New Year – Organization Resolution

It’s a brand new year, and every new year, we think up resolutions and tell ourselves “You will do this better this year.”  And then a month later, we are back in the same old routine.  Okay, that’s me anyway.  Last year, my resolution was to drop some pounds.  And, I actually did it.  Unfortunately, they found me not long after I lost them.  New habits are hard to make and old habits are hard to break.  So, this year, I am not really making a resolution.  I am just striving to get my life more organized.  I feel like my house is structured chaos or hidden hoarding.  Nah, it’s really not that bad.  But, I do know that I have junk hidden in places that I never go into, and I am ready to declutter.  I own the Marie Kondo (I think that is her name) book about keeping things that bring you joy, and getting rid of the things that don’t.  But, don’t forget to thank them first.  hahaha  I just can’t seem to get on board with the bare minimum in my house.  So, I am going to declutter and implement organization in a way that works for me.


My first step was actually started in 2017, and that was getting a planner and using it to keep track of bills, expenses, appointments, school functions, etc.  That brought on a whole new obsession known as the HAPPY PLANNER.  Yes, Mambi is the brand, and planning is their jam.  They have so many fun things for those that like stickers and such.  So, I hopped on the planner train, and now I get out my planner on the weekend and put cute stickers in it and plan my weeks.  It sounds so nutty, but it’s fun and it helps me keep track of things better.  the best part is you can customize it and make it fit your life.


This is my step that I am going to be working on for a while.  I am a tad overwhelmed by it all.  I have searched and googled organizational tips til I’m about ready to just burn the house down and start over.  KIDDING!  I have found a great blog that has an email list and she sends out great tips and a calendar with tasks.  This is the route I am taking because I can just focus on one thing and know that I will get to the rest later on.  This week is the kitchen, well, actually it is only a few things in the kitchen, but I am tackling the whole thing this coming weekend.  It is hard to just do one or two cabinets because I wamt to rework my entire kitchen.  I don’t have a pantry, so I have struggled with where to store everything, and the tupperware has been in every cabinet at one time, I think.  I haven’t quite found the right layout just yet, so I am cleaning out and unpacking the kitchen, so I can put things back that we actually use and hopefully put it in a more efficient space.  I am terrible at snapping pictures, but I will try my best to show you my end result.


I have a love-hate relationship with couponing and stockpiling.  I love the idea of saving money and never running out of things we need, however I hate having to look for the deals and figuring out which coupon works with what sale and where is the best place to get it.  ughhhhh So many deals, and so much time to figure it all out.  I haven’t quite come up with a system for this yet.  I have tried the all out couponing, hated it.   And I have tried making out my list, then looking for coupons that go with my list (not many ever match up this way).  This brings me to my next issue…..


Okay, I absolutely love the idea of meal planning.  Coming home from work and then having to dig and find what you are going to cook for supper is the worst.  This is something I face weekly.  Making out a list and finding recipes sounds so easy doesn’t it?  Why is it so hard to do then?  It really isn’t.  Just take an hour on the weekend.  Sit down with a sheet of paper and pick 4 or 5 meals you enjoy.  Look in the kitchen and see what you need to prepare those meals.  Go to the store and get the things.  Not hard at all.  Still, I am terrible at this.  So, this is also on my list of things to work on.


DEBT.  Let’s face it, we all have it.  Dave Ramsey is the guru for this.  I can’t do the envelope thing.  I tried it and it just doesn’t work out for me.   But what does work is the debt snowball.  I have made a chart in my handy dandy planner listing out my debts and I can track it as I pay them down.  Just paying the minimums on the larger balances, and using all your extra payments on the smaller balances helps them get paid off faster.  It makes total sense.  Budgeting your dollars helps, too.  Pull up your bank account for last month and see how much you spent on groceries, gas, eating out.  It will shock your pants off!  Come up with a better budget and start packing a lunch, meal planning (which helps with couponing) and save money that can go towards paying off more debt.

These are my organization goals for the year, and I’m hoping I can do better at all of these things.  Good habits are hard to form, but hard work can pay off and life can be easier.  That’s my focus this year.

My review of Disney Circle

Who wishes there was a big OFF button on your wifi?  ME!! *raising hand*  Now there is something even better and it is called Disney Circle.  Now, let me just go ahead and put this here:

Disclaimer:  I am in no way a technology guru.  This is solely my opinion based on using the product and nothing else.

Okay, so now that you know I am not working in Silicon Valley, let me tell you about this wonderful little box that lets me rule my house like the Queen of wifi!  Seriously though, I needed a way to punish my kids when they are being unruly, and if yours are anything like mine, taking away the worldwide web will do it!  I got tired of saying, “Give me your phone, ipad, kindle, etc.”  Now, with a little app on my phone, I can revoke internet privileges in a flash.  I can also control when they go to bed since there is a special bedtime setting that turns it off and tells them “It’s your bedtime”.  I LOVE IT!!!

I ordered my Circle on Amazon here.  It was 99 bucks and here in a couple days thanks to Prime.  You set up each person in your house and then link the electronics that belong to them.  You can set a limit to how long they can use particular apps a day, set bedtimes, turn off all internet with one swipe, and so much more.  It looks like they are going to have a reward system in place, but it is not there just yet, where you can award time for chores and such.  I haven’t delved too deeply in it, but I love that I can control when and how long they have internet usage.

And another huge plus, is there is a parental control feature.  When you set up the user on Circle, you pick if they are a child, teen, or adult.  There are different filter settings based on each.  I haven’t tested it out to see if it actually works, but I plan to sit down with my son’s kindle and do some searches to see what happens.


I almost forgot….you can pull up their history!  Now, it isn’t really detailed (like it doesn’t show the actual website they were on) but it shows that they were on YouTube for 2 hours, and playing a game for an hour, etc.   That is a great way to see what they are doing without being extremely snoopy.  Let’s face it, we parents are going to search those histories every now and then on the device anyway.  I know I do.  There is way too much information out there!  Some parents don’t let their children on the internet without them being right there with them. But I am going to be honest here,  I ain’t got time for that!  It’s not that I don’t think it is important, though.

Share with me how you control your children’s internet habits.  I would love to hear it!  Tell me if you have Disney Circle, and if I am missing out on some key features!  I absolutely love this thing and would welcome some tips.


Walmart Grocery Pickup – You must try it today!

A while back, I saw friends that live elsewhere posting about picking up their groceries at Walmart and how awesome ot was.  I WAS SO JEALOUS! I thought we would never get that grocery pickup service at our store because they could barely keep the shelves stocked, much less shop for people!  Well much to my surprise and disbelief, I went to Walmart one day and lo and behold, orange “Pickup” signs and special parking spaces!  I waited a few weeks before I tried it out so they could work out the kinks.

If your store has this service, go right now and setup an account!  Get the app on your phone and start filling up your cart.  Use this link right here!  I get a little referral credit when you do!  You can set up your own referral and tell all your friends about it, too!

So, how does it work?  Okay, so you can login to the website or use the app.  You just search for the items you need and add it to your cart.  Once you get to $30.00, go ahead and reserve your pickup time.  That is going to vary by location, but for example, my store is about 4 days out.  So, yesterday (a Thursday) I started my cart and the first available pickup was on Monday.  You just have to plan ahead and start your order early.  The best part about it is that you don’t have to know everything you are going to need right then.  Once you have your time reserved, you can add more things to your cart up until a few hours before you pickup.

I have to tell you that I was very skeptical about ordering produce, meat, and dairy items.  I am picky about choosing my meat and produce.  And dairy items, I always look for the one that has the date furthest out.  Well, the first order I placed, I bit the bullet and ordered several things just so I could see how they did.  I was very pleased with it.  Another great feature is being able to check the box for “Substitute items”.  Say for example that you order Sam’s Choice cream cheese, and when they go to pull your order, they are out of it on the shelf.  If you have the box checked, they will pull a similar, but better brand for you.  You pay the same price as the Sam’s Choice brand!  The guy that brought my groceries out said they never substitute for a lower priced brand.  They always try to do same or better.  Now, if they are out of an item and you don’t have the boxed checked, then they don’t pull anything and it gets deducted from your order.  That is a nice feature because there are some things that I wouldn’t mind switching out, but some I really am brand loyal.

So, that’s really all there is to it.  You place your order online and arrive during your pickup time and park in the designated area.  You can checkin on the app to let them know you are there or call the number on the sign.  They come out and load your groceries for you, tell you about any out of stock items or substitutions and you are on your way.  It is the easiest and quickest grocery shopping I have ever done, especially at Walmart.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!!

Also, if you meal plan, this is absolutely awesome.  You can plan out your menu and check your kitchen to see what you need so you don’t buy things you already have.  Add your ingredients to your cart and pickup!  HOLY GROCERY SHOPPING BATMAN!  It truly is a game changer.

Meal Planning Made Simple

Meal Planning Made Simple

Every day I come home from work and get in the door, I hear “I’m hungry, what’s for supper?” I hate thinking up what we are eating that night and trying to come up with something by digging through the freezer and cabinets. It also doesn’t help that I have one extremely picky eater. I have started to come up with a meal plan before I grocery shop. I know it isn’t a novel idea, and there are far better blogs you can read about meal planning. But, I’m doing what works for me, and I’m hoping to get better at it as I go along. Now, it won’t be fancy and every meal won’t be planned out. I’m just getting started, so bear with me.

Here’s my new meal planning routine in a nutshell.
1. Check Pinterest for recipes — just enough for 5 meals. I know there are 7 days in a week, but I know I won’t cook every single night. So, instead of writing down 7 recipes and buying ingredients for those meals, I’m doing 5. That way I’m not setting myself up for failure. Make a “This Week’s Menu” board to pin those recipes to for later.

2. Make out my grocery list as I save my recipes.  Once the list is made out, check the kitchen and mark off the things I already have on hand. I do love using printable grocery lists that organize your items by category. You can print these out here and here.

3.  Check for any coupons I can use to buy what is on my list.  Usually I can find one or two coupons, which doesn’t seem like much, but every little bit adds up.  Now, if you do stockpiling and couponing, don’t try to shop for weekly groceries in the same trip (unless you are organized and not easily overwhelmed—-not me)

4.  Figure out what meal you are going to eat on what day.  I find that if I assign a recipe to a certain day, I am more likely to follow thru.  It is too easy to go buy groceries and make the plan, then decide to not feel like it that day and just pop a pizza in the oven.   Or am I only one that does this?   Make a cute menu board and post the plan for all to see.  If the kids are excited about Taco night, then they will make sure you follow thru, too.

So, this is a fairly simple thing.  There are lots of blogs out there that post weekly menus with recipes and meal plans that you can subscribe to.  Those are great if you want to try out new recipes and not have to put a lot of thought into it.   It just hasn’t worked out that well for me because of my picky eaters.  I do better finding my own recipes.  Now, I just got into planners and so I purchased a Happy Planner Recipe Book.  I am adding recipes to that book that we have made and really enjoy.  My goal is to get it full of things we like and then not have to go hunting down recipes all the time.  Instead I will just flip open my book and pick a few.  You can also just print out the recipes you find and stick them in a binder.  Put numbers on each one and then when you make out your meal plan for the week, write the number beside it and you will know just where to find the recipe.

Just for the heck of it, here are some of my favorite recipe blogs or websites I check often.


UPDATE:  I have started using Walmart grocery pickup!! Huge timesaver!! Check out my review here!  Walmart Grocery Pickup – You must try it today!


Losing Fat Without Losing Your Mind

DIET — I hate this word so much.

I have to start this post off by telling you a little about my body history.  I was a toothpick growing up.  Long and lanky, flat-chested and awkward.  In college, I was thin — a size 6, and was completely clueless at how lucky I was!!!  I always heard, “You will wish for these days back after you’ve had kids and start aging.”  Fast forward several years…..I give birth to monster babies, my metabolism obviously slowed down, my hereditary high blood pressure kicks in, and the pounds just keep a-comin’.  I wish I could go back in time to those size 6 days and shop again.  I might not cry in the dressing room when it’s swimsuit time.  Okay, I don’t cry, but I really hate shopping for swimwear these days.  

So, I don’t want to get as big as a house, what do I do?  I’ve tried counting calories, using apps on my phone to track my meals and almost fainting when I realize what I ate for lunch yesterday was enough calories to last all day.  I’ve tried shake diets (which by the way, work). However, you are starving most of the time, and I felt like I was missing out on the joy of food.  I love food.  Period.  I really do, and I am not ashamed to say it.  I love a gooey cinnamon roll, a fluffy cupcake, some cheesy pasta, and BREAD!  Pretty much if it is a carb, I want it.

I’ve pinned meal planning tips to my Pinterest boards til I was blue in the face, but implementing that is soooooo hard.  Am I lazy?  Maybe.  That also explains why I’m not hitting the gym every day, too.  I know I need the exercise, I know I need to eat healthier, but it’s sooooooo hard.  I need help guys.  Help me figure out what works, what is doable for a gal like me that loves food and hates the gym.  I’m open, but don’t try to sell me some miracle pill or patch or shake system.  That’s not for me.

I know you came to this post thinking, “She’s gonna tell me how to do it.”  Wrong!  I don’t know how.  This was more of a cry for help I think.  Sorry for the let-down.  Now you know how I feel when I get on the scale or want to wear some jeans I could wear last year.  Seriously, HELP!!!!


Hobby Journal – Planning Your Hobbies on Paper

How many hobbies do you have? I am an arts and crafts type of gal. I love making things. Some may be useful, some may just be plain fun to make. Do you pin things to boards everyday in hopes that one day you will make it? ME TOO! I feel like I need to de-clutter my Pinterest boards sometimes. So, with that in mind, not only do we need to de-clutter our physical hobby spaces, but also our mental ones or digital ones.
Enter new idea: (or new to me)
Has anyone started a hobby journal? Did you even know there was such a thing? I really hadn’t ever thought about it, but I love the idea of having a journal and would love to take up that habit. I am not a habitual person in that I have hard time doing things everyday automatically. In fact, my habit is not making habits. ha!  I get frustrated with myself because I have several blank journals lying around that had good intentions, but never really stuck with it.   But with a hobby journal, it’s not really something I have to do everyday, just maybe every now and then when I run across something fantastic that I don’t want to forget.

So, this hobby journal may just help with whittling down my many ideas tucked away here and there, and I could actually see them in one place. Doesn’t that sound marvelous?! You can print out pictures of things, jot down ideas, or keep lists of items you need to buy. I tend to overwhelm myself when I start outlining my upcoming weekends, and then by the time it’s here, I am not really doing much of anything because I lacked planning. I enjoy my hobbies.. that’s why we have them right? They bring you joy. Sitting at home on Sunday night wishing I had done this or that does not bring me joy.

First step of creating a hobby journal:  Don’t make it a hobby.  I laughed when I typed that because that’s exactly what I’d normally do.  I’d get excited to go to the craft store and get cute pens and stickers, and wham!  Another hobby.  NOOOOOO!  I will not do that.  This is supposed to help with all that.  Resist the urge for glitter pens, and just grab a notebook or one of those blank journals you never used.  Start by making a list of your hobbies.  Next, make a page of each one.  Now, when you find a picture of a great necklace you want to make for yourself, print a picture of it and jot down the website on your “Jewelry” page.  Or, if you happen across a quote that would be cute for a shirt that you could make with vinyl, jot down the quote on your “Cricut” page.

Second step of using a hobby journal:  Don’t write down everything you see!!  This is another hard one for me because I like so many things and think I’ll make that one day.  Truthfully, I never will.  So, limit yourself when it comes time to put something in the journal.  Only include things you truly will want to look at one day.  Don’t put so many ideas in there that you overwhelm yourself and throw the book in the trash.  Maybe only choose things that you want to make within the next month or two.  If it’s months before Christmas, don’t put in homemade ornament ideas because you know you aren’t going to want to make those for a while.

So, I think that is enough to get us started.  I would love to hear if you use a hobby journal and have some great tips for me.  Please comment here or send me an email.




Cutting cable — UPDATE!

We cut our cable several months ago, and I am so glad we decided to give it a try.  My bill used to be around $175 a month!!  Now, our bills for streaming are around $38 a month, plus I got Amazon Prime.  I got it for several reasons though, and the streaming video was just one reason.  We subscibe to Netflix, Hulu, and Slingtv.  I was worried that the kids would miss having cable most, but they haven’t even cared.  They actually don’t even watch television much anymore and stick to movies or video games for entertainment.

Are you thinking of cutting out cable?  I encourage you to give it a try.  The only downside is that we have to wait a day later to watch some of our shows, but since we rarely watch something at its scheduled time, it didn’t really matter to us.  It is basically like having the dvr box with cable.  Plus, we have watched so many series that we had never heard of.  The best part is being able to watch entire seasons at once, and not having to wait a week for the next episode.

Wondering what to do?  Go buy a roku from any electronics department.  Hook it up and subscribe to Netflix and Hulu.  Those are must haves.  You can also get other channels free on the Roku, too.  My kids love the Pokemontv so they can watch cartoons.  One month of your cable bill should pay for the Roku, so what have you got to lose?  A cable bill!!  Unless you are a couch potato tv junkie, I promise you will love it!

Here’s more info on Roku!

You can get netflix by going to   Plans start at $7.99/mo.  I pay $11.99 for the 4 screen package which includes: Watch on 4 screens at a time. HD and Ultra HD available. Download videos on 4 phones or tablets.

Hulu offers lots of television series and starts at $7.99 a month.  There are also some exclusive series that you can’t find anywhere else!  They also have a free trial!

SlingTV  offers live television, so you can watch lots of your favorite channels just as you would with regular cable.  There is also some on demand content in case you miss the live viewing.  This is how we get our “Walking Dead” fix.  I also enjoy watching several History Channel shows and the kids enjoy Cartoon Network.  There are a couple of packages to get that start at $20.  You can also sign up for some premium channels like HBO.

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UPDATE—-  It has now been well over a year since we ditched cable.  I am still soooo happy with streaming television.  There have been some improvements since I posted as well.  I have upgraded one of my tvs to the Amazon Fire Stick and love that it connects with my Amazon Echo Dot.  Check that combo out if you haven’t heard of it.  I love being able to ask Alexa all sorts of things like the weather, latest news, or even a joke.  The kids enjoy it, too.  Also, we have switched from Sling TV to DirecTV Now, which is just in the last week or so.  I haven’t decided if I like it better or not, but Sling made me really made when I missed half of the season premiere of The Walking Dead, so they got booted.  Don’t mess with my Negan time, SlingTV!

Also, there is some really good information over at The Simple Dollar that was shared with me recently, so I’m going to just leave this link right here.  Good luck with cutting out cable and saving your money!!!

The 2018 Cord-Cutting Guide