Planning It All Out

Planning It Out - What To Track In Your Planner

Here’s something that you should know about me, absolutely everything in my life is always a work in progress.  I am very seldom satisfied with the way things are.  I realize that can be a bad thing, but in this case I think it’s OK.  Being part of the planner community has definitely taken me through stages.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that I probably spent way too much money and energy on stickers, stamps, stencils and other things that I thought would make my planner pretty and keep me more organized.  And it definitely made it lovely, but It did not actually make me more functional, which was the whole point.  Don’t get me wrong it was great for Instagram and Facebook posts, and I loved looking at it.  But, it was not helping me to actually achieve my goals or complete my tasks in a timely manner. In addition to that I went through several types of planners and styles, before I finally settled on one that worked for me.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t still get enticed by the planner section in Staples or Office Depot, but ultimately I think that I have found a system that works for me.

My planner has become my life line, as much as I wouldn’t exactly want to admit that at 41 I need little reminders, I do.  I guess I can’t still claim Mommy brain, since my oldest is 7 years old.  But, that is kinda what it feels like, when you have to keep track of what everyone has to do and where everyone has to be.  After lots of trial and error, these are the things that I track in my planner that keep me on top of things.

Health-Wise – I track my:

  • Water Intake
  • Exercise
  • Steps
  • Hours Slept
  • Headaches
  • Weight Loss
  • Weight Gain
  • Prescriptions Filled
  • Vitamins

Family-Wise – I track:

  • Dr’s Appointments
  • Salon Appointments
  • Nail Salon Appointments
  • School Field Trips
  • School Projects
  • Quizzes/Tests
  • Family Trips and Birthdays
  • Family Wish Lists (Things the kids and hubby have been asking for)

Household-Wise – I track:

  • Laundry Detergent/Fabric Softener/Bleach Purchases
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Spring/Summer/Winter Cleaning
  • Decorating by the Season
  • Household Wish List (Things we want to purchase for the house)

Just Because I am ME – I track:

  • Prayer Lists
  • What I’m Reading
  • What I’m Wearing
  • Moods

“A DREAM WRITTEN DOWN WITH A DATE BECOMES A GOAL.  A GOAL BROKEN DOWN INTO STEPS, BECOMES A PLAN.  A PLAN BACKEd bY ACTION MAKES YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.”

What is something you absolutely have to keep track in your planner or otherwise to be effective?  I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.

Making Your Own Vision Board for 2018

2017 is OVER.  Whether that hits you in the pit of your stomach like a ton of bricks, or you are overjoyed to see it go, it is done.  Around this time of year, most people seem to get into retrospective mode looking back over the year on what they mastered or what they wished they had done differently.  But, lets face it, the past is just that, the past.  There certainly isn’t much you can do to recover whatever stones you have thrown at this time, which means that it is time to look forward.  What are you expecting out of 2018?  What goals are you setting for yourself, your business, your family, your spiritual life?  Even more important than deciding what your intentions are, is laying the ground work for just how you are going to do that.  Only you can decide exactly what that means.  vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.

A couple of years ago, one of my girlfriends hosted a Vision Board Party, and as much as I loved the company, the insight it gave me into that year was immeasurable.  Like everything else, only  you determine how much detail and how much fun this experience will be or how to combine them both. Here’s a How to on Completing Your First Vision Board in Just Four Steps.

Step One:  What are your Areas of Focus Going To Be For 2018? (For Example)

  • Health/Fitness
  • Family /Family Life
  • Financial Security/Stability
  • Spiritual Life
  • Career
  • Education
  • Home Ownership

Step Two:  How Can I Break My Areas of Focus Down Into Manageable Parts? (For Example)

  • Health/ Fitness (Take 10,000 + Steps Daily) (Drink 64 oz of Water Daily) (Get 7 Hours of Sleep)
  • Family/Family Life (Institute a Game Night) (Take Kids Out for One on One Dates)
  • Financial Security/Stability (Set A Dollar Amount to Go Into your Savings Account Monthly)  (Aggressively Pay Down Existing Credit Card Debt)
  • Spiritual Life (Attend Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting) (Make Time for Daily Devotion)
  • Career (Learn Something New Quarterly i.e. Continuing Education, or Software that can help you to advance in your field)
  • Education (Realistically Plan Out Your Courses)
  • Home Ownership (Take a First Time Home Buyer’s Class)  (Find Out What you would Need to do to Sell your existing Home)

Step Three: Use Pictures, Wording and Other Graphics to Visualize Your Goals

Things You Can Use to Help with This Step:

  • Magazines, Internet for Pictures, Quotes
  • Scissors
  • Glue Sticks
  • Tape
  • Embellishments of Any Type (Washi Tape, Stickers,Quote Bubbles)

Step Four (Final Step): Pulling Everything Together

You know that I like things to be in a certain order, so here I would say put all like items together. but, it is entirely up to you.

Grab your supplies, and put it together, however you like.  As a rule, I would say to put your Vision Board somewhere that you can see it and refer to it often.  Jump in and Get started!!

WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH. PROVERBS 29:18

Reflecting on 2017

2017 has come and gone.  Another year that has flown by, the kids are older, a few more gray hairs showing up and trying to stay and few more dreams realized and a few laid by the wayside.  As with every year, there have been ups and downs, but the beginning of the year has me reflecting back on all that 2017 had to offer.

lessons in 2017

I can’t exactly explain why, but I feel like 2017 was a year of real vulnerability for me.  I literally felt like I was walking around with all my nerve endings exposed.  I think I spent a good part of the year, wondering why that was, and then the other portion of the year trying to accept it.   According to one of my favorite authors Brene Brown, “Daring greatly means the courage to BE VULNERABLE.  It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need.  To talk about your feelings. To have the hard conversations.”  And, truthfully, these were all things that I tried to do in 2017 and it is something I plan to bring forward into 2018.  I will tell you that no matter the outcome, inserting vulnerability into your life tends to lesson the speculation.  If  you know what you want, go after it and don’t receive it, well then you know you tried.  If you tell someone what is expected of them, and they fail to meet your expectations, there is no more wondering if maybe they aren’t getting it. You know and so do they.

on a personal front

  • I now have a 21 year old and a 13 year old.  Geez… (Ok, maybe don’t tell anyone else that.  They will figure out just how old I am lol.)
  • i jumped head first into learning how to cook more low carb food options for myself and my family.
  • i maintained a great A1C , for the entire year.
  • We redesigned our 13 year old daughter’s room, to make it more fitting for a young lady.
  • Oooh… and I managed to total my car, just three days after it was paid off (head banging).

on a business front

  • Our Etsy Store hit 536 Etsy Sales.
  • Our NOLA poster became our Highest Selling Item.
  • Posters in General were the Highest Selling Category in the Store  for 2017.
  • We Added Physical Invitations to Our Shop.
  • We Made A Lot of Updates to the Blog.
  • Leaned Into Being An “Influencer”  on our Social Media Platforms.  By the way, are following us? (Links Above)

my favorite books from 2017

  • The Monkey On My Back by Debbi Morgan
  • Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Remembering Whitney by Cissy Houston
  • Milk and Honey Rupi Kaur  **** (A Must Read)

As we embark upon our next adventure, the year 2018.  Always Remember, “Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions.” – John Randolph

Our Christmas Home Tour

Our Christmas Home Tour 1 of 3

Our Christmas Home Tour 2 of 3

Our Christmas Home Tour 3 of 3

Come On In, and Welcome to this year’s Christmas Home Tour.  This year we stuck to the traditional Christmas Colors and just added some Buffalo Check and Gold, to our color scheme.

Things I purchased to make this year’s Christmas Look Complete:

  • A Christmas Wreath
  • New Christmas Stockings
  • 2 Yards of Buffalo Check Fabric
  • Buffalo Check Wrapping Paper

Simple DIY’s:  

  • I used the Buffalo Check Fabric to Cover Existing Ornaments that we already had to add a more rustic, yet defined, look to our  Real Tree.
  • I also used the same Buffalo Check Fabric to Complete my Table Setting, by just adding a Pop of Color that I used to marry both rooms (Living Room flows into the Dining Room)
  • Kitchen Centerpiece (1) was made from Mini Apple Vase Fillers that I already had at home and Green Moss balls to add a little More Red and Green to the space.
  • Kitchen Centerpiece (2) was made from Lemons and Little Mini Red Ornaments, for yet another Festive Look.
  • Outdoors/Front Porch.  I stained the (2) crates that we used in our Fall Display to sit our Outdoor Lighted Christmas Trees, and added Fire Wood to add some warmth.

Thanks for stopping by, and now I am off to enjoy the rest of my Holiday Season with my family.   Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.

Christmas Greeting

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And … Happy Holidays from your Stage Presents Family.

2017 Christmas Coloring Sheets

2017 Christmas Coloring Sheets

Less than a Week until Christmas, and this Mommy is exhausted.  But, I am still plugging away.  Meanwhile my baby girl who isn’t getting any homework this week, has a million things that she wants to show me, projects she wants to work on, oh and things she really needs to borrow my phone for.   So I thought I would whip up these Coloring Sheets to keep her busy.  It sounded like a good idea, but she made quick work at it.  I am sure that I am not the only one with little ones under foot.  So, I thought I would share these as this year’s Christmas Coloring Sheets.

Christmas Mouse       Chimney Santa        Baby Jesus        Christmas Candles

Today was officially my kids last day of school for the year, so while they were gone, I finally finished up Our Christmas Basket.  I actually intended to do away with this tradition, simply because Our New Christmas Stockings hold considerably more than last year.  But, since they asked about it, I had to pull them out.  I’ve seen so many versions of this tradition, basically every family seems to put their own spin on it.  And, I think that is just what makes it special.  I try to keep ours relatively simple.

  • Christmas PJ’s
  • Christmas Coloring/Activity Books
  • Classic Christmas Book
  • Candy or Fruit Snacks
  • Novelty Items such as Funky Pens, Folders, Notebooks, Erasers

Christmas Baskets

Our 2017 Holiday Playlist

Nothings sets the Mood, for a festive Holiday, like the appropriate music.  I am normally the person who can not wait until Thanksgiving  to put on Christmas Music.  But, this year after having to spend more than I wanted to on car repairs.  I simply was not feeling the Christmas spirit, or at least I should say it was delayed.  But, while sitting in my car Soul Holiday came on and that was all that it took to spring board me into the season.  Every year I try to pull together a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs and covers.  I get entirely too much joy from hearing different artist remake the classics.  Of course, only when it’s done right.

Looking for some tunes to share with your family this season.  Check Out Our 2017 Holiday Playlist.

  • Soul Holiday, Sounds of Blackness
  • Last Christmas, Braxton Family Christmas
  • I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, Gayla Peevey
  • Christmas Everyday, Fred Hammond
  • Please Come Home for Christmas, Bon Jovi
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside, Brett Eldredge featuring Meghan Trainor
  • Please Come Home for Christmas Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Say All I Want for Christmas, Nick Jonas featuring Shania Twain
  • Deck The Halls, Pentatonix
  • Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, DMX
  • The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole
  • Cool Yule Louis Armstrong
  • It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Michael Buble’
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Frank Sinatra
  • The Christmas Song, Celine Dion
  • White Christmas, Bing Crosby
  • Winter Wonderland, Jason Mraz
  • Sleigh Ride, Tamar Braxton (listen to this first)
  • What Christmas Means to Me, Stevie Wonder
  • Every Year, Every Christmas, Luther Vandross

My kids and I share a love for Christmas music, so  I am always looking to add some more songs to my catalog.  What are some of your favorites?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

All About The Stockings..

All About The Stockings

Photo Source: Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez The Image Bank Getty Images

There are less than two weeks left before Christmas.  If you are lucky enough to be done with your shopping and your decorating, the only thing left to do is to Fill those Stockings!!  This just happens to be one of my favorite Christmas Traditions.  When it comes to Christmas gifts, my kids normally give us a general idea of what they like.  But, the Christmas stocking … let’s just say I have free reign where that is concerned.  When my oldest was younger and my pockets were lighter, I stuffed it with things that I knew he LOVED, like Yoo-Hoo’s, mini boxes of his favorite cereals, Candy, and Gum.

As the years went by our Christmas Stockings evolved.  So here are some of the things that I use to fill our Christmas Stockings.

For My Son (21):

  • Dress Socks
  • Hand Lotion
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Gift Cards
  • Mini Tissue Packs
  • Pens
  • Note Pads
  • Batteries

For My Teenage Daughter: 

  • Lip Gloss
  • Hand Lotion
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Wipes
  • Earrings
  • Bracelets
  • Midi Rings*
  • Funky Pens and Pencils
  • Sticker Books
  • Cell Phone Cases
  • Funky Socks
  • Winter Hats
  • Gloves
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Microfiber Cloths

For My Younger Daughter:

  • Legos (Small Box Sets)
  • Pencil Top Erasers
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Winter Hats
  • Coloring Books
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Art Supplies
  • Sketch Books
  • Fidget Spinners
  • Hair Barrettes and Hair Bows
  • Frilly Church Socks
  • Stockings/Tights
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunglasses Case
  • Dry Erase Markers

Hubby:

    • Dress Socks
    • Regular Socks
    • Phone Cases
    • Pens
    • Gift Cards
    • Mini Liquor Bottles
    • Play Station Games
    • Car Chargers
    • USB Chargers
    • Lotion
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Hand Wipes
    • Mini Tissue Packs
    • Razors
    • Batteries

Favorite Places to Shop for Stocking Stuffers:

  • Five and Below
  • The Dollar Store
  • Kroger/Publix
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Ross
  • TJmaxx
  • Marshalls
  • Home Goods
  • Brookstones

FUN FACT:

According to the St. Nicholas Center Organization, St. Nicholas aided the poor, especially those girls whose families could not afford to give them dowries, by dropping gold down chimneys or through windows. This money would land in stockings that were hung up to dry. Another story says that the stocking tradition began when children would leave their shoes out filled with hay for Santa Claus’s horse. He then would replace the hay with gifts.

St. Nicholas was reputedly born in the third century in Patara, a place that is now Demre, Turkey. His parents, who raised him as a Christian in what was then a Grecian province, died in an epidemic. Nicholas used what was left of the family fortune to help those less fortunate. He eventually became the Bishop of Myra where he continued his good works. He died on December 6, on what is now known as St. Nicholas Day. Many countries, such as Poland, celebrate this day with gift giving and feasts.

What are some of the things that you use to stuff your Christmas Stockings?  I would love to hear about it, in the comment section below.

Saying Goodbye to Our Christmas Elf

For the last seven years, Dobbie the Christmas Elf, also known as our Elf on The Shelf, has been a part of Our Christmas traditions.  So you can imagine my shock and surprise when my seven year old told me that he scared her a little.  Of all three of my kids, my youngest one is the one that I would describe as “fearless”, so hearing her say this really hit me hard.   After all, Dobbie was meant to add to the Christmas Magic.  Once I got myself together, I decided to talk to her some more and really get an idea of where her head was.  And, that is when she said that she sometimes had nightmares about him.  I knew then, that Dobbie would have to go.

Of course, how could I explain his departure, or just that he was not coming back this year?  So we put our heads together and decided that we would write a letter to Santa, requesting to retire Dobbie and gift him to another family.

I am not sure if anyone else’s little ones are experiencing this.  But, just in case, here’s the letter that we wrote to Santa.  She is generally a very inquisitive child, and this managed to pass the “sniff test”.

Last year, we officially let our oldest daughter in on the fun, and made her the keeper of the Christmas Elf.  It was her job to move him around, before her sister woke up in the morning.  So she is a little sad to see him go.  But, we thought it was best.  So.. Goodbye Dobbie.. you served our family well, until you didn’t,  lol.

In my humble opinion, being a parent is full of lots of wins and fails, not sure I won this one.  But, I’m moving on.  Hopefully, I am not the only one out here flailing from time to time.

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