Thursday, January 28, 2010

Journaling Idea #1 - Write a Letter Every Year to Your Child

There are so many things you can do with a journal in order to fill in the blank pages and make it personal.

A long time ago, after the birth of my first child, I was given an idea by a fellow mom. Every year on the child's birthday, that mom would sit down and write her child a letter. I asked this mom if she minded that I used her idea for my own child, and she didn't mind at all.  She actually encouraged me to start this habit and to pass it on to others.

She went on to say, "What better keepsake and memories could you pass on to your child than the recount of what happened each year of their life in their mother's handwriting."

I admit, I love writing, so jotting down a letter was easy for me, however keeping track of those letters was much harder. So, instead of individual letters, I began a journal for each child as they came along in our lives.

Each year, I write a letter to my child, and addressing with "Dear ________,".  I tell them the hardships, the difficulties, and struggles we went through together during this phase of their life.  Then I tell them the praises, the joys, and the amazements that they brought to my life. Since someday, these letters will be sort of historical, I might mention a presidental election, what they're and my favorite song was, and other favorite things about that time in their life.

At the end of the letter, in closing, I remind them how special they are, how much I love them (even on the days where faustration may have set in, that love is still there), and I try to include one picture of the two of us, or our family together on the child's birthday.

One day, when your child has reached an age or stage in their life that you feel they are ready to move away, you can pass on this journal of letters. And if they so choose, the unfinished pages of your child's journal can one day be fill with letters to your grandchildren.

What a wonderful family heirloom it would become, don't you think?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting Organized in 2010 - Control Journals

Last evening, my house was blessed with the sounds of the members of XI ETA CHI as we sat down and discussed how it is we each keep our households organized over a buffet of my spinach dip appetizer, salsa & chips, and fresh fruit.

As we each went around and shared some of the things we do to get organized, many of us found we use many of the same concepts in a different way.

One of the ladies uses a file card system, another keeps notes on her refridgerator, and I use my control journal - inspired by Flylady and customized over the past few years to coordinate with the needs with my household.

The greatest thing about a control journal is that it helps you take control of your day.  Inside my control journal I keep my calendar, addressbook, sections for each of my children, shopping lists, to-do-list, emergency information, household information, and my latest writing project.

My calender is broken up into one week per page.  Each day is broken into sections: schedule, to-do, household mission, and meal.  On the back of my weekly calander, I have a grocery list, errand list, people to call list, and bills to pay.

I have a specific section for each of my children.  Here I put papers that need to be signed and returned to school, newsletters, lunch menus, policys, and classroom lists.  I keep the most recent paper due to return to school or needing attention to the front where I will see it.  Once I month I go through and switch out old menus and newsletters and make sure I didn't forget any papers that needed sent back to school.

I keep another section full of contact and emergency information.  I leave my control journal open to a particular page designed specifically for our babysitter when she comes over.  This page tells here, where she is (one may forget under the stress of an emergency), introduces our children, their ages, likes, dislikes, bed time,and any allergies or health issues to be aware of, and tells the sitter where we are going and how to reach us while we are out.

My address book is full of friends, family, and I have two special seperate lists.  One list is for our favorite restraunts, and the other is for listing telephone numbers of the local police, fire station, family doctor, dentist, insurance agency, car repair, and other most often used establishments to keep our home and vehicles maintained.

Thanks to Flylady, I keep a list of household chores just behind my calander, and as I go through the zones of my home I can check off what household chores have been done.  I found Flylady's philosphy of "You can do anything in 15 minutes" to be percisely true.  Everything I try to do something around the house I only have 15 minutes.  As a stay at home mother, I'm sure others will agree with me, that kids take up the other 45 minutes of every hour of the day. 

Then my control journal also serves another purpose.  It's become the center of my household.  If my husband decides to help out one evening and make dinner, he knows what to make - it's in my control journal.  Should there be an emergency, my control journal acts on my behalf in the household by letting others know what tasks were left unfinished, and who to contact for support.

I keep my control journal in my crown bindery binder.  After a few years of using a three ring binder, I found they either fall apart or they take up alot of space when trying to opened them up at meetings, the grocery store, or in the car.  My crown bindery binder flips around to the back so I don't have the cover taking up excess room and is stiff enough to write in.

How do you organize your days, and what does your control journal look like?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Recipe Journal

Whenever I say "Mommy is making a book" my kids get excited, especially my four year old son. He loves helping me punch the holes and putting the book together. It gives him as much of a sense of accomplishment as it does me after designing it.

Over the weeked, inspired from an illistration in a library book, my son and I set out to make a new kind of journal - a recipe journal.

A recipe journal isn't just your ordinary cook book, it's so much more. The pages of a recipe journal consist not only of recipes, but is meant for you to include photos of your culinary creations, you and family members enjoying the preparation process, and the dinning process. 

Inside a recipe journal you can place food labels, beveravage labels, write notes, stories about family meals or special meals with a loved one that you can go back and remember years later.

A recipe journal can be passed down from generation to generation and shared at family gatherings.

If you love to cook, a recipe journal can allow you to record new food ideas, recipes gone wrong, and those that came out spectacular and how you did it.

Maybe your a food critic and you use your food journal for those dinning out meals, you can photograph them, and takes notes,and write your reiviews inside your journal.

If you're a travelor, a recipe journal can help you collect recipes of the foods you enjoyed while traveling, taking pictures of the places, people, and food that you sampled along the way.

The possiblities for creating a recipe journal are endless, what else can you think of placing in a recipe journal?

You can find out how to start your own reciepe journal by reading the article I wrote most recently.
How To Create a Recipe Journal.

I can't wait to hear and see your creations!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Journaling: Getting Started

When I was in eight grade, my teacher Mrs. Smith would hand us a folder and a piece of composition paper for the first ten minutes of my english class every morning.  At first, I'd sit at my desk and stare at a blank page.  I'd look over my shoulder and see my classmates either slumped and staring too, or those who were scribbling away at their pages.

Eventually, I began to write on those blank pages, maybe it was about last night's basketball game, or just a few sentences on how bored I was.  Then one day, I started writing a story, and for ten minutes every day, I'd continue the story.  Sometimes I'd draw a picture and illustarte what I was writing. 

I knew the only person who was reading my journal was Mrs. Smith.  As long as I had something on the page she gave me a grade.

I began looking forward to those ten minutes a day, and when eight grade english was over, I started journaling and writing in my notebooks.  Those stories eventually got passed around to my classmates who were amused about the futuristic scences I'd put them in and couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

Yet, none of those stories would have ever began without that first intial blank page from english class.

It's getting past that first initial blank page that enables us to start our journals.  So, if it helps, open up your journal and rip out that first page.  Yep, rip it out.

This does two things: One the journal isn't new anymore because you've ripped out the page, and second it's not as intimatidating now because the first page is gone.

A journal is anything you want it to be.  It's your creation, reference, and sometimes best friend.  It's a book reflecting you in a period of your life. 

So what are you waiting for, push past page one and get started!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tuscan Themed Customized Day Planner

She asked for it, and I created it.  Months ago, before Christmas, one of my sisters made the remark on facebook that she wanted me to make her a day planner.  Wouldn't you know it happened that I ended up with her name in the Christmas gift drawing.  So I went to work on creating excately what she asked for.

The day planner itself is constructed of a  "6 x "9 x 1" three ring binder.  The front and back were designed and covered with scrapbooking paper and covered with a plastic sleeve.
Inside the book I broke it into five sections:

Weekly Planner 

Grocery List

Food Journal
Address Book


Each page was designed specifically by me to match a tuscan theme.  Each week contains a small fact about Itailian culture - words,people, places, and wine making.  As you can see their is a consistant grape and wine theme flowing from one page to the other.

I'm currently working on an apple orchard theme for my mother, both the apple and the tuscan theme will be available soon in my etsy store.

I can happily say, my sister was thrilled and now enjoying her customized Tuscan Themed Day Planner, I guess this means I'll be designing another customized day planner soon for my other sister.  She too will want one after seeing this.  Oh what fun, with my sisters' birthdays less then a month a way, I'd better get busy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vehicle Mileage & Maintenance Record Book

Several years ago, when my husband and I were still dating I got him a Vehicle Mileage & Maintenance Record Book as a gift.  He kept the book in the dash compartment of his car and used it up until we sold the car several years into our marriage.  Unfortunately, the company that made the book, no longer makes them, shame it was a great book.

So, after searching the market, and finding very few Vehicle Mileage and Maintenance Record Books that compared to what we once had, I designed my own.  This record book my be litte 3.5" x 6", but it's packed with everything a individual should keep track of for their vehicle: Personal Info (like insurance & emergancy contacts), gas fill ups, routine oil changes, tire rotations, repairs, and trip mileage.

Whether you have a business, work for a company that reimburst for mileage, or even for your own personal use, it is import to keep track of your vehicle mileage and maintenance.

Sometimes remembering when your vehicle is due for things like oil changes, tire rotations, tune -ups, and other regular mantienance can be hard to do, but with the help of this little book, it's easy to pull it out and figure out what needs done, has been done, and when something is due to be maintained.

It's really simple to keep track of your car's maintenance this way, and easy to do!

This book is now available at My Etsy Shop

You can also find instructions on how I made this book by checking out my latest article:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

An Exciting New Year ahead!

2010 proves to be an exciting new year, fillled with uncertainities, unexpected twists, bounds of joy, filled with hope, and a bit of expectation to top if off like a cherry on a sundae.

This new year promises to be filled with a new stages, and hurdles as we go through life's journey.  I for one, am keeping them written down in my journal.  Perhaps one day, the leg of my journey will be the inspiration for a new generation.

As I look back on the year that has passed, I amazed and blessed by many things - good friends, family, self discoveries, and personal achievements.  If you asked me last year what my goals were, I'd have told you I wanted to publish a book. 

I've done that with the 2010 Daily Mood Organizer, but my goal has been and always be to keep publishing books. They are my passion, thus the new logo. 

For those of you who know me, have stuck with me on this journey, thank you.  Please keep hanging on, your support has always been and always will be a welcome in my life.

For those of you visiting for the first time, welcome.  Life is a book, one we keep writing, living, and revising.  There is no editing, we can't turn back the pages and erase what is already there, but we can revise the next chapter as we go along.

I'm excited as the new year is beginning so are great things for all of us.  This year I've began a monthly newsletter, the first one was sent out only yesterday, with a few bugs, that will be fixed next month, I promise.

I'm proud to say my Etsy shop is open at  After speaking with so many people through my church family, friends, MOPS, XI ETA CHI, and standing at the bus stop - my list is full of new book ideas for journals, calendars, and more...  But keep the ideas coming, I love the challenges those ideas present for me to be creative when I'm not working on my latest manuscript early in the mornings.

If you haven't signed onto the newsletter yet, or just want to check it out, you can find here, on my website at

In the next few months, I'm currently working on a "build a book" feature for on my website, as well as the design and introduction of a few new journals and even an album or two.

It's going to be an exciting year ahead! 
I'm looking forward to sharing it with all of you!


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