in one place.  

I wanted to share a few tips which can help you manage summer even better.  I discuss ten topics in detail in the Summer Survival Action Guide and Audio Workshop, but wanted to share a few here with you to get your summer jumpstarted for FUN!

Allow Time to Decompress

When we transition from the busy school year full of routine and structure to the lazy days of summer, it can be a bit challenging.  I suggest finding a bit of time to transition into a time of loose structure, so you can have some set time structure, but also have a fun time of just relaxing while you kick summer off.

In our family we love pajama days, so this has become a favorite way to transition and be completely at home and allow that decompression to organically occur.

Get A Plan

This is where I can help!  In the Action Guide, I carry you through ten steps to create a summer plan that works for you and your family.  You can begin by having a family meeting and discuss what activities you would like to do as a family, put your planned activities on the printable calendar, let your kids explore the Summer Fun worksheet to see what ideas they come up with and then set some goals too.

With the Summer Survival Calendar you will also have at least one fun activity to do as a family already planned.

Be Prepared

This is where often times I fail.  I can come up with some great ideas, but if I fail to plan, then everything will fall apart.  Precisely why I came up with the Summer Calendar full of over 120 activities all ready planned out for you – and – the best part – a weekly supply list already created to help you BE PREPARED!  It truly doesn’t get easier than this.

We are still in school here at our house, but this Friday I am going to make the fun Mason Jar Superhero Bank with my five year old.  He is going to love it.  Even though I am only doing that one activity this week, I can easily just look on the supply list for Friday and see what I need.  No weeding through a big long list to find the one project that you are going to do.

Have Fun Everyday

Whether you choose to follow along with the Summer Calendar ideas or not, find a way to engage and enjoy the summer carefree days together as a family.  Making crafts, hiking, swimming, camping, cooking – they are all excellent ways to share summer together.  Family memories are important in providing elements to help kids feel connected.

Relax

Yes, it’s great to have a plan, but as with anything, plans often come apart at the most inconvenient times.  Just remember – as you go through summer, expect things to happen that will derail your day.  Maybe it’s rain on the day you planned to go to the beach – go with the flow and find ways to adapt.  This will help everyone make the best day, even if it rains on your parade!

Here is a little peak at me sharing about The 2015 Confident Mom Summer Survival Calendar

{you’ll need to click through to the blog post if you are viewing in an email reader}

Love the Home You Have

2
Apr
2015

Love the Home You Have book by Melissa Michaels

Do you struggle with finding Joy in your home?  Looking around at the mess and being thankful or even inspired with the mishmash of furniture you’ve collected?

I can tell you for years after my husband and I got married I looked around at the “stuff” and it was overwhelming and I had no inspiration.  Being a blended family has many challenges, but combining two homes into one is a challenge many do not talk about. 

I was challenged.  So for over 7 years we just “made-do” and lived in a transition stage, which felt very much far from the home I dreamt of.  Recently I have made some changes and been inspired and I feel so much better about my home.  So when I began reading the first few pages of Melissa Michaels (The Inspired Room) new book, “Love the Home You Have,” I almost burst.  She was speaking to my heart, the one which was clogged up, uninspired and discouraged with the state of my home.

I know there are others moms who feel the same as I do, who are not combining two homes, but rather are feeling guilt from the Pinterest Perfect pictures we see of immaculate homes, kitchen counters with white marble counters void of clutter and beds made perfectly with matching pillows, sheets and dust ruffles.  It is discouraging and creates anxiety in me.  It can be too much.

This book is for you – and for me and the timing could not be better!

I have read Melissa’s blog for years and I love her style.  If you haven’t taken a peek at her blog before you are in for a delightful surprise.  Not only do I love her style, her love of Doodles and coffee, but she is a local Puget Sound gal too – kindred spirits!!

If you are not sure if this book might be for you  – take a minute to watch this short trailer for her book = HERE.    Wasn’t it great???

I have only began reading the first few chapters, but I am hooked.  I love that she asks engaging questions in the book to really get your heart involved – and space to fill them in – right there in the book.  Her writing style is completely real, authentic and motivational.  I feel like I have a new outlook.

I need to shed some things in my life so I can add the things that matter, remember my word for 2015 – MARGIN?  Yes, I am still working for that, and this quote from the book spoke to my heart on a deep level.

Pruning-the-Excess

I want to be more creative in my home, in my friendships and with my family.  I know it is often stifled because of my obligations and commitments – which can be all good, but lately it has become too much.

We have already picked our next book study, but I think this one – especially with it’s 31 day Challenge at the end of the book would make an excellent one in the future!

Grab a copy today and join me.  I am on a little vacation at the beach this week and I have my copy ready for some cozy reading.

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Tackling that Pile of Laundry with Success!

8
Jan
2015

Laundry-room-tips

It seems one of the biggest struggles we face as moms and one that usually can overtake us – is laundry!!   How can this seemingly small issue become an encompassing issue that exhausts us, takes up way too much room in our home (can you sit on your sofa, or is it covered with unfolded laundry?) and causes stress like nothing else?

I felt the pain of several friends who shared the struggle they face with this issue.  I am not joking here either or making light of the situation.  I can see the anguish and frustration it causes….. so with that I wanted to share my routine and my favorite things I use in my laundry room in hopes that you can make some changes to your routine to find JOY in doing the laundry. 

You must have a routine

I have a routine and I have stuck with this routine for years – thus I don’t even think about it anymore.  It is a habit.  I do one or two loads of laundry per day. (That is exactly why you will see the tasks  “Start Laundry” and “Fold & Put Away Laundry” on the daily tasks in the Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner!   Yep, no one day mountain of laundry for me.  That would cause me incredible stress and anxiety for sure.

laundry2

I put a load in the washer, follow it to the dryer when it finishes and then immediately fold it and put it in a basket, either the large basket for my husband and I or one of the baskets with the kids names.  It will then get put away that day by the applicable family member.  By the way, I am super lucky because my hubby will put away our laundry 98% of the time!

laundry

I also have an adjustable wall hanging area and an extendable folding drying rack and we have color coded hangars for different family members.  It works like a charm.

A Place for Everything

Organization keeps me happy!  So – to keep the laundry room a place that is enjoyable, I have to have a place for everything.  We have the shelf with baskets, which was a craigslist find I might add and color coded baskets with names on them for the kids.  

laundry4

I have a drawer under my dryer where I place “give-away” items that are for donation, this makes it super easy to put them in a bag and drop them off – plus they don’t get put away in a drawer and take up space – then truly they need to just be given away.

My Laundry Favorites that make me smile

7th GenI am in love with this detergent, Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent Powder, Mandarin and Sandalwood, 50 oz.   I get it through amazon, on my subscribe and save, which means I will never run out and I love the smell.  I even like the compact size of the container too, it fits right in the bottom drawer of my 51kxS-Cs7PLwasher, along with another of my favorite items – my Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls.

 I received these for free as part of a review I did over a year ago and I still have them and love them!  They work wonderful for me and I don’t need to use chemically ladened fabric softener sheets.  I often will put a few drops of essential oils on the balls before I toss them in – favorites are Lavender, JOY, or Stress Away!

If you are feeling frustrated with your current laundry system, I encourage you to give this a try.  Set your laundry room up for success – get some baskets, delegate some tasks, use products you feel great about sharing with your family and most of all – tackle a little bit each day.  Take one week and do a load a day 0r two, depending on the size of your family.  Find what works for you.

Oh and yes….. I end up having things on the top of my dryer too – this is the spot for kitchen linens and our cloth napkins (yes we use cloth napkins for every meal, I shared why here), they get folded immediately too and then put away too – but I just stack them until someone delivers them all to the kitchen!

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If you have a routine that works for you, please share in the comments.  I know this one is not for everyone, but I know yours might help another mom out!

Keep an Organized Home in 2015 – YES – REALLY!

8
Dec
2014

blog-2015-planner-household

Drum Roll…….. the 2015 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner is ready to go and you can download it for FREE!!  If you are  a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ve already gotten the notice and hopefully grabbed your copy

This is my second year using your planner and I love it! I also am currently reading The Christian Homemakers Handbook, after you had posted on it this past summer, and I love it!   Thank you!!!

LOVE the planner!! I’ve been looking forward to doing my planned “chores” each day and no longer feel like I need to do EVERYTHING EVERY DAY! I suddenly have so much more time in my day and my house is still getting taken care of Thank you so much for offering this to us for free!!

“Thank you soooo much!!! For the first time in my married life, I can open the door and invite someone into my home at any moment without being afraid of what pile of clothes I have on the bed that needed to be folded or dishes still in the sink. My 11-year-old daughter has even become a “neat freak” and will say often, “Mommy, I just can’t stand having a mess anywhere now – I just can’t function that way!” And those words from the child I used to have to beg to clean up her room – It’s proof that children really do learn what they live! Thanks again for what you do – it is truly a ministry.   

I am so incredibly thrilled to offer this planner to you all for FREE!  It does take a sizable amount of work to update it each year and also create some new pages for the Supplemental Pack to get your life even more organized.  But GOD is good and He provides what is needed to get the task done.

So how can this planner help you?

Get a Plan

Whether you print one page of the planner out a week, or print the entire contents out and put it in a binder, find a method that will work for you.  No one likes to get re-organized each week – so pick a method and go with it.  

My method is to print the year out, take it to Staples and spiral bind it for $4.  I can then write all over it and I actually  keep my previous year planner because of all the notes I’ve written on the pages.  I am also a big fan of the “just tell me what to do version” – that is my kinda gig!

 Weekly-Household-Planner-Spiral-Bound

Maybe you are a ‘print each week as you go’ so you can type in the editable fields kids gal – then do that.  Post it on the refrigerator or place it in a notebook.  I have also heard from moms that have been able to use the planner pages on their tablets – 

  • If you have a tablet, like an iPad you can use the Weekly Household planner “paperless” with any app that allows you to “write” on a PDF – for example Notability.
  • On the Kindle, you can download “Note Everything” for free and use it too!

I have not done this myself, and will likely experiment with this, but if you have had success please share in the comments so you might be able to help another mom out.  In addition, many have downsized the planner pages, but changing the printer settings on their printers, for example – printing two of the pages on one 8 X 11 page….if you have done that please share here too!

Give Yourself Grace

If all the tasks do not get crossed off each day – the world won’t end!  You need to be real with yourself and have realistic expectations each day {I shared a post on this last year that was very helpful} – your home is not like your friends’ home or the mom who is sharing on Facebook about how she managed to get all ten of her kids to complete the entire task list for the week in one day – you are you.

You need to realize each day is different and if you do not get it crossed off – oh well!  This is a guide – not a mandate!  I have placed tasks on the planner in a reasonable order and frequency to allow your home to stay picked up, tidy and in order, but if you miss a few things here and there – things will not fall apart.  Just pick up the next day and move on.

Delegate

You will need to gain help – in one form or another.  I shared a post about delegating more tasks in your Weekly Household Planner – this is key.  You are doing a big favor for yourself, but also one for your children if you bring the entire family into play when helping to keep your home in order.  They will earn life skills that will anchor them to be responsible adults when they leave home.

You can use color coded highlighters to delegate tasks for each child – this is one way to share in the process.  Allow your children to pick one task out of each day that they can help with and then when all the tasks are done, do something fun together – like a game, make a snack or get outside to ride bikes.  

Working together for the better good of the whole is a great family lesson to teach at home.

Quick Tips

I posted a Weekly Household Quick Tip each Monday as we ventured through the planner several years ago.  If you need some inspiration, just type Weekly Household Quick Tip in the search bar in the upper right corner and get some encouragement or find a tip for a certain task listed in the planner.  Need a natural Laundry Rinse that is  inexpensive and easy to use, how about some ideas on how to begin your quiet time routine, or cleaning the garage?  There is a lot of great information buried in these pages – just type a search word and phrase and hit go! 

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, go HERE, go to the bottom of the page and give your email address and name to get your free copy.  If you are interested in grabbing other planning pages to create a home management notebook, you’ll want to grab the planner + supplemental pack for $6 total.  What a bargain – a year calendar and over a dozen planning pages to keep you organized – that’s less than $.50 a month.

Here is a sneak at what the Supplemental Pack contains!!  I love the new additions this year of the new menu planner, Blessings for your Home printable, Household Maintenance Log and Gifts List!

SUPPLEMENT-GRAPHIC-2015 

What is your best tip for keeping your home tidy and organized?

Two Tips For an Easy Back 2 School Season

17
Jul
2014

Back-to-school-success

I am excited to share some fun ways to get organized for Back to School.  Now, for those of you who are in my neck of the woods, don’t shoot me!!  Yes, for those on the west coast, we still have at least 1 1/2 months of summer left, but for those on the east coast and mid-west, school days are coming quick.

If you are a new reader, you may not have become familiar with my Back 2 School Survival Guide.  This product released three years ago and has been a great help to many moms who need to re-focus for the upcoming school year.  There are great sections on setting up routines for home and school, how to set goals and track them, battling homework hassles, dealing with bullies, expectations,  anxiety and more.  Over 80 pages of helpful information that you will access year after year!

Back 2 School Survival Guide- make that back to school transition easier

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with Back to School – go on over and check it out.

Back-to-School-SliderMy next Back to School “fix” is with the help of eMeals – yep, you know how much I love it.  Here I shared my love for the eMeals Paleo plan and I will posting again next month on a different plan and let you know how we liked it.  I have used eMeals now for over 5 years – LOVE!!   Simple and easy is my middle name and eMeals makes planning and preparing dinner one thing to ‘almost’ take off my to-do list.  I love it!  

With eMeals you choose a meal plan based on eating style {there are so many to choose from – Clean Eating, Classic, Paleo, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Low Carb, Kid Friendly, Vegetarian and more}, your family size and your favorite grocery store. Once a week you get an email with 7 dinner recipes, a shopping list organized by section and coordinated with weekly sales at grocery stores.   They also have an APP where you can easily access the lists to grocery shop from and do your cooking.  

So I was thrilled when I just got news that they were also kicking off Back to School with a special.  You can grab a new membership to eMeals for 20% off using the discount code  SCHOOL.  In addition, if you are a new subscriber or already subscribed you will get access to a FREE BACK TO SCHOOL GUIDE full of easy recipes for breakfast, lunch boxes, easy weeknight meals and more:

  • 3 Power Breakfast Recipes
  • 2 Lunch Box Recipes
  • 2 Weeknight Dinners
  • 2 Afterschool Snacks
  • 1 Yummy Dessert

10 perfect recipes to get you back into the swing of things for the school year!   Here is a FREE recipe for you to try on your family now!!

Turkey-Bacon-Tortilla-Roll-ups-watermark (1) 

Turkey-Bacon Tortilla Roll-Ups (from the Back to School Survival Guide PDF)

8 slices bacon

Mayonnaise

1 (8-oz) package store-bought guacamole

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1/2  lb thinly sliced deli turkey

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (or any shredded cheese)

1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce (optional)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; drain. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise and guacamole over each tortilla.

Layer turkey, bacon and cheese on each tortilla.

Add lettuce, if desired. Roll up tortillas, and cut in half.

Makes 4 servings.

I will be grabbing some Gluten Free Tortillas to make this while on vacation with my family this next week – a time saver and easy to serve.  Perfect pool food!