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holiday definition

Our Free Gift to You!

I love to host a get together on Christmas Eve that involves our dearest family and friends. Basically we hang out listening to Christmas music, play games, and snack on appetizers. We always watch where Santa is in the world too. (Here is the link for that! http://www.noradsanta.org/) It is one of my favorite traditions. We exchange gifts with our friends and the kids always get to open one present from us which is new pajamas. They wear their new pj’s and then in the morning they look nice for the occasional snapshot that we may take opening presents. Like all get togethers it does take a little planning though. And here is why I thought it would be nice to have a pretty list ready for you to print and plan your special holiday get together. You can use it for a dinner party, a holiday games evening, the ugly Christmas sweater party, or even Christmas dinner. 

 

Remember the theme here is to have a low to no stress holiday. You are not doing ANYONE a favor including yourself if you cannot enjoy this time of year. 

holiday definition

So for those that enjoy making lists to get organized here is your Holiday Menu Planner .

Holiday Menu PlannerP1

Holiday Menu PlannerP2

Enjoy your get together! 

Blessings,

Krystal & Shawna

 

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let her sleep

6 Ways to Simplify to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

By taking 10-15 minutes a night to complete just a few tasks you can clear the clutter thus clearing your mind for a restful sleep. Ahhhhhh bliss, right? Here’s a simple little routine that will help you sleep like a baby. (I may be biased but I think that this baby is adorable!)

Baby Sleeping

 

1) Make sure that your sink is sparkly. Shawna learned this tip from Fly Lady years ago and has stuck with it. By shining your sink you not only have a sense of accomplishment by having to have all of your dishes clean but you also get to wake up to a sparkly sink in the morning. What a nice feeling! Starting with a clean pallete so to speak and not having to wake up to do this task will bring you joy. As Fly Lady says: ” When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you, and a smile will come across your lovely face.”

Tip- Getting your dishes done right after a meal is a time saver. Little bits of food won’t be stuck on and you won’t have to soak and scrape later. 

2) Do a quick tidy. Take a couple of minutes every night to quickly return items to their proper rooms. Just a simple pick up can eliminate the clutter that can soon get out of hand.

Tip- Have your family pick up their belongings before bed as part of their routine. It is a great habit for kids to form. Then pat yourself on the back for being a great parent. 

3) Pick out the next day’s clothes. By taking a minute to choose your clothes the next day you will eliminate that task from the early morning chaos. You won’t have to go searching. Also, if any of you have a teen that MUST have that certain thing to wear you can search it out and not have an early morning battle!

Tip – Make sure that clothing is returned to it’s proper closet when you are finished. It is so easy to do the dump n’ run but makes it difficult when it comes time to find those shoes, coats etc. Take 2 minutes as soon as the kiddos get home from school or activities to sort and hang outerwear. (They can help too. Get them in the habit!)

4) Make a list before you settle down for the night. Lists are a great way to organize tasks and thoughts so that you don’t have to worry about remembering everything. Make a short list of what you want to accomplish. Prioritize those things. Put your list away and forget about it til morning!

Tip – I <Krystal> like paper lists. There is nothing quite like crossing off those accomplishments and watching the list get smaller and smaller. Shawna enjoys the techie apps for her I-phone and computer. Some of her faves are Remember the Milk, Evernote, and Trello

5) Take out the trash! It is the same idea as clearing your sink. Get rid of all of the trash and start clean and fresh for the next day. Besides when you think about it, it is kind of gross having smelly trash fermenting in there all night. (Ok maybe that’s a little exaggeration…) 😉

Tip – Find ways to decrease your trash and help out the environment. Make a goal as simple as gradually getting rid of plastic containers/baggies for food and replacing them with stainless steel and or glass. 

6) Relax. Yes you need to have some down time before you jump into bed. Take time for you because you deserve it. Have a bath, read, meditate, do yoga or whatever it is that relaxes you. Clearing your mind can help you fall asleep to get the rest that you NEED.

Tip – I have never slept so good as I do when I do a meditation before bed. Here is a free healing meditation from the lovely Leonie Dawson! 8 Minute Healing Meditation.

let her sleep

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Love this man.

Why I Won’t Sacrifice Date Day For Anything

I dedicate this post to the man that not only does dishes but wraps his arms around me when I am doing them.

Photo from One Extraordinary Marriage Facebook
Photo from One Extraordinary Marriage Facebook

I have been married to my husband for almost 16 years. We were 19 when we met. I was from a teeny tiny town that I had lived in throughout all of my school years. He was a British soldier that was an army brat and he had lived in cities all over the world. We were literally from two different worlds. I had no idea about what the army life involved. I am chicken of many things. He drove a tank, jumped out of planes and had done many things that I could not fathom. We had many obstacles during our first year; to be expected I guess with the logistics of it all. Not to mention that from the day we met to the day we got married it was 6 months. Yes you read that right SIX months. That’s it. But we just knew. We were engaged three months after we met. He was training out on the prairies for weeks at a time but we were together every chance that we got. He was only in Canada for the year and as luck would have it, I met him in the last 3 months of his station here. I just knew that he was different; he was special. My heart would leap every time the phone would ring. We could talk for hours. After a days work we would make the hour and a half drive to see each other. There was no keeping away except when we had to. My heart ached whenever we had to say goodbye. 

Let me back up. The first time we met, he walked though my doors and I thought he was absolutely gorgeous. His eyes are a stunning steel blue and next to his golden sun-kissed skin and thick dark hair I couldn’t help but stare. On top of that he was pretty darn buff. He worked out a lot. And his eyes…did I mention his eyes? OK, where was I? That evening there were a group of us that hung out, laughed, probably drank too much. Him and I started talking. He made a few cracks and told jokes that I didn’t appreciate. Something like…”Why do women have small feet?” “So that they are closer to the sink when they do dishes.” Seriously. Did he really just say that? I should have known then that this guy would always wind me up. Anyways at that time I decided that I didn’t really like him. Except…. the weekend continued and I found him dancing with my little guy. It was pretty adorable and my son adored him. Wait a minute maybe he wasn’t too bad. After that weekend I didn’t think that I would see him again. Never say never… A couple weeks later I had a bad day. A REALLY crappy day. I drove down to the army base to talk to a friend. He was there. He was concerned about me (weird right) and asked if I wanted to go into the city and hang out. I didn’t really feel like it but I went.The universe decided that I needed to go. Something pulled me in his direction. We sat talking and dancing and goofing around. We planned to meet again and that time we ended up talking all night until the sun came up. We were so different but had a lot of the same ideas; we hit it off. That was it. And they say, “The rest is history.” 

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
-Mignon McLaughlin

Like I said, we have had many challenges. When it comes down to it though, I trust this man one hundred and ten percent. He has never given me reason not to. He is faithful, loyal, strong, and thoughtful. (I mostly get to see that side of him). He makes me laugh and is playful – I love this, it keeps us young. He helps out much more than I give him credit for and is a very handy guy. I love that he will attempt anything. He is a good father and has even coached the kids sports off and on over the years. I give him a hard time about gaming because time often gets away and he gets lost in the fun. These days though he games and then wants to hang out with me. The thing is that we have always made dating a priority. Why would you date someone that you are married to? Well let’s just say that it is great to get comfortable in your lives but it is imperative that you remember who you were when you met and remember all of those reasons why you fell in love in the first place. Some say that it is too difficult now that they have children or they don’t have time. That’s bull. It just is. We lived across the world from each other and we still managed to keep the flame burning so to speak. There have been times where he was away for weeks. We didn’t have endless family members around to watch the kiddos (though my parents have been awesome!). We just found a way to make time almost every week to spend time together as a couple because it is important. Very important.  Many of our dates when we didn’t have a sitter were at home after the kiddos were in bed. It didn’t matter what we did as long as it was just me and him time. Nowadays we get a few hours every second Tuesday to be together just him and I. It is a non negotiable thing. Some may say it’s selfish but we do not book anything else on these days that would mean not hanging out together. It is fantabulous. I encourage you. NO I challenge you to talk to your loved one about regular date nights. 

How can I plan date nights? What will we do?

1. Sit down with your hunny and talk about date nights. What do you both enjoy? Are there any compromises that you can make so that you can both enjoy your time?

2. Schedule regular date nights in. It can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly; whatever works for you as long as you do it!

3. Sign up for an event. This is a great way to do something fun together while staying active. 

Color Me Rad 2013
Color Me Rad 2013

4. Make a list of 10 things that you would enjoy doing for a date night and 10 things that your spouse would enjoy. Draw from the date idea jar. Every time you choose one put it aside so that you have a new date each time. This way it is also fair.

5. Budget. Make sure you set aside some money for your dates or plan dates that don’t cost anything if you just don’t have room in your budget for it.

6. To spice things up do something new that neither one of you has done before. 

7. Listen and laugh. Here is your chance to listen to your loved one without the everyday interruptions. Laugh like you don’t have a care in the world. Let loose and forget about the day to day worries and stresses. 

If you are needing creative ideas for implementing date nights, Shawna and I have created this amazing resource that may be up your alley. It is called Simply Sexy Date Night Package and the ideas have been tried and tested by us!

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Here are more fun date night ideas from The Nest.

 The best thing about me is you

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The current, cozy lil home of Kristin and her fiance.

Interview With Kristin Allan (Heart to heart about life in the moHo, minimalism, and technology).

Thanks Kristin for being our guest over here at the Simple Life Celebration Blog! For those that don’t know, your blog Along the Heart Trail: Tales From a Tiny Home on Wheels was started after you purchased a motor home and moved up North. I was ecstatic to be delving into your mind and hearing all about your story, reasons behind your adventure and minimalism!  

The current, cozy lil home of Kristin and her fiance.
The current, cozy lil home of Kristin and her fiance.
  • What prompted you to start your blog?
Hi ladies! I’m so flattered that you have asked me to be a guest.  I first got the idea to start a blog from a colleague who thought that I had a lot of knowledge to share with the world. That was about a year and a half ago.  I kind of laughed at him and said thanks, but my life isn’t that interesting. Who would read my rants and ramblings anyway? It took me a year and a half to get the nerve up to create a blog domain and write the first post. My biggest fear was that I might scare off some friends and acquaintances with my bold opinions on the state of our world. I decided that speaking my truth was more important than what others think of me.
  •  How would you describe yourself?
This is a broad question.  I would say that I’m a black sheep. I feel like I see the world a bit differently, even since a very young age.  I have always been observant of my surroundings and of other people and have a strong curiosity for human psychology and what makes people tick. More importantly, what makes people happy? A year and a half ago, I would have called myself a “people pleaser”.  Now, I have reformed myself to be a “ME pleaser” first, and when I have left over time and energy, I still love to help others to find their own happiness and purpose.
  •     Can you tell our readers how you came to the decision of leaving the town that you were in and your business to live in the MoHo?
In a nutshell, I was an owner/operator of a successful consignment clothing store in a small town.  My business partner, who was also my life partner, and I parted ways and it just didn’t make sense for us to co-own the business…after an additional year of trying to tell myself that it would work out to continue to run the business together. So I sold my shares in the business and was looking for a new life path. Enter my fiancé. He and I were both searching for more meaning in our lives. We didn’t know what we were looking for until we found each other. He’s a black sheep too. In a really good way. Last Christmas, a family member re-gifted us a book about minimalist living that we thoroughly enjoyed. It prompted us to downsize our lives and buy a 1982 26’ motorhome. We wanted to experience living with as little as possible in a tiny space to see if people really need all of the STUFF that we seem to covet in our society.  A bonus of living in a motor home is that it’s 100% portable and allows us to be adventurous.
  •       Was it difficult to minimize your belongings even further to fit in your cozy home on wheels? Have you always considered yourself to be a minimalist?
To be honest, it was pretty simple for both of us to get rid of our extra stuff.  We were both pretty minimalist when we met so it wasn’t a huge leap.  I certainly wasn’t raised with a minimalist mindset.  As a child, I had all of the material STUFF that I could have ever asked for.  But, strangely enough, our family was still not happy most of the time. I grew up on the east coast of the US and when the opportunity arose for me to move to Alberta in 2004, I left everything I owned behind, except a carry-on size suitcase with a few articles of clothing and some toiletries. I would say that was pretty minimalist, I just didn’t know it at the time.  After a few years, my mom asked if I wanted her to send any of my STUFF to Alberta.  I said “I have no idea what I left behind, so probably not. Thanks for asking. Please donate what you can to a charity.” The things that I thought were so important had become irrelevant.  Fast forward to 2011, when my ex and I separated. I left with my clothing, a few books, a yoga mat, a bed and my trusty ol’ VW Jetta. Literally, that was IT.  Having so little feels SO freeing.
  •   Do you miss any of your belongings?
Nope.  I couldn’t even tell you what I parted with, other than a bed.  I really enjoyed re-gifting some items that I knew others would appreciate having. Living in our tiny home has been like a chastity belt for purchasing or accepting any new STUFF. It’s awesome.
  •     What advice would you give for anyone else considering pairing down their ‘stuff’?
Open your closets and storage spaces. Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself by tackling everything at once.  If you find yourself thinking “WOW! I forgot I had this thing”, ditch it.  If it something has an inch of dust on it, ditch it. If you haven’t used it or worn it in at least a year, ditch it.  Even the stuff that you feel a sentimental attachment to, or feel an obligation to keep just because you are worried that the person who gave it to you might be offended if they discover you no longer have that THING…ditch it.  Then do a happy dance. Tell everyone that you are on a mission to live a simpler life.  How can they be upset when they see how happy and light you are?!
  •     Is there anything that you were not anticipating when you made this move?
Hmmmm. We have had to rely on the kindness of friends and family for showering. The shower in our motor home is VERY teenie. So we use it to house our drinking water bottle and some extra items that didn’t fit in the small cupboards.  Also, the oven is so small that you could only bake 6 muffins, so I do baking in real ovens.  Oh, also, the motor home guzzles fuel.  So we find ourselves being very calculated about how far and how often we move her around.
  •     How do you think technology has changed the world? Is it necessary? How do you think it has affected our relationships?
Haha. I will try to keep this answer brief, because I could write a novel about this. Technology is good. In some ways. I think there have been a lot of amazing breakthroughs that are saving lives and helping raise the bar for our quality of life on earth.  On the flip side, my personal view is that a lot of the gadgets that are being pushed on us as modern conveniences are actually degrading our quality of life and the human connections that we all need to thrive. The next time you’re in a public place, like a mall or restaurant, take a few minutes to sit quietly and observe others.  Chances are that you will see people ignoring those they are with to attend to their texts and Facebook messages.  Everyone is distracted by the beeps and buzzing of their phones and other devices. I think people are forgetting what really matters in life. The people. I think smart phones and the like give us all a false sense of connection.  I am a huge advocate for TECHNOLOGY-FREE days.  Make an agreement with yourself and family members to turn off all phones, beepers, buzzers, computers and the TV and go outside. Do something together that will create memories. When you go out for coffee with a friend, turn your phone off and hide it so it won’t be tempting. Life is too short to miss the special moments.
  •  If you could encourage people to read one book what would it be and why?
I have read a lot of awesome books in the last few years, but I think the one that I am re-reading right now is amazing.  It’s one of the books that first inspired me to start my blog. It’s called Turning to One Another by Margaret Wheatley.  She brilliantly explores the idea of human connection and why it’s SO important in today’s frantically fast-paced world. I’m actually writing a new blog post about it coming up!
  • Do you have a favorite blog?
This may be ironic, but I don’t really read other blogs. I try not to spend much time online. I find it distracts me from living in the moment and enjoying what’s right in front of me. I am a recovering Facebook addict.  Like many (or most?), there was a period of time when I was consumed by clicking on Facebook a dozen times a day.  Now, my blog posts even go to Facebook automatically so I don’t even have to log on there.  It’s pretty awesome.
  • What do you think are necessities in life?
It’s pretty simple to me. Obviously, food, water and shelter are givens. Above and beyond those, I think we all need meaningful relationships and loving connections with other humans. We need to do what we love every day. Even just doing little things can make a huge difference.  That’s it. The rest is just static, distracting us from living an innately beautiful existence.
  • If you could have one wish granted for the world what would it be?
This feels like a Miss Universe question, so I will try not to stumble and sound silly. I think what I would like to see is for people to start taking responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. We all need to stop making excuses, and start helping ourselves. Mind our own business and stop gossiping. Resolve our own conflicts, treat our minds and bodies with love, and start giving more and taking less. Be the change. It all starts with you.
  • Anymore adventures for you and the moHo?
Oh yes!  The adventure has just begun.  We have lived in our moHo for 6 months now. We have enjoyed it SO much that we are going to continue to live in there for as long as it’s feasible. Winter is just around the corner in Northern Alberta, so we have decided to head to the West Coast for the chilly months.  We have some really exciting ideas up our sleeves.  Human social experiments, if you will.  It’s going to be amazing and I’m super excited to blog about it all.  If you are curious: www.alongthehearttrail.blogspot.com
Thanks again Kristin. I am looking forward to following up with you next year to see where your adventures have led you! 

Kristin Allan is a Pennsylvania native who migrated north to Alberta 9 years ago. She strives to live simply by minimizing the stuff and stress, while maximizing the love in her life.
For several years she operated a women’s consignment clothing store which she founded in central Alberta.  “Buy it used” is her motto.

She and her man half recently sold most of their belongings and purchased a 30 year old motorhome to live in for the warm season, until the bitter northern Alberta winter chases them into a warmer space.

Kristin loves to share her knowledge of minimalism, growing food, healthy communication and veggie cooking with curious folks.

kristin

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!

 

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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.

 

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