May 14, 2015

Getting Relaxed & Rested {Therapeutic Thursday}

Continuing to catch-up around the house, and now that rain is going to get in the way of Faith's camping birthday party plans, looks like I may have even more time to do so this weekend. That also means, however, that I won't have party pics to share for quite a while. Bummer!! With our upcoming busy weekends, finding a rain-date is proving difficult.

Tomorrow is the last day of school, and I'm ready for a little slow-down around the house. I intend to get caught up, get back into a good daily routine, and start taking better care of myself again. I need to be better about daily activity, drinking more water, eating better, and getting some therapeutic "me time"...whether by walking, taking a hot bath, or reading a book. I'm also increasing my use of Young Living oils and supplements for my health and well-being. Things have been too crazy for too long, and it's time for some changes!

I found these graphics on the Young Living blog (which you can now subscribe to, by the way!), and they're consistent with some of the things I want to start doing for myself, so I thought I'd share with you! We all need some rest and relaxation!!



Want to try Young Living oils? Visit my website or contact me for more info!






May 12, 2015

40th Surprise Party!

Last weekend was another whirlwind, which is pretty typical for May for me and my family. Friday was busy with daycare, Faith's talent show, and teaching Jazzercise, followed by a final visit to my former father-in-law who was in hospice dying from cancer. That set kind of a solemn mood for the weekend, but it didn't thwart my friends' and family's attempt to give me an awesome 40th birthday party!

Saturday morning I got up and got ready to pick up my first Bountiful Basket. If you aren't familiar with these, you can go here for more information. Essentially it is a coop that distributes produce baskets, organic produce baskets, and artisan and sandwich breads every week. I was very pleased with my loot: Two bags of heirloom carrots, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, a small butternut squash, four or five red bell peppers, apricots, two mangoes, about a dozen potatoes, a pineapple, watermelon, a head of romaine lettuce, and two oranges the size of my head...for $15! Then I added on bread (four multigrain loaves and one jalapeno cheddar) and sweet corn (about 42 ears). (Wish I'd taken a pic but I was in a rush that day.) Now to get in the habit of planning meals around what I get in my basket (it changes and you don't know what you're getting, except for the add-ons). And I have some corn-shucking to do since I haven't gotten to it yet!

I hurried home after getting my basket to head off to a day of shopping with Kim and Amber. Little did I know that was a ploy to keep me occupied while Brad and my mother-in-law and others prepared a surprise party for me! Normally I dislike mall shopping. I rarely find it fun to try on clothes, and malls generally only have a few stores that I'd actually like to go in. I'd much rather spend a day at Target (HELLO), Hobby Lobby and HomeGoods than a mall. And an outdoor mall? In Nebraska? Well, that's great only a few months out of the year based on the weather. And again, there are generally few stores that I want to visit. But there's a newer mall that we hadn't gone to yet, and as I looked into it more I discovered several stores I'd like to go to, a WINE place and a CHOCOLATE place! Oh - And did I mention we got to go shopping without our children? All the fixings for an awesome shopping day!

Kim, me and Amber
We started with lunch at Wine Cellar 510. In a nutshell: Amazing. We shared the Cellar pizza (fig jelly, bleu cheese, proscuitto...and I can't remember what else...DELICIOUS) and pitas with tzatziki dip, and a wonderful bottle of red moscato. THAT'S how you kick off shopping, my friends! You can bet that is about to become a regular occurrence.

I'm getting hungry just looking at it
After lunch we hit a couple stores, then stopped for a chocolate snack at Chocolaterie Stam. I had intentions of getting a bon-bon (or five), but stopped in my tracks when I walked in and saw the gelato! Dark chocolate with raw cacao nibs? DONE!


As we neared the last half of our shopping trip, Amber mentioned needing to be home for a graduation party by 5:15. Hmm...interesting. She hadn't mentioned that before. ;) We finished up our shopping and headed back to my house...and I gradually started to suspect that my friends were pretty little liars. ;)

Brad took my shopping bags and commented that he expected more bags (another strange comment and clue that something was up!). Amber and Kim "left", and Brad and I headed in the house. Faith mysteriously wasn't in there, because she was supposedly out back where they'd been working on a "present" for me. I did a quick change because I thought we were going to Lincoln for dinner with my parents, and then Brad led me out back to see what Faith was up to. As I neared the garage and saw the window covered by a tarp, I was convinced I'd been fooled. He opened the door to a garage full of family and friends shouting "surprise!". It took me 40 years but I finally got my surprise party! That's a feat to pull off for someone who plans everything herself!

SURPRISE!


Faith at the party

The cake
Me and Brad
 
Decorations courtesy of my MIL! She did great!
 We enjoyed great food, friendships and even a fire...and some Fireball. ;) It was a great day and I am so thankful to everyone for all the work they did to make this birthday special.

So how do I feel about turning 40? Not really sure! It's a bit scary going over that hill, but I don't FEEL very old. ;) The weekend was so busy and with other things on my mind (like my ex--father-in-law), turning 40 seemed minor in comparison. I refuse to let much get me down and intend to make 40 amazing. I plan on this being the year to achieve my career goals!

In the meantime, I'm playing catch-up as always. ;) On the agenda today: Taking care of all my veggies and fruit from the Bountiful Basket, and shopping for Faith's birthday party and graduation gifts! Time to go be productive!


May 6, 2015

Crafty Organization! {HomeTalk}

As I've been working on getting my craft space relocated and organized I've been on the lookout for great inspiration on the www. There are so many adorable craft spaces out there, and I love the original and unique storage solutions people come up with! So when HomeTalk asked me to curate a board for them again with some of my fave craft spaces, I didn't hesitate! I love working with them and searching adorable craft rooms makes me smile. Be sure to check out these great ideas on my HomeTalk board!!!


May 4, 2015

Craft Basket Tags

Finally sitting down after a busy morning. Dropped the big kids off at school, grocery shopped with the other three, then back home for a quick snack before going to the doctor. I stubbed my little toe in a rather embarrassing incident Saturday night while practically running to the kitchen for an ice cream bar. I ran it right into a pulled out chair, loudly voiced some expletives and beat up the kitchen counter a bit. I headed to bed shortly after (didn't eat the ice cream bar), expecting it to immediately resolve like any other stubbed toe I've had before. But when I woke it was really sore with movement, and after standing in church for a while it started feeling increasingly swollen and uncomfortable. I iced and elevated it yesterday, but when it was down it didn't take long to puff up and bother me. All I could think was "what a lame injury". I mean, seriously...the potential of being out of Jazzercise for 6 weeks over a little toe?!!! And I turn 40 this Saturday...not quite the way I wanted to "rock 40".

So we went to the doctor for an xray. I know, I know...they can't do anything anyway. And believe me, I'd have saved myself the copay and the fun of sitting in an office with three kids had it not been for needing to know how this was going to impact my Jazzercise classes and if I needed to line up subs. Fortunately it's not broken, and I can do activity as pain (or lack there-of) allows!

While I was there we got the EKG out of the way that was supposed to be last week (story here). I'm falling apart, y'all! Anyway, went to the EKG appt last week with four kids #becausewhywouldntI and sat there for an hour. I finally asked how much longer, and when I discovered they still had three patients ahead of me I rescheduled. We had lunch to make and eat and the kids needed naps before we had to run back to school. We're on a schedule, people! Since I was at the regular doctor today I said, "Hey, while I'm here...!". So two birds, one stone today. Perfect EKG. Things are looking up. ;)

Anyway, after all the craziness that is my life, I've been able to do some more catch-up lately. This is one of many way overdue posts! For months I had plans of making these little tags. In fact they were cut and ready to go, they just needed about 10 minutes of my time to make labels and tie them on, which I finally accomplished a few weeks ago. And now it's taken me this long to share it!


Back in February I shared (here) that I had reorganized our daycare play space which also doubles as my office and now craft space. I made these built-in shelves less decorative and more for function. And now the baskets are finally labeled!


Obviously I don't spend much time staging (enter sippy cup and falling over books ;)). 

Using my Pazzles cutter and one of their library tag files, I cut two coordinating scrapbook papers to make these little paper tags. Then I used my label maker with clear tape and black print (wished later I'd gotten the one with gold print!) to make the labels. I stuck the labels on and tied the tags onto the baskets with twine. Done!




I also reorganized this built-in hutch in the living room. Previously I was using it for serving dishes and drinkware (wine glasses, glass trays, etc.). Since I use that stuff so rarely, I purged a lot of it and repurposed this space for labling supplies, candles/matches (was Scentsy stuff as well until I got rid of all that in favor of essential oils!), as well as a display/storage spot for books and pics of my daycare kids (in the frames I never fixed!). I need to start a "projects to complete list"! #notenoughpaper 


I really like the look of this, and having the books here freed up space elsewhere. The frames make me smile, too, and I like that now my daycare parents and anyone that comes in the front door can see them.








Apr 30, 2015

More Spring Cleaning With EOs and FREE Thieves Cleaner Label Printable {Therapeutic Thursday}


I've been chipping away at the to-do list again! Seems like I get into a good rhythm and then something comes up to halt my progress for several days, then it starts all over again. But I'm glad to just keep moving forward and checking one thing off at a time! Faith's birthday invitations are done and I'm excited to share those and the rest of the party plans in a few weeks. I'm one assignment away from completing my Professional Organizer certification...woot! And my new planner is updated and I hope to share that with you soon as well. I also have some craft/play room changes in the works, a makeover for Faith's room planned, and more things than I can manage to work on in the crazy month of May for sure! One day at a time...

A few weeks ago I started sharing favorite cleaning tips using Young Living essential oils. About that time I finally started using Young Living's Thieves Household Cleaner and I really love it! You can simply dilute the cleaner as needed, or here are many different solutions you can make with a concentrated bottle of Thieves cleaner!



I made a spray bottle with a 1:30 ratio of Thieves cleaner to water, which will work for most surfaces that I need to clean (fabrics and glass would need a more diluted solution). This is considered a "medium degreaser". I ordered glass spray bottles from Amazon here so that I could make one for myself and some for gifts! (The Bestie and I decided we'd TOTALLY be excited about getting this as a gift! Thing Mother's Day, teacher gifts, etc...)


Of course a bottle that pretty deserves a pretty label, so I got some "wraparound" Avery 8217 labels and used their print site to find a template. You can find a whole bunch of cute ones for this label here. Where it said "sender's name" I put details about the dilution ratio and what it can be used for, and on the "recipient" side I put "Thieves Cleaner". You can also make cleaners with the essential oils yourself, and could create your own labels for each. Citrus Fresh, Lemon, Tea Tree, Purification...all great choices!


They didn't wind up wrapping all the way around these bottles, but I still think they look nice.




Well now I can check that off the list, too! (Well, after I actually put the cleaner inside!) 







Apr 27, 2015

Garage Sale Success and a Few Tips


Well we didn't have the best weather Saturday (cool and rainy), but regardless we had a successful garage sale! Overall it brought in over $500, which I think is always awesome, and $400 of it was mine! :) Faith had been busy purging her toys, books and movies, so I gave her most of those profits at $53 (not bad when you're 7!). It helped that I was getting rid of all my infant/toddler toys and supplies...those items tend to sell well and bring in traffic. I was pleased that while most of the toys had been Faith's when she was a baby, they were still in really good shape! They've all been played with my many daycare kids but I take care of my things (and teach the kids to do the same), so they withheld a lot of use.

I tend to have a garage sale every year (though I'm trying not to make that such a regular practice anymore, which I talked about here and here). But as I phase out of daycare and no longer need some things, I think it's worth my time to go ahead and have a sale (and obviously it was!). I don't spend a ton of extra time making cute signs or elaborate displays...because let's face it, pricing and setting up takes enough time and #aintnobodygottimeforthat. But I thought I'd share a few of my most-used tips today.

Purging

Make it worth your while and well ahead of the sale (weeks, even months in advance), start going through the whole house for things you no longer need or use. The more stuff, the more customers will be drawn to your sale. And when you're done, you'll find it feels so good to have decluttered so much! (The extra cash doesn't hurt, either.) Get the kids involved, too! Faith's grown up with me regularly purging her room. Those McDonalds toys that sit in a drawer, toys that aren't played with, clothes that she doesn't wear. Sometimes I tossed or purged when she wasn't around, but I've also had conversations with her. Explaining that "you don't play with that anymore so we're going to sell it..." (to make room for new things...to get some money...whatever "incentive" you want to use) goes a long way. I've learned with kids that if they sense hesitation they will argue with you, so be kind but firm that this is how things are going down and you'll have less resistance. The more you do that with your kids, the better it will work. (I digress.)

Pricing

I once bought a book about how to have "big money" garage sales. I've never come close to what she made, but it was helpful. I particularly found the pricing advice useful, and this is what I do. (Keep in mind this is Nebraska...not sure how things go other places.)

First, nothing less than a quarter. It makes it so much easier for adding and for making change, and let's be honest. If it's not worth a quarter, it can go in the "free" box. We typically have one of those, and kids that come to the sale love to rifle through it for a treasure. What's remaining goes in the garbage. *Don't take this stuff back in your house!

If something is new or in like-new condition, I ask half of retail price. That goes for goods more-so than clothes in my opinion. When people come to garage sales they expect deals, so some may be put off by high clothes prices. You'll have people walk away with bigger armloads of clothes if you keep the prices down. Consignment sales are a different story...you have to go higher to make up for the cut the sponsoring organization gets. People expect that and things go higher at those sales, too.

Kids clothes sell better than adult ones, especially infant and toddler clothes. It's best if you can sell outfits together, and I would price nice outfits $4-6. Individual pieces (tops, bottoms) I'd sell closer to $2-4, depending on condition and brand. Things that are faded, from Wal Mart, or a little outdated I'd keep at $1 or less. Dresses get priced similar to an outfit, and if it's a formal dress (holiday, etc.) I charge at least $5. Those dresses cost well over $20 and get worn once. I don't think it's unfair to ask for nearly 1/4 of the retail price. Jackets/coats also at least $5. I price shoes $1-5 depending on condition, style, brand, etc. but boots I price higher. I find that boots tend to be in higher demand and cost more to begin with. Faith's snow boots were $40 this past winter and still look new. I didn't sell them at $15 but have no worries that come fall I'll be able to on Facebook. You have to take into account the seasons, too.

Another thing I take into account is how badly I want rid of it. In the past I've kept the nicer items for the following year's sale or to list on Facebook, but I'm getting to a point where I really didn't want to take anything back in the house. If you want it to sell, price it to sell. If you are willing to take the time to relist it on Facebook or Craigslist (and it's worth your time to do so), then try a little higher price. You can also do half price on the 2nd day of the sale, or if it's just a one-day sale, later in the afternoon.

Set-Up

The nicer your display and the less people have to dig, the better you'll do with sales. I hang almost all clothes, which makes it easy to sift through, easier to organize, easy to see prices (and keep the stickers on), and prevents the messy piles that inevitably happen as people rifle through clothes on a table. Face all clothes the same direction on the hangers so that as people look through they can see all the fronts from one side. Use safety pins to secure items on the hangers and to keep outfits together (pin shorts or pants or skirts on the backside, facing out the opposite direction so they can see the fronts of both pieces). 

Sort goods in categories: Baby items, toys, books, movies, kitchen, home decor, etc. so they're easy to find. We had books and movies standing up in boxes with one price on the front of the box (movies $2, books $1, for example). This saves time pricing and having the books in a box keeps them more organized and orderly. 

The nicer something looks, the more likely people will buy it and pay sticker price, so it's best if you can wipe things down so they're not dusty or dirty. Make sure all parts are there (or note if they're not), and having a place to plug-in or batteries on hand is a good idea, too. 

I put larger items outside, but with the rain we had to keep some inside...until my genius husband showed up with a tent/canopy to cover the driveway! Make sure you're positioned where you can see people come and go. We've had issues with theft in past years because it was easy to sneak around the corner of the garage and out with items in tow. 

Change

Running out of change is stressful, especially if there's no one to run and get more, so I now get $100 in change: Two rolls of quarters ($20), $30 ones and the rest fives. We use a money box because we usually have two or three people manning the table, but I read a great tip to keep change in a fanny pack so that if you have to get up and walk away from the table, you have the money securely on you. I think I finally got rid of my fanny packs but wanted to do this!

Those are the things I consistently do every year, though there are more great tips out there! Off to do some catch-up work since I didn't get much done last week. Have a great Monday!



Apr 22, 2015

Golf, Heart Issues and a Garage Sale!

This will surely be one of those weeks where I get nothing blog-related accomplished so I thought I'd just throw that out there now! ;) Faith and I just returned from Iowa yesterday after being gone for a couple days to say goodbye to my uncle who passed away Friday. Though it was sad, I am happy knowing that he's reunited with my aunt who he has missed for 19 years since her passing with cancer. One of my fondest memories with Smiley and Nita was going golfing with them. My sister and I would drive the golf cart and wash golf balls while they golfed, and pre-driver's license that was pretty amazing! We'd end the day with a pop at the country club bar. So when I saw their golf bags, side-by-side on the porch, as if they'd just gone out the day before, it stopped me in my tracks. My cousin, their only child, had said to let him know if there was anything we wanted because he couldn't keep it all. Though I've only taken golf lessons once and Brad isn't a huge fan, I decided I wanted those clubs. So now Brad and I have a new hobby to take up, and I think we're both excited at the thought of enjoying a nice day of golf while Faith drives the cart. We shall see!

When we got home from the trip I unloaded the car, ate dinner, mostly unpacked and then sat on the couch with an episode of Young and the Restless. I was DONE. I didn't sleep well in the hotel for a myriad of reasons, so between that and the drive I was pretty spent. About 8:00 last night I started having heart palpitations, and they didn't let up until this morning around 7:00. I've had them before but rarely that long and other than a few minimal occurrences recently, not for a couple of years. The longer it goes on the scarier it is, and I wasn't able to relax enough to go to sleep until I'm guessing around 2:00 am. I got a sub for Jazzercise class this am (because I'm pretty sure teaching with an irregular heart rhythm is probably a bad idea ;)) and Brad helped me shuffle kids to school. By then it was pretty much resolved.

So I'm starting today as the beginning of my (work) week, and since we were also gone over the weekend for various things, I feel about like a dog trying to chase its tail! I have a couple extra daycare kids until school is out and am planning a garage sale this weekend that I need to start prepping for. And it was one of those days where I couldn't remember what laundry had gotten done and what was left to do...and I haven't been to the store yet. So the next few evenings will be spent catching up around here, pricing garage sale things, starting set-up in the garage, and getting groceries and meals taken care of.

I have another curated post with HomeTalk coming up soon, and so many things to share that I never have time to type up...so things are on the way!! It just won't likely be this week. Whew! I think I need a nap... ;)