Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making a Simple (Effective) Chore Chart

 I have tried many different chore chart systems. I have spent lots of time making chore charts and they worked...for a while. How I made them usually made it difficult to change chores (when changes were needed). So now, I have come up with a, I hope, full-proof chore chart system. It was super simple to make too!

 I do not have a laminator (although it is on my wish list)...so I purchased THESE to put paper charts in. If you have a laminator, you could use that too!

Then I wrote down chores with boxes (with some chores being on a rotation and some being daily). You could do this with your computer...but my printer is out of ink at the moment...so I whipped these up! I could have done them neater and much more carefully...but I wanted to get them done for now and can always whip another one up for each of them when I have more time!

I *love* to make lists and to check things off as I accomplish them. It appears my children love it too because once their schoolwork was done for the day...they each (cheerfully) went about their chores. Jaxson even did some extras just so he could check off more boxes!

Xavier asked me: "Mom, since today is my day to vacuum anyway (downstairs), can I vacuum upstairs too?"  After picking my jaw up off the ground, I told him that would be great and he *thanked* me! It was seriously a glorious day of chores. The house was tidied and the children helped right along side me (with not one complaint). Now, I do not expect to meet this level of cheerful choring every day...but it did give me a glimmer of hope!

This is the order of the day in our household: First, all of our schooling gets done (we are a homeschooling family). Next, all daily chores must be finished. No television, computer, reading, or playing privileges will happen until all boxes for that day are checked off (with a dry erase marker). All chores must be done correctly because mama (that's me!) can check on any "finished" chore, to make sure it was done to my satisfaction, at any time. If I do check and something was not done how it was suppose to be (within reason...I don't expect perfection...but you can tell when something is done lazily) then that person will be grounded from all technology or other "fun" things for the rest of that day.

Another great thing about this system is that if I need to tweak anything, I can simply remove the sheet of paper and change/make a new one. :) I hang these charts on a nail directly under the family calendar in the kitchen. They are easily accessible and not in the way!

The children really seemed to feel accomplished as they checked things off their list. I hope they continue with this enthusiasm!

I hope you have found this post helpful!

The link to the plastic holders *is* an amazon affiliate link! If you make a purchase through my link, it helps me! Thanks so much!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Cheerful Little Bathroom

 I was so excited to find this little cupboard while out today (I got it for a GREAT price!). The colors are cute but don't exactly "go" with my bathroom (although my bathroom is quite colorful)...maybe I'll paint it one day...

Here are a few other looks at my cheerful little bathroom (decorated in a Mary Engelbreit theme)...

I would love to redo my bathroom one day...as the theme of it really doesn't match the rest of my house...however, it is fine for now (and so much better than it was when we first moved in). When we redid it, I was going through a Mary Engelbreit "love" phase! I loved all her stuff! I still like it...the cheerfulness of her paintings and pictures is so alluring...however, I don't think I would choose to decorate with this pattern if I could do it over. :)

What does your bathroom look like? What are some changes you would like to make (if any)?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Organizing Your Gym Bag

 I spin. Many look at me funny when I say that and wonder if I spin yarn. No...I don't spin yarn (although I would love to learn to do that too!). Spinning is speed cycling with tension. You can find out more about it HERE. I am currently in the midst of being certified as a spin instructor as well! That being said, I go to the gym a lot. I have taken a few different bags to the gym over time...simple totes, bookbags etc. But none of those bags could ever get my things organized and neat in a way I liked.

I am happy to say I found a bag that works perfectly for me now. It's a tad big...but that's okay. I like the extra room in case I need to bring something else along with me...plus it leaves plenty of room to keep all my gym necessities organized! You can find the same bag HERE and HERE if you are interested.

I love how the top zips open and flips over to reveal everything inside!

Here is a look...

Inside, you will find my spin shoes (which are in horrible shape after so much use but still work for now!), water bottles, a bag of necessities and extra towels. Under my spin shoes I have some extra clothes *just in case* I need them for any reason...

Inside the necessities bag I have two smaller bags, extra sweat bands (we sweat a lot in spin class) and some saline for my contacts...

In the leopard print bag I have some female necessities as well as a stick of deodorant. In the bee pouch (made by my sister) I have some lip balm, a hair tie, hand sanitizer and my spin cards (yes, I save all of them...for no particular reason!)....

For Christmas, my parents and sister's family went together to buy me all new towels for my bathroom! These are our old hand towels that I take with me to the gym...

All zipped up and ready to go...

I like having my things all in place....even in my gym bag. To me, I dislike having everything jumbled in there and having to *dig* for things. :)

Do you organize your gym bag?

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Joy of an Ugly Kitchen

Some of us have our dream kitchen...nice floors, beautiful cupboards, tons of storage and lots of counter space. Then there is everyone else. I am part of the "everyone else". When we moved in this house over a decade ago, it needed a lot of work. However, the price was right and we were thankful for a home of our own. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time and we were ready to settle in our home and grow our family. 

 In the middle of having and raising (and now homeschooling) three children and among our other responsibilities...we have worked at improving the house little by little (peeling wallpaper here, painting there...adding an addition etc.). We still have such a long way to go (and I admit, it can be quite overwhelming at times) but then I remember how thankful I should be and realize, despite all its imperfections...our house is *home*.

Our kitchen is one area we have *not* had the chance to improve. The floors need help and I truly want to gut the whole place and redo it....but it works for now. I'm not fond of the white and red laminate. Red and white *can* be cute...but I am not fond of how ours is set up. We did put this chicken wire on this cupboard in place of the glass that used to be there....

I also add decor that we *do* like to make it cozy and homey. I did a little wallpapering on the one wall...but that was all. The walls are old and are made of plaster. Getting the old wallpaper off was tedious (and not all of it is done in our laundry room). Where I have gotten the paper off, I want to paint but how do you find the right color when it has to match the red and white but I don't *want* to ultimately have the red and white in there....so instead of spending the money on paint that won't be what I *want*...I *try* to patiently wait till one day we can afford to redo the kitchen totally. 

So...I said all of that to say this...even though our kitchens may not be exactly what we *want*...it can still be a place where you can find joy to cook and bake. I find keeping a tidy kitchen is the most important thing you can do to enjoy your time there! This includes in cupboards and drawers as well...

I keep my kitchen clean...but it isn't perfect. Our home is lived in and *used*. I hope if you have a kitchen (or even another room in your home) that you aren't particularly fond of, that you can find encouragement in this post. Even the most simple, unattractive kitchen can be a great place to be when it is kept neat and tidy...and when used as a beautiful hub for the family! Laughter, tears, questions, answers, teaching, learning....so much happens in a family kitchen. Let it be a place of warmth and love and maybe one day, we'll all get the kitchen we each dream of (and if not...isn't it great to know we made the most and best of what we had?!).

What do you love and dislike about *your* kitchen? How can you improve your area to make it a more enjoyable place to be?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Keeping Organized

Once you have systems in place for keeping yourself organized you must follow them! Having and using different products can make it fun and easy!

Previously, I was using the uncalendar system to do my planning. While I liked it, I had the large one and really wanted something that I could take with me. I purchased a spiral bound planner (day per page...my favorite way to plan).

I found the cover for my spiral bound planner HERE. I also have planners that have the loose-leaf papers in the binders. I love those...but I like to save my planners each year (I have a whole pile from years back) and I find the spiral bound ones to be compact and a lot nicer to save. I love planners/organizers/binders so I honestly use whatever I am in the mood for from year to year! 

Another product I find to be really useful and helpful in my homemaking is this Do.Delegate binder from Buttoned Up. You can find them HERE (They also have a ton of other great products there at fantastic prices!). 

On the inside I have begun listing some project goals/to-dos...

In the next section, it has perforated pages where you can ask for help with certain projects from your family and have it all written out so it is done correctly...

They even have carbon copies so you can remember who you delegated what task to!

And then there is my filofax (personal size) where I keep all my bill paying info. I am the one who takes care of that in my family and I like to have a system to make sure everything gets paid in a timely manner.

And, although this isn't *all* of the fun things I have to make planning fun, it is *some* of it....

Sticky notes, labels, decorative tapes and more....

Having the right tools to fit your organizing needs is very important...*but* it can come slowly. Don't spend money you don't really have to gather everything you want all at once. Getting well-organized with a system that works for you takes time...it's a continual process. I am always tweaking my systems...often you will see that in my posts! :)

How do you keep yourself organized?

*Note: None of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsored. All opinions are my own!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Country Cupboard Organization

 My parents got us this fantastic cupboard for Christmas a few years back. I just love it. It fits perfectly in my dining room and has some storage. I keep blue mason  jars along the inner top (and I *love* mason jars!)....

The cupboard has been a holder for some of the children's dishes (glasses and small plates) so they have easy access to them, my candles, cloth napkins and the like. Needless to say, it has gotten out of hand over time (as much as I would like to say the blame lays on the children for putting dishes away messily, the truth is that I have not kept my candles in there neatly at all!)...

I decided to jump in there and get the shelves organized. I have tea pots and the children's glasses and cups on the top shelf. Underneath it are a few more dishes that belong to the children and my spring/summer scented candles...

The bottom two rows hold my warmer scented candles for fall and winter as well as my taper candles. I have decided to move our extra cloth napkins somewhere else (yet to be determined).

It's easy to ignore places that need organized that are behind closed doors. Out of sight ~ out of mind, right? It only takes a short time to clean out and organize most small spaces such as this one. It seems silly to avoid it.

 I challenge you today to find a small cupboard/space in your home that needs organized and buckle down and take the time to tidy it! It's a small chore that gives you a great feeling of accomplishment when you finish. We'd love to see before/after pictures! Feel free to share them on our facebook page HERE.