With my twin boys starting kindergarten this year (sniff, sniff), I will now have five kids to pack school lunch for. All of a sudden this past week that seemed like... a lot. We still have a couple of weeks until school starts, but I decided to get organized now!
I've always had some kind of lunch station, but the thought of 25 bags of chips, 25 fruit cups, 25 granola bars, 25 string cheese, and 25 go-gurt (plus sandwich stuff) per week really got me thinking about how I could create something to make the packing process a lot faster and easier. So...the official school lunch station has been created, including some super cute printables as the finishing touch. It's simple, but that's my favorite way to do things!
Every summer morning I hear the words "can I play?", in one form or another. They might be referring to going outside to play, having friends over, wanting me to take them somewhere, requesting screen time, or any number of things that's on their agenda that day. I got really tired of listing the things off that they needed to do before they could play (even though they already knew), that I decided to make things easier for not only myself, but for the kids too, by making a summer "before you can play" chore list. I hung it on the fridge, and when they want to know if they can play, I just ask if they have everything done on the list! Love!
Already the sunscreen and bug spray have come out of hibernation, and plans are being made to enjoy every single minute of the summer. We're on the go a lot during the summer months, whether it's a road trip, or just around town. It means a lot of parks and outdoor activities and FUN! With all that fun comes the inevitable, and odds are, I'm going to need something out of the car kit that I keep in my trunk. Preparedness is key! I change it up a bit for each season, and today I'm sharing the summer version, plus a super cute free printable!
I re-use plastic grocery sacks for so many things--they are a hot commodity at our house! I save them and use them on a very regular basis not only in my house, but on the road. I keep a bunch in the car so I'll have them when I need them, for any variety of reasons. Whether it's a pair of muddy shoes, wet clothes, a child that's sick, or a million other things, grocery bags regularly save the day! You can probably relate--there isn't much worse than a crazy mess when you're away from home, and being stuck without anything to wrap it up in (and perhaps contain the smell!) until you get home. Empty Clorox wipes bottles make perfect grocery bag containers, and they make it so easy to pack them in the car, or even a diaper bag. I decided to dress mine up with washi tape, and in literally 5 minutes, it was transformed. Cute + functional + simple = my favorite combination!
I have been receiving comments and emails about if and when I would be posting a 2015 Summer Schedule, and it totally took me off guard, because we still have two months of school left. So for all of you lucky ducks that get out in May, I thought I should get this posted now!
I LOVE having this spreadsheet for our summer schedule, and after using it for several years, I can't imagine a summer without it. There is always so much going on--concerts in the park, park days, library story times, ball games----and while we're not going to go to every single one of them, I want to know when they are in case we can go. There just isn't room on my regular calendar for all of that information, plus when you adding swimming lessons, vacations, and summer camps, it's really ridiculous.
Today I'm pleased to announce Amanda Becker, from Tale of an Ugly House, as the newest Simply Kierste contributor!! I just know you are going to fall in love with her, her projects, and her style. Don't forget to swing by and say hello to her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!! // DIY Dinosaur Bookends
We recently built my son a toy organizer for his room. If your child is anything like mine, they have a lot of books! I wanted to keep a few of my son's favorite books where he could easily get to them but still keeping them organized. Being that Charlie is only two, his favorites are always changing! I searched for the perfect bookends. I found several cute ones, but none that really jumped out at me.
A couple of years ago I posted about the kitchen mini command center I made for our Texas home. One of the things that I mentioned was my bills and finances ledger. I've had so many e-mails and questions about it that I decided to give it its very own post! Even though my command center has had to be modified since we moved, that finances ledger has remained the same.
I use this ledger almost every day. I pay the bills and handle the finances for our family, so I use it to stay organized and keep track of all of our financial information. My husband is also able to look at it whenever he wants to, and see exactly where we're at and what's going on--and find something quickly if I'm not at home. I use it to track our savings, bills that are paid and need to be paid, receipts, checking account balance and receipts, flex spending, tax info, and a variety of other financial information. It works really, really well for us, and I'm excited to share it with you!
This is the time of year that getting organized is especially on everyone's mind. The busy-ness and craziness of the holidays are coming to a close, and when the tree goes down, the urge to organize everything hits in full force. Sometimes though, it can feel SO overwhelming, looking at a room, or a drawer, or a closet, (or all of the above), and wondering where in the world to even start. You know you want to, you know you need to, but now what? How exactly do you make that leap, and get started? If getting organized is on your list, I'm going to share my tips and tricks that will help you on your way to getting organized in 2015!
Remember…the goal of getting organized isn't getting everything perfectly lined up in a row, it's making it work for YOU. How you organize something will be different than someone else, and that's okay…it's how it should be!
This post is sponsored by Rockwell Tools. All opinions are 100% mine.
Oh my goodness, the snow. And the salt. And the wet. And the mud. All of which I do not want brought into my house this winter! With no mudroom in our little apartment, I decided that we needed a shoe shelf just outside our front door, so all boots could be deposited there before coming inside. I had just been sent a Rockwell Bladerunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw to try, and knew it would be the perfect first project!
About ten years ago, I went through my stacks of cookbooks, and file of saved recipes I had printed or had received from others. I took out all of our favorites, typed them up, slid them into sheet protectors, and put them into a binder. That Recipe Binder changed my life. Yes, I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. It saved me so much time and effort when it came to cooking and menu planning, and at the same time streamlined and organized all of my recipes. The idea of a recipe binder is nothing new, and it's been around for a long time, but that says something right there...it's still around because it WORKS! I've had to change binders a few times over the years, and just this past week, my current ones needed a makeover. I use them A LOT, and they were in sad shape. So...I'm sharing them with you, plus all the free printables you need to make your own DIY Recipe Binder!
How does it work?
School is almost in session around these parts, and it means that soon a plethora of papers will be heading my way. Many of those are my kids' "treasures"--artwork, papers, pictures, and other keepsakes from their school years that I want to keep forever. They can pile up really fast, and I'm excited to share with you my School Papers Storage system--one that I've used for many years to organize all those special papers!
We are in the buying and selling mode once again, as we prepare for our move to New York. We've prepped our house for sale--painting, yardwork, and other small details that needed to be done. We just put it on the market, and we're ready for buyers to come through! I want the very best first impression for anyone that comes into our home, and there are five simple things that I do every single time a potential buyer is going to see our home that I've found to make a huge difference. They can be done in around 15-20 minutes, so even if you have a last minute showing, you can pull these off!
If you've ever walked through a home that's for sale, you know that first impressions stay with you--good or bad. The homes that smell good, look neat and clean, and are well presented are always the ones that stay on my list. I also have six kids, and trying to keep a home completely clean and straightened is a challenge, but it's important to me, and it's all worth it when that sold sign goes up!!!
Spring is coming, and with it comes the itch to throw open the windows, start wearing ballet flats and...get clean and organized. It's also a really busy time of year, so if you're on the hunt for a Quick Spring Cleaning List, I'm your girl! I do have an in-depth spring cleaning list that I love, and if you want a totally thorough list, you can check that one out. However, if you're short on time, I've got a quicker version that will help get your home in tip-top shape!
Oh, how I love an organized drawer!! My spice drawer has been making me crazy lately. They were all in there neatly, but the different sizes and round shape made everything roll around and cause chaos. ☺ I decided that this week was time for a long and overdue makeover, and of course I turned to one of my favorite things to help me out...mason jars! They are the perfect size to fit in the drawer, and with the cute labels on top, it's super easy to find which spice I'm looking for. I love these Mason Jar Spice Containers!
One of the things I get asked about most is my cleaning schedule and regimen. I love having a clean home, and not just once a week, but every day. I can manage the rest of my life so much better when my house is clean and organized, and there's something about an orderly home that provides a more calming atmosphere. Over the years as we've added more children to our family, it's be come even more essential, because there are so many more people contributing to the mess and chaos!
Years ago, I developed a routine that has worked wonders for me, and I've loved it ever since. I'm going to share my secret with you today! It works, and if you follow it, you WILL have a clean house.
I love chore charts for a bunch of reasons, but the whole key is in finding one that really works for you and your family. Over the years I've tried several different types of charts--some I liked, others I didn't. I don't like them to be complicated, or have a lot of moving parts--I know that for us it just doesn't work. My favorite to date is the dry erase chore chart I made several years ago--but it desperately needed to be updated. I thought it would be really fun to make it chalkboard style, so I created a Dry Erase Chalkboard Chore Chart, and it's perfect!
Y'all know that I love simple projects--ones that don't take a long time, are easy to do, but are darling, all at the same time! These juice can lid magnets fit the bill for each of those things, I love them!
We are a religious family, and one of our goals as a family is family prayer & scripture study. We also have a family night (Family Home Evening) once a week, typically on Monday nights, where we all have our schedules cleared and do things together. With school starting next week, our laidback summer is coming to an end, and I'm getting things ready now so we can be as organized as possible, in all aspects of our family life.
I'm a list girl, and I like to check things off! Lists help me stay organized, motivated, and also gauge progress. My kids love the visual of a list, and it helps keep them on track and excited. So...I created this weekly checklist, so we could post it and check off each day as we go. I decided on a weekly list, as opposed to monthly, because with my little ones (and even the big ones too!), it's easier to keep motivated for shorter periods of time. We'll have weekly rewards, which they will love!