Twas the Night Before School

This is a poem I wrote three years ago on the eve before the first day of school. I was feeling especially nostalgic as my youngest was starting preschool and oldest was going to high school. This year I have kids in three different schools. I always get a little teary thinking of them all growing up. 

Written September 1, 2010 
 

Precious Moments
Precious Moments

Twas the Night Before School

Twas the night before school and all through our house,

ALL the creatures were stirring – even my spouse.

The backpacks we lined up by the front door with care, 

in hopes that we would be organized and not in despair!

 

The children were all clean and tucked in their beds,

coughing and sniffling with colds in their heads.

And me in my apron making homemade snacks;

and Hubs on the computer shooting ‘things’ to the max!

 

When out from their rooms I hear all this chatter,

I checked from the kitchen to see what was the matter.

When what to my tired eyes should appear,

my youngest all wide eyed; sneaking if the coast is clear.

 

The dark falls upon us early it seems,

I miss the summer already but back to regimes!

From school, to work, football, gymnastics and such…

Big bills for the month – it is a bit much!

 

Excited for school but sad another year’s gone.

Thinking back to my babies and stifling a yawn.

The oldsest going to High School; the youngest in Preschool

And one in grade two who will follow the rules.

 

Now Noah, now Megan, now Drew listen here;

I only want the best so let’s make that clear.

I may be mean and shout and go crazy at times;

but it’s all out of love, let’s stay away from the crime!

 

In hopes of a good year we will see,

I pray every night for my sanity.

I hope their lives are happy in all that they do;

and to themselves I hope they stay true. 

 

I must get back to my cooking – I don’t like it I admit!

I am no Martha, or Betty or Julia but I’m trying a bit.

One more peek on the children; they are soundly sleeping

our blessings for now…  for safekeeping.

 

 ~Krystal Worth

My handsome big man and little man.
My handsome big man and little man.
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?

 

 

 

Sometimes You Have to Just Go With the Flow!

adventure

 

It was Saturday morning; I had just finished a run. The sun was beating down on this beautiful summers day. I drove to the grocery store to pick up supplies for pickling the 40 pounds of cucumbers that I was to pick up later in the day from the U Pick farm. I was thinking of all of the things that I ‘should’ do this weekend to catch up as summers coming to an end. Then my phone rang. It was Shawna. “I have an idea”, she said. Uh oh, I thought. Usually when she says this it is some amazing plan for the business that also means a lot of work! 😉 It wasn’t about work though. She was heading up north to pick up her kids that had been staying at her sister’s all week and she was wondering if I wanted to come along with my kids. She said we would have a road trip and head to Jasper and do some exploring. Whatever we wanted to do really. My immediate response was I can’t because I have to pick up these cucumbers and get them all done up before they spoil. I have so much to do! I was thinking of  school supplies that I still had to get, yard work etc. She knows me well and said I will give you a few minutes to think about it. She must have sensed the panic in my voice! After several texts and phone calls with her and my hubby, we figured out how to make it work. Hubby encouraged me to not stress and just take one thing at a time. Shawna patiently listened to my concerns of just leaving all of my plans and as always she jumped up and said “I can go get your veggies” (which were out of town) “while you pack and get ready”. Still feeling a little hesitant and excited I started to get us ready. My daughter got her and her brothers stuff. I was still all icky from my run and hadn’t even showered. Anyways as you can tell I don’t do spontaneous or unplanned well. My OCD just doesn’t work that way!

What I wanted to share was that sometimes you have to just go with it. Take a chance or you miss out on things. Don’t wait for the ‘right’ time or to get caught up.

 

This was once instance where if I would have stuck with my plans I would have missed this:

 

How blessed were we to be able to enjoy this beautiful Canadian land?!
How blessed were we to be able to enjoy this beautiful Canadian land?!

 

And this… quality time with my young ‘uns!

 

How lucky were we to be able to enjoy this beautiful Canadian land?!
A great experience to share with my kiddos! 

 

 My favorite stop along the way. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting to our destination that we forget to enjoy the journey along the way. Not this time though. We had plenty of stops to enjoy nature’s beauty. 

 

What is it about waterfalls that is so magical?
What is it about waterfalls that is so magical?

 

And let’s not forget my favorite quote from the entire weekend from my little guy! 

 

A quote from my 7 y.o.
A quote from my 7 y.o.

 

 And I can’t forget our actual destination.

 

From 30 degrees celsius to 8 degrees on the ice. So pretty tho!
From 30 degrees celsius to 8 degrees on the ice. So pretty tho!

 

So… what did I learn from letting go of my schedule and throwing caution to the wind?

  • Not everything needs to have a detailed plan.
  • Sometimes you have to trust your heart and listen beyond your mind.
  • When what you really need slaps you in the face. Go with it. 
  • Adventures can be found anywhere. 
  • We can learn things from children of all ages.
  • When you can’t think clearly at home. It’s time for a get-a-way.

Thanks Shawna for knowing just what I needed and for the memories! And thank YOU  for coming along on my adventure!

 

live

School Shopping Already -Yes I am Serious!

Be prepared this year!
Be prepared this year!

I know. I know! It is WAY too soon to be thinking about back to school where I live. I can actually feel the burning glares from all parents as I am writing this. But, hear me out. It is not too early to start researching and buying a few back to school things. Hey. If you are prepared and organized you may realize that you already have much of what you need; this will save you some shopping sanity! 

Retailers are already beckoning you to come and shop in their stores. Commercials are already saying don’t miss their fantastic sales. Is it just too soon? Well, I definitely will not start devoting every day of my coveted summer to searching all of the flyers, watching all the commercials, scanning the malls. I will however take some time every now and then to research what we need so that when the time comes I know exactly where to go to get what we need. You see I really despise wasting time going in and out of stores to the point where I would probably say “just buy whatever” so that we can get through this!

Hang onto your wallets! With the rise of “back to school” as a two-month marketing exercise for retailers, it can be a tough job to get the kids outfitted and supplies bought without breaking the bank.

What I have here are a few tips to not break the bank, and to save you time and therapy fees!

Scouts Motto: Be Prepared!

This is good advice for many things in life including school shopping. Make sure you have each child’s school list before you so much as set foot in a store full of smelly markers, glittery pens and personalized rulers. You can download lists from your child’s school website. Also, many supply stores will have lists on hand according to school and grade.

Shop at Home First

Shopping at home first will save you time and money in the long run!
Shopping at home first will save you time and money in the long run!

I always think that it is a total bonus when I can find things on the list that we already have. Don’t ya just love checking things off? 😉 So go through those pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks, duotangs, binders, etc. See what you have before you pull out the cash. Designate a certain drawer, shelf, box, or area for all of your finds so that you know exactly what you have.

Budget, Budget, Budget!

School supplies are now usually set up in a way that appeals to our children – the characters on the backpacks, the pretty designs on the binders, the glitter pens and smelly colours are attractive but come at an extra cost. Kids are easy prey for consumers and this is where it is our job as parents to set limits. Consider compromising. For example, if you want that more expensive backpack then we will need to get the regular binders. This is a great time to teach your children some financial responsibility.

Once you know exactly what you need set your budget. Then you can shop flyers and search online. Try not to stray far from your list.

Shop Early….and Late

By shopping early you are assured to get exactly what you need. You will also have a little more time to compare prices and sale shop.  By waiting until a week or two before school is in you will be able to buy items at a clearance cost. It’s a win-win but remember by waiting too long you may have slim pickings. Stock up on a few essential items that the kids use every year. This will save you money next year.

As the Beach Boys Would Say – Get Around! 

Sometimes it pays to shop off of the beaten path. Grocery Stores, crafting stores, and dollar stores are also great places to find supplies. Most stores want a piece of the retail back-to-school action. What about asking on the buy n sell for supplies? You never know – it doesn’t hurt to ask.

I hope that school shopping for you is painless and dare I say fun?!… Keep these tips in mind and you are sure to be done before you know it!

~Remember when we had to walk to school uphill BOTH ways? Barefoot…in the snow? Kids these days have it so easy! 😉 

 

 

 

Why I Try to Buy Second Hand

I think we can all say that we have bought something brand spankin’ new at one time or another thinking that it was da’ bomb. BUT…before you know it,  it has sat around collecting dust. It just wasn’t what you had hoped for or maybe it was too confusing to even use. Perhaps you tried it out and it wasn’t at all what you thought it would be. Sound familiar? We have all been there, done that. We feel badly for wasting our hard earned money.

I have been making a conscious effort in the last year to buy used. Whether it is furniture, an appliance, books, toys, or clothes there are so many reasons why it is good to buy items used.

First of all when you buy used you do not put a strain on the environment. You do not have all of the packaging that your product comes with. (The tape, boxes, bubble wrap, foam packing, manuals, instructions etc.) Also, you may be preventing things from going into the landfill when you get them second hand. Bonus!

I also just love the look of used, antique and vintage items. I think that things have more character when they are old. Have you noticed that people are refinishing old furniture and repurposing things all the time now? I love it!!! People are making beautiful, functional, artistic pieces out of old things. Ever noticed that old appliances and furniture were built to last not just to outlast the warranty?!

Another obvious reason for buying used is to save money. Why pay an insane price for something that you can potentially find in the same condition for much less money? It’s like when you buy something and then the next day you find that same item for sale. I always feel like I have been ripped off by spending more than I needed to.

By buying used items, you support local businesses (consignment shops/thrift shops). In my community much of the money from these items goes back into my community. Cool! Buying from Kijiji, Craigslist or the Buy n’ Sell also helps other people declutter. That make me feel good too. 🙂 “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-jsCyovGeI

When I buy used I always find that there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that I saved money and got a deal! Don’t get me wrong I not only buy second hand but I sell and donate a fair bit as well. Here is a list of some of the items that I have sold, donated or given away since the beginning of the year.

 

I have been getting rid of lots of things!
I have been getting rid of lots of things!

I have made $1145.0 from the buy and sell it was stuff that no longer served a purpose in my family. Yes we have made purchases as well but the selling is outnumbering the buying. I may have to research and wait a few days or even weeks to really find what I am looking for but it is totally worth it! It also gives the kids incentive to let go of some toys when they can make a little money for themselves.

I would love to hear your reasons for buying used items! Drop us a comment below. Thanks!

 

 

Organizing Barbies!

All in one place!
All in one place!

Every week I like to work on at least one organizing project. Recently, my daughter purchased some Barbie items second hand; specifically the camper, car, and tent that you see in the picture above. The dolls and accessories were getting out of hand in her room. So Barbie and her entourage had to find a new home. They moved residence to the family room in the basement. After just an hour or two, everything was all in one place ready for Megan and her pals to play. I just love it when everything has a home!

Here are some more pictures of how I organized everything. (I sure wish that I would have taken before and after pictures of this process!) Next time.

This houses a ton of Barbies 'must haves'. :)
This houses a ton of Barbies ‘must haves’. 🙂

 

I had this storage unit that I initially bought for my son’s room. Then I moved it downstairs to hold stuffies. Now it is perfect for Barbie Doll stuff. Sometimes you have to play around with the storage that you have rather than buy new stuff all the time. I LOVE reusing things. If you are finding that you are needing more and more storage then it is probably time to do a purge. * Here are 10 Creative Ways to Declutter your Home.

 

The 'wheels' and the 'crib'.
The ‘wheels’ and the ‘crib’.

 

Beside the storage unit we have the Camper, V Dub Beetle, Tent, and House. I am sure that Barbie and Ken would be so happy with this living arrangement! 🙂

 

Using the top of the unit for a few more items.
Using the top of the unit for a few more items.

 

Using all of your space vertically is a great way to maximize the area. The smaller container to the left on top holds the shoes and purses. Good thing I don’t have this many shoes and handbags – I would be in BIG trouble! haha

 

Barbie Accessories Drawer

 

This is the top drawer of the storage unit that holds more accessories.  Here we have inexpensive clear containers (3 of them) that we got from the Dollar Store. This was the only thing that we bought ($2). I chose the clear containers so that my daughter and her friends could find what they want easily.

 

Barbie Clothing

 

Here are all of the Barbie clothes. I used a Zip Loc container that I had on hand. You will see in the container to the right that this has clothes from my Barbies from the 80’s. Yes they are a wee bit dated but everything comes back in style right?! Did anyone else have Barbie and the Rockers? The one that came with the Cassette?!

**FLASHBACK**

 

Barbie Sets

 

Here in the bottom drawer of the unit I have 3 sets that she received as gifts. (A barbie pool, pediatrician set, and hair styling set.) Gee, Barbie does everything doesn’t she?!

 

Barbie Suitcase

 

This small Barbie suitcase was given to my gal from Shawna’s gal. It is the perfect size for the dolls to fit in.

There you have it. I am happy with this system and it looks nice. My daughter is happy that she knows where everything is. Win-WIN. Yay!

For more tips head on over to Facebook for more organizing ideas, repurposing ideas, recipes and inspiration. We would love for you to share your organized spaces with us.

 

 

 

I Have All These School Papers – Now What?!

‘Tis the time of year when the kids are sent home with schoolwork, report cards, supplies, and anything else that may have been lingering in their desk or locker. (Hopefully you do not find a nasty, fuzzy green sandwich in your child’s backpack like I did one year. At least I think it was a sandwich?…)

Perhaps I should back up a wee bit… My children come home from school with papers in their backpack on a daily basis. These are forms, weekly correspondences, school newsletters, hot lunch papers and whatever other notices that we need to be informed about. I try to go through these papers as soon as they enter my home otherwise the paperwork can pile up VERY quickly; especially because I have more than one child plus my own mail and work stuff to deal with. The best thing to do is make an action pile for things that need to be looked at and dealt with soon. Another pile for the papers that you need but don’t need to be processed right away. A final pile will be the papers that need to be saved and filed. Here is a more detailed description of the categories of papers that can be placed in a temporary file or pile.

  • Take Action/Sign – this file is for forms that need to be signed, permission slips that need to be returned, teacher requests, PTA announcements, and flyers about events that need to be added to your calendar.
  • Short-Term Storage – this file is for forms or information that you don’t need to keep forever but will need to refer to at some point in the near future. For example: information on an upcoming field trip that includes a list of what your child is to bring or a flyer on an upcoming school event.
  • One per child labeled with the child’s name – this file is for each child’s special papers, progress reports, test scores, awards, certificates, or programs from sports, school plays or musical events.

So now the year is coming to an end and all of the action and short term papers have been dealt with. Now you are left with the keepers or the special papers that you and your child want. What do you do with them?

Here’s what I do…

Below is an example of storage that I bought for my daughter. It is a cute file box that has built in dividers. It actually has 12 for each month of the year. I will use one per year until grade 12; it works out great! And it was only about $15. As you can see in the bottom photo, I put the report cards on the top, then special certificates or awards, schoolwork, memory book and then the favorite art pieces.

I am sure some of you are wondering how it will all fit in there? The key is, every time your child brings home a bunch of artwork, lay them out on the floor and have them choose their favorites. If they want to keep absolutely everything, encourage them to choose their very best ones and take a picture of the others. They may or may not ever look at that photo but keep it for a while just in case.

So far this way of organizing everything is working out fantastically. I have 4 years in there. She does have a few items that do not fit in there and I do not stress about it. That stuff is in a really large envelope beside this box.

 

Finding proper storage is half the battle!
Finding proper storage is half the battle!
The handy dividers separate the years.
The handy dividers separate the years.
Decide what is important to you and your child.
Decide what is important to you and your child.

 

Find what works for you and your child. Some people use those plastic totes or hanging files in a box. Some people like to scrapbook while others may want to utilize a binder. It is just one of those things that you have to play with and have fun!

If you are needing help with setting up a station for your child’s school work let us know! We can get you on your way to having some organized memories.

 

Summer Get Up N’ Go Pack

Fun Exploring

Summer is here! It is sometimes difficult to know what the weather is going to be like but it sure is nice to be ready if you decide on a last minute day trip! So most of us have an extra backpack kicking around – why not make up a bag so that when the weather and the timing is right you are all ready to go?

Here is your list of ‘ingredients’ to help make your adventure successful.

☼Backpack
☼Sunscreen
☼Bug spray
☼Small hand sanitizer or moistened wipes
☼Water bottles/water pack (1 per family member). Reusable is better for our environment!
☼A few small toys for the car ride (car bingo sheet, paper, crayons,
☼Small first aid kit
☼Sheet or thin blanket for picnic or rest
☼Small tissue pack
☼Light jacket or hoodie
☼Sunglasses and or hats (protect your skin and eyes)
☼$ in case of emergency (or an ice cream stop☺)
☼Camera if you don’t have one on your phone; good for capturing those special memories.
Don’t forget snacks. If you are hiking dried fruits, nuts, granola and sandwiches are easy to carry and not too messy!

This list can be tailored depending on what your trip is. If you are going to the beach substitute your picnic blanket for towel and for toys grab some bubbles and sand pails.

Most of all don’t forget to have FUN!!!

Summertime Fun
Summertime Fun

For more great summertime FUN ideas, grab your copy of Simplify: Summer for only $4.99! It’s jam-packed with ideas for making this summer the best EVER! Click to download your copy: Simplify: Summer

Spring is in the Air

This is an article that I wrote last year that fits well with this weeks theme.You may want to do a personal challenge of your own? Even if it is a small challenge, it is still moving forward! Follow Shawna on Simple Life Celebration’s Facebook page as she completes her 365 Thing challenge by getting rid of at least one item per day for the WHOLE year! 


☼Spring is in the air, the snow is melting, the sun is shining and the geese are beginning to fly back home. It’s as if that fresh air and sunshine brings with it this yearning to clean and find order in our lives! With Spring comes the inspiration to clean and tackle those areas that don’t regularly get touched.

 

I have been reading endless blog posts not only about Spring cleaning but also about clearing mental clutter, clearing emotional clutter and not letting other distractions get in the way of living life. I mean REALLY living life! I am taking this all as a sign from the Universe that this year we need to put a spin on things; in true Simple Life style. 😉

 

We say it all the time. We are not only Professional Organizers, we want to help you simplify your lives so that you can take the time to enjoy the important things. In fact this week I took a few minutes to physically write down a list of simple pleasures. You know the things that we so often take for granted. Many things that I wrote revolved around time; taking a moment to really enjoy the company of friends and family, going for a bike ride, surprising someone with a kind word or note of appreciation, cuddles and LOTS more. What if we made the time to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures? Wouldn’t life be grand!?!

 

And the thought that screams into many people’s heads is but I just don’t have the time! Poppy cock I say! I challenge you to really look at the time in your day. You may spend an hour watching some show on TV that you won’t even remember in the morning. Are you on Facebook once or twice a day? How much time do you spend on it? How often do you sneak on the computer or your phone to check emails? Do you find that you have subscribed to way more than you can find to read? Are you running from one thing to the next all week long? Perhaps it is time to recheck priorities and figure out what truly matters to you. Life gets crazy at times but if you don’t want it to be busy then evaluate your schedule.

 

Last year Shawna and I had our Minimalist Challenge. This was where we divided all of the areas in our homes into zones and tackled each one individually. We got rid of LOTS of stuff that we did not need, love, or use. We gave ourselves two weeks to get each space done. (Empty, clean, sort, purge, reorganize, put back together, and get the donations/recycling out of our houses.) It was really quite freeing and it was doable because we all did it together. We encouraged each other and were accountable. It was a personal challenge with a manageable time limit!

 

This year we wanted to do a followup to the Minimalist Challenge from last Spring.

We are calling it the Simple Spring Cleanse.

Here is the actual definition.

 

cleanse

verb (tr)

 

  1. to remove dirt, filth, etc, from

  2. to remove guilt from

 

We want to cover both of the above definitions. By all means feel free to do the usual Spring clean but we are asking ourselves to also think not only about the physical stuff but also the mental, emotional, and even digital clutter that inhabits our worlds on a a daily basis.

What sorts of things can we get rid of?

 

  • items in your home that are broken, that you no longer need, want, or love.

  • magazine, newspaper or other subscriptions that you no longer read.

  • email/blog subscriptions that take time away from other important things that you want to do. (Keep you favourites only!)

  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google plus etc.- can you limit these in any way? Can you cut down your time here or have a day a week that you disconnect? Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist talks about Finding Significance in a World of Distractions. YES, love it! The gist is to recognize the distractions and manage them.

  • Emotional clutter. What is this anyway? Bernice Wood from the Blog, Living the  Balanced Life talks about what it is here:

Some of the emotional clutter we may carry:

Worries Low self-image

Toxic relationship Guilt

Anxiety Fear

Inability to trust Anger

Negative outlook, pessimist

Read more about this!

 

  • Mental Clutter. The Minimalist’s, Ryan Nicodemus writes about Decluttering your Mental Clutter. He describes this as “the voices in your head that won’t be quiet.” We all know about that. Those things from the past or present that make you feel anxious and weigh on your mind. These included physical health, circumstances, and past troubles. Time to deal with these and say good bye!

 

 

  • Unfinished projects. If it has been sitting around forever and you haven’t dealt with it then decide if this is something you really want to do. If you do then stop making excuses and schedule time to do it!
  • Nostalgic clutter. Gretchen Rueben author of the Happiness Project describes this as, “things you hold on to from your past that you don’t need or use.  Things like old text books, old love letters, etc.” I think I may still have all of my binders and textbooks from college. Hmmmm…

  • Aspirational clutter. How about those jeans that you are hoping to fit back into again?

  • Commitments. How many things are you involved in? Are you running from one activity to the next all the time? Do you want to be? Do you have time for the things that you really want to do?

 

Sound good? We think so! Let’s do this together. We can share stories and support on our Facebook page too. http://www.facebook.com/simplelifecelebrations

 

The end result is happiness in the palm of our hands….Mmmmmm…..


 

Need help getting started? We can help!

www.simplelifecelebrations.com

krystal@simplelifecelebrations.com

shawna@simplelifecelebrations.com

A Meal Planning Gift to You

meal planning

On Saturday Shawna and I enjoyed a lovely latte at our favorite coffee shop! We decided to grab our new cookbooks and favorite recipes and compile our meal plan for the week. All we needed were our recipe books and binders, our handy weekly meal plan sheet and a pen. It was a nice way to visit, share ideas and get a healthy meal plan for the week!

Why do we meal plan? There are several reasons for meal planning and the biggest reason for me is to save time during the week. I save time trying to decide what to eat, get the groceries for that meal, and then prepare it. By doing up a meal plan I can prep ahead of time and have all of the ingredients ready to go.

What are other the benefits of meal planning?
● you will eat out less
● with a plan you will eat less pre packaged meals
● you will always have the groceries that you need
● less food waste because every food on your list will have a purpose
● you will save money
● you will eat a good variety of meals
● you will be eating healthier
● your family can participate in the meal plan
● you won’t have the stress of trying to figure out what’s for dinner
● less time wasted figuring out what to eat and grocery shopping
● less trips to the store means less impulse shopping and temptations

I would like to give you a template for a meal plan that I made to help you get started and on your way to healthy, happy meal planning!

Click here to download your copy: Weekly Meal Plan

Weekly-Meal-Plan1 pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bon appetit!

 

 

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