Judge a Little Less; Support a Little More

 

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

 

Super Mom can Suck It. That’s right.  I said it. The idea that the modern working and or stay at home mom can do it all perfectly is a figment of our imaginations. It is fake and I am calling Bullshit.

bullshit

Why oh WHY must we try and pretend that we have got it all together. You know what I am talking about. And just for the record ladies just because someone posts a picture of a decadent, gourmet, perfectly healthy, balanced diet, raw food meal that her AMAZING husband made doesn’t mean that she wasn’t scarfing down a fast food meal yesterday because she really wanted a night off of cooking and her family has been running ALL damn week. Remember all that you generally see on social media are the highlights. Though I do find it refreshing when peeps/bloggers post real life incidents that we can all relate to and gather support from.

You see in fact it was just yesterday while I was at work I found myself saying that, “Today I am the disorganized organizer. “ I won’t give you the sob story but my day was tight. I mean really hectic and I sort of forgot that it was my co-worker’s birthday party and I was responsible for it. Fun right?! Well yes it really is because we get to celebrate each other, hang out and have a little shin dig party. But holy shit if I didn’t forget until I was driving from one of my clients and that fleeting remembrance struck me and almost made me drive off of the road. I mean I didn’t have a card or anything. Thank goodness I had the cake all pre-planned! So here I am between client visits, running for a card, flowers, the cake and beverages. Sigh. Talk about a mega fail. But guess what?! It went well despite me having a full work day – it all came together. Unbelievable. I am supposed to have my shit together right?

I am just like everybody else. I have a life that involves more than just myself and these things happen. And correct me if I am wrong but I am not the ONLY one who messes up am I? Am I the only Mom in history that forgot to put pajama day in her calendar? Even if my son says that he was the ONLY one that wasn’t in his pj’s in the class picture?

It was just last night. I was solo parenting and I was tired from the day (refer to above birthday story). I actually bribed my children to bath the dog. He (the pup) smelled like he slept in the garbage can all day and I could not muster up the energy to bath him. So I did an awful parenting thing and told the kiddos that if they bathed the dog then they could stay up an hour late. Yup. I did. No one said that I was nominated for parent of the year. I think sometimes we just have to do what we have to do. It was Darwin that advocated survival of the fittest right???

Just to top it off yesterday. My daughter gave me an invitation to a birthday party that was the next day. Right. After. School. Say what?! So there I was “that customer” in Walmart a half hour before it closes frantically looking for a present for her friend. That I know nothing about. Don’t even get me started about the other birthday that we have tomorrow, Father’s Day and the OTHER birthday that I pretty much forgot about. There goes the budget.

For the love of ____ can we just stop judging each other?

Some things that annoy the hell out of me…

How about those peeps that judge those on Facebook? I like Facebook so please don’t sit back and say that it is rendering my ability to communicate or love my family.  I am not a Pinterest gal – does that mean I am not able to make nice things and be creative?

moms

I like healthy foods and sometimes non healthy foods BUT for the love of gluten free, paleo, raw food, and quinoa sometimes I just want a damn bag of chips!

I don’t pick my children up for school in the latest fashions with perfectly manicured nails and magnificent hair, sometimes yoga pants and a ponytail are about all that I can/want to muster up. That doesn’t make me less of a person.

Ever feel like this?

Mom3

When people bad mouth their boss when it isn’t justified. I mean really if you think that you are qualified for the job then why didn’t you apply?

Don’t judge me if my house is messy and don’t judge it if it is clean. Who cares?

Don’t judge me for what I  have and don’t judge me for what I don’t have. Those are just things.

Is it so awful to be happy for each other? Is it?!?!?!

There is nothing wrong with admitting that things are not awesome.awesome

All I am saying that it doesn’t matter if we aren’t perfect (whatever the hell that means!) as long as we strive to be a better version of ourselves every day. If one day you eat poorly then the next day try and eat a nutritious diet. If one day you find yourself yelling and freaking out then the next day try and find ways to stay calm and peaceful.

Whether you are a single Mom, a Step mom, a Foster Mom, a Mom of one or six, a stay at home Mom, or a career Mom. Kudos to each and every one of you. You are freaking awesome.

So though sometimes it is difficult let’s judge a little less and support each other a little more.

mom

Hugs

Krystal

Open post
be positive

What Really Matters?

photo 1 (2)

It has been a taxing few weeks. My daughter has had a cyst/abscess (we won’t know for sure until the results of the biopsy come back) on her forehead for the past few months. We are pretty certain that it is nothing major. It wasn’t too concerning until this little lump became large, red and painful. We have seen more than our fair share of Doctors. I think that I have calculated that between my husband and my daughter we have been to 12 appointments in the last couple of months. So it has consumed a large piece of our lives.

be positive

As a nurse I wasn’t really panicking about this lump until the signs of infection and inflammation became evident. It was the Mom part of me (the gnawing, heart string tugging, gut feeling) that made me become a bit pushier instead of waiting around for our next referral to come through. After all I am her advocate. In the meantime, she was becoming more and more uncomfortable, kids were making comments about her lump and I was concerned that this would cause some cosmetic issues as it grew larger and larger.

 

family

 

After a visit to a fantastic hospital ER Dept. (on the advice from a Nurse co-worker) within two days we were meeting with a plastic surgeon. The Surgeon and three interns asked questions, poked, prodded. Then the Dr. suggested that they could possibly fit my daughter in for surgery that same day but we would just need to wait around and see once the Doctors got through the scheduled surgeries and nothing emergent came through the doors then we would be good to go. My gal had not eaten anything since the night before and she burst into tears because of the uncertainty of what would take place. Her Dad, little brother, myself had the day to hang out at the hospital and wait for word of when this would take place. It wasn’t a case of just freezing this area and taking/cleaning it out. She would have anesthetic, a drain, IV, and stitches. Something that she has never gone through. Heck I have never had to have surgery (touch wood). It was a little scary.

 

stronger

 

They admitted her to the Day Surgery Unit and we settled in to the room. They gave us a pager in case we wanted to roam the hospital and let me tell you we know a couple of the floors quite well! We were not allowed to leave in case we could be fit in at any time. There was a chance that we would wait all day and not get in at all. To kill time we and keep her mind off of what ‘might happen’ we checked out the gift shop, played cards, read, watched movies etc. etc. Hubby and I took turns at taking the kids for walks as 10 hours to wait was a really long time. We watched many children come and go from surgery after surgery. We went through many emotions at this time. Worry. Hope. Anxiety. Thankfulness. Love…lots of love.

Then in a flash the OR nurse came to our day surgery room and said, “We are ready”. Not knowing all day if this was going to happen or not suddenly reality hit. It was time. My poor girl burst into tears scared about what was going to happen, about going to sleep, about them ‘cutting her head’, about having the intravenous in her hand. We were relieved that it was finally happening, we were hurting for our daughter, and we just wanted to make everything better like all parents would.  I got to hold her hand until the anesthetic put my little girl to sleep. The surgery took about an hour and a half. The lump was gone. We just had to get through the ill effects of the anesthetic. There was a fine line where we were not sure if we were staying over a night or going home. At quarter to one a.m. she was able to keep some fluids down, the IV came out, the dressing got changed and we were discharged.

 

photo 2 (3)

 

Big. BIG sigh of relief. All of us were exhausted and my youngest was having meltdowns for the last hour. Everything went well and my gal is healing with flying colors! We are very happy!

 photo 3

 

Here are some things that I learned/noticed from that day:

~what matters most is health and relationships

~though my son and daughter argue they love each other very much

~sometimes you just have to trust your gut

~my husband is my rock

~we have some amazing people in our lives

~patience really is a virtue

 

support

 

Another thing; don’t doubt that those little actions won’t make a world of difference in someones day. A message, a call, an email to let someone know that you are thinking of them could be uplifting, bring hope and show support. I pray that if you are going through anything with a friend or family member that you have the strength that you need, the support to help you through and the courage and optimism to make it ok.

Blessings,

Krystal

Open post
pocket icon

Get Pocket!

I love to read blog posts. It’s a big chunk of my day. They inspire me, teach me and/or make me laugh. Sometimes I share them with you. Most of them come to me in my email which is cool. However, I also don’t like to have a crazy full inbox – I’m a professional organizer! LOL! I’ve been a mostly-zero inbox person for a very long time. Discovering this tool has made this even easier!

pocket website

The tool is called Pocket (it used to be called Read it Later or something like that). Basically, it allows me to skim through my email for the posts that I simply MUST read. I click to open the post. If I have time to read it then, I will. Most of the time, I don’t have time to read then(FOCUS!), but I want to be sure to really read it later. I go to the post and then click the little “Pocket” icon to stash the post for reading when I have time.

pocket icon

 

The reason this works is that it allows me to stay out of my email until the few times a day when I go through and do my focused email maintenance time (batching, peeps, STOP going into your email every 10 minutes! and definitely don’t have it running while you’re trying to WORK! Focus people!)

 

During this focused time, I’m creating a focused READING time because all of the MUST reads are together (and are visually appealing!) I don’t have these cluttering up my inbox. Then when I’m waiting for kids or just sitting down to read for a few minutes, I flip over to my Pocket app and do some quiet reading! Again, focused on only reading, not being disturbed by emails coming in because I’m not in my email!

Let’s face it: we really can’t do multiple things at once. It’s EXTREMELY inefficient to be constantly jumping around between things. I know. I’ve tried it. It simply doesn’t work. You have to STOP pretending it does.

This doesn’t mean that I now have another app full of junk that I’ll just get overwhelmed with. I’m keeping it to around 5-10 things each day that I read (or use the link in a post or something; whatever I was going to do with the post) and then purge from Pocket (yep, DELETE). I’m RUTHLESS and fricking honest with what I’m actually going to read. If it doesn’t light me up at first glance (like, OMG I HAVE to read this!) then it doesn’t get “pocketed”.  If I’m glancing through email and kinda go, “well, this would be cool, don’t know when I’ll get to it” then it gets deleted. I just don’t have time for wishy washy shit. It has to light me up or make me go, “Wow”!
 
I’ve got about 10 “other” things sitting in there that are project based that I’ll be moving elsewhere in the next week or two. There will always be some that need a bit more “work” to deal with before they are purged too. This number will not get higher than 10, because again, I need to keep a realistic expectation on what I’m actually going to do.
 
pocket snapshot
 

Keeping up on the reading in this is easy to do because there’s an app on my phone (and I’m putting it on my Kobo – just haven’t done it yet) and it will even work offline. It’s visually easy to read (no distractions from other website stuff that you normally see when you’re in the post reading on the site) and feeling like I’m reading a magazine.

Get Pocket and move one step closer to getting more reading done (that you want to do!) and less distracted! Get Pocket

I’m a techie and have worked in IT (and been a full time working mom) for over 20 years, so I’ve got lots of tricks on how to make your email work for you. This tool is just one of them! (I’ll share more tools with you in the coming weeks. I’m creating an in depth course that will include deeper insight and how to use these kinds of things. Sign up to be the first to know about it: Goals Goddess Registration)

Open post
My daughter's new bedroom.

How I Transformed My Daughter’s Room

My daughter's new bedroom.

This is my daughter’s bedroom. We recently renovated it into this pretty, more grown up room. What once was a room with bubble gum pink walls and a garden mural, is now a room that she can once again enjoy as a tween and continue to grow into. I REALLY wish that I would have taken before and after pictures for you to see as it was a really big transformation!

My husband was laughing at me because when I get an idea and know what I want to do, there is no stopping me. The kids had a week off of school and I had some extra time off due to the Family Day holiday. I am always so gung-ho beginning these type of projects and then when I am smack dab in the middle of a huge mess I go, “what the heck possessed me to start this?!” Anyone else do this? 🙂

I want to give you the deets of what I did here as well as the pros and cons to doing a project like this yourselves. First off we had to do the usual prep work when painting. I pretty much always let the kids choose their colours with a wee bit of guidance of course. But really it is just paint, it is not like it can’t be changed again if you don’t like it or outgrow it. It is nice for them to have a comfortable place to enjoy. We toned down the bubble gum walls with this more neutral colour. The theme wall is a vibrant and gorgeous turquoise. I was advised to do two coats of primer and then two coats of paint. This was a total of 16 hours of painting alone for this project! I wouldn’t want to cut corners with painting though as then you will not be happy with the coverage and end up with an uneven colour on the walls.  I have to say that I may have been slightly high from the fumes over the course of two days!

Here are different views of the room with a little description of what went on.

Cute Little Corner

This corner used to have a clothes hanger stand, a huge teddy bear and this shelf. The shelf was full of knick knack type things plus papers and posters. Now we have all of her nail art/make-up stuff off of her vanity desk and she uses this shelf to organize all of that. This shelf was in her room already and was bought for $5 from a garage sale! The branch wall decal was $17 and tied in the colours nicely. It was easy to apply and can be removed just as easily.

Theme Wall with Vanity

Her vanity was a present from us a few years ago and is her most expensive piece of furniture in her room. She uses it ALL the time for homework, getting ready in the morning and doing her nail art. Together we decluttered the desk drawers and the surface as well as the shelf on top. The shelf and mirror were purchased from her school garage sale a few years ago for $5 each. We repainted and distressed them with paint that we already had. Score! Less is more when it comes to surfaces. She is able to let the things she loves shine whereas before she just had too much stuff out; it was very cluttered and she didn’t have room to be the creative gal that she is!

No Wasted Space Here! Behind the Door.

Here is the area behind the door. I wanted to make use of all spaces and leave these things accessible but not in the forefront. So I purchased the little over the door hanging storage to hold her purses, robe, scarves and hats. It really works well and was just $10.  The bulletin board I kept in the room so that she can keep her calendar up and display her awards and fave. pictures. My handy Mom and I made this a while back; it has pockets and ribbons to hold her papers/pictures.

A Zen Corner

This corner houses her tall dresser. We were able to get her canvas crayon picture up that she just made. (I think that it is important for them to be able to display their creative art!) Over here she has her special Himalayan salt lamp and alarm clock. She bought this over-sized pillow for $13; it will be nice when her and her friends hang out. There are two new curtain panels and rod in her room that cost $60. The curtains are supposed to help keep the cold and light out – bonus!

 Pretty Little ExtraTouches

With a new coat of paint the window box that my hubby made went back up. She applied some of her cute stickers to dress it up. It is mostly empty right now; we used it for stuffies before. It works nicely from hanging all of her headbands neatly. The chandelier is one of her favorite things in this room. She now has adequate light and thinks that it is so pretty. It was the most expensive purchase at $50 plus the cost of the bulbs. It was so worth it as she says the light makes her happy! We wanted some of her photos displayed that remind her of things and people that she loves. The frame was $20. She used to have several homemade frames (from Popsicle sticks and such that she had outgrown.)

There are always pros and cons to projects and I wanted to share them with you!

Pros

Cons

  • Vibrant clean walls, lots of time with my daughter, a skill that my daughter learned (the steps to painting properly)
  • A decluttered room with only the things that she loves and uses
  • A room that she can enjoy and grow in to
  • Several hours of painting

 

  • Taking the time to recycle, sell and donate her old things
  • $ spent to update the room

All in all this project cost about $400. This includes all of the paint (I have lots left), drop cloths, brushes (which I can re-use), rod, curtains, over-the-door hanger, wall decal, chandelier, bulbs, duvet cover/sham, pillow, register and picture frame. It was well worth it and I saved money by putting in the labor ourselves. Not to mention we are getting money back from the old décor and toys that we have sold. We were able to get rid of one bag of garbage, one bag of recycling and we donated three bags of stuff. Decluttering creates a canvas for us to be creative.

Yay us!! I am so proud of my daughter for staying with me the whole time to get the job done. I didn’t have to ask her once to help out. Plus she made us lunches every day! She now has this skill to take with her when she gets her own home. She loves her room especially the new, happy lighting. 😉

Thanks for following our ‘little’ project!

Krystal

Effort-1

Open post
Simplify Your Nest

Seven Small Things to do to Get Organized Every Day

There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” ~Peter Cohen

January always feels like a time for a fresh start to me. I always look forward to filling the pages of my own personal story throughout the year, don’t you?! One thing that many people want to do is to be more organized; it is a very common New Year’s Resolution. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned unfortunately. One mistake that people make with organizing is biting off more than they can chew. Big plans can get out of control and that leads to some serious procrastination!

I have some things that you can do daily to keep your home neat and tidy that are all doable. Some of these you may already do in your own routine. (Kudos to you!)

1. Everything in it’s place. Make sure that every item has a home that makes sense. Ie. All like items in one place. This increases the likelihood of everyone in your house putting them back. If you have no room then it is time to donate, sell or give away a few things.

2. If something is broken then either fix it or don’t. Make that decision and give yourself a timeline to deal with it. Having broken things hanging around is a waste of your precious real estate! (It is also bad Feng Shui as these things symbolize a broken life.)

3. Have a donate box/bin in an easily accessible place where you can have items that you no longer want, love, or need. As soon as it is full take the items to the thrift shop or appropriate new home.

4. Keep flat surfaces clear. This is a toughy! Clean and clear surfaces such as tables and counter tops are magnets for clutter. Keep the mess at bay by doing a quick tidy at the end of the day. Go from room to room with a basket and return items to their spot. Better yet get your family into the habit of helping with this as part of their bed time routine. 😉

5. Do your dishes after your meal. This is a great habit to get into that has been awesome for me in my home! As soon as we are finished our meal together, we each have a job to do; whether it be clearing dishes, washing, drying, or putting away. Then I usually follow and wipe the table and counter tops. It is a pet peeve of mine to wake up to dirty, smelly dishes. A nasty way to start the day is to have to do chores!

6. Another habit that takes just a couple of minutes is to make your bed after you get up. It is such a simple and quick thing to do that automatically makes your room look way better. Start when your kiddos are young in teaching them to pull the covers up when the get up. My seven year old is awesome at this! My teen…well still working on that one!!

7. Do a load of laundry every day or every second day at the most. This makes it so much easier than having a bunch of loads to do at a time. There is always enough to make a load if you think about it. Throw in some towels, a coat or that throw blanket that you have been meaning to wash. Also make sure that laundry ends up in the clothes hampers and not all over the floor. Lastly make sure those clothes get put away. (Why is this task so difficult?)

These things don’t cost money and they cost little time but make a world of difference! Start with one thing at a time and gradually incorporate all of these into your everyday routine. 

Best of luck,

Krystal

Simplify Your Nest

 

 

Open post
Resolutions

I Resolve to Not Make Resolutions. Here is What I will do Instead!

Resolutions

New Years Resolutions are not my thing. From what I have researched only 8-14% of people will have success with their resolutions. I am not discouraging you from making them; you need to do what is right for you. I just want to give you some theory and really think it through so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Resolutions are paved with good intentions however that just isn’t enough. I do think that it is imperative to understand why they fail so that you have a better chance of succeeding.

Here are my thoughts on why resolutions fail…

1. Goals are too vague or too complex. Either way you are setting yourself up for failure. For example, if you say that this is the year that you are going to get in shape but you don’t have a plan or a reason for doing so then you likely won’t stick with it. Something has to change in order for you to meet your end result.

What can you do? Things like scheduling time for workouts and meal planning would be a great start for getting on your way. Perhaps taking a health class or signing up for an event will get you motivated. Write it down and make it happen.

On the flip side if you make an uber detailed plan with no room for any flexibility you are going to get stressed, overwhelmed and begin to resent what you are doing. Don’t say, “I am going to work out for an hour every day, drink green smoothies twice a day, cut out all sugar, gluten, red meat and sign up for an event every month.” This is not realistic and most people would like to have a life to live beyond this one resolution. If you hate what you are doing then why are you doing it? Keep it simple!

2. Making too many changes at once. You are trying to make too many things a habit at once by saying that you are going to eat healthy, exercise more, get organized and get out of debt this year. This decreases the likelihood that you will make any changes at all.

What can you do? Choose one thing and make it a regular part of your life before you add another. (I read that it takes anywhere from 21-66 days to form a habit.) Prioritize what you want to do and make that a habit before you move on to the next!

3. You should do it. Many of us think that we need to follow the crowd and set resolutions because it is what everyone else is doing. We are ‘supposed to’ live according to the standard and do what everyone else is doing. No. Thank. You. If you cannot pinpoint any value in what you think you should change, you likely won’t do it anyways.

Resolutions and goals take work. So if you are serious about making changes then you have to put in the time. Prioritize, plan, and schedule your way to success. Check in with yourself every now and then as well to stay accountable. 

All the best to you!

Krystal

~ Bill Cosby
~ Bill Cosby
Open post
Your-Photography-is-Everywhere-You-Are

Photos Photos Everywhere!

Your-Photography-is-Everywhere-You-Are.

In the digital age, it’s really easy to take photos. They don’t cost anything and we can now take them with our phone, not just our camera! They don’t seem to take up space because they are all digitally stored. But oh…they do take up space:

  • In our mind – as we worry about losing the memory card or the hard drive
  • In our hearts – as we stress about the fact that we haven’t yet made that scrapbook since his 2nd year (and now he’s 13)
  • In our gut – as we get that sinking feeling that we forgot where we stored those CDs of the wedding photos

Yep, these things still take up space – even if they aren’t physically printed and laying there in boxes.

What can we do to deal with these digital photos? There are lots of ways to store them. This lists some ways to store digital files and my thoughts on each.

Photo CD’s and DVD’s

These can store a lot of photos and video. However, they do not last forever; depending upon the quality. These can last from as little as 5 to 10 years to…we don’t know yet! These disks are susceptible to damage just like anything else, so store them properly and check them regularly.

Your Computer Hard Drive (or portable hard drive, networked drive, USB sticks, SD cards)

These are inexpensive and available everywhere. However, I’m sure all of us know someone who has washed or lost a USB stick, wiped a SD memory card by accident, or…the worst…had a total computer hard drive failure. Of course, we all have photos on all of these. These range in sizes as well, able to hold more and more of our precious memories…and thus more at risk of losing them all!

Online Tools

These are available anywhere you have an Internet connection. Some are free; some allow you to pay a low subscription fee to get more space. All of them are “out there”; on the web, so you may have some concerns about where YOUR data is sitting. Some of these tools:

  • Facebook – we can store and share various albums on Facebook. These are not generally of a large size (makes it difficult to print quality photos later) and if you lose access to your account, you lose access to your photos
  • Picasahttp://picasa.google.com/ – this is Google’s photo storage and sharing space. You can store larger files, create albums, etc. This synchronizes with the tool that you install on your computer
  • Microsoft SkyDrive – www.skydrive.com – I have used this in the past, it allows photo, video and document sharing and storage
  • Dropboxhttp://www.dropbox.com/ – This tool is online and has a download for your computer. Use it for any kinds of files. I use this all the time because it synchronizes to the various computers that I use it on. You start with some space for free, but that can go up when you invite others to share with you
  • 4Sharedhttp://www.4shared.com/ – this site gives you 15 GB of free storage space for all kinds of files. I have used this one for some things. The people you share with have to have an account
  • Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/ – I haven’t used this tool much, it allows 100 MB of photos uploaded per month from what I can find. I don’t think it has any other limits – many people use this for public portfolios etc
  • CrashPlanhttp://www.crashplan.com/ and Carbonitehttp://www.carbonite.ca/ – these two are some subscription based tools that allow complete backups of your computer system, not just your photos. 

None of these are solutions by themselves. I recommend that you use a combination of several of these. Don’t rely on any one tool to keep all of your important photos. I like to have a combination of my local hard drives plus various online tools to keep a backup of my photos. This requires some organizing and constant maintenance.

What do I do?

I’m like you actually – I have photos everywhere too. It’s inevitable. These are the rules I try to follow:

  1. I have CDs & DVD’s of the kids photos from when they were little. These are in a box all together. It’s actually time for me to take these out and verify them
  2. Recent photos are on our main computer (with some scattered on others – compiling them this holiday season) and I have a task at the end of the year to upload them to an online backup and put a copy on my external hard drive as well
  3. Shared photos are online in Dropbox – our biz photos are nicely organized by the amazing Krystal Worth online for both of us to use
  4. I always, ALWAYS get rid of junk photos on the camera and the iPhone as I go. I don’t like these hanging around. I also upload these to the computer (from the SD Card) and to DropBox (from the phone)
  5. My goal for 2014 – have MONTHLY “project” time with my photos – I have started making videos more for telling the story of our lives. These make the photos more fun. My goal then is to do this often and organize/cleanup the photos after I’ve used them in the project. If you don’t make time for it regularly, it will get out of hand.
  6. Step out from behind the camera/phone and get in the picture – more and more I find that I take fewer pictures and get in there and participate. The memories will be there even if the photos are not. Enjoy life in FRONT of the camera!

 

SLC Gal tips for organizing your photos:

  • Keep backups of your photos, videos and other important documents. Preferably, have a backup online that you can access from any computer. Computers fail – often
  • Regularly download the photos from your camera/phone onto your computer and your online storage. Verify that these work before clearing the card
  • As you take photos, use “downtime” (eg. riding the tour bus somewhere) to clear the garbage photos off before you waste time downloading them onto your computer. Only keep the good ones! You’ll never get to it if you don’t keep after it
  • Don’t go crazy creating too many folders – keep them as simple as possible. Put all the Christmas photos in one folder, in sub photos by year. Use meaningful names for the folders. Don’t worry too much about naming all of the pictures; you can see what they are when you scroll through them. Add captions later when you use them in a slide show
  • Keep all of your passwords either in a notebook or a password storage tool. Be sure someone knows where this is and how to get into it. There are more cases of people who have passed on and accesses to their online “life” is impossible without this information

A word about “online security”:

People often ask me about the security of putting personal data online. My answer is that it’s already there, so it’s time to get over it. That seems a little harsh, I know, but if someone really wants to find out about you and your family, they can pretty easily these days. The best you can do is to protect your passwords, be aware of all of your accounts, and if it’s something you think your grandmother wouldn’t want to see, then don’t put it online at all! My house was robbed when we lived in Calgary 15 years ago as well as we’we’ve had our credit card information stolen.

I’m not bitter about it – it just happens. It’s not a matter of “if”; it’s “when” – there’s no such thing as perfectly secure. Online or offline, it’s just a matter of time before you or someone close to you will be affected by this kind of problem. Unless you want to live like a hermit, it will happen. Just be aware and constantly vigilant. Teach your kids as well (and be VERY aware of what they do online). Don’t let fear hold you back either; there is so much great stuff out there!

.

Take some time and “play” with some of these online tools. Feel free to use our Ask the Organizer service to get our professional answers to your toughest organizing questions.

If you have other ways that you have stored your photos, please share in the comments below. If you found this post useful, share it on social media!

Open post
lights

Simple Christmas Storage Solutions

Christmas storage can be tricky between the indoor lights, the outdoor lights, the ornaments, the tree, the wrapping and all of the other cutsie knick-knack items. My goal is to find you ways that you can neatly organize all of your stuff without spending a ton of money! In fact there are several items in our home already that we can use to organize these items.

Lets first talk about lights:

Here you will see that these lights are simply wrapped around cardboard. Cut your cardboard to fit a plastic tub or cardboard box and you can stack various string of lights inside. Easy peasy!

Source

lights

 

                                                                                               

Here we have Christmas lights coiled up in a regular mason jar which will tightly fit a 12′ string of small lights. It is apparently easy to unravel too. If you want you can even leave them in the jar, light them up and have a pretty decoration or something to use for a party.

 Source

 

 

jar storage

                                                                                                 

 

Let’s not forget about the ornaments.

There are many ways to store those precious ornaments too! Ever thought about reusing those red solo cups? Place a cardboard or wood piece between and you have double the storage. Woot-woot!

 

red solo

 

 

Here is another great way to recycle and repurpose something and keep it out of the landfill. I think this is brilliant! Use those drink trays to hold round ornaments. They fit nicely and these things can stack nicely! Why didn’t I think of that? Please click on the picture to follow more on this.

Source

 

cup holder

                                                                                                  

Egg cartons are a great way to safely store all kinds of things including various Christmas tree decorations. All is protected nicely in this and you can use multiple egg cartons to stack. Just label the outside of them with marker to know what’s inside.

Source

 

egg carton

                                                                                                 

Here is another great way to store a fragile ornament. Reuse a plastic food storage bag. Puff it up with some air to make a cushion and it will provide protection for whatever is inside.

Source

 

plastic bag

 

 

This would be a great DYI project made out of some wood, dowels and hooks. This lovely all in one organizer houses wrapping paper, ribbon, scissors and tape. Love it when everything can be stored together! The how-to is in the link below.

Source

gift wrap

 

Have any of those plastic storage bag holders kicking around? They can serve a dual purpose like many of our household items.

 

bag storage container

 

And last but not least here is a very simple way to store your wrap. Yep you just need string!

 

giftwrap storage

 

This should get you on your way to an organized holiday! I would love to hear ways that you organize your holiday paraphenalia. Leave me a message in the comments.

Blessings,

Krystal

Open post
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 
― Dr. Seuss

Where Did the Joy of Christmas Go?

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”  ― Dr. Seuss
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss

Remember when you were a child and you couldn’t wait for Christmas day to come? You were literally counting down the sleeps until that special day? Looking back I remember the get-togethers, playing with my cousins, driving around to look at the Christmas lights, the music and mostly the excitement of the big day building up.

So what happens as we grow up? We stop believing in the magic of Christmas perhaps? We forget about the reason behind the season and the true meaning? We end up emptying our bank accounts and then some? It could be a number of reasons. I recently polled some of our Facebook followers to see what it is about the holiday season that really irks them. The answers were: commercialization, financial strain, expense, excessive gift buying, pressure to buy gifts, the drama, and the excessive packaging. One person also resented the fact that stores started decorating and playing music way before December.

I think that all of these are valid reasons for feeling a little Scroogey.

Problem: Let’s first address the holiday in terms of the expense of it all. Who do we buy present for and where do we draw the line? We make our list. We have our immediate family, our parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, friends…Oh! Don’t forget about teachers, bus drivers, the paperboy…let’s not forget about our Dr’s…I mean PULLEASE. Where does it end? No wonder we are broke and have negative feelings towards Christmas!

Solution: Narrow your list to suit your budget. There are other ways to show appreciation. And how many mugs and smelly things can one teacher have?! Do they want a gazillion #1 Teacher ornaments? I am guessing for the most part no. At least not the ones that I have spoken with . How about writing a letter to let them know how much they are appreciated? Believe it or not, not everyone wants to receive gifts. Seriously. Unless you find truly meaningful gifts who is to say that your bus driver wants 25 boxes of chocolates. Don’t buy just for the sake of buying.

Here are some other ways that you can show appreciation:

Three Alternatives To An Expensive Gift

  • Quality Time (My favorite!) In my opinion this is the best way to show someone that you care. It is the chance to spend time together and make memories. I am more likely to remember the day we had together laughing and talking but chances but chances are I won’t remember or think too much about that sweater you got me.
  • Make a Gift. My favorite gifts are the ones that people have spent time making for me. My husband has built things with his tools, my bff made a beautiful quilt for me, my mom has made me afghans. Over the years my hubby has written me poems. These are some of my most treasured things ever! Yes some of these things still cost money but if you already have the materials to make them then you can also save money. Another benefit of making your own gift is that there isn’t all of the excessive packaging that goes with store bought items. It’s a win-win.
  • Offer your services. Offer to take your friend’s children for the day or for a sleep over so that they can have some time to themselves. That can be a real lifesaver when you need a break and don’t have family that is close by. Have your friends over for a nice meal or plan a day trip together. All of these things make for fun experiences.

More great ideas! Here are more alternatives to buying gifts from Leo at Zen Habits.

Problem: Consumerism. Consumerism is slapping Christmas in the face and turning it into a retail free for all. Companies are using Christmas as a prime time to market their products. They all claim to have the ‘perfect’ gift amongst all of the plastic and boxes. There are tons of toy commercials on TV this time of year; much to parents chagrin. There needs to be that balance between Christmas and consumerism.

Solution: Don’t buy into it. (Pun intended). Do what you feel comfortable doing. Spend what you are able to spend. There are some things that are out of our control like the commercials, the store’s music, decorations, and advertising. People feel pressured into buying from the ‘get a head start on Christmas’ slogans. You know that though? I cannot stress this enough…people need to start doing what is right for them. If you feel like the true meaning of Christmas is lost then how can you find it again? In a previous post I suggested sitting down with your loved ones and discussing exactly what your goals were for the holiday season. Make your Christmas mission statement. You may be surprised to know that gift buying and giving etc. isn’t what everyone cares about anyways.

Problem: Family Drama. This can be tricky. I feel like this one should be left to the experts. I get that all families have drama. Why does this exasperate at Christmas time? I know that some families have to drive all over God’s green (or white) earth at Christmas time. Some love hangin’ with the fam. while others just want to stay home. I haven’t had these issues because my husband’s family is all overseas, my parents live in the same town as me and my brother isn’t far away.

Also all families have different dynamics and get along or don’t get along for various reasons. Dealing with that when you are all together at Christmas can be tough.

Solution: Let the little things slide and deal with the big issues. In other words there comes a point when you realize that you cannot change people so you either accept them for who they are or move on. Well, with family this is a little more difficult especially at family functions. So the little things that annoy you should just be ignored while the things that are going to make you insane if you have to deal with them one more time should perhaps be dealt with in the form of a reasonable conversation. We hope that our families will act perfectly at all times but we know that this is not realistic so set your expectations a teeny bit lower.

My Christmas wish for you is to have a positively wonderful holiday season. Make the most out of what you have wherever you are. You can do it!!!

Christmas

 

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7