Recording The Weather

All those little weather stickers are so cute in the planners. Think of the personal Almanac you can create by keeping track of the weather each day.

Aww, look! The weather on Thanksgiving day!

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But let’s be realistic! It’s super easy for a day to go by and the weather doesn’t even cross your mind.

Or even a whole week can go by…

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Or, the sticker gets placed because you can look outside and SEE what is happening, but you forget to check the weather app and write anything down!

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This is my solution…

I have an alarm set on my phone at noon each day. When it rings, I open my weather app and take a screen shot.

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(I already deleted today’s photo for my cold weather, but found this on my phone from a few days ago. I was dreaming of warmth and sunshine and took this screenshot of LA!)

But back to my reality…after the screenshot, I will put up the sticker and high and low temps later in the day. This allows me to get to it later, even if it’s a couple days. Once I’ve posted the temps, I delete the photo.

I also put a check box where the sticker goes and that reminds me to do it as well.

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I love using the weather stickers in my planner, and now, I don’t think any days will be able to sneak by!

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If you are new to the weather stickers, they come with 8 sheets in a pack and they are by Trend Enterprises. I bought mine on Amazon and at my local school supply store.

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New Menu Planning Bookmark

EC has a few new products and of course I had to order all of them.

The one I’m most excited about is the menu planning bookmark. I got right to work planning our menu for this upcoming week.

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EC suggests using a Sharpie to write on the bookmark, so I have used a Sharpie fine point marker. It writes really nicely and dries almost immediately and there is no smearing at all.

I use the back side of the bookmark to list those things I need to work into our meals, that will go bad in the fridge or on the counter. I have been really bad about food spoiling in the fridge, so I’m hoping having this list will make a difference.

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But then there was a problem with removing the ink. I tried using rubbing alcohol and it left an ugly black residue, even after some serious scrubbing. With my list being foods to eat, once we’ve eaten it, I need to be able to remove the food and add something else in it’s place.

I asked in the MyEC groups and got a ton of suggestions, but the one that I like best, and will work best for me is using a simple click eraser stick!

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I am able to remove just one line if necessary, and it’s not messy at all!! This will allow me to add and remove things from the list in no particular order, and I have high hopes for this tool in my planner.

I’m using the tiny space, next to each day, to list anything that might require a more special meal, or special event surrounding a meal, just anything that needs more attention for that meal.

I think this is going to be a super useful item in my planning routine, and hopefully we will eat more and spend less in the process!

And it looks super cute in the planner!!

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Simple Water Tracking

I’m feeling like I may have stumbled onto a brilliant idea, and it came from my own head! Imagine that!!

I NEVER use this tiny calendar in the top left corner of the weekly spread.

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I hate having any space wasted in this planner and now with the menu bookmark, I can truly use it for all areas of my life…personal and family, business (bottom lines are dedicated to that), meals (on the bookmark), but I need a place to track my water intake.

I’ve used the water drop stickers, and while I liked those, adding them on the same spot each day added bulk to my planner and if I failed one day to drink any water, I hated wasting a sticker as I would already have the sticker on the weekly column. I also don’t have space for a water sticker each day, or rather I don’t want to dedicate a sticker’s worth of space for just that.

Well, I just had this idea and I think I love it. I used an old box to do a mock up, and I used different marks to see which one I might like best. I worked down, so each day accounts for itself, and I used the letter of the day on top and put an extra mark below to make space for my “8 cups”.

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I think this is going to work! I wish I had tried drawing little hearts too, but with what I tried, I think I like the tiny checkmarks and the zig zag line best.

I love that this won’t add bulk, it’s already there, and this seems super easy to maintain!!

I love simple and easy!

When Simplicity is Beautiful Too

I just want to share these lovely layouts from Brittany in the My Erin Condren Simple (MyECS) group on Facebook.

There are so many ways to “do” an Erin Condren planner, but this has to be one of my favorites!

She matches her simple decor to the color palette for each month. If there are blank spaces at the end of the day, she fills those in with simple coordinating Washi tape or simple stickers.

The end result is a very organized, yet beautifully functional planner that is very pleasing to the eye.

You can see more from Brittany at http://www.simplybrittany.com!

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Exercise/Menu Planning Planner

I bought a used planner for 2015 and have turned it into another exercise/food journal/menu planning planner.

This past year I was very sporadic about the food situation in this home. My family suffers and mealtime is stressful and something I dread each day.

When I have a plan, I do much better, so I hope to be much more consistent this year and plan to do the menu planning each Sunday evening (I even have a custom EC label in my regular planner as a reminder).

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I was thrilled when the used planner arrived (thank you Roxan W) , and it began Thanksgiving week! I had guests coming and needed to plan our food, so the timing and pages from 2014 were perfect!

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The weekend went very well, and my husband even told our guests, they should come more often because all the meals were better than normal! I credit that to simply having a plan, and following through.

Since it’s Sunday night, I’ve been planning the food for next week and have the first part of the week done. I decided to make it colorful. It just makes me happy when I see rainbows and lots of cheerful colors!

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Thursday-Sunday aren’t done yet, but I’m planning Thursday to be a day for leftovers, so I will have time to cook again before the weekend.

I’m planning to use the bottom 2 lines to track any exercise I do (this is another area that needs desperate attention in my life), and we’ll see how far I get with the monthly calendar.

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Putting all the water stickers in one place is a bit of rainbow happy overload, even though they are cute on the weekly pages. I only tried this on one month and I might ultimately trade the water and exercise spaces and use the monthly as more of an exercise journal/health journal entry for the day. I’m not sure yet as this is all new to me and not something I’ve ever given this much attention to in the past.

I really want to at least do the menu/food part of this goal. The water and exercise can come along when I’m able to add those and be consistent with them!

Since this was a used planner, there is a bill tracker on each monthly layout. If anyone has any ideas on how I can utilize that in a food/menu/exercise journal, I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Functional Family Reward Cards

First, I’d like to welcome all the new readers! Every day more people follow this blog, so it’s about time I actually posted something!

I still love my Life Planner, and use it daily. I chose Candy lace this year, in Butter with multi colored dots.

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I love it so much, I ordered a Party Pops in Multi on a Butter background, and the Sequins cover in Multi, with a Butter background. I can’t wait to see if they turn out!

But on to the topic of my post…

I have enjoyed trying other products from the EC brand, and I’d like to talk about the Functional Family Reward Cards.

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I first ordered these for my son, to try and motivate him to do some work around the house. I’m not sure it worked, but that didn’t stop me from ordering them for each person in our family.

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I have found that my favorite use for these cards is for repeat chores or jobs that are performed for a monetary reward. For us, we are keeping track of puppy baths since that is something that must be done regularly around here! I have them hanging on the fridge so they are easy to see and maintain when a chore has been completed.

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Once the card is filled, payment will be made and another card will be started. This has really helped my kids be responsible about keeping track of what they’ve done, and it keeps me accountable to actually pay them.

The cards can be used for so many things. I think they would make a cute Christmas gift with a special service offered like a back rub, or a favorite dessert, or anything that fits your family’s wants/needs. The “card holder” could cash it in and receive whatever is offered as the gift, etc. Each card has ten “punches”, and the creative ways in which these can be used is endless!!

Each pack can be customized with a name/word and you can choose any color. There are 30 cards in each pack.

If you have a creative way that you are using these cards, I want to hear about it! Send me an email and tell me your story. Be sure to include some photos as well!

RAK Update

I’d like to talk a bit about my RAK program, the history, and what the future holds for those that continue to be a part of it.

A year ago, in August, the first Erin Condren Fan Club group started on Facebook.  This group is now secret, and many people don’t even know it exists.  While I was building that group, a desire of doing RAKs was born, and a loose network of ladies provided their addresses in a file, and randomly would send to one another.  Because MANY wanted to participate, but didn’t want to just post their address out in the open, I jumped in and said I’d organize a RAK list and give addresses when people requested them.  Thus was born “Make Your Mailbox Smile”, the first RAK group associated with the Erin Condren groups on Facebook.  This was so popular and kept me so busy that by December, I told everyone I needed a break, and we didn’t do RAKs in December 2013.  It was interesting to see that people were actually distraught and almost had withdrawals from not being able to send RAKs!

While I took my “break”, I designed my current RAK program and Facebook group, RAK 2014 “Wake Up Your Mailbox”.  It launched on January 1, 2014 (actually a couple of days before that), and grew to over 1300 people in the past 7 months.  It has been wildly active and many, many have sent and received RAKs with this program.  I’ve actually had several ask to have their name removed from my address list simply because they had too many RAKs and while they wanted to still send, they simply had enough fun little stickers, etc., and they didn’t need to receive any more.

During this time, other RAK groups have emerged, and there is now an endless supply of groups and RAK programs that people can join and be a part of.  Also during this time, I noticed that the same handful of people were the ones that continued to request names, and kept the list active.  This was fine when there were only a couple hundred people on the list.  But as the list grew, we began to go through it much more slowly, and those same people were doing most of the sending.  I began to be dissatisfied with my system and wanted to find a way that would reward those that were actually making the effort to send RAKs.

And so I began to make groups with those that requested names.  By doing it this way, those that were sending, were also the ones receiving, and this eliminated anyone that was simply on the receiving end and never sent anything out.  I received criticism as this wasn’t really following the basic concept of a Random Act of Kindness, but I had seen too many taking advantage of the kindness of others and joining simply to receive and never to give.  I didn’t feel that was right.

As we are moving through 2014, and I have revamped the way I handle my address list, I felt it was time to make a fresh start, and open a group that was not stamped with a date in the title.  So I have opened RAK Swap “Wake Up Your Mailbox”, a group that will replace RAK 2014 “Wake Up Your Mailbox”, and will launch on September 1, 2014.  I will be taking another break this August, partly because I”ll be gone on vacation and it’s always too difficult to maintain the RAK requests when I’m away from my computer, and so I can have time to update the guidelines and have a fresh start in September.

For now, we are still using the RAK 2014 group for posting RAK thank you photos.  For now, people are still joining RAK 2014 “Wake Up Your Mailbox”.  But the new guidelines, and the group that will become my official group will be RAK Swap “Wake Up Your Mailbox” starting in September.

If you are not in the new group, and you’d like to continue to be in my RAK program, please be sure to click on the link above to join it.  There are a few changes in how the addresses are handled, so be sure to read the pinned post to get all the details.

If you have any questions, please send them to myerincondren@gmail.com.  I”ll do my best to answer in a timely manner.

Thank you to everyone that has participated in my RAK mailbox program.  It has surpassed my wildest expectations, and I am honored to know it has brought joy into so many lives!