Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just 5 Minutes

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." 
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

So I'm still loving the Change Your Life Challenge book. I've been doing my homework. Step 9 beginning on Page 73 talks about when you're feeling overwhelmed by the chaos to just time yourself for 5 minutes and do something to help lessen the mess. From page 79:

"Using a timer is ideal. After you finish reading these instructions wait for the next minute to be displayed on your clock or set your timer to five minutes. Then immediately begin your chosen action. If you want immediate, quick results, you will not find a quicker tool that can be applied to any area of life.
"Please do not just read these words adn vow to "Do-it-later." We know how that path unfolds and it isn't one that will take you where you want ot go. In five minutes, STOP! Then come back

I'm loving that idea of just taking a baby step, just 5 minutes, to work. And you know what, after that 5 minutes, you're already feeling better and have a bit of energy and so the 5 minutes often turns into more. Sweet. Gonna go take 5 minutes to work on laundry. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Change Your Life Challenge Begins

I've been busy this past week striving to establish life changing habits. In my quest to master my little dominion, I went searching for some cheap self help tips via the local thrift store's book section. I've got dinner and keeping a family financial record figured out, but I'm still greatly lacking in getting this household clean and running like a fine tuned machine. So I was at the DI just picking up any book that looked like it might have a gem of insight to impart, and I found two that hit the spot - this title sounded like just the kinda book I was looking for:  The Change Your Life Challenge by Brook Noel. I liked filling out my snapshot and getting my personalized prescription of where I needed to begin to manage things right now in my life. She recommends filling out the snapshot once a month once we start to get a handle on things, as for now I think I'll be busy with this snapshot for a few months. I also am loving the Catch All Notebook (aka CAN), because I am very guilty of writing reminders and notes to self on any old scrap anywhere and then not being able to find it. So it's been fun. You can get the book used on Amazon for like 1cent plus $3.99 shipping, so $4 bucks for a book isn't bad, right? Let's do it, or you can just check in here and I'll try to keep you posted on how the application of it's tips are going in our neck of the woods.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Wall Down

These three frames were an impulse buy from Walmart last week, and the vision I had in mind when I bought them was materialized today... Presenting a wall in the side room that is now documenting history:
Each collection of photos is of our several months in that country - first Brazil from 2007:
Then Costa Rica from 2010:
And finally Chile in 2010-11
I really like it and I think it will make me smile each time I walk by, except that I need to center the Costa Rica flag better. I'll do it someday. And from this project I learned that it's pretty hard to capture several months of experiences and memories in just 12 photos. I'll update these photos tonight when I don't have the sunlight reflection from outside.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I recently bought the cookbook Keepers and I really like it. I like the layout of the book - simple to read, easy to find the recipe I want, organized nicely. And I also really like that the recipes are pretty simple and that I already have most of the ingredients called for. So I just need to add one or two things on top of what I usually get at the grocery store, and we've got all the goods to try out a new meal and see if it's a keeper for us.

The Cheddar Quiche was a big hit on Sunday, then no one cared for the Chicken and sweet potatoes meal from last night, so it's hit and miss, but fun to try new things and see what they like now and what we'll revisit in a few years to see if their tastes have evolved. :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dinner Planning

I think I've got a system that is going to work for our family for dinner planning! Hooray! (Only taken me 13 years...) This might be a way that works while we've got a large busy family with all the kids at home. This is kinda following the Food Nanny's System by having the recipes and shopping list together on one paper, only this way I have more flexibility and am not committed to a theme night (I had a hard time committing myself ~ don't want to make something Mexican if we might not in the mood for Mexican that night, also sometimes if I wanted to make something I couldn't figure out which theme it would best fall under.) Here's how this system works:
I've got a clipboard in the kitchen in a convenient spot for me to see and reference when I'm in there. 
My spot is the little cupboard wall between the microwave and spice cupboard. (Also makes it so it's not visible when people walk in the kitchen, which is nice for keeping it looking uncluttered.)

On the clipboard is my dinner planning paper. I plan out the meals for 2 weeks and what ingredients I need to buy. There's room on the list for dinners and desserts, then I look through the pantry and what's I've got on hand and write out the ingredients I need to buy on the paper, so I've got my shopping list all ready. To keep things simple, I try to just do grocery shopping on one day (Thursday works nice for me), and I usually just go to Walmart and Costco. I look through whatever recipe books and then choose the dinner and dessert recipes to make. I write the meal and then reference it with book and page number so I can find it when it's time to make dinner. For example "Lime & Honey Salmon, Ray #253" for a recipe in a Rachel Ray's cookbook on page 253.  I also have my own recipe book for recipes from online or from magazines that I print up and organize -
Those are referenced by tab and page #.
I keep a sheet for next week on the clipboard too, so if there's a meal I know they kids want next time I can write it in, and I write down anything else we need from the store on there.

One month into it and it's working so far! We've had a sit down dinner ready everynight. :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chores During the School Year

During the school year, my kids have 4 jobs each day:

  • Make your Bed
  • Bedroom clean
  • Clothes in closet or drawer neat and organized
  • 2 After School chores

After they leave for school in the morning, I take my little clipboard with each kid and category marked and I check off who did their morning jobs. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place on the chores get a surprise on Monday night following the work week.

As for the 4th job there of 2 after school chores, I have a list of 12 chores that I just put on the fridge and when they come home and they each have to pick 2.
That's a change from the 6 chores I have them do each day during the summer. The kids aren't home as much during the day, so they don't make as big of a mess and I don't feel like they need to do 6 household chores each day. :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Banner

I started making this with our June birthdays, but just barely finished it today before our September birthdays start next week. I think it turned out pretty cute, but I'm going to change the "i" to a vertically lined background. I just made it out of paper and cardstock again, using the same font as I did with the season pennant banners. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


We had a little family lesson on establishing good habits. I read the kids the "Habit Poem" which was reprinted in a book I'm reading called "The Ultimate Career" by Darryl Hoole ~

The Habit Poem 
I am your constant companion. 
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. 
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. 
I am completely at your command. 
Half of the things you do you might as well turn over to me and I will do them – quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed – you must be firm with me. 
Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically. 
I am the servant of great people, and alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. 
I am not a machine though I work with the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a person. 
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin - it makes no difference to me. 
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. 
Who am I? 
I am Habit.

And from Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.  The 21st Century Edition Workbook”.  
The principle of habit will take hold of the faculties of your mind just the same as it will influence the physical muscles of your body.  The object in writing out and repeating a self-confidence formula is to form the habit of making belief in yourself the dominating thought of your mind until that thought has been thoroughly embedded in your subconscious mind, through the principle of habit.”

Friday, August 2, 2013

Beautiful or Useful

One of the books I've been reading is the book "The Ultimate Career" by Darryl Hoole.  I got it from the library a while ago and just ordered it off Amazon cause it's got tons of great advice that I'll need to spend years applying to my life, thus getting it for my shelf so I can refer to it over and over again.  Good stuff, and I loved this quote from page 6 ~“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ― William Morris
I've been trying to apply it as I clean the rooms of the house today - I'll pick up whatever random clutter is around and think "Is it useful?  Is it beautiful?" and if the answers are no then in the trash it goes.  Which is why I threw away a lot of broken crayons yesterday as I swept them off the floor for the ump-teenth time last night.  I hope as I contine to de-junk with this quote in mind that I'll be able to create a home that is full of useful beauty.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


As I've been trying to think of things to decorate our wall with, things that are pretty and also have some meaning to Corey and I or our family, I made this little work of art over the weekend ~

The LOVE Sculpture (or a copy of it?) was on display at BYU when Corey and I were dating in 1997 before his mission.  So, we've got picture of ourselves by the sign, when I'd come visit him at BYU we'd meet at the sign, and it's  pretty and it says LOVE, so I thought it would be a good artsy and meaningful thing for our wall.  I like how it turned out.  :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Huge Wall

Here are some ideas from Pinterest, Houzz, and google images that I'm using for inspiration as I try to figure out what to do with the big wall in our front room:

W is for Wride

Corey was gone last night, he went to go be one of the fatherly figures at the girl's camp that Melodie was at.  So, since he was gone, I stayed up late crafting.  I got the frame at the local thrift stoe, painted it black and the mat white, then that's a 12x12 scrapbook paper inside from Hobby Lobby with some paper embellishments, also from HobLob.
I made this W sign as one of the things that I'm planning/hoping will work as our big huge front room wall's decor, which I'm still mulling over in my head.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Holiday Song Board

There's a little wall by the little desk in the kitchen, which I've decided is the right place to put a holiday/song board to make the kitchen a little more festive.  We aren't using the chore boards from 2 years ago anymore, so after taking off the nails I just glued scrapbook paper on top of one of them to make this little thing.  I think for each month I'll have one up there, sometimes with a holiday song, or just with a song that has fun or special meaning to our family.  We'll see what I come up with.  :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pillow Makeover

I went into Hobby Lobby on Saturday to let my creativity meander around and see if it could find anything for the projects in my head.  My main project (and has been since we moved in here 2 years ago) is to figure out something to do on our big huge blank wall that welcomes people when they walk in the front door.  I was looking at fabric for ideas for a picture to paint and stumbled upon a pattern I liked in the fabric remnants.  The colors go along with things we've already got in the room, plus some other things I want to do.  Plus it looked like it could replace the hideous pillows we currently had that I always had turned around backwards so they couldn't be seen.  Look at how ugly these are:

Actually, that is how ugly they WERE, cause Melodie helped me unstitch one as our experiment to see if we could improve them, and it was a success!  Here is the pretty makeover!
I did the first one and was so excited that I wanted to finish them all and so I stayed up past my bedtime until 3 a.m. unstitching, unstuffing, sewing, and re-stuffing all four.  They make me so happy!  We'll see what I come up with for the wall that they will help tie all together.  :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Season Pennant Banners

I made this out of paper and cardstock, just a little pennant banner for each season that I'm hanging in the front room window.  I've only made them for SPRING and SUMMER so far, but have the template for myself to make AUTUMN and WINTER ones too.  Isn't it nice that they are all six letter words?  :)  It is fun and it makes me happy to see the colors of each season in the room.

Update - I didn't find a template anywhere for them, I just made my own.  I figured out what size would work good for each pennant to fit the length of the window and then knowing the pennant size free-handed my own letters to fit, using a scrap paper and then when they looked good enough I traced them onto the cardstock I wanted.  I think just find a font you like to trace or copy.  I used this font below from some wall stickers I found at Dollar Tree.  :)
Here's another google image that shows all the letters, but the L and T aren't right, must be an older image.  Anyway, it's just a cute font I think.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Budget Binder

This is a little creation of my own and I really love it, so I though I'd share -
To manage our finances, I have a "Family Finances" binder where I keep a paper record of our family expenses.  It includes, starting from the beginning:

1) Pocket Folder for receipts

2) Sheet Protector side a) Outline of our Monthly budget - how much we spend each month (or that I wish we had each month!) to spend on the things I'd like to spend money on.

3) Sheet Protector side b) automatic payments by day - so a monthly list of our different bank accounts and what charges are automatic from each account and on what date.  Our includes things like Rent on the 1st, utilities on the 3rd of each month, life insurance on the 15th, student loan on the 15th, car payment on the 22nd, etc.

4) Sheet protector #2 side a) I've written out all of our card numbers for me and my husband and online account usernames and passwords, so that I don't have to go find my cards in my purse when I want to make a online payment or something.  Things on this list are:

  • credit and debit card #s, expiration dates, pins, etc
  • all our bank account #s and log on info
  • drivers license #s
  • library cards
  • utility account info
  • student loan info.

5) Monthly Money Tracker - I think I got this idea from the book "America's Cheapest Family".  I write down all our monthly expenses, and divided our expenses into the following categories and put the corresponding "code" on each line depending on what expense catagory it falls into.
A - Auto (gas, payment, repairs)
C - Clothing
D - Debt
E - Entertainment (date nights, movies, 1 on 1 dates, movies or redbox, birthdays)
G - Groceries (includes all food plus household things like tp, paper, toys, anything I get at walmart and Costco.)
H - House (rent, repairs, yard stuff, decoration, tools and appliances)
I - Income
L - Lunches (hubby's lunches at work)
M - Medical
O - Other (b-day presents for friends, bank fees)
R - Recreation (Kid's sports, ballet, family outings)
S - School (school fees, music education, books & cds from Amazon)
T - Tithing and Charity
U - Utilities
V - Vacation (Trips, timeshare maintenance charges)
X - Taxes
Z - Mom'z Stuff (my once a year haircut or other things for me)
Then after the monthly money trackers, I have little Code tabs for each of the above categories where I keep track of the monthly amount spent on that thing and am able to see how much we spend (or need to stop over spending.)

Then behind that I have a few different articles about Money, Charity, and Provident Living:
Provident Finances
One for the Money
All is Safely Gathered In
Happily Living Within our Means
The Priviledge of Giving

So that's my little family finances binder.  I use this each Wednesday to plan when I do Errand Prep.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Master Bedroom

In an unprecedented break from the habits of my whole married life, I am pleased to announce that my bedroom is still clean, and it's been clean for three weeks now.  I think the thing that helped me was this blog post about how to make your bedroom more romantic (reposted below).   Even thought I've only done #1, 3, 4, and 6, it's still made a huge difference, especially #1 and #4.  When I see my unmade bed, I tell myself "Do it now."  (I don't always do it when I wake up cause I get up before Corey, and when he gets up, sometimes Sophia is in our bed, but once everyone's out, I make it.) And for #4, if I stay on top of keeping my dresser cleared off, it makes it easy for me to pick up the rest of the room too.  Great advice, so read on!!

Is your bedroom a Haven? A getaway from the worries of the world? A romantic destination? Ha! If you answered no, no, and NO, you just might be a mom like me.
Before I had children, my room was always the cleanest room in the house. It was my sanctuary. I recently came to grips with the fact that my bedroom is, well, “overflow”. My definition of overflow: The stuff you don’t want the random unexpected guest to see: Laundry (folded and unfolded), superhero toys, sippy cups, mail that needs attention, paperwork, and of course, the dreadful SOCK basket. You know what I’m talking about: the random socks that will most likely never find their match. Ugh. I despise that basket.
I needed my sanctuary back, so the past few weeks I’ve made a conscious effort to make my room a bit more romantic. Now, I’m not just talking about making it a place for…. err… whoopie. Romance is so much more than that. It’s a place to escape to, a place to talk about important things, or a place to reconnect with your spouse.
If you are feeling your master bedroom needs a little romanticizing, here are 11 simple and inexpensive tips to make your bedroom a bit more romantic.
1. Make your bed. Every single morning. It takes less than 2 minutes and defines the space as being “important”. Unmade beds = Unromantic.
2. Personalize your space. Add pictures, memorabilia, sentimental gifts, ANYTHING that reminds you of the love you and your spouse share.
3. Add more pillows. Have you ever walked into a 4 or 5-star hotel and seen two flat, pancake/frisbee-looking pillows? I think not! Flat pillows were for college dorm rooms, not a master suite.
4. Don’t let clutter gather in your bedroom. {Yes, I was the bad example featured in this picture. Don’t worry, it’s been BANNED}.
5. Add a little mood lighting. Try to avoid flipping on your ceiling light. Opt to use your bedside lamps, and occasionally candles. 
6. Don’t do chores in your bedroom. No ironing, No piles, No folding clothes, NO PROJECTS.
7. Make your room smell wonderful. Pillow mists, candles, Scentsy warmers, or fragrance plug-ins. Comfort, memories, and romance are linked to smells. Make your scent distinctive to your master bedroom (not the same scent as the rest of your home). If you are a Scentsy lover, I suggest Quiver, Be Still, Just Breathe, or Linen Sheets.
8. Make time for pillow talk. Pillow Talk: The sweet conversation you have with your spouse, no intimacy attached. Chatter about the kids, where you dream of taking your next vacation together, compliments towards each other, etc.
9. Go to bed together. Decide on a time, and stick to it. No matter what. Pillow talk, or other romantic things, aren’t going to happen if you don’t go to bed together.
10. Keep the TV off. I admit it, I have a TV in my room. Sometimes I wish I didn’t because I strongly believe OTHER things should be happening in the bedroom. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally snuggling up to a good movie and dozing off is wonderful, but don’t make it a nightly habit.
11. Occasionally, dig into the nightie drawer. That’s right. Forget your flannel PJ’s, your favorite Old Navy pajama bottoms, or even your plain-Jane underwear. Invest in a few comfortable/sexy pj’s and wear them even when you aren’t “in the mood”. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

One on One Time

One on One Time is so important for our children.  Especially in a large family, it's important to make the effort to have personal private time with each child.

My friend Amy has "snuggle nights" with her kids - each of them has their own room, so each night the kids take turns having private time with Mom or Dad to read, snuggle, and talk about anything that the child wants to talk about.  She said it is something that each of her children really looks forward to.  Another friend of ours, Aubrey, has started this too, and on her children's snuggle nights she rubs their feet or back with essential oils.  They love it!  (who doesn't like a massage?)

My kids share rooms, so I've been experimenting with how I'll start this.  We first tried "stay up late" nights, where the child could stay up later than the other kids downstairs and play a board game with one of us, write in journal together, or snuggle an talk on the couch.  But that didn't work yet cause the kids all stay up too late as it is.  We might try that during the summer though.  After talking to Aubrey, I thought about doing back rubs and have started that, giving back rubs to the kids - one a night, taking turns, as we read scriptures.  Usually it's just Ethan that requests and sometimes receives backrubs, but he asked so often, when I'd tell him no, the other kids who had never gotten back rubs, didn't bother asking cause I'd already told Ethan no.  Anyway, it's been working great for us, a little bit of special attention for each kid, and Ethan doesn't have to ask an I don't have to tell him or anyone "no" cause they know that I will each night and that they each have a turn coming up.
Also, I've started taking one child a week with me when I run errands, which is their one on one time with me.  Corey's one on one time with the kids is Thursday, so it works out well that they each have something to look forward to about every 3 weeks.  When they go shopping with me, I buy them their incentive that they are working toward if they've earned it, or a treat or small surprise if they haven't earned their incentive (earned by doing their homework checklist each day).  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Makes Me Happy

Just looking at these on my desk make me happy. (and that would be my still clean desk that has been clean for F-I-V-E days so far!!!)

Stephanie Nielsen said it perfectly this past week here, my favorite part quoted below ~

While we can't change other people- or their choices, we have the power to 
lead our family with the good choices we make and strive to make.
That is where I am going to put all my effort and full attention to as a mother.
I want my children to understand that making good choices NOW
 is the only true way to be happy.

I can make a different here at home with my kids, in their lives, which said little lives are the most important thing to me.  They are the most important people in my life, and I'm happy to really be consciously making them my focus, and to consciously be making traditions, and not just letting life happen to me. 

I love it.
This is my favorite job.

Here's the steps I've taken so far with my new home management system:

I was talking to a friend today and prepared this linky-party for her with the beginner steps that I've made so far, I'll add more links of what I'm doing as I do it.  As for now, here's
Here are the two "have with you always" books -
Calendar and To Do List
In the calendar book are my daily cards.

My Binder - still working on it, but it's also already working!  :)

First tab in the binder is planning, first page in that is my checklists
 -  Here's the calendar that we put our weekly schedule on during the planning session, this goes on the fridge
list of chores
church goals
journal sheets for kids (if they haven't written in their journal during the week, we do a journal page during the planning session)
Father's interview sheet (something that was in one of my files from years ago that I've never used, still haven't, but think it would be good for Corey to do with the kdis on Fast Sundays)

Second Tab is Weekly and Monthly Stuff that I go over when I do my self planning checklist - like:
Organizing Challenge
Food Storage

Third Tab is Traditions -
20 year vision (that's from the "A House United" Book
Holidays (working on those)
I also made some lists of Summer Activities, places to camp & hike, Classic Old Fashioned games (like Hide the Object), Date night ideas, things like that

Fourth Tab is Personal Study -
My and corey's patriarchal blessings
The proclamation
The Living Christ
Articles I want to read (I rip them out of the magazine if they look really great, print up ones from online when I get them off of my "to do List" book, & keep a list of classic talks that I love so I can reference them (they are printed and in a file after they are read)

And my budget binder is something of my own creation after trying out Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace university" and also a book called "America's Cheapest Family" - mostly based on the latter book

Planning Session - Checklists

Here are my two updated checklists, the first for the kids when I sit with each of them, followed by my checklist, which I go over by myself the night before or morning of our planning session:

Weekly Planning & Calendar Checklist
- KIDS -
J    M    E   H   W   A    L    S   B
Bring Backpack, homework clip, and journal

Review goal list for kids & my goals for them - include:

  • Personal Goals

  • Any questions about music for Dad?

  • Church Goal

  • What book are you reading?

Scheduling Binder & calendar

  • tests - library days - book reports

  • Write on calendar sports, practices, games, recitals, rehearsals, field trips & performances

  • Anything else?

Homework Clip

  • Parent Teacher Conference Goals

  • Review homework, fix mistakes on schoolwork, parent’s signature

  • Check for homework completed and planners & papers signed for Monday.

Write in journal - help little kids with their entry

Schedule Stay Up Late night - remember the goals and purpose of them  
   - talk, laugh, play a game, journal memories, pray, hug & kiss and I love you

Set up / discuss One on One

Schedule “Bedroom Check” Day - seek “room check” list of instructions

Weekly and Monthly Job List - fill in needed items

Fill in child’s Saturday chores - Yardwork & Mother’s Helper list

Need anything from store?

Service for a Sibling

Weekly Planning & Calendar Checklist
ME - Tiffanie - MOM

Planning with Corey -
  • His schedule
  • Upcoming events
  • Wish list
  • to do list for me
  • honey do’s for him
  • budget together (below)

Budget Binder -
  • Update for past week
  • Plan expenses for next week out
  • Upcoming expenses
  • Wish list

Plan Dinner Menu - Add needed items to shopping list
  • New recipe Dinner - work my way through a recipe cookbook
  • Sunday dinner before church & dessert, treat for FHE
  • Food Storage for this week
  • Make something from scratch with wheat flour 3-5 times a week - muffins, cookies, tortillas, pancakes, crepes, bread, rolls
  • Fill out grocery list - use up fridge, freezer, storage, envelope mixes, frozen foods, serve a vegetable with every meal, eat a lot of salads

Homemaking Binder-
  • Using Monday - Sunday Daily Cards - write out my schedule this week in my day planner.
  • Cleaning Zone for this week
  • Weekly Organizing Challenge
  • “Bedroom Check”
  • Schedule weekly outing with Hyrum, Abi, Lily and Sophi
  • Plan FHE lesson - reference kids’ Church Goals - see list

Planning Sessions with Kids -

Write history - family blog

Write in Journal - private blog journal

Gospel Study - book to read, write on spiritual  blog

Exercise Weight, Plan, Goals - exercise blog

Creative outlet List - make goal of project to work on - Paint, craft, Pinterest - homemaking blog