I picked my New Year’s Resolution!

Today - New Year's Resolution

I did it! It’s February 15, and I finally picked my New Year’s Resolution (yes, only one). I’ve never felt better about a resolution.

You may recall my recent post about feeling overwhelmed by making resolutions. Even after sitting down to make very small, simple goals, I tucked them away and didn’t really look at them as much as I should have. I have a better solution. And it’s been working. And it’s SO simple, anyone can do it. It spans any category of resolutions you could think of. Are you someone who is easily overwhelmed? This might be for you.

THE RESOLUTION
Just focus on making today a good day. Define “good” however you want. Health and fitness? Patience? Food? Finances? Organization? Don’t worry about the end goal. Don’t worry about having a good week. Don’t worry about a million lists. Don’t worry about how you’ll possibly find the motivation for the next 365 days. Just worry about today. Can you make small good choices today that are in line with your big goals? Anyone can.

Isn’t this Change 101? How often do we hear to take things one day at a time? There’s SO much value in that advice. In my opinion, it’s totally under-rated. We can all do something for one day. We can all make today a good day.

I did my second round of Whole30 in January and let me tell you, it was challenging. The second week in, I decided to just focus on making great choices for one day. I just had to do that 30 days in a row. By the third week, I wasn’t counting days anymore because it wasn’t as overwhelming to me as it had once been.

Waking up and reflecting on what I can do to make today a good day has been enough for me. The devil is truly in the details – what you do every single day is what determines whether or not you reach your goals. It’s just that simple.

So, friends who are feeling like your goals are so far out of reach, don’t worry about the week or the month or the year for right now. Just wake up and make today a good day. Can you do that? I think we all can.

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Polaroid ZIP Printer Review – PLUS 3 ways to use it!

Polaroid ZIP
Hello everyone! I’m so excited to share this with you because it has quickly become one of my FAVORITE planning accessories, the Polaroid ZIP instant photo printer!EC ZIP Don’t mind my little guy helping out 😉

Erin Condren recently teamed up with Polaroid to sell the Polaroid ZIP printer and ZINK paper. The EC bundle that I purchased comes with a Carry-All Clutch, sticker for your Polaroid ZIP printer, a pack of 10 sheets of ZINK photo paper (which has a sticky backing!) and the instant printer itself. Altogether a $167 value, but the bundle price is $149. The printer alone is $130 (same price on Amazon).

The photos are heat-printed on the special paper, so there are NO ink refills required. WIN! The photos print out on a 2×3″ adhesive sheet and are immediately dry to the touch.EC ZIPThat’s only half of why I love it. The other reason is that you can use the Polaroid ZIP app (which is free) to customize the size and amount of pictures you print on one sheet. If you print two to a sheet, they are the exact size of the Erin Condren Vertical day boxes. If you print four to a sheet, they are the exact size of half-boxes. There are more options, but those are the ones I use most.

This is what the app interface looks like:
EC ZIPYou can rotate your pictures and you can also resize them. The bar across the top lets you choose between layouts. This is the 4 to a sheet layout. When you’re done, you print the picture directly from your phone via bluetooth (no cords required) and it looks like this:
EC ZIPI just use scissors to snip mine apart, peel and stick!

Here are the 3 ways I’m using mine

In my weekly spread of my plannerEC ZIP

EC ZIPUsing pictures from events or just general pictures of things that are important to me make my planner so much more personal and it makes me happy to see them every day. You aren’t limited to pictures of people – you can include any images you like! It is SO convenient that this prints out on sticker paper. You just cut, peel, and stick.

On my monthly notes page of my plannerUntitled design (11)I decided to dedicate one page per month to memories. More collected than my weekly spread, this will be a place I can see all of the highlights of our month in one place. Blending planning with scrapbooking (commonly called “scrap-planning”) is a huge trend in the planner community right now and I think it’s a great, easy way to keep everything simple and in one place.

In my home notebook EC ZIPI use an Erin Condren Notebook to keep track of all of my ideas, resources, and paint colors for every space in and around my house. I also added an Erin Condren Stylish Storage Pocket using a CoilClip (I show how I added it on this post) to keep paint chips and other papers. I grabbed pictures from Pinterest, printed them, and wrote notes about the design elements I like. Pinterest alone isn’t enough for me, so this has helped me really visualize everything in one place.

Overall I TOTALLY recommend this awesome accessory if you want a convenient way to add pictures to your planners or notebooks. Also great on gift tags, in cards or other gift projects!

If you’ve never ordered from Erin Condren before, you can use my link to save $10 off of your first order by creating an account with my referral link. 

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Should

Should

 

I walked into our play room today (the disaster pictured above) for my 45,834th attempt to clean and organize. In the six months we’ve lived in this house, I haven’t completely decided how I want to arrange this space. So I’ve avoided it. So I’ve taken my time. While all three of my kids were in school today, I tackled the play room. I planned to write a blog post on the messy before and put-together after, but as I was wading through the maze of toys and stepping on Legos, I felt like it was more important to share the real.

I tend to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on what I should be doing, what I should have done, what I should do in the future. I think it’s healthy to find a happy place between regret and apathy. I found myself struggling with a lot of regret. A lot of SHOULD.

I should have never let it get this messy.
I should have donated these toys long ago.
I should have finished the KonMari book.
I should have my kids helping right now.
I should have a chore chart.
I should be working out right now.
I should make them clean this room every night.
I should go to Ikea right now and get different organizers.
I should be doing (insert list of everything else I have to do) right now.
I should have had this room done months ago.

The reality is that we are going to make ourselves miserable if we only live in the SHOULD. Let’s cut ourselves some slack. It’s not that we shouldn’t care, it’s not that we should let everything to to the wayside…it’s just we should all take a step back, and take a collective breath, and forgive ourselves for not doing everything we feel we should all of the time.

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Breakfast Birthday Party

Donuts

It feels like yesterday that I was holding our brand new baby for the first time. Five years flew by, and it was time for another birthday party for our sweet girl. I had a few friends in Chicago do breakfast-themed birthday parties for their kids and they went over so well that I knew that was an idea I wanted to borrow. I am not a terribly creative person, so I love finding what worked for other people and then recreating it in a way that works best for my family. Summer birthday parties for kids are tough because everyone is traveling and busy, so I figured a party at 10am on a Saturday would work well for a few reasons; Everyone can come to the party and still have the rest of their weekend, breakfast food generally goes over really well with kids, and a breakfast birthday party is relatively easy to pull off. WIN!

I went really simple for this one. A few balloons on the mailbox, a few indoor decorations and low-maintenance food and drinks. Always consider how much time you have to prep when you’re planning a party!

THE FAVORS
I generally don’t give food away as favors, but I couldn’t help it this time (always be mindful of allergies or special dietary restrictions). I found these sippy cereal bowls, ribbon and spoons at Dollar Tree, the individual bags of cereal at Publix, and I made the labels with my silhouette cameo and sticker paper.

Breakfast Party Favor Materials

So easy. Just pop the cereal bag in the bowl, wrap up with ribbon, slip a spoon in there and stick your sticker on top. (“We are cereal-sly glad you could make it!”)

Breakfast Party Favors

THE DECORATIONS
The birthday girl just wanted a pink and purple theme, so we got a happy birthday banner, some table decorations and a few balloons for the mailbox (all from Dollar Tree for under $10 total).

Birthday Banner

Unfortunately, we wanted to do the party outside and have the kiddos run around in the sprinkler and play on the swingset, but we had storms all morning. Got a break in the rain just long enough to tie the balloons to the mailbox.

Balloons on mailbox

THE PREP
I do as much as I possibly can the night before (or even earlier) the party. Think of what food you’re serving, what you’re going to serve them in (again, nothing fancy, I used colorful dollar tree trays and bowls and buckets!), and how many serving pieces you need. Estimate food based on attendance so you don’t end up with too much (or too little), and prep all your food and trays the day before the party. Write out a timeline for the day of the party (8am, everyone dressed, 8:30am, wash and cut fruit, 9am, balloons on mailbox and pour ice over drinks, etc).  I enlisted the guest of honor to help do some of the prep work. She was SO excited to help!

Helping set upHelping set up

THE FOOD
I wanted a menu that would appeal to the kids and adults, was easy to prepare, and was fun. I love to cook, but I didn’t want to spend the whole party in the kitchen. I wanted to prep everything and then enjoy the party. For drinks, we had bottled water, juice boxes and coffee. For food, we served donuts from Dunkin Donuts, fresh fruit (bananas, clementines, and a bowl of strawberries and blueberries), applesauce, yogurt tubes, and bacon. Of all the food we made, the bacon was the first to go! Not surprised.

Food for Breakfast Party

Food for Breakfast Party

Food for Breakfast Party

Food for Breakfast Party

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
She was so happy to celebrate turning five with her friends. This was our first party away from friends and family back in Chicago and it meant so much to us that neighbors and friends and classmates could be there! One happy girl: mission accomplished.

Birthday Girl

Macy's Birthday

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The days are long, but the years are short

MJ and Mommy

I’m a very type-A person. When you’re a type-A person and you become a stay-at-home-mom to young kids, it can be a difficult adjustment. You’re on someone else’s time (routine and a schedule only go so far with unpredictable kids) but you still have a strong drive to accomplish something. ANYTHING. How often do we take a step back and soak in our kids? We’re probably too busy breaking up fights, wiping noses, getting food ready, changing diapers or helping with the potty, or wondering why it isn’t bedtime yet because there’s so much to do still. Wondering why we can’t find time to work out or make Pinterest-worthy snacks or crafts. Keeping a mental list (or if you’re like me, a paper list) of the billion things you need to cross off. On the flip side, if we’re working out of the home or in school, our time is stretched so thin that we have to balance all of the household tasks with maximizing quality time with our little ones. We become totally preoccupied with wondering if we’re giving enough to any part of our life.

My youngest son isn’t quite two. He put his hand in my hand tonight on the couch and rested his head on my chest and let out a big sigh and said “mama.” It was the reminder I needed to check the type-A frame of mind at the door and try to be more present with my kids and not so into what needs to be done all the time or doubting if I’m doing it right. There will be a time when they don’t want to play at home. When they don’t want to paint and ride bikes and play on the swings with mommy. When they stop asking for help all the time. When they don’t need us the way they do now. When we aren’t their whole world. When their faces don’t beam as much when we tell them they did a good job, or that we love them. When we aren’t cool anymore. They’ll want to see friends, to be out in the world. As much as a parent of a small child dreams of greater independence, there are so many things we’ll miss about this stage. I needed a reminder to slow down and stop obsessing over the next thing on the to-do list, and tonight it came in the form of that sweet little hand. As I’ve heard from so many… the days are long, but the years are short.

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