New Year’s Resolutions…A Do or Don’t?

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you make resolutions every year only to fail before January is over?  Well this year I am scrapping the idea of resolutions, getting real, and working on me.  I want to be a better person, better mom, and nicer all the way around so I am making 2015 the year of me and working to get more organized and be better for myself.  What does this mean for all of you?  Well it means that I am going to be offering you some amazing series about all of the areas of my life that I need to work on.  I am going to get real and be held accountable.

Changes for Me in 2015

**Keeping a Clean House

I got an amazing chart today that goes every 30 days where you have a few things to do in order to have a really deep clean house.  The first 30 days are going to be the hardest.  I know this and therefore I will be blogging my way through my cleaning schedule and keeping a cleaning journal where I write about the things that I do each day.  I am going to be publishing this journal monthly so that you can read it if you are interested and not be overwhelmed if you are not.

**Getting Organized

I am a chaotic mess most of the time so I am really doing things differently.  The first step for me is well organized calendars.  There will be a cleaning calendar for me and one for my oldest son.  I have 2 planners that I will be using..one for the blog and one for our family.  I am hopeful in getting caught up before then but who knows as there is still so much to get done with my writing!  Be on the lookout for a new series on “Getting Organized in 2015” where I will share my secrets, tips, and maybe even accept some sponsored challenges along the way!

**More Content

I am going to be working to post more content on the blog!

**Creative Outlet in Journaling

I LOVE to journal and I need a creative outlet.  This year I am challenging myself to journal each and every day.  In the end I hope to have beautiful memories and keepsakes preserved that our children are going to be able to enjoy in the future.  I am hopeful that this will also encourage them to want to journal and write more which is a great skill to have in life.

**Finish a Book

I have been working on a “book” for the past six years.  Let’s face it at this rate I will never have one written.  I have decided to focus on my strengths for my first attempts at being published and I will be writing a book of poetry.  My goal is to write at least 5 pages per day so that I can reach my goal of 500-700 pages so that I can send in a collection of poems to publishers.  I’m crossing my finger that I will have a poetry book published in 2015.

**Lose The Weight

I have been struggling with my weight and been fat for far too long already.  I want to be able to lose the weight and seriously get into the best shape of my life.  I am determined to have a workout calendar and to actually follow it since I NEVER work out these days.  Even doing a few minutes of a workout video is better than nothing!

 **Getting Our House Repaired

We also have a TON of work that needs to be done on our house.  With us both being so busy, traveling all of the time, and trying to be great parents to our four kids it does not leave much time for working on the house.  This is the year that is going to change.  We are really going to be working hard to get the house in tip top shape and I have a schedule where we tackle one room or one area of our house at a time.  There is not a TON of work in any one area and it seems much less intimidating to have one area that needs to be worked on opposed to having to try and look at the whole picture of what all needs done.

**Learn to Save a Little More

Since we run out of our savings account each year around October or November (mostly due to unseen circumstances and things like loss of work for me or unexpected medical/dental bills for the kids) I want to make sure that we start to become a little more stable and financially secure.  This is probably going to be the hardest one for me because I LOVE to shop and spending money is my favorite.  I do know though if I follow this that I am going to see a lot of improvements in more than just the figures on my back account…it will be less stressful and easier for me to deal with as well.

Getting Organized in 2015 — Keeping It All Together with Kinsights & a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Kinsights is an amazing organizational tool for parents who need a little bit of help to keep it all together.  As one of these moms who always needs just a little something to help me along the way I have found that Kinsights is definitely an app that I will be using as I try to get organized in 2015.  (Yes, getting organized is my one goal for the next year!!)

So I thought that it was only appropriate that I share some information with you all about Kinsights and everything that it can help you with.  Kinsights is an amazing little tool that takes the guesswork out of keeping track of your children’s medical records.  As a mom of four I never feel like I can keep track of everything or stay on top of everything so this is a great way for me to be able to make sure that I get it all done.

Kinsights is an online Pediatric Personal Health Record Keeper for parents. Gone are the days where you’re being held responsible for keeping track of slips of paper or lugging files and folders containing your children’s health information.  And in the event of an emergency, you can even have the health records sent to the ER or out-of-town doctor in a snap. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more.  This tool is amazing and a godsend to parents. Kinsights is also a community where parents can safely seek and share answers to parenting questions.  You can ask anything and Kinsights will find the right community members who can provide guidance.  Kinsights even offers groups with similar interests their own pages, including single parents, grandparents, those interested in car seat safety, baby & kids fashion, potty training groups, and many more  What’s really cool about this community is that it makes finding the best answers easy-community members vote up answers so the best content rises to the top.  Connect with Kinsights at their website to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
So there are some amazing things with Kinsights and you are going to be so glad that you checked it out!!  The best thing is that Kinsights has offered an amazing $50 Amazon gift card giveaway which is sure to be the perfect little helper for your holiday shopping.
Click this link for a quick Rafflecopter form to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Reasons that I Love the Container Store Even More #ContainerOakbrook

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Yesterday and today the brand new Container Store Oakbrook (located next to Maggiano’s) celebrated their grand opening. I have been sharing updates on Facebook and special tips about how you can be entered to win a $1000 Elfa storage system with installation as well as how you can get a $10 gift card just for being one of the first social network check ins.

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The Container Store has been one of my favorite places to shop for quite some time. I am obsessed with trying to get a feeling of balance and organization in our home and I love all of the great products that they offer to help you organize your life.

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***I captured this moment of pure joy that the girls shared while shopping in the store.  Obviously they have their mommy’s love for all things Container Store.  Thanks to Kate Quinn Organics for styling the girls in these adorable dresses.***

I was very eager to be able to attend a special blogger preview this past week with some Chicago area bloggers. The event was a nice luncheon where I got to learn more about the company than I already knew and through that process I found out that there are 5 new reasons to fall in love with the Container Store.

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Reason # 5 – The Container Store Offers You Amazing Color Coordinated Collections

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It does not matter which room in your home you are trying to organize. If there is something that you want to make sure that you have organized and you would like a color then you can find it here at the Container Store. I love so many of these great set ups that I had a very hard time determining which sections that I would show you pictures of.

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Reason # 4 – So Many Choices for Everyday Items

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There are so many choices available to you when you are shopping at The Container Store. I learned during our tour that they actually have over 100 different types of trash cans and over 200 different types of hangers. I find this completely fascinating and love that this means that there is literally a hanger for everyone.

Reason # 3 – Ethical Business Practices
I LOVE it when I learn of ethical business practices and standards that companies have. One of the things that I have loved most about learning more that the Container Store has to offer is that they are a very ethical company. The Container Store pays their employees an average of 50% more than most companies. Plus they offer their employees great training and benefits. The full time employees actually receive 260 hours of training in their first year. This is why the staff is so knowledgeable and helpful. One thing that stuck with me is that they said that 1 great employee was worth 3 good employees so they want to give their employees everything that they need to succeed and be great.
They also partner with a charity in the place where they are opening or re-opening (as was this case). This means that they donate back a considerable amount of profit from their opening weekend (10% in this case) and are willing to partner with them to help with their current needs as well.
Reason # 2 – They Have Everything That I Need

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I am obsessed with cute ways to organize my kids’ lunch boxes. I just loved all of the containers that they had available. I also love all of the great desk and office organization that is available. Plus I think that they have the BEST gift wrap EVER.

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Reason # 1 – They Love Their Customers

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As a customer of the Container Store for many years I know that I have always loved my shopping experiences there. I love that I can get everything that I need and I love feeling appreciated. I was very fortunate to be able to be a part of this great event with all of these amazing fellow bloggers.

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***A special thanks to Gaiam for styling me for this event.***

I was able to take my daughters with me to the event and even had the opportunity to attend a very lavish cocktail party with them at night. I was unable to get pictures from this one because it was very busy and I had my two daughters with me.

***A special thanks to Sophia’s Style Boutique for styling Adeline and to Anatomie for styling me for this event.  I will add a picture of us in our dresses ASAP.***

Additionally I received a $50 gift card and was able to purchase some great things that we needed for our home.

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I got a great pad of paper for my own organization needs. The Knock Knock Paper Mousepad Information Central ($9.99) has sections for things to do, people to call, emails to send and notes. I am hoping that this helps me to get better organized with all of the phone calls and follow up that I need to make as I often find myself struggling in this area.

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I also picked up an adorable panda garbage can for my daughter’s room. The Animal Swing Lid Cans ($11.99) come in many different styles.

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The Kung Fu Master Driver 8GB was on sale from $19.99 to $9.99 so I picked one up for my son. I will state that it is not really made for children as he had it “broken” in the first 5 minutes that he had it. I ended up being able to fix it and get it all taken care of but I would warn that children should be watched closely and that you want might want to follow the recommended age of 12 for this one (my son is 11).

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I grabbed the Cool Coolers 4 Pack ($7.99) because I never have ice packs to use in the kids’ lunch boxes. I love the flat design and that there were four of them in four different colors (no fights!).

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Finally I grabbed an USB Hubman White ($9.99) to help solve charging issues here at our house.
With so many great products all in one place you will never leave disappointed and will always be able to find some amazing deals at the Container Store.

Tip To Organize Your Kids Room

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

If you have children you know the words “clean your room!”  At times it probably is repeated so much you dream about it.  It’s almost time for children to go back to school, the perfect time to organize your kids room is when their gone.   You probably want to pass along some type of organization to your children before they’re driving. 

There’s those times that you’re motivated to organize your kids room, maybe you have family visiting for the weekend.  Of course you want to organize your kid’s room, probably the entire house.  Children’s bedrooms can be the most frustrating room to organize and clean.  Ever catch yourself asking what you can do to help your kids lead a better more organized life? 

There are a few steps that you can take to help get rid of cutter and help your child to become more organized in their bedroom. 

Look at things like a kid.

Remember kids are little, short, and see everything.  Why do they notice every little piece of paper lying on the floor?  Think like a child, look at their room, storage, furniture, toy boxes, etc front heir eyesight. 

Make sure that anything that can pinch, pull, snag, or are hard to manage are out of their room, such as:

Dresser drawers that are hard to close can pinch your child’s finger, or make them simply not want to use them.  If they cannot see on the top of their dress, night stand, table, etc it’s likely they will not use it and if they do there’s probably going to be a mess.  You really can’t really blame them, if they cannot see up there. 

Get your child involved.

Children want to help.  They love to know they are making you happy and really getting something done like a big kid.  I know it’s hard, but stop yourself don’t clean up your child’s room alone.  It’s often easier to do it yourself but that doesn’t teach your children organizational skills and how to clean. 

Make sure you have everything your child needs.

Make sure that your child has all the tools they need in their room to stay organized.   What are something your child will need in their room to help become more organized?  Here are a few that will help:

  • Laundry Hamper make putting the laundry into the hamper fun!  Maybe play basketball, wrap up the piece of clothing and try to make it into the hamper, add a basketball hoop over the hamper, or decorate it to look like your child’s favorite animal.  Get creative make it fun for your child to become more organized. 
  • Hooks are amazing, hang them just high enough for you child to be able to reach them.  Hang backpacks, sweaters, hats, etc.  You can put these hooks behind the closet door to help save space and look more appealing. 
  • Make sure you child’s room has floor space for them to play and have fun, choose your storage wisely.  This goes for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens.

There are steps we can take as parents to help our children become more organized and carry those skills into adult hood.  Most important remember to be consistent with whatever you decide to do and your children will more than likely respond.  Remember all children are different, some might jump on board from the start, while others its going to take some time.

Organization Tips | Become More Organized Week 4

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Last week was becoming more organized with bills. This week I thought we would go over a few important tasks that have helped me become more organized.

It’s rare to hear someone say they don’t need to become more organized. I like to consider myself fairly organized; however there are times when I get a little lax with my organizational habits. Breaking habits are often hard to do, it’s easier to do it right the 1st time.

So how do we find time to get everything accomplished in only 24 hours? How many times have you known what needed to get done, yet you didn’t accomplish everything you sat out to do? Without some kind of organizational skills it’s hard to accomplish multiple tasks in a short period of time.

So how does a person work-full time, have 4 children, cook dinner, maintain 4 blogs, clean and everything else that happens in the day of being mom? I do this daily, but becoming more organized. The more organized I am the more I am able to accomplish in a set amount of time, such as my daughter sleeps for 2 hours. In those 2 hours I know I can get a few blog posts done, however I must have a plan what I am going to write about, where I need to look, etc.

Without a plan in mind, I check my email see what’s going on over on Face book and before I know it my daughter is awake and I have not compiled anything. Unfortunately this has happened to me more than I would like to admit. I had to sit down and make some changes so I could work, have family time and enjoy blogging. I have finally come up with a system that is working; I more time to do things I enjoy.

Blogging was really starting to take time away from my family and my family is my top priority so I had to figure something out or give up something I enjoyed doing. I decided to get organized and rather than live by the moment pre-plan my week. I have a notebook for everything. I have a notebook for my blogs and daily I know what reviews need to be done, what giveaways are due, what are ending etc.

Here are a few tips that have helped me become a more organized employee, mom and blogger.

  1. Have a plan – Know what you day is going to look like, what is most important and needs to get done first. Take some time the day before to look over or make yourself a list of what is top priority in your day. As you complete tasks throughout the day cross them off. It’s also a good feeling to see your list become smaller and smaller.
  2. Make sure you list is easy and workable – While I love all the awesome apps nothing seems to work as well as an old school pen and paper. I am lazy, it’s easier for me to pull out the blogging note-book and write down a coming up even than to schedule it in my calendar. Whatever way you decide to go, make sure its easy to understand and manage.  Don’t put so many tasks on the list you know you cannot complete it.
  3. Choose what works best for you and stick with it – I have wasted so much time trying out new things, figuring them out, and end up wasting half the day away on something that doesn’t work for me anyway. If it works don’t fix it!
  4. Do it now – Its so easy to put things off until later, but its more than likely not going to get done or there is scrambling last-minute to make sure its finished.
  5. Put it away when you are finished – If you are cooking dinner put up the milk right after you are done, brushing your daughter’s hair put the brush up, anything you do pick up after yourself. If you have a spot for everything (easier said than done) it’s easier to find and you spend less time looking for that darn marker you had yesterday.
  6. Take control of your life, home and work environment – Whatever you decide to use to organize your life doesn’t matter, it matters that you are using them and making them work for you.
  7. Complete your project – I am so guilty of trying to multitask, complete 10 things at once. I am sure there are people out there that can complete quality work while multitasking, but many of us cannot. In the long run we actually end up wasting time and producing something that is okay to read or look at rather than outstanding. This is my area of opportunity learning to handle one thing at a time, so I produce quality work and get more done.

I am bad about always running and checking my email, I have made myself stop and I now only check it a few times a day. I have learned that a few hours of not checking my email is not going to kill me. I am pretty sure if I something comes I will be ok waiting, I don’t have to stop what I am doing and take care of that email.

Before I started this post I had no idea how much time I actually waste by being unorganized. I have been working hard to become more organized at home, work and blogging. I have been saving a lot of time by working off a pre-planned list. I am actually working on getting ahead!

My suggesting is not to do exactly what I do, it’s to find what works for you and stick with it. If you need to become more organized, when you begin your journey and become more organized you will be amazing at how much time we have wasted being unorganized.

I would like to ask everyone to leave me a comment letting me know what organizational skills you currently use to make your life less stressful.  So what are you doing to stay or become more organized?