Bullet Journals, Jr.

The little guys have started their own bullet journals. The things they write in them crack me up. For example, Adrian wrote in his a to do list of:
1. Wait.
2. Talk to Fritz.
3. Play D and D.

Another day he wrote, “Ugggggggggggggg. Couldn’t play D and D.” (Are you seeing a theme here?)

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Bullet Journal Update

I’m almost through the bullet journal I started in January. It’ll only last another month or two. I’m up to page 200 of 240. Anyway, it’s been a while since I posted pictures of my bullet journal so I took some pictures of August’s set up.

Each month I pick a theme that goes along with a holiday or whatever that happens some time during the month. Some months are easier than others. October is easy as is December. Some months aren’t obvious though like March or August. The theme always has an image or two I can draw and at least two colors. I ended going with a watermelon theme for this month using light pink, dark pink, light green, and black.

I’m still doing the menu calendar the same way. It has worked so well for meal planning and I can see at a glance what we haven’t eaten (the bubbles aren’t filled in) so I can rearrange or move to the next week easily.

The page after my menu calendar is the month at a glance calendar page. That page carries on the color theme and very quickly gets filled up when I transfer the month’s already scheduled activities from the future planning section to the monthly calendar page.

The next page is all my many to do’s. I’ve had so many people say they are overwhelmed just looking at that page, but it works for me and it really isn’t all that much stuff or time when you really break it down. I always have a bookmark in my bullet journal marking the monthly calendar and to do’s (they are facing pages).

The next page I added starting two or three months ago. It’s a tracker for exercise minutes and the number of steps I take each day (as reported by my Apple Watch). I don’t have any particular goal in mind each day and this is more for my own curiosity than anything else.

Facing the step page is a page to record the books I read that month and things I randomly think of during the month that I am grateful for. I number twelve spots for books because I usually finish 10-15 a month. I just add any past twelve in the space to the side. I continue my theme of the month in the gratitude section by making the places to write things down the image I came up with.

I no longer pre-make the daily pages before the month begins. I found that I was writing stuff until I ran out of space and then nothing else happened that day (even though other things did). So now I just start each day and write things down until the day ends and then start another day. Some days take up just a few lines while other take up half a page or more. I put some washi tape in between the days to divide them and add some stickers and my pages make me very happy.

I still love bullet journaling. It keeps me organized and lets me be creative, too. The little guys just started their own bullet journals, too, because they see how much I enjoy mine.

Keeping the House Clean

As I mentioned in my post about my morning routine, I really like to have the house clean all the time in order to make my days go smoother and for me to be a better mother. I also mentioned that keeping the house clean and organized does not come naturally to me. It is something I have worked on for years, tweaking what I do and incorporating new routines as needed.

For the last few years, I’ve used my bullet journal to help keep me on track and reach my goals for cleaning. Each month I make a page for my daily/weekly/monthly to do’s with squares for the dates to complete each task. As I complete each thing, I color it in. I love coloring in those squares. Having all the day’s boxes colored in is such a great feeling, almost better than the feeling of having a clean house.

I of course have all the things in my morning routine on that page. Then I have some things on the computer that I do every day (daily thread on a Facebook group, adding to my letter to my aunt, updating our finances, a batch of indexing, taking a picture each day, and scrapbooking that picture for Project 365). Fritz does the 7 Minute Workout each day as well.

Once a month, on the first, I clean the dishwasher, the garbage disposal, and the washing machine. I deep clean the stove using the special cleaner and razor blade. I change my sponge and switch the little picture on the welcome sign my sister made me years ago. I rearrange our Lego calendar for the new month. I rub the vinyl letters on the living room wall to make sure they don’t fall off (vinyl letters and super textured walls don’t mix super well). And I clean the couch using leather wipes. Also once a month, on the 11th, Lola gets her heartworm preventative medication. Once a month, on the third Saturday I wash our sheets (twice a year I also wash the mattress covers and twice a year I wash the blankets and quilts).

I have several things I do once a week. Sundays I send an email to my oldest niece who is serving a mission for the Church in St. George Utah, Fritz cleans Rae’s cage, and we put the Sacrament in a baggie to take to church (those of us with Celiac eat Nut Thins instead of bread; for some reason when church switched from 9 to 10:30 we kept forgetting to take our special sacrament so I added it to my to do page). Mondays and Thursday I have a box for bringing in the trash cans (we can get fined by the HOA if they are still out the next morning). On Mondays, I clean the filter in our dishwasher with a toothbrush. Wednesdays I print the letter to my aunt and also send a copy of it by email to my mother-in-law in Ireland. Thursdays I mail the letter to my aunt. Also on Thursdays I make menus for the next week, order groceries (which we usually pick up Friday evening or Saturday morning), and make a list of what I’ll need to do to prep our food for the week once the groceries have been picked up. Saturdays I refill Ani’s pill containers for the week.

Not something I put on my to do page, but that helps with keeping the house nice, I often walk around the house while I read. It kind of kills two birds with one stone. I get exercise and I get some reading done, too. Sometimes I’ll grab one thing that is out of place as I make my circuit (which goes around most of the bottom floor). I put it where it belongs (or on the stairs to go up) as I continue around the circle. It’s a really painless way of straightening up.

It’s amazing how much these things, none of which take very long, contributes to the beauty and mood of our house. I encourage everyone to come up with simple things you can do each day in your home. I guarantee you will not be sorry!

My Morning Routine

Recently on her blog, an author I like, Heather Sunseri, wrote about her morning routine and how it helps her day go smoother. That got me thinking about my own morning routine and how much it helps me as well.

Here’s how mine goes…

I usually wake up between 6:15 and 6:30. Sometimes that’s when Jamie’s alarm goes off, sometimes that’s because I just wake up. The night before, I spend a little time with my bullet journal and write down what I know I’ll have to do the next day and what we’re going to eat. This way, I know what I need to take out of the freezer or if I need to start bread baking and what my plan is for breakfast and how long that’s going to take before I ever get out of bed.

The first thing I do when I wake up is go pee. I don’t know how anyone can wake up and not immediately head to the bathroom. I know there are people who can, but I am not one of them. While I am doing that, I check my Apple watch to see what the weather will be like that day (when we had that bizarre cold snap the beginning of the month, I actually exclaimed “What the crap?!?!” out loud upon seeing our high that day would be 39*). Then I weigh myself and get back in bed. (Usually I shower at night, but sometimes I do in the morning. If it’s a morning I’m planning to shower, I don’t get back in bed, but instead jump in the shower right away and then once that’s done, I get back in bed.)

I spend the next 10-20 minutes reading scriptures. Currently I’m reading the Old Testament. I’ve made it through Exodus and most of the way through Leviticus. I’m reading all the notes I’ve put in there in the past and also all the footnotes this time around.

Once I’ve finished reading scriptures and saying my morning prayer, I get up and get dressed and head downstairs where I cut on the fish tank lights and then put on my shoes. Shoes are a necessity for me because I am a klutz. I’ve broken my little toes so many times. My shoes protect me.

Over the years I have found that if the house is clean, I’m a much calmer person and a better mother. So once I’ve got my shoes on, it’s time for me to do some cleaning. First I start bread in the breadmaker if we’re having sandwiches for lunch and get anything frozen out of the freezer that we’ll need for meals that day. Then I get out a cloth that I think my sister crocheted years ago (I love those cloths) and wash the kitchen counters, dining room table, and stove. If the dishes in the dishwasher are dry, sometimes I’ll put them away and reload the dishwasher. If they are wet or if I don’t feel like unloading at the time, I’ll wait for one of the boys to get up and have them deal with the dishes.

Some time in there I start breakfast. When depends on how long it’ll take to make it.

Then I head into the downstairs bathroom for the next step in my morning routine. I brush my hair and then brush and floss my teeth. At that point I’m ready for the day (I wear make-up almost never). I wipe down the toilet with a Clorox wipe before I leave the bathroom.

Each weekday I sweep a different room in my house. Monday it’s the living, Tuesday the kitchen, Wednesday the stairs, halls, and bathrooms, Thursday it’s the dining room, and Friday I sweep and also scrub the downstairs bathroom floor. The Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the month I mop those rooms/areas after sweeping them. On mopping days, I move everything reasonable off the floor (like I leave the filing cabinet in the dining room, but move the school carts and the table into the hall) so that it’s easier to get the floors really clean.

If Lola is around downstairs, I’ll brush her at some point in there. She sheds year round so brushing her every day helps keep down the number of hairs I sweep up every day. If she’s not downstairs, I’ll get around to brushing her later in the day.

By the time all that is done, it’s about time to eat breakfast and start school with the boys. Having the house clean and ready for the day is just super helpful for me and makes me happy. I was not born organized. Growing up, my room (and anywhere I played) was a mess. I’ve worked really hard and incorporated ideas from such cleaning gurus as Sidetracked Home Executives, FLYLady, Heloise, and Marie Kondo. I highly recommend finding a morning routine that works for you to get your day started off right, too!

November Spreads

I’m tired just looking at our calendar for November!

The meal calendar worked great last month so I’m using it again.

I like keeping track of the books I read each month and random thankful things I think of during the month.

The first and last weeks of the month are partial weeks, but I made them fit quite nicely.

October’s Bullet Journal Spreads

For my October monthly spread I decided to go with orange and black. I really like the color-in squares for chores and such. It’s working well for me.

For my books read section I was going for a book with the pages fanned out. I failed. I decided on ghosts for recording things I’m thankful for this month. The 7 Minute Workout color-in boxes are for Fritz. I’m also tracking whether underestimating how much Creon I need leads to being tired and/or having low energy the next day (results so far: most definitely).

Instead of just making lists for our meal plan like I usually do, I decided to make a calendar. The circles on the side of each meal are to record if we ate it as planned or not. This makes it way easier to shift around stuff as needed because I know what I still have ingredients for.

I reused some weekly spread styles I’ve done in the past that worked well for me.