Friday, February 23, 2018

Bullet Journaling: 1 Year of Experiance

Okay, so I can honestly say this has BY FAR been the most effective journaling/to do/brain organization method I've ever used. It's hard for me to keep anything up for longer than two weeks, so the fact that I was able to maintain this for over a YEAR really means something.

Bullet Journaling (officially) is a concept developed by a guy named Ryder Carroll as a way to catalog his thoughts and keep on top of his tasks. It's a system of symbols and lists that makes it easy to see what you need to do at a glance.  If you want the best explanation you can possibly get about bullet journals, check out the website

Bullet journals basically need two things to make them function... an index and a key. Honestly I only use the index regularly. It's not even a revolutionary idea, but it has kinda changed my life. Or at least my list making habits. At the start of the notebook, you keep a couple of pages blank for your index. Then, as you add lists, you write the page number and the topic in your index.

After your index pages, you just dive into putting pretty much whatever you want into your journal. I usually have a few standard things that I include in every journal: a list of short-term goals and long-term goals, a monthly calendar to keep track of appointments, a habit tracker, and, most importantly, my daily log.

The daily log is where the key comes in. It's a hybrid of a to-do list, a day planner, and a journal, where you list off random thoughts and use bullet points to organize what kind of thought it is. So, I use just a dot for a task, and mark it off with an x when I complete it. Then any thought or event I want to remember I just use a dash for. Sometimes I make my key a little more complicated, but I always end up coming back to dashes because I can't remember the rest of the symbols, haha.
I was worried about how my bullet journal and daily log would work once I became a parent, but man is it handy to have around! I am able to write down all the little adorable (and not so adorable) things that happen so I can come back to them when I fill out calendars, baby books, etc. In fact, if you look in the collage below, the "holy poop!!" entry was the day I found out I was pregnant. :D I used it to religiously to track our feeding schedule when we were still getting the hang of that. Right now I have a page dedicated to what new foods we are trying and when, and I have another one that's our babsitting/day care schedule. I'd be lost without it, I swear.

There are a lot of other pages that I don't put in every volume but I loved having. Playlists are always great because I feel like music can take you back to a certain feeling so easily. Book lists are obviously something I support. One month I did a graphic novel list that I still go back to when I'm looking for suggestions. I folded up pages and taped them into the book to expand on ideas more than once, and last year I did my "inktober" drawings on sticky notes that I taped to the back page of my journal. I think random little pages like that are what take my journal from being just a planner to something more unique and game-changing.

Do I like bullet journaling? You could say that. Or you could say I love it, and it's become so routine to me it's like breathing, and without it I might die... but if you said that I'd call you dramatic, so let's just go with "I really like it." It's great for my forgetful self because I can look back on what I did last week. It's great for my unorganized self because it's an ongoing to do list that I keep in my pocket. It's great for my creative self because I'm constantly playing with fonts and layouts. And it's great for my office supply addiction because I now have a place to put all of the cute post its I buy. But maybe it's also not so great for my office supply addiction because now I have a reason to buy more. So that's it's one drawback... it makes you want to buy more sticky notes. If you can call that a drawback.

So if you want to create a bullet journal, and you're willing to risk feeding your office supply addiction, I say go for it. All you really need is a notebook and something to write with. 

Here are some links to get you started: - This is the end all be all guide to bullet journaling.
Field Notes - This is where I get all my notebooks. Obviously, you can use whatever kind of book you want... actually, this would probably be easier with a bigger notebook. I just am obsessed with the Field Notes brand and all of their amazing designs. Also, their books are durable, fit in your pocket, and come with grid paper. See why they're my favorite?
Bullseye's Playground at Target - The place that affordably feeds my office supply addiction. 
Pinterest Board - Just a collection of cute ideas. There are so many creative people out there!

Go forth and journal!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

DIY Shoelace Valentines

These Valentines are a cute, practical, affordable DIY that your kids can help you make! They were actually born with the idea of using the Proclaimers song "I'm gonna be" (oh, I would walk 500 miles... yeah, good luck getting that out of your head now.) and evolved from there.

Heavy paper (I used watercolor paper but a heavy cardstock would work)
Paintbrush, Scissors, Tape

Step one: Cut your cardstock. Really, this can be whatever size works best for your paper, as long as it turns out to be an "I" shape. I cut mine to 3x4" with the divets a half inch in, and an inch from the bottom and the top.

Step two: Paint your cards. I painted simple layers of strips, using acrylics that I watered down to get the different colors. While one side dries you might want to move on to the next step, then come back and do the other side.

Step three: Paint hearts on your shoelaces. Hearts can be VERY simple when they are this small. I just painted one line at an angle (there is half of a heart on the lace above) then painted a line angling the opposite way on the other side. As long as the bottoms touch and the tops don't, it will look like a heart.
If you're going to paint black laces as well, you'll probably have to put down a white base then paint your pink (or whatever color you pick) on top.

Step four: Write your messages. If freehanding makes you nervous, trying writing it out in pencil then tracing it with markers.
Some message options:
You make my heart race!
Valentine, I shoe do think you are great.
Valentine, I like shoe! (eeeh)
You are my sole mate.
We make a great pair.
I'm head over heels for you.
I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more... 

Step five: Tape the middle of the laces down on the back of the card, then each section around separately, being sure to leave enough to tie a bow on top! And that's it, you're done! Now those shoe are cute!

Friday, December 15, 2017

DIY Letter Wreath

This wreath is inspired by the scene in Harry Potter where the letters are flying through the air at the Dursley's house. It's such a whimsical scene, but also so heartwarming to watch a little boy realize someone cares for him so much. There's something about the warm fuzzy feeling I get from Harry Potter that matches up with how I feel about Christmas, so I feel like this is a perfect DIY for this season.

envelopes, a floral foam wreath, floral wire, Model Magic
scissors, duct tape, paint, paint brush, wire cutters

For this project you will be making around 30 envelopes, half of them with the front facing front (addresses) and half of them back facing front (wax seals).

Step one: Your "wax seals" will take a little while to dry so it's best to make them first. I chose Model Magic for this step because it dries fairly quickly and the end result is incredibly lightweight. To create the seals, I rolled out a disk of white Model Magic about a nickel wide then squished it with a spray bottle cap. To make the center I used three pieces of a thin strip of dough to form an H and lightly pushed it into the center. 
For my small wreath I used around 15 seals.

Step two:  Time to address your envelopes! You will be addressing half of the envelopes you have (I made 15). I tried to remain authentic to the movie, but it would be so cute to use your child's name instead! If handwriting these envelopes intimidates you, there are ways to simplify it. The first line is the biggest, and the rest are smaller. If you are feeling brave, the H and the P are a little fancier than the rest of the letters. 
Honestly, as long as you get the format of name, specific location (i.e. "cupboard under the stairs"), and then the normal address underneath, it will look great! Once all the envelopes are on the wreath, no one will notice if you've made a small mistake. Believe me, I made plenty.

Step three: Paint your seals! To get the perfect shade of dark red I used a combination of a very small amount of black and a much larger amount of red paint. It took a few layers to get the color right. Make sure to use a glossy acrylic as your final layer to achieve the wax seal look.

Step four: Get your wire ready. For the size of envelopes and wreath I had I cut 30 roughly 3-inch strips. They don't have to be any specific length, so you don't have to bother measuring if you don't want to. 

Step four: Time to finish your stack of envelopes. You'll be hot gluing your seals to the back of the remaining envelopes. Seal the envelope, then dab some hot glue onto your "wax" seal. Place it in the center of the flap, and let dry.

Step five: To prepare your envelopes to be attached to your wreath, you will need to tape a wire to the back of the envelope (which on the seal envelopes will actually be the front.) I used about an inch of duct tape in the center of the floral wire to attach it, then bent up the sides. We are trying to create two points for the envelope to attach to wreath. This will give us more stability and control over the angle of the letters. 
I think it's better to leave a few of the envelopes without wires at this stage so you can specifically place the wires where you need them while you're constructing the project.

Step six: This is by far the most daunting step, but it's not as hard as it seems. First, set out a rough design of where you want the envelopes to go. A few things to keep in mind: you want your envelopes to be a little chaotic, it will make the wreath look fuller. To do this, make sure you are placing them at different angles and even putting some upside-down. Also, remember to alternate envelopes with seals and envelopes with addresses, it will help guide the eye around the wreath when someone looks at it. When you are happy with the layout, all you have to do is push the floral wire into the foam one by one. As you can see, the back will look a little ugly. 
Don't be afraid to add and take away as you go! I even found a few bare spots after I had hung the wreath, so I took it down and added a couple of envelopes.

Step seven: Wrap some floral wire around your foam to give your wreath something to hang on. And you're done!

I'm very happy with how this project turned out. It was much cheaper than a real wreath would be, and I can keep it to hang up for years to come. I love that it's a subtle nod to one of my favorite books, but it would be just as beautiful if it was done with another theme. Love letters could be so cute, and a travel and air mail theme would be gorgeous.

If you were drawn here by the Harry Potter fan in you, 
be sure to check out my Monster Book Snacks!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 [Christmas Tree] Things...

We haven't had a proper tree in this house yet. We have some pretty festive relatives that have let it slide so far, but I think if we tried to have our kid's first Christmas without a tree we would be disowned. (Not really.) (Okay, maybe kinda.)
So while I've been planning this year's tree, which has been a fun new experience for me, I've found a TON of cute ornaments. So here are 10 of them.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Favorite Newborn Things

You see the posts all over Pinterest: 25 Newborn Things You Can't Live Without, 10 Items You Need Before You Come Home From the Hospital, or 16 Items Your Baby Will Thank You For. Eventually, though, for some reason, every single one of these features a Dock-A-Tot. I'm sure that these wonderful contraptions are incredibly safe and amazingly helpful, but who has the money for a $250 personal inflatable pool?
So here is my contribution to the "things I couldn't live without" lists. Except, me being the cheap person I am, everything is affordable. Even the big things. And everything is something we REALLY used. Like every day.
 The basics: When we were shopping around for baby stuff, we were looking at price, ratings, and practicality. There were a few things I wanted to splurge on, and a few things that I was pretty sure we could get away with not spending so much. But I knew there were four things we would absolutely have to have. For the bassinet, we chose the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper ($190). It is the most pricey thing on the list, but so far I feel it's been worth it. I love that I can pull the edge down, it allows me to see him easily even while I'm lying down, and getting him out is a breeze. The Summer Infant Changing Pad ($15) is soft but waterproof, and we were able to construct a frame for our dresser turned changing table easily. For our car seat and stroller we chose the Graco Click Connect system, which is so amazingly simple it's worth every penny in my eyes, though, honestly, it wasn't that expensive. The SnugRide Car Seat in Finch ($70) and the Verb Stroller in Sapphire ($80) are such pretty colors, too!
 The "Must Haves": these are things that, while I probably could have gotten by without them, I don't think my sanity would have stayed intact.

1. Halo Sleepsack Swaddle - $20-$30 - We have tried to swaddle using the muslin. Tried and failed. The nurses make it look so easy, but I do not have the magic touch they do. So when it came time for bed the first night after being in the hospital I pulled out one of these babies, and we've used them every night since. Thank God for velcro.

2. Boon Grass Drying Rack - $15 - My relationship with nursing has been complicated, so bottles have been necessary. And where there are bottles there are so many little parts. I had originally bought this just because it was cute, but I ended up appreciating it So. Much.

3. Fleece Blankets (Monsters Inc.) - $20 - This is just one of the many fleece blankets we have. I use them everywhere, in the car, on the couch, on the floor... they are just so nice to have.

4. Nuk Infant Pacifiers - $4 - Pacifiers are a bit weird. I felt like I was giving up when I gave one to my son for the first time, but I've since learned that they are actually beneficial for the baby, and help prevent SIDS when used during bedtime. These Nuk ones are great because they still have the tip that doesn't constantly get spit out like some of the others I've tried, but they don't leave a mark around his mouth.

5. Monster Snap Up Terry Sleep and Play - $8 - Snap up footies are our favorite thing to dress our kid in. They keep his feet warm, have easy access for diaper changing, and can be taken on and off easily while the kid is flailing. This particular one is my favorite. It's cute, comfy, and is one of the few things that he's been able to wear consistently for the past two months.

6. Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker - $45 - While I'd love to be holding my son all day, sometimes you just have to get things done. This rocker is great to be used as a place to set your kid down when you need to be an actual functioning adult. We keep the kickstand down and drag it into whatever room we are in.

7. Hooded Towel from Ikea - $8 - Our first few bath times were pretty upsetting for our boy, but as soon as we cuddled him up in this colorful towel he quieted right down.

8. Wipeable Changing Pad Cover - $15 - When accidents happen, this is the type of cover you want. A little leak can be cleaned up easily, without having to go through the trouble of replacing your changing pad cover.

The "Good to Haves": these are the things that I don't really need, but we have them and I've been really pleased with them so far.

1. Travel Electric Pump - $30 - We had some trouble with getting our pump through our insurance, so in my case this was a must have. I use this little thing regularly and it has held up well. 

2. Plush Washcloth Set - $6 - These soft washcloths made bath time a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. It helps that they're adorable!

3. Pacifier Clips - $6 for 3 -  We are constantly losing pacifiers on the ground, so a good pacifier clip is a must. I love the colors on these, and they are constructed well.

4. Vornado Baby Nursery Heater - $100 - A pricey item, but this keeps our whole upstairs heated. Safe and cool to the touch, this thing is an adorable powerhouse. It's also got a little sensor to attach to the crib to make sure that temperature is maintained where it is needed the most.

5. Munchkin Changing Pad Liners - $8 for 3 - I love these so much I thought about putting them in the "must have" section. Having one of these down means the small leaks and messes that happen don't require you to change the whole changing pad, which is so nice. It also keeps the baby's head warm when you're using the wipeable changing pad.

6. VTech Audio Baby Monitor - $30 - This little monitor is great at picking up even the smallest coos. The one I've linked has two parent units, meaning we can keep one upstairs and one down. I love to use this while I'm doing dishes and he's in the crib. I feel like he's safe without me having to be right next to him.

7. Diaper Genie - $25 - This was actually one of those things I was convinced I didn't need. I was just going to go buy a lidded trash can and call it a day. But in the end, the Diaper Genie was about the same price, but with the added benifit of making my nursery not stink. The refills are a little pricey, but you can find cheaper versions that work just as well. OR you can also use plain old trash bags if you use this method from Mother's Realm.

8. Lifefactory Bottle - $12-$15 - This is just... cute. I've dropped it and it didn't break, it's super easy to grip, but in the end I like it because it's just so cute.

9. Ikea Changing Pad Blanket - $5 - Okay, I just realized I have listed 4 different things for keeping poop off of things but that's pretty much what being a parent is about. This one is great to tuck into my diaper bag and put onto the changing tables when we're shopping or at a restaurant.

Some online stuff:
This post "How to Rock Out a Newborn Schedule" from Mighty Moms was so helpful for me, mainly because after I read it I finally felt like I wasn't doing everything wrong. It's very frank real talk, while still being generally upbeat.

High contrast videos are helpful when babies are fussy and need a bit of a distraction. Obviously, I can't plop him down in front of the screen for hours, but a few minutes of videos will give me time to breathe. This video from Hey Bear is awesome, or, if you can't stand that music, try the video for Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. Both are baby tested, Mom approved in this house.

Oh, and if you're wondering how we ever survived without the Dock-A-Tot, a pillow is a wonderful thing.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sketchy Outfit Thirty-Six: Chillin at Home

This is my "I'm a newborn mom and I'm just excited that I remembered to brush my teeth this morning" look. Maternity leave chic? Eeeehhh more like maternity leave eek.

So this classy outfit features some crazy roots, a hoodie my parents got from Colorado (similar here), paint covered paints, and iced mocha coffee in one of my super adorable disposable cups from Brit + Co for Cheeky.

And here is one of Ronan's outfits. He looks MUCH cooler than me, and he's only 8 weeks old.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Watering Can Round Up

Now that I've moved my very few plants inside and can't just rely on mother nature to water them I find myself in need of a watering can. I mean, sure, I can use a cup, but where's the fun in that? My hope is that buying a cute watering can will help me remember to water my plants regularly. I want my lemon tree to grow, dang it!

And there you have it! I think I might get one of those misters. Then again, that gnome is too cute. Arg, I can't decide. Which would you get?
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