Family · Goals · lists · Planning

Managing Mondays-Plan with Flexibility and Lists

Oh how I love my coffee and my morning time! I haven’t yet cracked open the work laptop even though I probably should. It is going to be a big week full of planning meetings, important dates and appointments.

I thought I would share my weekly spread and some of the other lists I have at the or have plans to make.

I love my spread this week. I picked this sticker set because my best friend is celebrating her birthday and she loves teal colors. Even my Erin Condren pen is primarily teal for the week. Most of the stickers are from one of my favorite Etsy vendors, Joyful Planner. She designs beautiful weekly and monthly sets. It is always a treat for me to visit her shop and splurge a bit.

I really expect today as well as most of the week to feel a bit crazy so I am inserting few extras to help me keep my sanity and make lists as I go along. I am going to try a weekly master as a half page and use the daily as originally intended. I am interested to see how much I can actually get done in a day with the sometimes ridiculous conference call schedule.

As you can see, I haven’t put much pen on yet. I need flexibility in my functional plans because I feel the winds may change a bit as early as today so I focused on only writing the non negotiable events and my goals. I gotta trust my gut today and let my plans and lists take shape in the moment.

I hope you all have a great week and that you are managing just fine this Monday. I am going to keep on sipping coffee, making lists and planning the week day by day.

Share below how you plan. What kind of lists do you make? Do you track your hourly appountments?

Family

Weekly Meal Planning

As I sip coffee I am thinking about my meal plan for the week and I am disappointed in myself. I just don’t know what sounds good this week. And when I ask the family they aren’t offering up many suggestions.

Usually today is a batch cook day where I spend my afternoon making a prepare and cook meals for the whole week. Not today. I am having friends and family over to barbecue. Sometimes I throw planning days to the wind and this is one of those days. I am sitting and looking at the blank half page for my planner with a blank look.

I think it is because the last couple of weeks someone else did the planning for me: Home Chef.

Yes! I tried one of the many meal kit delivery subscriptions and let me tell you, I loved it! So did the family. And as I think about a couple of the menu items I realize I have ingredients in the house to recreate the Chicken Paillard, the favorite of all the dishes we tried.

Before continuing on with my writing here, I stepped away so I could go online and plan for a delivery next week. I liked having my box delivered on Friday and having three meals planned already including all of the ingredients.

Unboxing is much easier than going to the store and putting everything away. The ingredients are packaged together by meal and slide easily into the refrigerator.

The recipe guide is online as well as printed on a cardstock page. Your first order includes a 3-ring binder to store your recipes. The planner in me loved that.

Above are images of my handiwork and the Chicken Paillard in the skillet is what I have decided to make again this week. It was incredibly easy and delicious. The picky eaters really loved it and I was surprised at how easy and quick it was to cook.

Did I think it was expensive? When I look at my grocery bill and what I usually spend and waste it was very economical. With three meals delivered over two weeks our waste was minimal. Hindsight is usually 20/20, right? I think I may cook too much on Sundays anticipating we will eat more leftovers than we do. It is more challenging to plan with adult children and teens who have busy schedules and finicky appetites. I guess I still have a lot to learn as I head toward emptynester land. Less is likely more and starting now is a good a time as any.

From a budget perspective I realize I didn’t spend any more than when I plan and do all the shopping and prep myself. I saved oodles of time though and I actually got us out of a rut of the same old same old. I also had a personal bonus from all of this: I have more clothes that are too big and a full box of them ready for donation because I consistently ate fresh ingredients and balanced my proteins and carbs splendidly. That made it all worth it.

While writing this I finalized the meal plan for the week.

I also decided to try a different meal kit delivery, Sun Basket. It will arrive in a little over a week and help make next week planning easier. I look forward to comparing the two systems. I also noticed our local grocery store is getting skin into the game with meal kits. I may have to give them a spin too. I would love to stay local. Honestly, I am not sure anything can top Home Chef. I read reviews on ALL of them for weeks and settled with trying Home Chef first for many reasons:

  • Affordability
  • Consistently positive reviews and ratings
  • Easy meals
  • Simple ingredients
  • Gluten free and Paleo meal options
  • Meals that I thought my family would try

It will probably take something seriously outstanding to win me away from this one because out of 6 meals there was only one that didn’t wow me and the family subseqiently going to waste. That meal was a risk from the start because I knew that the finicky eaters wouldn’t dive into it. I was right and it left me with a meal that just didn’t please me as a leftover. Some dishes just don’t taste as great the second time around.

But that winner, Chicken Paillard, as you can see, is on the menu for the week and that is keeping me out of the meal planning rut. Something new to look forward to for all of us. When I made these meals I felt like a world class while I took time plating and setting the table enjoying special time with the family. We talked and laughed and enjoyed each other and the accompanying glass of wine (for the adults).

Have you tried any of these subscription services? Which ones? Please share I would like to avoid pitfalls and steer toward winners for my household too.

If you want to try Home Chef, here is my personal referral link that gives me $30 off a future week of meals. And let me know what meals you tried.

Family

Managing Mondays-Post Easter Edition

It is Monday and I am sipping my coffee meditating on this past weekend and the busy week ahead. Although my children are older, we still hold tight to traditions.

Good Friday

I took Friday off in order to bake cinnamon rolls. My grandmother Claire and I spent every Good Friday I can remember elbow deep in flour, cinnamon, and sugar making dozens of cinnamon rolls that we shared with family and friends Easter weekend. I am horrible at remembering the entire reason other than it having to do with yeast on Good Friday. I know that many people make hot cross buns and the tradition has European origins. I found a few articles and thought I would share one here. When I posted my kitchen towel covered dough mound late Thursday night on Facebook, I asked if anyone knew what I would be making Friday morning and one of the guesses was hot cross buns. There is a similarity and an irony. The recipes and ingredients are quite alike. The process is the variance. Hot cross buns sure are less labor. Kneading in the dried fruits and spices instead of rolling the dough flat and adding fruits and spices then rolling it up and slicing before putting in the pan to rise again sure sounds a lot easier. I could have been done in two hours instead of four. Regardless, Cinnamon rolls are my family tradition and tears are my secret ingredient now as I rolled the dough and remember the times with my grandmother. This year I baked 111 rolls. That number was not planned but it is symbolic. Three ones. Three days. Good Friday through Easter Sunday: Resurrection Day. The Holy Trinity. Inspiring.

All through the day, I got to see loved ones who stopped in for their annual goodies.

My father was the first to get his cinnamon rolls.

Also on Good Friday, we colored eggs. Well, my daughter and her friends did most of them. I found a place to put my feet up and watch them interact and get creative.

Easter Sunday

When are we too old for Easter baskets? I say Never! They may not be filled to the brim with candy these days, but there is something about being a kid at heart and staying young.

And mine…well it is for the heart of a planner.

See the stamps? And washi? And ink pads? Yes!!!! I have more ways to plan! What I didn’t have was time to play. It was a busy day with church and family. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Managing Monday-What is the plan?

Well, I had one take away from our Pastor yesterday. And I am taking this to task.

At the beginning and end of each day in my quiet time when I make lists and plan, I will ask myself this question:

Will this make me more alive?

If I am planning a day or a life that isn’t achieving that, then why on earth am I doing it? It will not matter how pretty the paper is or how organized I appear to be.

This past weekend I didn’t make much time to plan and I didn’t make my pages pretty but I did spend it living. I celebrated traditions and I honored those I love by continuing them and pouring love into my world. That is what I call being more alive.

What are your traditions? What makes you more alive?

Family · Reflection · Social Topics

Tuesday Thoughts – FAKE NEWS, Family Circle, and Elvis

Yesterday, while sipping coffee and picking up around the house I finally scanned the cover of my recently delivered Family Circle magazine.

Note: This post is the result. I want to stress that I am writing this as a part of self-reflection and how this article impacted me personally. I am expressing my personal views. Please do not share this as a fact based article. The links I’m sharing are part of the research and certainly not the be all and end all sources for the topics that I’m discussing.. (Sad that I feel I even have to include this in my post.)

Slightly Off Topic Musing Before I Dig In on the Headline

I have to ask. Am I the ONLY person who gets magazine’s anymore? I battle with this in my head. There is still a section in most grocery stores and they still hang out near the registers when we check out so I have to believe there are some like me who still enjoy them. How many of us actually have subscriptions and find them in our mailboxes? I know just like newspapers, they are smaller and chock full of advertisements. Why do I still get magazines and pick up the newspaper from time to time? Well…I love them. I love finding meal and recipe ideas. I enjoy the decorating and craft ideas. I enjoy some of the health and fitness articles. And I love the back parts where readers submit photos and articles. I love the feel of them in my hands. I love that method of exploration. I’m not having to think of a search term and I am giving myself a chance to disconnect from the web and social media and learn and discover the “old school way.” I am given options of items to read and not feeling them pushed at me one by one like the algorithms that drive topics to my in box or are “sponsored” and “suggested” by the bots. I still like to get some of my information the old school way. How about you?

Now I know all magazines also have digital versions, but a typical web search isn’t going to produce those results unless you subscribe to the site. And frankly that is too much clutter in an already advertisement and spam-filled world of emails. And really, is this blog not a magazine in a sense? I’m asking you as my reader to subscribe or draw you here from my posts on social media. I don’t have bots and algorithms. I’m not here calling a pot black when I am simply a kettle that is black too. I’m a blogger and I don’t know that I aspire to an audience as vast as the the circulation of Family Circle. I don’t desire to have to sell ad spots and bog down this site with my margins full of ads that I hope you as the reader click on and buy something. Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe next year. Who knows? That is a blog post and decision for future me.

Thank you for clicking the link in the email or social media post that brought you here. You, my readers, make me so very happy when I know you have stopped by for a visit or a view.

Exit Stage Musing And On To the Point

Right now, I’m thinking more about this Fake News and that article I discovered, not while searching the web or sitting in social media. It didn’t pop up in any of my feeds based on algorithms. It came to me in my actual mail box. I appreciate the work of the hands that get the shiny, colorful pages to my home or local grocery store. I hope they never go away. And this week, I was interested in more than the recipes and healthy tips. Family Circle published an article that I tell you is very timely. The cover highlight, “FAKE NEWS & what to tell your kids” completely grabbed me. What a sad topic to appear on the cover atop those gloriously beautiful cookies. This reader didn’t even go to the recipes. Yep. I bypassed those and went straight to Fake News.

Fake news has always existed. We used to call is rumors and crap. It has always been in the media. Every week for decades if we stood in a grocery store, the check out stands were lined with the “rags” like The National Enquirer. My mother always picked them up to read them for the pure fun and humor. Well, maybe she was hopeful that Elvis was still alive and had been abducted by aliens. We have always had to discern fact from fiction. So why now has this become a problem so out of control that I was planning to read this article before the recipes? Why do I need to know what to tell my kids?

I have to admit that reading this article struck a chord with me. I am not sure if I took it personally or if it had me more worried about the state of our education system and parenting? Should I take this as a personal criticism as a parent?

Good grief! I mean, have we really come this far that articles have to be written to hopefully educate us on how to deal with this problem? Assuming positive intent, I realize that we have tons of information we have to synthesize and rationalize in a small amount of time. It isn’t like the weekly Enquirer of old.

What stood out were results from a study:

  • 82% of middle school students had difficulty differentiating between news and advertising
  • 75% of the time adults believe Fake news headlines

Shocking! Where did our critical thinking go? Did you ever see the Disney movie WALL-E? In my mind, the creators were predicting the trajectory of humans and our careless consumerism and decline in a key skill called critical thinking. In the movie, the setting was 100 years in the future and humans were conditioned to think and behave based on Big Data, algorithms, and bots. This movie came out in 2008, before the terms Big Data, algorithms, and bots became so common place. When I walked out of the theater ten years ago, I actually filed away a personal fear of where we were heading. I thought technology can and probably would change us and make us lazy. We would totally buy Hover chairs to get around and use screens for communication with other humans. They were hovering right next to each other but never left the chair or touched another soul. How many of us text a family member from another room in the house or heck across the room? It reminded me of how lazy we already were and that the folks behind technology could sway our purchases, voting, and opinions. The scene where the new color trend was announced and they could press a button to purchase and change shirts was shocking. Funny maybe. Let’s be real, Color of the Year is decided for us based on various factors and we buy into it. How do you think home decorating and clothing color trends happen? There is a science behind it and a whole team of smart marketing to influence us into buying to the trend. I wonder how many people who saw the movie saw the creators poking fun at us?

Do we buy into this or stop the madness? Can we stop the madness? Is it madness?

All great questions! Fake News? Where did that even start? Well I thought I would point you to Wikipedia and what it says, Wikipedia’s take on Fake News and this article from Family Circle on Fake News because they both drove home to me that a mere 10 years after WALL-E, we aren’t really 100 years away from needing to find another home away from earth nor are we immune to suggestive marketing and fake news. Are we not thinking for ourselves more each and every day? And when I think about it, it seems critical thinking as a skill is needed more than ever before. I know the people with the skill are behind the big date, algorithms, and bots. I guarantee that. So how can I ensure, that I’m honing my critical thinking and retraining myself and teaching my kids? How do I put into practice looking at news and discerning fact from opionion and fact from fiction? How do I talk to my kids more about what they have seen on social media, television, and hearing from their peer groups? And furthermore, how do I turn that conversation on to helping them be expert critical thinkers? I personally will not rely on formal education to do it all. I cannot expect that. It isn’t fair. I don’t send an employee of mine to a class and expect them to come back an expert? Why would I have the same expectation of my children and their teachers? Family Circle and Wikipedia both offer tips on how to analyze the information presented to determine fact, opinion, or fiction.

I encourage you to read this article on Fake News, and not just to know what to say to the kids. I needed it. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised to find it in Family Circle. (Yay for the magazine in my mailbox!) Future generations can become critical thinking masters if given the chance. Fake News discernment starts with the individual. As we allow our kids access to a vast world of fact and fiction in the digital age we need to talk more about what is being digested. Some may suggest keeping kids off digital longer. I don’t know if that is the right way either. My kids have the ability to surpass me in so many ways if I educate, communicate, and foster critical thinking. They can be a powerful force. The article reminded me that my generation can really help be mentors and guides to the future. So I want to step away from the screens and talk and share an interact more. It will be these moments of connecting where I can find teachable moments. I can walk away with a stronger ability to identify fake news and so will my family. I can ensure that if what I’m seeing is really an opinion, that I won’t choose to adopt the same opinion because I agree and think it is fact. Talking with my kids about it will help me and in turn hopefully help them be stronger.

I may have thought I was doing this already, but the article made me pause and think on it. And I thought a lot. I even talked to my 13-year old about it. I recognize that I can be better. I was disappointed in myself. Because I realized, I am just so annoyed with the amount of fake news that I give less attention to a lot of it and in turn, talk less about news in general. And it got me to this rant. And honestly, I will take my in-hand magazine any day of the week.

I have to ask: What do you do with Fake News? Are you concerned about friends, family, and your kids not knowing the difference? Were you surprised by the statistics from the study that was shared in the article? Do you ignore Fake News? Do you agree with the article on why and how to talk to our kids?

Now…I am off to finish my coffee and look at the recipes and crafts in Family Circle.

Books · Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Planning · Vision · Writing

Managing Monday-Let’s Talk About Lists, Baby!

As I near the end of March, I start thinking about April. Planning does that to me. I see the next month coming as the pages turn. Ugh! My mind goes into overdrive. To control the chaos, I start thinking about monthly goals, important events and I make lists. Lists help me focus and allow me to be distracted by things in the process. My kids send me texts or come to the door of my room and interrupt. My dogs don’t care that I am in planning mode. If they want affection they get right in my face or sit on my foot. Whatever it takes. So lists are helpful because if I have written it down I won’t forget it. Well, that and it eases my mind.

What on earth do I need lists for? And why do I obsess over them? How many times have you gone to the store and forgotten something? Me? More than I care to admit. And hey, the lists on the phone work for some people but I love what I call a hybrid version of this.

Shopping lists

I have Google Home and I have my household conditioned to tell Google to add items to the shopping list. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the fact that they cannot see the list so I end up with some items repeated three or four times. That annoys me when shopping from it. Since I meal plan before shopping, I tend to start that list on paper because that is my meal planning method. Pulling up the Home app and looking at the list created through the week to add the needed items is all part of the procesd. Honestly do I need four bottles of ranch dressing? My kids might think so but my budget would argue differently if it could speak. I consolidate to my paper list and chuckle every time I look at that Google list. My kids have jokes. They come up with crazy items. This last time the mystery item was “a stick.” My daughter confessed to this little gem. I mean go in the yard for that one. Obvious right?

Fun Wish lists

All through my planner, you will see wish lists and this is one of my favorites. Concerts and Festivals. Last night after dinner I was enjoying a glass of wine with the family (the legal age drinkers had wine too) and we were all playing music from our Spotify lists and talking about shows. I grabbed my handy wish list and asked which, if any, they would be interested in. What a great time we had looking at other events and finding common artists we all knew and liked.

Why do these go on a wishlist and not right to my calendar? Well, I have to admit that I am budget conscious and won’t put it on the calendar until I bought the tickets. I just don’t like disappointing myself in the reality on that monthly spread by marking something out. I like wishlists better. How about you?

Cleaning Lists

This is a re-try at an old method. My family is ignoring the list posted on the fridge. I suspect that is partly due to everyone’s crazy schedule. When I would like to see things get done seems more like a wishlist of disappointment. The dishes get done and the trash and recycle are taken out but everything else just gets ignored until I make a fuss. So, I am putting this back in my planner and not on the fridge. And when people are home, I will ask nicely and then track who complied. Then i will settle on doing it myself if it is really bugging me. Yesterday was a day where everyone asked what I would like done. So I guess the flow is changing and I will ride the ride.

I picked this format from my stash. I got it from Natalie Rebecca Design several months ago. I think I bought this from her Amazon Store. I am excited to switch it up and see how we get along with it.

Spring Cleaning

I love fellow bloggers who share great tips and tools on cleaning. In preparing for April, I decided this would be a great checklist as I plan my spring clean. De-Clutter Challenge. I actually started some of this last weekend on my own and was frustrated because I was in perfectionist mindset and spent far too long on each task. I went in search of a new method and ran across this saved in my favorites.

Master To Do List

I use a running to do list that follows me from day to day and sometimes week to week. It isn’t always the same format or paper style. This list sits in the middle of my weekly spread where I can note items while I am on conference calls, in meetings, and in those moments of meditation when there is a lot on my mind. The only way to give my mind rest at times is simply to stop and write it down.

Reading…I make lists for this too

I love this planner that Brenda Novak sent in her January Reader’s Box. My reading Vision in 2018 has been to read more. And I set a realistic goal of 2 books per month. Now, what has actually happened is that I have gotten to about 2 per week. Rediscovering this joy makes my heart sing. If you looked all over my house, there are books and my Kindle has a vast virtual library. So I don’t have to go far to make a pile like this.

Every month I have managed to build a pile of self-directed learning and pure enjoyable fiction. Did you notice Erma Bombeck in the pile? My mother always picked up those books. They were her version of the Reader’s Digest for the bathroom quiet time. Sometimes as a mother that is the only room where you tend to spend any amount of time with no interruptions. Well…let me have this moment of fantasy. I have been thinking about these books so I picked a couple up to revisit her wit and wisdom. She was always inspirational.

Oh and plots. Those Works in Progress are eating at me. I have an itch to write chapters after chapters. I am a seat of my pants writer and know I need to find a balance with some structure so this April, I am going to study on story plotting.

Managing Mondays and every day is built on the foundation of lists. What kind of lists do you make? Daily? Weekly? Wishes? Share in the comments. I would love to see pictures and read what you put on your lists.

Have a great week!

Books · Goals · Planning · Reflection · Uncategorized · Vision · Writing

Book Talk – Am I reading more?

Happy Friday! Yes, I’m sipping coffee and I’m wishing I could take the day off to read. It dawned on me that I have yet to share much about my Vision Board and my plans to read more. I used to be an avid reader. A couple of books a week was a typical average. Life got in the way. More like Igot in the way of reading!

I read an article earlier this year about how some of the world’s most successful leaders read every day. So if they can make time to read, why shouldn’t I? In all honesty, I love reading and once I started down this journey of rediscovery this year, I wanted to read more and more. Joining Brenda Novak’s book club and reading challenge was a great launching pad for me. And my “to be read” pile grows larger every day. The more I read, the more I find I want to read.

Let me share with you some (not all) of the books I’ve read so far this year. In each of the books, I will share an overall impression of the book and maybe even a link so that if you want to read it to you can. Full Disclosure: If I provide a link and you use it to purchase it via Amazon, you will be helping me sock away a bit of money to help support this site. I thank you for that.

Reading For a Better Me

<a href=”Shaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure is a great book that is packed full of motivation for physical and spiritual fitness. I love watching her in movies on the Hallmark Channel and I loved watching her grow up in Full House. This book was her way of sharing how she went from that chubby girl to a healthier and happier version of herself. I enjoyed this book because it wasn’t a diet book. It wasn’t a book that pointed out everything I do wrong. It was simply her view on how through faith and family and introspection she worked to make small changes over time that have been maintainable. As such an easy read, I keep it handy and actually pick it up every once in a while to look at end of chapters where she provides recipes and scriptures plus a little practical advice. It never hurts to reconnect. I really enjoyed it and hope you might too. Check it out.

OOLA: Find Balance in an Unbalance World by Troy and Dave the OOLA Masters. Now this book is not new to me. I got it a few years back and with my refocus using a Vision Board, I decided to pick this one back up because I wanted to revisit it. Everyone talks about work life balance and how important it is. I hear it all the time at the office. I preach it all the time to my colleagues. Does anyone really know what it means or how to do it? This book is full of how to put that into practice. I love that it even gives you an assessment to help you learn which of the 7 areas of a balance life may be needing more attention. The OOLA masters don’t tell you “how” to fix yourself. They share real stories and examples which allow you to reflect. Then they offer encouring nudges on how to find your action plan starting small and going bigger and bigger until you feel OOLA complete.

If you don’t get any other book this year, get this one! I have enjoyed reading it again and I’ve also enjoyed comparing my Vision Board for 2018 to their suggestions of an OOLA board and recognize that I have work to do to help me get balance. I also realized that I think reading this book in the past truly helped me subconciously as I was building my vision. My focus areas are closely aligned to the Seven Fs.

Reading for Joy

I have to be honest that I don’t always read books that show me “how I can do things better.” I have to read for the sheer joy of reading. It is my great escape. I love diving into other settings with fun characters and seeing what happens in their lives. Sometimes I have books that I really wanted to read but I struggle to find the time or just have a challenge connecting. Don’t you? Then there are times where I’m so engaged that I cannot put the book down and procrastinate everything else I should be doing. It is important to make time for this kind of joy. I think that even the world’s leaders have had books of fiction or non-fiction that really and truly were escapes into other settings. I learn from these characters and story lines too. So, I made sure I read from this “To Be Read” pile too. Here are some highlights on some of these other books I read in the past two months.

Edge of Darkness (The Cincinnati Series)

“>Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose was a great book. This was part of Brenda Novak’s Readers Book Club. Last night was the book club discussion where Brenda visited Karen and they hosted a Facebook Live discussion that allowed all of us to be part of the interview and discussion. I haven’t been much into mystery and supsense books but I’m a converted fan after reading this book. It is part of a series and I have added all of the other books in the series to by TBR pile because this book was that good. Her characters are real. Her settings were vivid in my imagination. And I didn’t know who did it for certain until she revealed it. I had a good guess, but I wasn’t 100 percent certain. In the discussion she let us know which of her characters in the series she has planned to “star” in upcoming books and I was very excited to know that I can look forward to some of my favorite secondary characters taking the front seat in future books. I learned a lot about how Karen manages her writing including how she keeps track of all of the characters in the series. As a writer myself insight to the writer’s life and learning tools and tips I might apply to my own work in progress and ideation process always gets me motivated and excited. She is a huge fan of Tami Hoag so I’ve decided I must prioritize some of my TBR list to ensure that I read one of those books this year instead of continuing to put it off. Funny, how an interaction with people can change your thinking in only an hour’s time.

Any Dream Will Do: A Novel

“>Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber is probably my favorite of the books I’ve read recently. Do you watch Hallmark Channel Movies? I do. And Debbie is one of those writers who has had several novels made into movies. Her stories are just that captivating and full of real people and sweet outcomes that they lend so perfectly to the Hallmark lineup. I’ve watched so many and realized that I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book. So when I was taking up the challenge to read a book in February based on the look of the cover, this one stood out to me at the supermarket. And I’m so glad it did. I just loved Shay and Caden’s story. Shay is so imperfecttly perfect that she melts my heart. So much of her personality resonated with me. I felt a kinship of parts of me in my younger years when it comes to choices in trust and relationships. And much y favorite character really was probably Caden’s daughter, Sarah. She said it as she saw it as any youngster would but her insights and observations were just so simple and true. Perhaps she reminded me of my daughter at that age. Such wisdom from those so young! I hope you pick this book up and just dive into the characters and watch them grow personally and together to make a new heartwarming family unit. You will feel so good at the end. I assure you.

Her Secret Daughter (Grace Haven)

“>Her Secret Daughter by Ruth Logan Herne was a sweet “commercial” and I picked this book up so that I would have a quick read. I like the Harlequin series books for the short read. Often this is a book length that I can finish in an afternoon while sipping coffee. I enjoyed this book about Josie and I really fell in love with the characters from Grace Haven. Have you ever read a book where you love the secondary characters more than the main ones? This was definitely one of these books for me. Addie is the “secret daughter” and she was a little girl who could have been written so differently considering what she had been through in life. The author, Ruth, really had me cheering this sweet girl on because I just knew that she was surrounded by people who loved her and having a chance to know her biological mother would maybe confuse her but in the end could just be the thing to help bring her that much more joy. I was rooting for Addie more than I was rooting for Josie. And honestly, at first I wasn’t sure I liked Josie and wasn’t sure I wanted her for Jacob. In the end, Addie is who changed my mind about that. Check this book out one afternoon and enjoy it with your favorite beverage in a comfy chair.

I guess I was all about the kids in my books this month. And it proves to me that secondary characters are critcal to any story line and matter to readers. I am looking forward to the next few books on my pile. If you pick up and read any of these books, please come back and let me know what you thought of them. I’d love to hear. What else should I put on my list? Any suggestions?

Goals · lists · Planning · Vision · Writing

Managing Mondays-How I Planned

On Sunday, whether sipping coffee, iced tea, or wine I plan out my week. At least as much as I can. Everyone has a process. And for me personally, there are three basic steps with a lot of flair.

How I get from step to step depends on my mood or something specific about the week that might help drive a theme.

This week launches the first day of spring so flowers sprung to mind. Spring colors are popping up all around the neighborhood and in my house as we switch up accents like pillows, kitchen towels, placemats, and flowers. Our neighborhood had planters and flower beds being refreshed with daisies and petunias. Oh the joy of Phoenix living! Many places are still getting snow and ice and we are already battling seasonal allergies as the smell of orange blossoms begins to fill the air.

Since the outside is blooming, I want my page to bloom too. So, I went through my vast supply of papers, washi, and stickers to celebrate the first day of spring.

With my garden of materials ready, I began the real first step of pulling my pages out of the planner. It really does make it easier to not have the binder discs in the way. This is really one reason why Happy Planners make me so happy. (Pun intended)

I wanted to demonstrate that buying stickers is not the only way to embellish a page. Pen and paper really can go a long way and can be more affordable in the long run. I may have to write a post on finding pretty paper on the cheap. Yeah?

One page I selected had cute items that would make great tips for my spread. So I cut them out.

And I saw some colored designs I thought would look great as blocks in my vertical spaves so I used my HP Classic Punch to make a few for my layout. (I often use a plastic template to make these. I will show you that another time. You don’t have to have a punch. I have only had mine for a couple of months and I love playing with it.)

I really love the spring colors so far. And the butterfly is simply sweet.

Now is when I get to have fun. I take all of these pieces and start placing them around until I love what I see. There is no science. Getting to a point that makes me smile is my goal.

And then I start gluing them in place. Now, this time I used a glue stick. If I want to feel less committed, I often use repositionable glue tape. Next time I will bring that along and show you how great that is.

All that is left to complete the Step (maybe I should call this a phase): Before Pen, is to get some washi tape. I have actually done some weekly spreads using only washi tape and pen. That can be fun and simple too.

Wow! I just love it so far. I did grab a few stickers to pop in some key events for the week. It wasn’t necessary but it was fun to sift through and find ones I thought tied into my theme. Now we are ready for the final phase with pen!

4 key focus blocks I tend to repeat are:

  • Goal for the week
  • Space to jot things foe next week
  • specific to do lists
  • Key appointments or meetings each day

Here is this week’s plan.

In one view I can see all of the most important tasks, events, and priorities for the week and by day. I have a place for important things to keep in mind for next week. I know when my work day really starts and whether I can roll out of bed and go straight to work after my morning quiet time or if I have to plan extra time to commute. And I love this little dashboard.

Do you plan your week? In a plannet? In your head? Would you like to see more of my weekly spread styles? I would love to hear from you on what I can share on Managing Mondays.

I hope your week is focused and rewarding.