Easy Morning Routine System – Self-Sufficient Kids

How many of you have a morning routine system for your family?

Maybe mornings at your home look similar to how mine did 6 months ago.  You know, the little creatures wake up and hang around in the pajamas until you lose your cool and start yelling.  Don’t you dare tell me that my kids are the only ones that have the propensity to go into super-slow mo while whining and complaining about getting ready?! Ha!

I was so sick of nagging the kids to get ready.  I needed a solution.

easy-morning-routine-chart

Look, if you have little people running around, (or laying around) not doing anything to get going, it gets frustrating fast.

Personally, I’d tell them multiple times to do something as simple as get dressed or put dirty laundry in the hamper.  For real, these are such simple tasks but my kiddos outnumber me.  And let’s face it, I’m busy trying to get my day underway too.  So I had to figure out a way to get them on board with a routine.   Scratch that, I needed to find a way to get them excited about getting everything done.  AND I had to remove the nag-factor.

My very intellegent friend gave me a SUPER simple and effective tool that has been awesome for my kids!  My *almost* 11 year old even gets into this and I’m no longer the nagging mom.  As a bonus…this is easy to throw together and basically no fuss. (like really you can write this on a blank piece of paper…so read on)

Here it is…

How the Morning Routine System works:

  1. First determine what time you need your children to have all their tasks completed. (for us this is 8 am)
  2. On a piece of paper, list their names, routines, and any special jobs for each child.
  3. Place the routine paper on fridge or somewhere in a central location.
  4. Gather reward stickers and prize bucket.
  5. Explain to your children how it all works, what’s expected, and the reward.
  6. Remind them for a day or two, (especially for littles who can’t read) and watch them gain ownership of their morning.
  7. At the designated time, check to see where your children are with their morning routine.  If they’ve accomplished everything, they get a sticker.
  8. On the 4th day, they get a sticker and a prize from the prize bucket.

So what’s in this prize bucket??

prize-box-balloons

Yes, balloons.  My kids LOVE balloons.  ($0.01/each)

 

prize-box-books

Coloring books and activity pads ($1/each).

 

prize-box-candy

Candy!  Now’s a great time to steal back that Halloween candy for the prize box. (FREE)

 

prize-box-stickers

Sticker sheets.  We just added Christmas stickers. ($0.18/each)

 

prize-box-toys

Dollar store toys. ($0.50 – $1/each)

Some more ideas…

Gum, quarters, a media pass (10 min. or more), sticker sheet, etc.  Make it inexpensive but something your kids will look forward to earning.

Introduction Phase

The first couple of days, my kids, (especially my 2 littlest) had a hard time getting the concept.  I gave them quite a few reminders but they still didn’t do their tasks.  They figured out pretty quickly when they didn’t get a sticker and that means no prize.  HALLELUJAH!!

*disclaimer* This ONLY works if you enforce the routine and sticker chart.  You have to take 3 minutes to check what they did and assign the stickers.
(I realize this is a no-brainer but I found that I got a little relaxed and my kids reverted back to their old habits)

Customizable & Printable

Just to save you a couple of minutes, I’ve uploaded a customizable routine chart, (made in excel) for you to tweak till your heart’s content.

Customizable Routine Chart

All the boxes are there and the shading for the reward day, you just need fill in the information to suit your needs.  (If you are curious about my font, I used  Archistico Bold for the bold font and Dawning of a New Day).

You can seriously take a blank piece of paper and draw out your routine if you don’t want to type anything (so don’t let that get in the way).

I’d love to hear if this is working for you, so please share if you implement this!

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Easy Morning Routine System

How to Organize Your Purse

I’m so excited about a recent project I finished.  Today I’m sharing with you how to organize your purse. I don’t know about you, but my purse was a horrid mess!

Always digging for essentials and coming up empty-handed while we were out and about…no bandaids or breath mints…and lets not even talk about the days I forgot to put on deodorant!  Eeeek!
How to Organize your Purse ~ Purse Organizer & Essentials

While at a planning meeting for CC recently, I was oohing and aahing over how organized 2 of the homeschooling moms were…like major organization envy!  Their organizers inspired me!  They were so beautiful and compact!

I tried to resist the urge to be a complete stalker and I only asked them where they got their bag, an Orla Kiely bag.   Target.  I scored this baby for about $17, a little pricey in my book, but worth it.  These bags are in the makeup section and I have to say I love mine!  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!

Orla Kiely Makeup Bag Purse Organizer

It can hold quite a bit of goodies.  There are 3 different sections and that middle section below, (labeled personal care) is it’s own little attached self contained bag that is easy to access when you unzip the zippers just to the point where the sides curve.

Makeup Bag Purse Organizer and Essentials

As you can see above, I keep my “stuff” compartmentalized and it makes sense to me.  So here is what I have in each section…

Medical

  • Cough drops (2 kinds – 1 for me and 1 for the kids)
  • Tylenol
  • Alcohol wipe
  • Neosporin type gel
  • Plexus Fast Relief sample (just had to use this the other day)
  • Tissue
  • Bandaids
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Stick of Plexus of Slim (just in case I forget to take mine or someone wants to try a pack of it)
  • Throat Coat Tea (LOVE this stuff for sore throats!)

Look at all this stuff!!!  Keep in mind it’s winter.  For summertime this will likely look different, (bug spray, afterbite stick, etc).

Medical Section of Purse Organizer

Next we have the Personal Care section of my organizer.

Personal

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip moisturizer (okay…so I KNOW this is lanolin but this stuff is awesome and I still have samples from when I was in the hospital with Zander)
  • Deodorant
  • Hand lotion
  • Mints
  • Sanitary pad
  • Travel dental brush/picks
  • Hair ties
  • Hair clip

 

Personal Care Items for Purse Organizer

My last compartment is for odds and ends.

  • Shout wipes
  • Grocery bag folded like a triangle (love this tip and have been doing this for years)
  • Pen
  • Sunblock Bar

Purse Organizer Odds and Ends

I LOVE my organizer and I finally have what I need contained!  My organizer has more room but I didn’t want to cram too much in there…here are some other ideas you could add to your purse organizer….

  • Mirror
  • Protein Bar
  • Lip gloss/ lip stick
  • Bug bite stick (to stop the itch)
  • Bug spray
  • Flash light
  • Extra cash
  • Bobby pins
  • Phone numbers in case of emergency
  • Note pad
  • Brush (but NOT for curly hair)
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Ginger chews (or Tums)

This is my list but I’d love to hear what tiny essentials you keep in your purse on a regular basis.

Spice Organization Solutions

Preparing meals for 6 people in a tiny kitchen is a challenge!  Fitting all that you need to prepare those meals is interesting.  Today I’m sharing with you my spice organization solutions for my tiny kitchen. Every little bit of space you can save is huge!

Spice Organization Solutions

Spice Organization Solutions

Previously I shared about our zero gravity wall-mount spice rack.  It worked great and I loved it but we have so much less wall space in our remodeled ’96 Winnebago, I needed to find other spice organization solutions.

Stamped Spice Jars

Stamped Spice Jars

I buy bulk spices, even with my limited space.  But what to do with such big quantities of spices?

I bought smaller glass jars for spices I use more frequently.  The large plastic containers I bought the bulk spices in are stored in the back of very inaccessible, deep, narrow cabinet for refilling as needed.

But back to those glass jars…

If you decide to buy jars at Hobby Lobby, wait till glass is 50% off to save quite a bit of money.

The metal punch set came from Pick Your Plum. The deal is over but they do repeat their offerings from time to time. You can also buy a punch kit from Amazon. Mine is 1/8″ tall, to do over, I’d get a bigger punch kit to make the wording more readable.

metal-punches

To stamp the lid, I used a block of wood and set the lid on top and firmly pressing it against the wood block. Then I gave 2 HARD taps on the punch with my hammer for each letter.

Some of my lids are not the prettiest for 2 reasons:

  1. I didn’t start out using the block to keep the metal surrounding the punched letter from warping.
  2. I didn’t hammer hard enough and had to use the punch several more times to get the impression.

Basil turned out the best and that was toward the end of my learning curve on figuring the metal punch process out on my own.

spice-drawer

After I punched the name on the lid, I colored the lettering in with sharpie. I let the marker dry and then wiped away the excess with a paper towel. I store these spices snug in a drawer in the kitchen.  I have my other odds and ends spices that fill in the empty space.

On the smaller jars that are not metal, I write the name of the spice on the lid with a sharpie. I tell you, anything to save me from having to search around for the right spice.

Clearly I need to buy several more jars for spices.  But the nearest Hobby Lobby is in Pensacola and we rarely get there But just like every other unfinished project in the camper, it will get done someday. 🙂

Recipe Box Spices

Recipe Box Spices

There are spices that I rarely use but I still want to keep. For instance, I had some sprinkles for cookie and cake decorating with the kids. I don’t want to take up a bunch of space because I rarely use them and don’t need large quantities. I found the most compact way to store these spices was to use a recipe card box and empty TicTac boxes.

To make my Recipe Box Spice organizer, I bought the value pack of TicTacs from the local warehouse store (Sam’s Club).

For the labels, I sprayed a sheet of Avery labels (they are the smallest return address labels you can buy # 5267/8167) with chalkboard spray paint.

Labels for Recipe Box Spices

I’m a sloppy DIYer and the package still has remnants of the chalkboard spray.

To mark my chalk labels, I used a chalk pen which is way less mess than regular chalk.  Bonus on the chalk pen is that the writing doesn’t rub off unless it gets wet.

With this recipe box spice organizer, I can fit 12 spices in a very compact space.

 

That is it friends, the two best spice storage solutions I’ve found our tiny kitchen.

2013 Forest River 5th Wheel Modifications

When we sold our 2013 Forest River 365 SAQ , we sold it to friends. It was the perfect bunk house for their 4 girls.

Our friends did a few simple modifications to the 5th wheel that made such a difference!  Modifications that I’m kicking myself over not doing while we lived in there.Continue Reading

Purging Yet Again

Exciting things have been going on.

We are picking up our used Class A tomorrow! We are itching to get started on it and make some pretty sweet updates.

Since our camper is listed and we have a potential buyer coming to see it soon, I decided to go through the camper to de-clutter and purge.

Not only do we want the camper to be “show ready,” which eerily feels like we’re selling a piece of real estate again. But we also NEED to downsize so we can fit into the smaller living space of the Class A.

It is amazing, shockingly amazing how much we accumulate. Even after we went from 1800 square feet to 300 square feet, we still have things we do not need. Things accumulate. I think it’s just a fact of life.

Here is my loot of junk after living in the camper for 4 months.

Purging

Really it’s not junk, just not needed or necessary. Ok, maybe it is junk.

But this is what I came up with after going through 90% of our camper. I still need to go through the underneath storage and the outdoor kitchen but can you believe it?? I can’t, but there it is.

And the great thing is it took me 3 hours to go through every single cabinet, drawer, storage tub, & basket. 3 hours.

In our regular house, it took me weeks (which I think is understandable given the space and amount of stuff). So I’m making it a goal to go through our belongings once a month and purge. Knowing that it only takes 3 hours makes it that much more doable.

If we lived in a normal house, I’d set the goal of going through one or two rooms once a month. I think that’s a reasonable goal and would keep the clutter and unnecessary away. Maybe even daily de-cluttering one area for 30 minutes a day would be work for some, (kinda like Fly Lady).

I prefer the once a month thing because, I don’t know about you, but once I start deep cleaning or clearing junk out I just want to do it all. I hate stopping in the middle of a job.

Anyway, that’s where we’re at and some of what we’ve been up to.

Julie-Signature

 

How to Use Pinterest and Why You Should!

How-to-Use-Pinterest-and-Why-you-Should

In the short time that this blog has been up I’ve mentioned Pinterest an inappropriate number of times. In case there was any doubt, I’ll just say again that I love Pinterest.

There is actually a verb, Pinteresting, which means to pin images to the popular social network known only as Pinterest.

I know many of my friends still do NOT use Pinterest or understand it. The site has grown exponentially in it’s popularity for a few reasons.

It is simple, inspiring, fun, & useful.

So all you friendly readers who do not understand Pinterest, here is my take on the basics of using Pinterest as well as why you should.

What is Pinterest?

Very simply, Pinterest is a website that allows you to bookmark images that are linked to websites. That sounds just lame and boring, not at all getting to the heart of what Pinterest is so let’s break it down…

(Throughout this post I’ve capitalized and bolded the terminology for Pinterest in the hopes that it will be helpful for those new to Pinterest. If it’s annoying or distracting I’ll remove the formatting to make it easier to read – please let me know if I should change it)

Basics of Pinterest

*Pins*

Instead of text bookmarks that are saved through your browser, a PIN is a photo bookmark on the Pinterest website.

*Pinning*

This is Pinteresting or the act of saving a PIN photo/website to a BOARD you’ve created on Pinterest. You can PIN all sorts of content throughout the internet, as long as there is an image. (Note: There is a workaround but really Pinterest is about visuals so I’m going to stick with the basics.) There is a Pin button you can install in your web browser that makes it easy for you to PIN any image from any website with the click of the Pin button.

*Boards* 

I think of BOARDS as notebooks or bulletin boards. I have a different BOARD (notebook) for various major topics like “Recipes”, “Homeschooling”, “Exercises”, “Organization”, etc. If you want to PIN anything, you have to create a BOARD (or have one existing ) to put your PIN onto. BOARDS make it easier for you to find the PIN later on.

My advice to you is that if you have a fairly complex topic such as a home remodel or recipes, you may want to break your BOARD up into several separate BOARDS. Given the home remodel example; one BOARD could be “Bathroom Remodel”, “Bedroom Remodel”, “Entry Remodel”, you get the picture.

I made the mistake of NOT making enough categories for my recipes. I have over 1,000 PINS for different recipes and I really want to straighten up that board specifically but I’m kinda sorta scared to tackle that monster. Someday I’ll do it, I really will.

*Secret Boards* 

A few months ago, Pinterest introduced secret boards. All the PINS you PIN on your regular boards are public. But your SECRET BOARD is for your eyes only. A SECRET BOARD may be useful for gifts that your don’t want your followers to see or an upcoming surprise party that you want to keep to yourself. As of now, you are limited to 3 SECRET BOARDS.

*Following*

Just like Facebook, you can follow your friends or random strangers and see the content they PIN and in turn REPIN their PINS. There is a wealth of information being shared on Pinterest and it’s so nice to get to see what those of similar interests find useful (or pin-worthy).

You can FOLLOW an individual 2 different ways,

  1. Follow all their BOARDS.
  2. Follow only select BOARDS with topics that interest you.

You can NOT stop people from FOLLOWING you. Not that I think it matters honestly, just so you are aware though. And it’s totally NOT weird to FOLLOW someone you don’t know on Pinterest.

*Repin*

This is when you click on someone’s PIN that is already in Pinterest and REPIN it onto one of your own BOARDS.

*Sharing*

You can share your PINS via Facebook and Twitter if you want. You have the capability to post all of your PINNING activity to Facebook. I do NOT recommend doing this. If I want to SHARE a PIN that I’m PINNING, I simply select the little toggle box on the actual PIN to share them individually as I choose.

To check and see if all your Pinterest activity is posting to Facebook automatically, you simply need to click on your name in the upper right corner of Pinterest when you are logged in and click on “Settings”. Once there you can select to post all of your activity to Facebook or not.

So now that you have a basic understanding of Pinterest…

Why You Should Use Pinterest

  1. Most people are visual and seeing a picture instantly lets someone know if they want to save that site.
  2. It’s an easy way to bookmark sites.  Not only that but the PINS are easily refresh in your mind because you have a visual to go with the content.
  3. You can explore over 30 different topics on Pinterest such as “DIY & Craft” or “Food & Drink”.  To do this, you click on “Categories” right under the Pinterest logo when you are logged in. This brings up the latest PINS of people you more than likely do not know but are in the subject matter that you choose.  It can end up being a rabbit trail as you may really like a PIN and want to see what other PINS that person has pinned in the category.
  4. Through the site, you get exposure to tips, ideas, recipes, crafts, inspiration, etc that may have never occurred for you to search for in Google.
  5. Your PINS (bookmarks) are never lost when your computer crashes.  They are also easily accessible from any internet connected computer or phone.
  6. It is simple to use, especially with the free mobile Pinterest apps that are available.

I use Pinterest so much on a weekly basis, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite PINS or failures from Pinterest from time to time. If you want to follow me on Pinterest, you can do so by clicking the “Pinterest” banner on the upper right corner of this page or you can click here.

Pinterest is a wonderful tool that has simplified things for me. But beware, it will suck you in if you are not disciplined with your time.

All you Pinterest fans, did I forget any important basic information? I’d love to hear from you if I did!

Bye for now,

Julie-Signature

 

A Better Way to Label ~ Chalkboard Spray Paint

Remember my cheap organizing containers that I repurposed from cashew containers I bought at Sam’s?

Well I never did end up putting those printable labels on them.  I really wondered how durable it would be to have a paper label mod podged on there.  And I wanted to be able to change out the contents if necessary without reprinting and gluing labels.

I honestly probably spent waaaay too much time thinking about how it would work best.

I just love Pinterest for situations like this.  A pin on there showed how someone had spray painted some canning labels with chalkboard paint and written what the contents were with chalk.

It was the perfect solution.

Wanting to avoid the mess of actual chalk, I opted for a chalk pen.  I couldn’t find one locally so I ordered this chalk pen set from Amazon, 4-Piece Bistro Chalk Marker Set.

The spray paint I bought was your standard, Krylon Black Chalkboard Spray Paint.

Now the labels were the best part.  I was shopping at Dollar Tree, (that store has some great stuff).  I came across these wall decals…wall-decals-

 

There are actually 24 circles in the pack and the whole pack was $1!

I simply spray painted the decals and let them dry for about 20 minutes.

The chalk pens were great to work with, but I’m thinking smaller-tipped ones like the,1mm White Chalk Pen Marker would work better for thinner writing.

So here is the end result…

 

Chalkboard-Paint-Canister-Labels-2

It worked beautifully and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out.  The writing does not rub off when you touch it, (after it dries of course).

To wipe the writing off, you just need a wet paper towel.  I did read the reviews and some people said you needed to use nail polish remover but I didn’t find that to be the case.

It seems like the fads go in waves on Pinterest.  For instance, when I first got on there it was all about Mason Canning Jars, then it went to burlap, and then chalkboard paint and I think I repinned a lot of those ideas.

So are you inspired by Pinterest too?