Saturday, February 7, 2015

2015 Bullet Journal & My Pen Obsession

Green Moleskine for this year with my new Inkjoy pens!

Last year I came across something called a "Bullet Journal" and my planning, organizing, to do lists, and life was changed...


Okay, that might have been a little dramatic, but the point is, I rarely forget things now, and I just overall feel more on top of things like housework, my exercise, bills, kids' schedules, my schedule, and my coursework. This has been the best system for me, and the part I like the most- it's completely what YOU want out of it. You make it, you customize it, you change it- it's ALL about YOU.

If you would like to read the original post and the updated one halfway through the year, they are here and here.

So, this year I have started a new one, for a new year. I've made a few changes from the past two, and so far, I'm loving it! Instead of breaking it down into sections (to do lists, school planner, exercise planner) I've kept everything together. It seems to flow easier for me, and I don't have to be worried about not having left enough pages in one of the sections. Also, I was sent some pens from Smiley360 and Papermate Inkjoy to test and give my opinions on, so I thought this would be perfect for that! Matter of fact, I'm loving these pens so much, that I've started using them more often than the others I originally bought for this.

Key that I try to follow- though sometimes everything just gets marked as a "task" lol

2015 Page

Contents Page

Important Dates Page- This is where I put important birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

January Monthly Calendar- I used washi tape on the side to help me flip to it faster. Also, I decided to refrain from writing in pen on my calendar because too many things change. I still use my key (+ for medical appointments, etc), but no color.

February Monthly Calendar- Notice I switched up the washi tape color!

March Monthly Calendar- Since it isn't March yet, I haven't added the washi tape yet.
Future Planning- this will probably stay pretty empty until I get closer to the end of the year, but this will be helpful when we have medical appointments scheduled further out, weddings, baby  due dates, etc. Take note of the silver clip here- it's called a book dart and I will talk about it later.

What's Due Page is my bills. This helps me remember what is automatically getting drafted and when and what  I need to pay on about what day. I included the monthly at the bottom because things like car taxes, trash service, and subscriptions only get paid or renewed so often. The Cleaning Schedule Page is actually something I literally just finished putting together and implementing a few days ago. So far, it is working great! I just flip to this page when I'm mapping out the next day's list, and I add the tasks. It's helping keep my house in order.  And no, I didn't skip the kitchen- my husband does that, so I didn't include it on *my* list! ;)

Bookshelf- books I want to read...running out of room already! LOL
Movies and Tv Shows I want to watch...

I left a blank page, just in case I thought of something else...the back side of this is my monthly "to do" list for January. Notice that I coordinated the washi tape with the monthly calendar with the monthly to do list. Hoping it will make it easier when I'm looking for something.
Monthly To Do List- again notice that I coordinated the washi tape with my monthly calendar and my monthly to do list. I've also included a place where I write things that I don't want to forget to do in the Looking Ahead section. For instance, this is for a doctor appointment that I need to schedule for one of my kids, however the office was not that far ahead into scheduling yet, so I have to call back in a month or two. I also plan to include things like reminders about field trips, school events, etc.

This is an example of my Exercise Journal. I just start it on a new page wherever I am at in the journal. This is kinda personal for me, so I didn't really include any shots of exactly what I fill out, but you get the idea.
Daily To Do lists on the left- pretty self explanatory. This is before I started my cleaning schedule, so this is just everyday tasks that I was keeping up with. Also, on the right, I am doing a Currently List. Basically, its just a way for me to journal about myself and what's going on in my life and how I'm feeling once a month or whenever I feel like doing it. As you can see, I haven't even done February's yet. I just fit this in whenever I feel the need to do it, but I am trying to do it at least once a month.

Monthly To Do List for February on the left (nothing there yet!) and Daily To Do Lists on the Right for February. You can see where I started on the 4th with my cleaning schedule (and that's when I took these pics, lol)

And lastly, this is another page that just fits in wherever in the journal. It's my checklist for my class that I have every week. Because I'm doing all online school, I have to keep up and manage my time wisely or else I will get so far behind. So very far behind. So, I combat that issue with making a planner each week that focuses on what I need to get done for that week. Also, I want to point out the book dart here. It's a thin silver clip that bookmarks my pages that I use frequently. They are awesome because they add no bulk, but help to keep me from "loosing" my pages.
 So, that's the 2015 Bullet Journal. It's pretty simple, but it goes everywhere with me, and keeps me in order. I really do wonder how I managed to keep it all together before I started doing this!

Now, before I was using a combination of these cool pens by Stabilo and my black fine point Sharpie pen. I still love my black fine point Sharpie, I don't think I will find anything that will replace it. However, I really am loving the new Inkjoy pens I got from Smiley 360.  They  provided me with a gift card and a new pack of pens to review.

My Walmart's Selection
Decisions, decisons!
I already owned a pack of the Inkjoy 550 RT, so I chose to get another pack of the 300 RT (Smiley sent me one pack already) and a pack of the 700 RT. I also already have one purple 500 RT that I had as a sample from a while back. I gave my daughter one of the packs of the 300 RT pens because being in high school, we decided to help keep her on task to make her a bullet journal, so she wanted some cool pens, too!

As mentioned above, I already was a fan of the InkJoy pens before, however I had not really tried the 300RT pens. I guess I had assumed that the larger number meant "better", and I already had the 550RT series pens. But, when I started using the 300 RT series pens that I was sent, I remembered expressively *why* I love Paper Mate's InkJoy series. They write very smooth, have vibrant colors, and are easy on the hand. I know that sounds crazy, but sometimes, your hand is just not comfortable with a pen and it actually starts to hurt while you are writing with it. That doesn't happen with these pens! And as you can see above, the color is a great addition to my bullet journal and makes it more fun to look at and pretty to write in. I can't tell you how many compliments I get every time I pull this thing out!

 **Disclaimer: I received the Inkjoy pens for free to review and provide honest feedback from Smiley360. All of the opinions expressed here are my own.

And here's some Amazon links to purchase some of these items-
Moleskine in Green  
Inkjoy 300RT Series
Sharpie Fine Point in Black
Zebra Cadoozles Pencils
Washi Tape
Stabilo 88 Pen Set

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy Underarms!

About a month ago, my husband had to be transferred by ambulance to a hospital two hours away. It was unexpected, and I had only grabbed a few things from the house when we left for the local hospital's ER. He is immunosuppressed related to a recent kidney transplant, and he had contracted a lovely cold. The cold that would've made you and me sneeze, cough, and maybe take some OTC meds, put him in the ICU for two days because he went septic less than 12 hours after showing symptoms. The whole experience lasted about 7 days and was extremely unpleasant, to say the least. We were stuck away from the kids with very little essentials, no vehicle, and in a stressful situation.

But, all is good now! :)

On to the point- "very little essentials". Y'all. Seriously. Not having clean underwear is probably one of the worst things....ever.


And having no deodorant.

Being in a situation like that was so stressful by itself, and not having those simple two things that we all take for granted just added to the nightmare of it all.

So, when I got home, there was a little package in my mailbox. And inside was deodorant. It made me smile the kind of smile that lights up your whole face. It was such a good smile. It makes me smile to think about that smile!

I belong to a sampling site called Influenster and I get to try new products and review them. So, in my mailbox was one of the new Unilever Dry Spray deodorants. Specifically, I received the Degree MotionSense DrySpray in Fresh Energy scent. After using the junk at the hospital for a week, I was thrilled to try something new under my arms.

Now, it's important to note that it is an antiperspirant. If you don't already know the difference between and antiperspirant and a deodorant, I'll tell you. The hospital had deodorant. All deodorant does is provide a nice refreshing scent for those pits. And that scent doesn't cover stress-related sweating stinky-ness when you are staying two hours away in the hospital with your husband having all kinds of craziness going on. Deodorant is for people that really just need perfume. Deodorant doesn't work.


Antiperspirant on the other hand, is just that- it is made to help stop you from sweating. So, always pick the antiperspirant, if you sweat. I really don't even know why they make deodorant that is only deodorant because it doesn't work.

Now, on to my review.

Using this product was different. I have never used a spray deodorant before, so the first thing I did was read the directions on how to apply on the back of the bottle. You need to shake well before every use.


How well is well? A minute, 10 seconds, 20 seconds...? Cause my arm got tired after like 30 seconds. So, I go with about 6 good shakes and it seems to work.

Next, you are to hold about 6 inches from the skin and spray on to the underarm. That was easy enough. It is a cold feeling, so make sure you are ready for it. It's not too unpleasant, but being that it is kinda chilly right now outside, it is a little startling first thing in the morning.

As for how it works, I haven't had any complaints. It works, and that's the most important thing. It has a nice, clean, refreshing scent. However, you do need to make sure when you are spraying it to hold your face away from the general area because it will make you feel like you are choking if you accidentally breathe it in. Again, please just trust me. Don't breathe it in. You will feel like your throat is on fire and you are suffocating.

The back of the bottle claims it will last up to 8 weeks. I'm thinking that's a pretty accurate measurement if you apply once a day, which is how I use it. It says it is a 48 hour anti-perspirant, but I have not found it to continue to last past the 24 hour marker. Or maybe I'm just stinky or something. Whatever.

I plan to keep buying the stuff. I like the fact that it doesn't get on my clothes, and it doesn't leave a buildup feeling under my arms. Plus, I don't know whether I've gotten old (GASP) or whether my skin is just getting more sensitive, but I have found that regular stick deodorant has been making my underarms break out a little. Which is weird. And I tried switching brands. Since using this, it has all cleared up. Which makes my underarms happy...

And happy underarms are the best! So, try some, and make your underarms happy! :)

**Disclaimer: I received this product for free to review and provide honest feedback. All of the opinions expressed here are my own.Pin It

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Updated Bullet Journal with Exercise Journal & Student Planner Inserts

This is my second week with University of Phoenix. My first course towards my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education is what is called GEN 200. Basically, it's a college skills course. Which I took in 2010 with MTC.'s quite boring. However, I know that I need to focus on getting used to the classroom setup and how UOP works. So, I'm trying to look at the information with fresh eyes and be open minded. One of the first things that we talked about in the course was goal setting and time management. I am still using my bullet journal from this post. However, I've discovered over the last week during this course, that I needed a few more "tabs" in my journal- an exercise journal (I call it Healthy Me) and a Student Planner to help keep my to do lists separate.

The original post was written back in April of this year, so needless to say, I've incorporated quite a few things. So, I'm going to give you a brief overview of the changes. If you want to see the meat of the journal and the idea that sparked it, go here. I hope this helps you, and I can't imagine using any other system to keep myself organized. The moleskin has stayed gorgeous even with toting it around in my purse everyday and using it everyday. I would literally be lost without it. I've found that since using this, I rarely forget to do anything and I seem to actually get things done. My house is running smoother, my life is less stressed, and I feel more in control. All important things! :)

One more quick thing- I had someone ask when I write my daily to do lists. I try to do it every night before I go to bed for the next day, because it gets everything out of my brain and helps me fall asleep. If I wait till the next morning, I tend to think about all the things I might forget and it keeps me from sleeping!
I used to have two tabs- one for the Current Month to go along with my calendar in the front, and one for my current lists, which I choose to put on my monthly to do list and use my bookmark string on the moleskin for my daily to do lists. What's the difference, you ask? Monthly to do list is things I want to accomplish during that month, but aren't necessarily priority. Things I don't want to forget are happening or need to be done. For instance, car taxes needing to get paid that month, or making an appointment to go over our life insurance. Daily to do lists are just that- simple things that need to get done that day. Things like, grocery shopping, mop the kitchen, emails that need to be sent, phone calls that need to be made...and so on. Now, the two I added- Healthy Me & Student Planner.
This used to be my class schedule when I was going to a local college. Since, I graduated with my Associate in Science and moved to finishing at an online college, I no longer needed that space for that. Instead, I came up with a general housework and weekly schedule that works for me. These things are pretty much a standard for my daily to do lists. It needs tweaking, but for right now, it's working. And the goal here is to be better at getting things done, not overloading myself and feeling overwhelmed.  
The new "tab"- Healthy Me! This is my exercise log. The first page, I made about goal setting. The second page, was a very quick "get started" and I wasn't happy with how it turned out. So, I thought about it and...(see below)
This will be what the pages look like from here out in the Healthy Me section. It gives me a place to be accountable for what I did that day- walked, swam, aerobics, etc. Also, I want to keep up with how much water I'm drinking, because drinking any water is a struggle for me. I'm trying to take in at least 4 bottles equaling about 68 ounces a day, but right now, I've found it hard to do half of that. So, keeping a journal of it, will help me understand where I'm at. Also, I am struggling with sleep. I always seem to be tired, so I'm worried that maybe I sleep too much (ha!) and maybe that is actually causing me to be tired. So, I'm trying to sleep only 7-9 hours a night and keep a schedule. Hopefully, this helps. And lastly- I have a goal for the week and a motivational quote.
And lastly, the tab for my Student Planner. This is really personal to just me, because most student's take more than one course at a time. At UOP, we take one course for 5 weeks. So, I only need to plan for one day at a time. But, this allows me to get more in detail with what needs to be done each day for the class without mixing it into my daily to do lists.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why Failing Was Good for Me

Failing is never something we want to admit. Failing hurts. It sucks the very life out of you and drains your soul and makes you want to stay in bed and never get up again. Especially when it is something you wanted. Something you were absorbed with.

And it's even worse when you took out loans for it.

I failed nursing school.

There. I said it. It's been almost 9 months now since I decided I couldn't do it. And it still gets to me. I am not someone that fails...I am not someone that gives up. I spent a good portion of 3 years to get a degree in nursing. And I truly wanted it. I almost finished it. And then, right there in the middle of clinicals....I discovered I couldn't do it. It wasn't the clinicals, or the patients, or the gross factor, or anything of the sort. I understood the concepts. I knew my medications. I knew my pathophysiology. I even could recite nursing diagnoses in my sleep. Well, maybe not sleep....because I didn't sleep in nursing school. I lived on caffeine. But, that's another story.

I could spend hours upon hours upon more hours studying, reading, making charts, reviewing, and reciting. Yet, I couldn't pass the tests. I gained weight. My face broke out. I was beyond stressed. I was never happy. I was always on edge. Sleep was not something that I could even find when I had time for it. I became such a disaster at exam time, that I literally would have horrible stomach pains and shook like a leaf. I started to not care anymore. I just wanted my life back. I wanted to be happy again. I wanted to be able to spend time with my family and not feel like I was doing something bad. So, I failed. I actually failed TWICE.  I failed the one class, and tried again. And gave it even more of myself. And failed again. One could definitely say that after that second time I could have been diagnosed with Failure to Thrive. I became a recluse. I didn't want to talk to people. I didn't want to leave my bed. I didn't want to get dressed. It was pretty bad. And I'm still recovering- 9 months later.

So, I'm sure you are wondering right now, why the heck I say that it was good for me.

As someone that really had never really failed, I needed to realize what it was like. I needed to see that I had let something consume me in a way that was seriously unhealthy. I'm not saying nursing school is unhealthy (lol), but for me, it was. Failing made me reevaluate who I am and what I want out of life. I realized that while I loved doing my clinicals, and I would probably make a great nurse, I had always wanted something else...I wanted to teach. I realized that my Plan A, was not really my Plan afterall.

I'm now in school for my BS in Elementary Education. And I'm happy. :)

I've grown as a person from my experiences with nursing school. I've realized how lucky it is to be healthy, and to be proactive with that health. It's amazing how quickly something can happen inside of us. I've learned I have a strength inside of me that I didn't know existed. I pulled myself up and brushed myself off, and now, I'm a better person for that.

I now know things that the average person doesn't when it comes to health care. Which is beneficial for me and my family due to my husband's health condition. Heck, it's beneficial just going to the pediatrician's office. I know what it means when my kids' chart reads NKA or says they have rhinorrhea. (NKA- no known allergies & rhinorrhea simply means a runny nose!)

And I'm not afraid of failure anymore.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Easy Weeknight Chicken Quesadillas

It's that time of year again...that time when the kids' go back to school, and we have soccer practice at least 4 nights out of the 5, and games almost all weekend. This means my family eats out way more often than we should. One major goal of mine this year is to end this cycle of spending money on and eating  junk. So, while I wouldn't call this a "healthy" meal, it is better than eating a frozen pizza or eating a cheeseburger from McCrappy's. I'm going to try to post a new "quick" weeknight meal that my family loves at least once every two weeks or so. So, here is the first installment-

Easy Weeknight Chicken Quesadillas

This is a really simple idea that can be expanded upon or just made as is. Even picky eaters will love!
3 cans of chunk chicken (12.5 oz each), drained
1 can of green chiles (7 oz each)
1/4 cup of taco sauce, or more/less to your taste
black pepper, onion powder, and chili powder to taste
2-3 cups of fiesta blend cheese, shredded
16 flour tortillas
1 tbsp of butter
sour cream, salsa, and guacamole for dipping

Mix chicken, chiles, sauce, and seasonings together in a bowl. Preheat a skillet on med-high heat. Add a small pat of butter. Place a tortilla shell flat in skillet. Add chicken mix and sprinkle cheese on top. Place another tortilla shell on top. Cook until browned. Flip and repeat on other side. You can even make a simple cheese quesadilla for your picky eaters! Repeat.  Serve warm with dipping sauces. Cut with pizza cutter. Makes 8 quesadillas- enough for my family of 5.

I have found this to take about 5 minutes to prep, if you make this according to my recipe, and another 10-15 to cook. Next time I make it, I'm going to prep the chicken mix and place in the fridge till we get home to save even more time. I really want to try sauteing some peppers and onions and using some grilled chicken breasts chopped, but the point of this meal was to be quick and easy, so maybe another time! Enjoy!
~Mom dribbling weeknight dinners and a soccer ball
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Monday, April 21, 2014

The Bullet Journal

My Bullet Journal
The other day, I was browsing Facebook and Pinterest (when I should have been doing calculus homework), and I came across someone that was absolutely gushing over something called "Bullet Journaling". Well, being as that I was bored, I couldn't help but check it out. And I feel in love. So, now I'm going to show you mine, why it works, and why I love it.

First, I googled "Bullet Journal". And I found the official site here. There's an awesome video and lots of good ideas to get started. But, right from the start, I saw so much more here. He's a simple guy- obviously isn't in school, doesn't have 3 kids, 4 soccer teams, and a mess of craziness going on in his life. This is what I have been looking for in an app and in my LIFE.

I'm a list maker. I'm a sticky note taker. I'm a to-do lister. I have a dollar store calendar in my purse, a calendar on my phone, and a million slips of colored sticky notes everywhere. For years, I've wanted something that could and would combine all of my lists, dates, and everything into one. I've come close to finding apps, but even though I love technology, sometimes, it's better to have it written down. Plus, I love handwritten stuff. I love the idea of checking something off. I love the idea of a "journal". This could be all of THAT.

So, the next thing I did was pull out a cheap composition book. You know the kind that you get for your kids for school that costs like 25 cents in August. I figured, I would start in it and figure out all the quirks and changes I wanted before buying a Moleskine. So, I used it for about 5 days and did just that.

I found that while his original bullet journaling system worked quite well, it was lacking in what I would like to call future planning. Basically, it needed a calendar. So, that's the cool thing here- this is completly customizable to YOU. You decide what works for you and what doesn't. I've been using my Moleskine now for about two weeks and I'm extremely impressed with how productive this makes me. I don't forget things. I'm more on task. I'm just overall more organized. And with my crazy life, this is important.

So, here is a few pics of how mine works and is put together. I went in order of my book, so you can see how it progresses and flows together.
Front Inside Cover- I washi taped my college schedule to the front.
First Page- I washi taped my "key" to the cover page next to the first page. I wrote it on an index card so I can make changes later and not have to scratch things out. I don't like scratching things out, lol. Then, like the original, I created an index page to easily find what I'm looking for. Also, if you notice, I have post-it tabs for pages I frequently need.

Close up of my key. As you can see, I added and changed some of the ones he had. I also added color to my calendar (that you will see soon) because certain things in my life need to stand out- like bills, birthdays, and appointments.

The next page is for important dates and future planning. I only had my calendar go thru 2014, so anything that I schedule or plan for 2015 will go here- for instance, I know we make dental appointments 6 months ahead of time and well checkups are similar.

This is my calendar. I actually made a mistake when I was doing it- see if you can catch the differences between this first month and the next few- lol. I use the key to keep up with certain things going on, but in general, my calendar is in pencil. Because everything always changes in my life. Also, you can see that I have one of those post-it tabs here- it says current month.

Just another look at the next month. Notice the numbers at the bottom- page numbers :)

And another monthly look....

I skipped taking pics of July-November because it was monotonous and boring. So, here is the end of my monthly calendar on pages 20-21.

I like to read. So, whenever I hear of a new book (or an old one) that I want to read- it goes here. I labeled it 2014: Books to Read and used the task bullet, so I can look back and see which books I haven't read yet.

Same idea here except with Movies and TV Shows.

And here is the meat of the book- the lists! I included a monthly first page like his, except, I didn't need it to be a calendar like he did because I have my calendar already in the front. What I needed was a monthly to do list- things that need to be done, but not necessarily important to do immediately. Things to remind myself of that are going on that month. Then, the next page is where I started my daily lists.
And here is another place I'm using my sticky tab- although, I'm thinking about using the book mark string on the Moleskine for this and using the tab on the first page of the month- so in this case, it would be on the pages shown above instead of here. Still contemplating that.
Well, that's pretty much it. I know I'm a complete dork for being so excited about something like this, but being organized is important to me with so much going on. And, here is the links to Amazon for some of the products that I used:

And lastly, here is a link to my Pinterest board about Bullet Journaling. Have fun with it and be creative. :)
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quick Lemon-Berry Cake

I'm a lazy cook. Just putting it out there. Well, actually it might not be laziness as much as I simply don't have time to be the Martha Stewart bake everything from scratch type of mom. So, today I was craving something sweet, but I should have been studying for a nursing exam and trying to get over this lovely virus I picked up this weekend. The result- a boxed cake doctored up.
What you'll need:
Boxed white cake mix
Packet of lemonade Crystal Light (2qt)
Duncan Hines frosting creations starter and strawberry shortcake flavor mix
1 cup of sliced strawberries
few tablespoons of sugar

What you'll do:
Make cake as directed but stir in the lemonade into the batter. Bake as directed in two 8-inch cake pans. Meanwhile, mash strawberries with sugar. Let sit while cake is baking. Mix frosting with flavor add in. After cakes are baked and cooked, put strawberry fruit mix between layers and frost cake normally. Enjoy!

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