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Why You Should Become a Reader and How to Start

 

 

Why you should become a reader:

Picture waking up on a Sunday morning, drinking your coffee, and basking in the first morning rays of sun that are beaming through your window while you are immersed in your favorite book. That is my idea of a perfect morning. Peaceful, quiet, serene, and I’m lost in an entire other world or somebody else’s life in an amazing book. Are you convinced that you should start reading again yet? If you are skip down to the How to Start, if not, keep reading.

What is your favorite movie? I’m going to go with an easy one that is pretty common and most people know Pride and Prejudice, did you enjoy the 2 hours you spent watching that movie? Now imagine being able to stretch that experience out to a whole morning or a whole afternoon. You can stop and put the book down for a minute when you want to reflect on how Elizabeth is a much better sister than I am because I would rebuke Lydia much harsher than Elizabeth did. You can become part of the story as you are reading it more than just watching the movie and being shown exactly what each character looks like, sounds like, and moves. When you read, you create this images yourself. Convinced yet?

How about this, we are being bombarded by fake news, exaggerated news, or news that is 100% true but is obviously just trying to get a rise out of a certain group of people. Why do you think they are so successful at creating this absurd news using sound bites and memes that get thousands or millions of views and shares? We don’t read! As a society we seem to have fallen in love with the media, the television, and Hollywood. I firmly believe we would be in a much better state as a country if instead of the media, we fell in love with books! It is much more difficult to confuse a person on how the economy works who is familiar with the writings of Milton Friedman, Marx, Keynes, or Mill. If nothing else, they will know how to think critically on the current information they are given instead of letting the news reporter get them riled up about their latest prediction. Being an avid reader will help you to be a critical thinker and be able to decipher between fake news and real news. 

Children will do as you do, not as you say. This is one of the biggest motivators for me to read every night instead of watching TV or browsing Facebook (full disclosure, I sometimes indulge in those things when my kids aren’t watching). However, in the evenings, after the kids go to bed I try to make it appoint to read for another hour until they are asleep. I also read first thing in the morning (this is when I try to do my serious reading), so to my kids they see that reading is important and reading is fun. If you want to raise intelligent children, teach them to love reading, and be their example. ts8var4y570e402b6011d466172928

Reading will help you advance in your career. As you move up on the career ladder, you will inevitably need to read more and understand what you are reading. You may even need to explain it to your coworkers, an outside investor, or your boss. Perhaps Dr. Seuss explained this best: “The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. 

 

How To Start

Turn Off the TV, I wrote a blog earlier on How to turn off the TVif you want some tips. If you make a conscious effort to keep the TV off, it will make it easier to fill the time with a good book.

Start SmallIf it has been a few years since you have done some serious reading, don’t start with with works of Aristotle. Save that for a few months or even a year down the road when you are used to reading the more advanced works of literature. 

Listen to Audible instead of the radio. This was actually a very simple change that I made that helped me fall in love with the written word again. I listen to Audible when I am in the car or at home doing mindless tasks. My husband has a long commute for work every day and he listens to the books as well. Then we get to discuss the books in the evening. 

Start with a genre you love.  Check out Goodreads for a list of recommended books in a genre that you find interesting.

Start or join a bookclub. Bookclub night with friends is an awesome bonding experience and it will help keep you on track to get a book finished. Gather up a group of your friends, coordinate with some wine and cheese and let the fun begin! You can also find local book clubs to join online!img_8594

If you don’t like the book, you don’t have to finish itwithin reason. I would be cautious not make a habit of getting 100 pages into a book and then moving onto the next one, the most exciting part might be yet to come, and often the best authors have a long build up. That being said, if you aren’t interested in a book, feel free to put it down and find a book you love, especially in the beginning.

Utilize your local library. Books can get expensive, my husband can attest to that, so it’s helpful to use your library, especially in the beginning when you are just learning what types of books you like. Also check out deals on used book sites or find a local used book store to get some great deals as well!

Just Start. Don’t try to make everything perfect, just start. It will be worth it!

 

 

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Why I Blog

Placeholder ImageI have recently started blogging again and I have struggled to have any real direction in my blog. Originally I thought I would write a DIY Blog as we went about fixing our house, but that was much more technical and time consuming than I originally thought it would be and it was not enjoyable. Then I switched to blogging about homeschool, which is fun, I love homeschooling and my friend who is co-homeschooling with me has the most creative ideas! However, most of the creative ideas are hers and would require even more coordination than we already do with curriculum for me to write about them.

I have had to spend some time reflecting and deciding if it is a good use of my time and if I want to continue blogging, from this retrospection I have come up with the reason why I blog:

1. It give me a reason to reflect on events and make sense of things that are going on in the world.  

If I’m going to blog about something I want it to be at least halfway cohesively written and easy to understand, so I’ll spend more time reflecting on a certain subject or analyzing the cause and effect of changes I make within my household. For instance, I knew I wanted to write the blog “How to Turn Off the TV for Good” because I am passionate about watching less TV and encouraging others to take the constant noise of the TV away from their kids instead. Since I knew I was going to write about it, I paid closer attention to how my kids reacted, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly reactions of no longer watching TV. I believe this reflection helps me to be a better parent and a better person because I pay closer attention to the world around me.

2. Blogging is a Therapuetic Outlet. 

Much like keeping a daily journal, writing about your experiences is a therapeutic outlet. There will be times that I am consumed by an idea or something that is frustrating me, such as why women should stay at home instead of work, and I can’t stop thinking about it until I can write about it and get it out of my system. I’m hoping that at some point another person out there in the universe will read one blog post one day and go, oh yay, she’s crazy too, I’m not alone. You never know, it could happen.

3. Writer’s should write. 

I’ve always loved to write, when I was kid I wanted to be a journalist, and I would go around interviewing people with my little flip notebook. I was later convinced by others that I couldn’t be a good mom and a journalist so I should seek a more family friendly profession. I love to read as well, and when I was reading a book by Susan Bauer (I apologize I can’t remember which one it was) there was a quote in there that said “Writer’s should write” and it stuck with me. Even if I haven’t thought of some life changing idea, writer’s should write, and that’s what I love to do.

4. Blogging is a platform to voice your opinion without trying to condense it into 140 characters on twitter or a Facebook post that is bound to get you into trouble.

Seriously, have you ever stated your opinion on a controversial subject without somebody going off on you on Facebook. Nobody needs that grief on Facebook, in my opinion Facebook is for pictures of your kids and so you don’t forget birthdays. If I had written that on Facebook somebody would surely be furious that I would take such a stance.

5. I’m practicing so that I can write a book. 

I still want to write a book or two somebody. Writing is like any skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it. I really want to write a book on my observations in the business world on how customer service affects a business. Unfortunately, since I have been out of school the only writing I have done is notes and emails to co-workers and business clients, which is recommended to be written at a 3rd grade reading level. As a side note I think this a perposterous and as a society we should better educate ourselves so we can read above a 3rd grade reading level.  However, I need practice writing at a more advanced level before I write my book, so practice, practice, practice.

Share why you blog!

 

How to Turn Off the Television for Good!

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Any other millennial mothers out there tired of hearing that we need to take the tablets, phones, and electronics away from our children? Me too! Our children are going to grow up in a world surrounded by technology, why shouldn’t we let them start learning how to use it now? Well… Science, that’s why. Damn you Science!!!

Here is the reality, kids spend way too much time watching TV or playing Video games. Sadly, so do adults. The average adult watches 5 hours of TV per day. The average 2-11 year old watches 4 hours of TV a day. That is heartbreaking! Honestly, I thought the 2 hours of TV per day that was recommended was excessive. This includes time playing on tablets as well!

Children need time to be bored, to use their imagination, and to fall in love with books. In order to achieve this, they have to step away from the TV and put the tablets down! Easier said than done right? You are correct, it is NOT EASY to turn off the TV. Watching television is addicting and with Netflix and no commercials, it’s easier than ever to spend a few hours every evening binge watching your favorite show! Follow these steps to turn off the TV for good.

1. Get Active! Think Hiking, Local Rec Center or YMCA, Bike Riding, etc…

REDcoyote-08761Bike riding and hiking have become two of our favorite activities to do as a family when the weather is nice, and we have a local Recreational Center with a little rock wall for the kids and an indoor swimming pool to get out and get some endorphins flowing! Also, the trampoline is great during the summer and the local playground!

 

2. Find New Indoor Hobbies! Think Board games, Musical Instruments, and Crafts!

My 5-year-old daughter and my husband recently started learning how to play the ukuleleimg_8472 together. She has a soprano ukulele (which is the smallest one) and he has the mid-size, the concert ukulele. It is small enough that my daughter can play it comfortably and it is fun for my son and I to dance around or sing along as they are playing. We also have evenings where my son throw a tantrum because he wants to play but he will probably break the strings, it’s called balance. You will be surprised how fast an hour will go by playing a musical instrument instead of watching the latest drama on Netflix.

We have also started playing more board and card games. Most recently we had an evening where we played “Big Bang Theory Clue” so it wasn’t people getting murdered it was the friends from Big Bang Theory doing horrible things like dismantling the Shelbot, it was a lot of fun! My daughter who is 5-years-old (almost 6) got the hang of it pretty quickly and loved that she was playing a big kid game, and my son who just turned 3 was in charge of rolling the dice for everybody. He also re-arranged the characters on a regular basis. With younger children don’t expect board games to go smoothly, the rules are more of general guidelines.

3. Let Them BE BORED!! This is the most important step. 

This is probably also the hardest part, because in the first couple of weeks there will probably be a lot of complaining and depending on the age of your children possibly evenmaddie-running some tantrums of epic proportions. The first two weeks my son threw a fit every night and there were even a few times my daughter would throw a fit and declare “it was the worst day ever!” Stand firm Mama, they’ll get used to it.

The other day some of my daughter’s friends came over and one of them asked if they could watch TV and my daughter responded without any fanfare, “Oh we don’t watch TV at my house, but we can play with bubbles!” Just remember, the tantrums won’t last forever.

This will also probably lead to a messier household, especially when they are young and to entertain themselves they do things like decorate the house with toilet paper, cut up paper from their arts and crafts bin into copious amounts of confetti, and re-organize your fridge; my son had all three of those things done within two hours yesterday. It will be frustrating, your house will be messy, and you will want to turn on the TV, but take a deep breath and tell yourself, “it’s ok, they are learning.”

4. You Have to Quit Too! 

Maybe this is the hardest step. You can’t expect your kids to not watch TV or stay off the tablets while you are binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. I know you are tired, for crying out loud we have to go to work all day and then come home and take care of everything at home, you just want a quiet evening with the TV! I get it, I’ve been there too. Once your kids have broken the habit of watching TV, I think it can be re-introduced within moderation (personally I think 4-5 hours per week is plenty). Find new books that you love! Utilize your local library whenever possible! When your kids are young try and read paper books, they don’t understand that you are reading books on your tablet not playing games. They just see you on the tablet and think that it’s not fair!

You can get some friends together and start a book club or game night! Added bonus, your kids will be used to entertaining themselves better so you might actually be able to have some grown up conversations with your friends while the kids are playing in their room or the backyard!

5. Stand Firm. Commit. You Got This! 

There will be times when it won’t seem worth it, but when you see your kids fall in love with books, fall in love with the outdoors, start to build things and create, and most importantly make lasting memories, and it will all be worth it!

Comment below with your favorite alternative activities to watching TV!

 

 

Should Mother’s Work Outside the Home?

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Has anybody else seen the pictures and videos on how much a stay at home mom is worth? Recently I have seen multiple on Facebook, you can find articles in Forbes magazine, and I just came across this infograph at salary.com depicting the different roles a stay at home mom must fill and how much each role is worth. As a side note, when you look up how much a CEO is worth, somebody of a CEO caliber is able to read an entire paragraph and decipher a graph, but apparently anybody considering the value of a stay at home mom needs pictures (insert eye roll, but giggle at the same time because I believe it’s healthy to laugh at absurd ideas).

Here is the link to the infograph I found: http://www.salary.com/stay-at-home-mom-infographic/ and the picture is at the end of this blog as well. Please note, I did not create this infograph and all credit goes to salary.com for the infograph and related data.

First of all, if you want to be a stay at home mom and that makes you happy, that is worth much more than $113,000 per year, or even 1 million a year in my opinion, so if you are happy being a stay at home mom, or aspire to be, Do IT, and when someone tells you that you are worth $113,000 per year, laugh at them and say “I’m worth so much more than that honey” and walk away with a mic drop!

However, this blog is intended for the young girls and women who want to have a career outside the home and have a family. I believe the intent of finding the worth of a stay at home mom (or dad) was to defend the brave men and women who stay home and manage the household, which is a worthy cause, but I have noticed a disturbing trend where women who do not want to be a stay at home parent feel obligated to stay home because they can’t make $113,000 per year outside the home. If you are one of these women, this blog is for you!

If you read my previous blog, you already know that it was difficult for me to decide to work outside the home, which is partly what inspired me to write this blog as well, but even more so was an experience I had with a young mother a few years ago.

I was visiting one of my neighbors in my apartment complex, trying to get to know other women in my church better. This was the first time I had ever spoken to this young mother other than a hello at church. It took all of 10 minutes for her to break down sobbing, which was awkward because we had been talking about kids and I was happily going on about how fun it was to have a girl (her daughter was 3 at the time). For the next hour and a half, I quietly listened to this young mother’s story.

She had married young to a very good looking and promising man she met at college. She was excited to be married, be a mom, and happily raise her future children. She had been working through college, but quit to work full time as a receptionist at a Dental Clinic while her husband finished school. She loved going to work and wanted to go back to school to become a dental hygienist. Unfortunately, she was pregnant, and her husband pointed out that it wouldn’t be worth the time and money for her to go back to school and she would barely make more than the cost of daycare as a dental hygienist anyway. She agreed and after she had her daughter she stayed home, worked hard to keep her apartment clean and had dinner on the table every night when her husband came home from work. If this was how the story ended and she decided she enjoyed her life, then there wouldn’t be anything wrong with it. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. She was miserable, she felt incredibly anxious and depressed so her doctor prescribed her medicine for her depression and anxiety, but then she didn’t have the energy to clean her apartment every day and have dinner ready, so the doctor prescribed her an additional medication to give her energy and motivation. That helped but the medications gave her erratic mood swings. She was crying through this entire hour and a half long story, so I really didn’t need the litany of medications to know that she was miserable, but it definitely emphasized her dire situation. Her 3-year-old daughter came into the living room twice while I was there, once to show her mom that the tablet had died, so the young mother gave her daughter her cell phone and then once again to go to a new app on the phone. By her daughter’s lack of reaction, I’m guessing seeing her mother crying was a regular occurrence and not a cause for alarm.

Now, this is most likely an extreme case, but I doubt it’s an isolated case. If you enjoy having a job or have career goals that require you to work outside the home, do it! Be a Working Mom and be happy! Remember how I said being happy is worth 1 million per year? If working makes you happy, it probably makes you a better mom as well.

That’s the emotional side of the cost/benefit analysis of being a working mom versus a stay at home mom, but let’s tackle this infograph real quick as well.

Facilities Manager: 10.7 hours per week. I am not even sure what that means, but I have yet to meet a working mom who is paying for a facilities manager.

CEO: I’m guessing this means making the household decisions? Once again, working mothers do not hire somebody else to make family decisions.

Laundry Operator: If you want to be a working mom but are worried you cannot keep up with the laundry, or cannot afford to pay someone else to do your laundry, I have found the easiest way to do this is to keep your washer and dryer working (my washer and dryer have yet to send me bill for their services). Change the laundry in the morning before you go to work, change it when you get home, and wash bedding on the weekend. When I fold (which it be honest is not every day), I do it while my 5-year-old daughter is reading one of her books to me, so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time.

Computer Operator: Seriously? This is the digital age, our 3-year-old children can operate a computer.

Housekeeper: I’m not going to lie, I could use a housekeeper, but we have a fairly small house, my kids are already helping out (for some reason my kids think mopping and doing the dishes is really fun), and my husband cleans just as much as I do, so our house is at least sanitary most of the time.

Cook: We have home cooked, healthy meals almost every night, if few exceptions. Someday I’m going to blog or do a YouTube video on how I cook dinner. Usually my husband and I get home about the same time so he helps, but even when I get home before him, I can have dinner on the table within 25 minutes, and I don’t use any prepackaged or processed foods. Occasionally I use canned foods such as stewed tomatoes.

Daycare Teacher: You will likely pay for daycare. There are a lot of wonderful daycares who have teachers with a degree in early childhood development, or in home daycares run by men and women who have a knack for teaching young children. Do your research to be sure your kids are in a great place and know they are doing fine.

Van Driver: Uh-oh, I just realized I do not have a designated license to drive a minivan. Let me schedule a trip with the DMV to get my minivan driver certification.

Janitor: When your kids are super young, yes it will be exhausting cleaning up after them, but as they get older, they should learn how to clean up after themselves anyway!

Psychologist: If your child needs psychiatric help and you are not a licensed psychiatrist, you should probably defer this role to the professionals.

Overtime: 54.7 hours– Don’t worry, you will still work this 54.7 hours of overtime at home as a working mom!

I grew up with a working mom. She still made it to almost all our extracurricular activities, for the few that she missed, she would excitedly listen to us recount the event while we folded laundry or did dishes together afterward. She still helped us with our homework after she got home from work.

In my own life, I believe my husband and I have a much healthier relationship than we would if I was a stay at home mom, because it is easy to see each other as equals. We both work all day, we both come home and keep the laundry going, read to the kids (or my husband usually plays the ukulele with them), and get them ready for bed. We make household decisions together over coffee in the morning or tea in the evening, which is critical bonding time for us.

If you want to be a working mom don’t let anybody tell you that you are obligated to be a stay at home mom. If you aspire to have a career outside the home, there is always a way to make it happen. Find your own path to happiness!

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Cover Photo Credit: Jimmy Bay (Over App)

 

 

 

 

I Am NOT A Homemaker

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I’m a firm believer in the importance of introspection. When life doesn’t go as planned I try to analyze what I could have done differently to change the outcome. I don’t do this to beat myself up or dwell on events of the past that haven’t worked out, but to try and learn from it, make adjustments where needed, and try not to repeat the same mistakes. There are times in my past where much of went wrong was out of my control, in those cases it is very therapeutic for me to reflect on the past, take note of what I should have done differently, forgive, and move on. If you get into the habit of evaluating why you think a certain way or why you have chosen your current life path, it’s interesting to pin point certain events or defining moments that have led you to where your are today. One of these moments for me seemed very trivial at the time, but I have realized since then it was a defining moment for me of who I was and who I would become.

Before I began writing this blog post, I was curious to see if there were any other similar blogs out there, so I did a quick Google of “I’m not a homemaker” and found quite a few blogs written by other mothers who felt like the term “homemaker” was demeaning because they did so much more than what the term “homemaker” implies, which I cannot really relate to, so I am going to defer to their expertise on the subject. This is a different perspective on NOT being a homemaker. I am not good at it, nor do I have any desire to learn how to be a good homemaker.

I remember wondering if I would be a stay-at-home mom when I had kids, assuming I didn’t need to work for financial reasons. I thought it sounded wonderful, after all I do love to cook and I always enjoyed being around children, how could anything be better than being a stay at home mom? Then I tried it. I was 8 months pregnant with my 2nd child and the company I was working for went out of business. It seemed ridiculous to try and find a job while I was 8 months pregnant, and I was still finishing business school at the time, so it made sense for me to stay at home with my almost 3 year old daughter, soon to be newborn son, and finish school. I blamed my frustration and anxiety of being home all day on the discomfort of being 8 months pregnant and the stress of studying for finals. Which to be honest were not that difficult, it was really sad how little effort I had to put into my classes and still get an A, but that’s a side note. I was certain I would be happy once I had my son and the stress of finals was over.

At the end of the month, I was finally in labor and so ready to meet my son! When the nurse was checking me in at the hospital she asked for my occupation. My heart sank just a little by the question, this was the first time since I was 18 that I hadn’t been working, and I sadly answered “unemployed”. The nurse gave me a funny look which I didn’t understand at the time and replied “you are a homemaker” and I’m assuming checked “homemaker” on her clipboard. I understood and appreciated that she was trying to make me feel better, but when she told me I was a homemaker, I had this moment of unexplained panic and confusion. At the time I wrote it off as anxiety about being in labor and worrying that something could go wrong. Since then I’ve realized that I was terrified because I am not a homemaker. I will never be a homemaker. Not because I think it is beneath me by any means, but for the exact same reason that I will never be a mechanic; I am not good at it, and I have no desire to learn!  This bothered me at first, I really did think there was something wrong with me that I didn’t want to be a stay at home home, I mean what kind of mother didn’t want to spend all the time she could with her children? After a lot of introspection, discussions with close friends, family, business mentors, and a few bouts of crying, I came to terms with the fact that I am not a homemaker, and that’s okay. Since I have been able to accept the fact that I will never be a homemaker, I’ve been able to happily finish business school and build my career.  The best part? I can still be a good mother. In fact, I believe I am a much better mother as a working mother than I would ever be as a stay at home mom.

For the homemaking skills I lack, such as decorating, day to day play, organizing play dates, basically anything except cooking. I defer to the experts. My mother is an amazing helper and so is my husband. The only reason there are any pictures at all hanging in my house are because of my husband; thank goodness for him! I have wonderful friends who are kind and nurturing and have taken my kids in like they were their own and watch them during the day. I know without a doubt my children are better off being with them all day than they would be home with me. I love my job and I can come home happy to be with my kids and happy to cook (I still love cooking). I agree with the sentiment of the kind nurse who was checking me in, there is no reason to be ashamed of being a homemaker, it is an incredibly hard job, and it’s one that I could not do! I also believe that it’s important for other mothers to know that if you aren’t good at being a homemaker, you aren’t alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you. We all have different strengths and we should recognize and utilize the strengths we have instead of trying to fit into the role we have been told or think we should play.

Organize Your Stuff with Gigmi

This has been a crazy winter for us over here in Idaho! We have had way more snow than usual and so we have actually had to deal with snow. Seriously, I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had to scrape the driveway and the sidewalks in all previous years. This year we even had to clean off our roof there was so much snow! Alaska and Montana are probably falling over laughing at our pitiful little snowfall, but we are not used to this! Anyway, with all this time focusing on the snow we are a little behind getting our Christmas decorations put away. I finally got them all organized and in the garage today! Yay! I’m going to give you a quick tutorial on how to use the best app for organizing your stuff, Gigmi!

  1. Got to www.gigmi.com and create your login. If you want to make money by being a referral partner and be able to add an unlimited amount of items, become an affiliate partner as well! It is well worth it. If you just want to try it out first, sign up for the free app, you can still upgrade a become a referral partner later!

2. This will be your home screen once you have logged into the app. You can either start img_8102with adding container and then putting items in it, or you can catalog all your items first and then sort them into containers. Personally, I prefer to add a container first and the add my items as I fill up the container. One of the best things about Gigmi, it is fine to have a miscellaneous bin when you finish of things that didn’t fit neatly into the other containers, since you can search for items in your app and find out which bin you put them in later.

Now I will click on add container and the first container I am going to create is Christmas Lights. Although it will have more than just Christmas lights in it by the time I have finished, but it won’t matter because I can click on the bin and see everything that is in it anyway.

3. Add items to your container. If you decided to create all of your items first, you would click on existing items.

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I am going to add them as I go, so I am going to click on New Item. My description will be simple Multi Color Christmas Lights. img_8056

I tore up a few Amazon boxes that had delivered Christmas presents to wrap my Christmas lights and keep them from being tangled when I get them out to decorate next year.

 

 

 

4. Change the quantity to how many of this item you have in this box. I had 7. When I finished organizing my Christmas lights I realized I have way too many lights! I didn’t even put all of them up this year! This is also a good reminder to me to not buy more Christmas Lights, even if it is a good sale!

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This ended up being my whole container. 6 strands of green garland, 7 strands of Multicolor Christmas Lights and 2 Strands of White Christmas lights. After I put all my lights in the bin I realized the garland would fit on top perfectly and since the garland is so light I don’t have to worry about any damage to my lights.

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5. Once you have organized all your items in your containers go to your computer and print out the labels. You can use the QR Codes so that you can scan the boxes, you can number them, or give them simple names like I did.

6. You can print them out on actual labels or I just used plain paper, cut them and used packaging tape to secure the label on the bin.

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In the garage they go and I am done!!! Now if at any time throughout the year you need Christmas lights, you can’t remember what decorations you already have in storage or which ones you might need you can either login through your computer or your app and see everything you have logged in to Gigmi! Know Your Stuff! Sometimes it’s the little things in life that bring you happiness!!

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Only 343 days until Next Christmas!!!

5 Steps to Get Organized in 2017

It is that time again! New Year’s Resolutions! 2017 is going to be different. It is a brand new year and this year you are taking control of your life! Are you pumped up to organize your house yet? An organized home has huge benefits, both for your mental and physical health, that’s right, organization is a matter of your health!

First of all, having an organize house saves you time. How many of us have spent an afternoon trying to find the craft box for the picture frame craft you had planned for your kids and their friends the next day? I know I have spent way too many hours of my life trying to find things, and that ends with organization! How about money? Have you ever bought multiples of a tool just because you couldn’t find it when you needed it? Sure, you can sell it on Craigslist for half of what you paid for it, but now that time going to the store and that extra money you spent on the tool you already have is forever wasted.

Organization also reaps huge benefits on your state of mind and your overall mental health. It is said that an organized house gives you a sense of calm and a sense of control, and who doesn’t need to feel like they have more control over their life? You will likely also have the added benefit of increased concentration without having the clutter in the house distracting you from getting that report in on time, and of course you will be more inclined to have people over at the last minute because your house is already organized. I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me quite as happy as an impromptu afternoon drinking tea and talking to a good friend or neighbor!

Now are you convinced to get organized in 2017? Are you hesitant because it seems like a huge, insurmountable, daunting, and miserable task? Ah ha, I guessed it. That is my problem with getting organized as well. I’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps so it doesn’t seem quite as daunting to get your house organized.

1. Dedicate a Day or a Weekend if Needed. 

Personally, I need a weekend, but you might not be starting out quite as disorganized as I am. If you have young kids, find someone to take them for a day. We are lucky because my mom lives close and loves to have the kids over for a sleep over on the weekends whenever she can, so I’m going to just ship my kids off to Grandma’s for a weekend of cookie making while I organize. If you have older kids, enlist them to help. Give them small projects to do, or if it’s easier to not have the distraction, send them away for the day as well!

2. Team up with a Friend. 

This is also great for finding a place for the kids for the day if Grandma doesn’t live nearby for you. Team up with a friend who is also dedicated to getting organized in 2017 and have them take your kids one weekend and then you can take her kids the following the weekend! Also, it is great to have someone to keep you accountable, it’s like having a workout partner, you are more likely to keep working out if you have a partner who is going with you, it’s all about accountability. Help each other out and be there for moral support.

3. Get the Gigmi App. 

The Gigmi app is all about organizing your stuff. Know your stuff! Remember the example I gave in the beginning of the tool you needed but you couldn’t find so you went and bought another one and now you have 2 of them? That’s where Gigmi comes in to rescue you! With Gigmi you take a picture of your items, give it a quick description and put it in the box. Now when you need that hot glue gun for the craft project you just have to type it into your app and it will tell you which box it is in and where it is in your house. This will help you stay organized for years to come, so you won’t ever have to do this huge project again! Go to your Google Play or Apple Store and download Gigmi. It also has a web platform at http://www.gigmi.com

4. BOX IT UP! 

Here is crazy statistic I found on Get Simplifized a professional organizer. The average 3 bedroom home has 300,000 items. Can you believe that? 300,000. That is just too much stuff. Get a shelving system in your garage if you don’t already have one and box that stuff up! If you don’t use it regularly, there is no reason to have it out lying around your house causing clutter. I have 3 boxes with my kid’s toys in them at all times, and I rotate the toys on a regular basis. This way old toys are new again, and they are much more interested in their “new toys” that you just unveiled from the garage. Aren’t we mom’s tricky?!  With Gigmi you will be able to quickly find the items you boxed up and you won’t ever spend afternoon looking for that pesky glue gun again!

5. Plan an Awesome Reward for Yourself. 

Maybe having an organized house for 2017 is enough of a reward for you. It’s not for me! I need something awesome to look forward to! If I’m spending a whole weekend or even just a whole day organizing my house I want a huge box of chocolates and a girly mom only movie to watch. Team up with your organization friend and have a girl’s night to celebrate this new organized life you have created!

What are you going to do to celebrate your newly organized house?

Share in the comments!

How to Teach Your Child Latin- For A Classical Education

We have decided to follow the Classical Education for homeschooling our children. I love English Literature and my kids love books, so for the most part we felt very confident in our decision to follow the Classical Education as taught by Susan Wise. ** However, we were hesitant to teach Latin. We had been teaching our kids Spanish, but Spanish was easy, there were countless resources, including TV series, YouTube videos, songs, and a huge section at our local library with Spanish books. However, since Latin is a dead language and even Universities are starting to drop it as an elective, there are not as many resources available to teach Latin. This is what we found:

Dino Lingo has a Latin course and it has been very entertaining for my kids, who are 3 and 5, I doubt it would be near as entertaining for older children, but for their ages it works great.

We create our own posters. We printed out pictures of animals and wrote the names in Latin on a sticker. The kids were able to participate in creating the posters as well, so they love the posters and will go to our classroom regularly to admire their work and read the words in Latin.

We have created a memory game in Latin. You know the game memory where you have 24 cards (12 sets) that are randomly placed upside down then you turn them over one at a time to find the match? Our kids love this game, so we created a game with the picture of the animal or the color and then they have to find the corresponding word in Latin. My 2-year-old son doesn’t understand this game, but my 5-year-old daughter and who friend who is part of our homeschooling group, love this game! We simply made it with 3×5 notecards and printing out pictures, much like we did with the posters.

We found quotes and put them throughout the house. We kept this inexpensive. I bought the pretty resume paper from Office Depot and document frames from the $1 store. We found some of our favorite quotes online and printed them out and framed them to hang throughout the house. We even included a few fun ones such as “Barba Non Facit Philosophum” which translates to “A Beard Does Not Make One a Philosopher.” It makes people giggle after reading all the meaning of life quotes that are so popular in Latin.

Bonam Fortunam!

**You can learn more about the Classical Education from the books and online program here, which I am not affiliated with in any way, I’m just here to share my experience.

Nov 1st- Christmas Decorating Starts Today

This is it, we have been preparing for this day for the last 10 months, and now we are finally ready to being decorating for Christmas! You should be all hopped up on sugar from the mandatory tax you took on your kids Halloween Candy last night and hopefully your husband woke you up with a celebratory Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint Mocha to aid your energy. Now it’s time to decorate.

If you are anything like me you have 5-6 bins completely full of Christmas Decorations! Hopefully you have had a chance to organize all your decorations on Gigmi! We recently moved, so Gigmi  proved to be essential in getting our garage organized!

img_6500Now that it’s time to decorate, all I have to do is search my Gigmi app for the specific decoration I am looking for. For instance, I need to put up my interior wreath. I’m a hardcore Christmas decorator so I have more than one wreathe, as I believe most people should! I can search it on my Gigmi app, and there is the one I wanted for right now, the app shows me the picture and then tells me it is in bin #7. img_6501Perfect! Also I need the box with the bell to put on the doorknob… and there is the picture and it’s in bin #4! Easy stuff!

 

 

Finally, I need my tacky glue for the never ending Christmas crafts, because what good is celebrating Christmas if you can’t make Christmas trees out of Popsicle sticks. The tacky glue is in bin #6, the craft bin. christmas-craft
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My daughter is very into crafts right now, so I will probably need a completely new bin by the end of this holiday season to fill up with all the crafts she is making! Luckily I’ll be able to organize all of it with my gigmi app, because I am not an organized person by nature!

Are you ready for a refill on your Pumpkin Spice Latte yet? Or Cinnamon Coffee? Cinnamon Coffee is one of my new  favorites this season! Let’s get organized and get decorated!! Merry Christmas Season!

Homeschooling and the Bystander Effect

For those of you following my blog you already know that I am a working mother, passionate entrepreneur, and I am homeschooling my children. Trying to take on all of these responsibilities has forced me to learn how to make use of the 16 waking hours I have in a day. We have managed to make this work thus far by making a school a part of our everyday life, we are learning in the car, at dinner, and during family hikes. For more ideas on how to make an education fit around your life you can read my previous blog Homeschooling on the Go, but for this blog let’s explore why homeschooling is so effective.

One of my theories is that homeschooling eliminates the bystander effect in your child’s education. “The bystander effect is  is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present.” Wikipedia

I believe the bystander effect can apply to a child’s education because it is easier to be a passive onlooker when there is a whole team of teachers, administrators, and a school board in charge of your child’s education. When your children don’t get into the prestigious college or score as high on their SAT as you had hoped you can blame the teachers or the school system for not adequately preparing your child. However, when you are homeschooling it is on you. The responsibility of educating is on you.

The key to combating the bystander effect is responsibility. Research has shown that whether a child is taught in Public School, Private School, a Charter School or taught at home, the most important aspect of their education is the parent’s involvement. Theoretically a child will do just as well in Public School as home school if the parent spends quality time with the child after school doing homework together and continuing their education at home. However, I believe for me it would be easier to make excuses to just watch a movie together instead, after all, they spent 6 hours studying at school today right? This is the power of the bystander effect. Thus the power of homeschooling is taking the responsibility of your child’s education on your shoulders and eliminating the bystander effect. What’s your motivation for homeschooling?