Thursday, October 23, 2014

One Simple Question To Help Your Daily Routine Go Better

A few weeks ago I shared at a retreat about organizing and evaluating our daily routines to make the most of them. My natural tendency is to organize. It runs in my blood. Yet I know that most people hear the word "organize" and cringe. Whether you enjoy organizing or not, our daily routines are full of little tasks that done over and over again can really add up and either waste our time or add joy to it. 

Time is, after all, a great treasure. 

It is definitely worth it to assess our daily routines or even weekly routines and see what's working and what's not working. Sometimes you simply need to ask yourself one question.

1) When I think about my daily routine what is one little thing that I need to stop doing? 

As I was preparing my notes for the retreat, I realized that I had to stop and think a little bit about my answer. I wasn't quite sure. OK, I knew right away that I needed to stop scrolling on my phone so much (it is like a disease!) but I needed something smaller to assess that I could make a noticeable change to stop doing and feel accomplished from (the next step is eliminating the scrolling...)

And then just like every other Sunday morning for the past four years I opened the front door and was greeted by the Sunday paper. However, my reaction made me know right away that I needed to stop getting the Sunday paper.

Why? Because there was instant dread as soon as I saw it. It felt like just one more thing that I "needed to do." Pull out the coupons, thumb through the ads so I'm not missing any "super deals" and then put the rest into recycling. 


Sure this whole process only takes me about five minutes in my week but it was just "another" thing that was taking up my time (and mind!) in a way that clearly wasn't bringing joy and that I realized I was actually dreading. (Not to mention all of the money I might save by NOT seeing the "super deals!")

Maybe it is because Sunday mornings are our time to rest and seeing that paper was a reminder that I have one more thing to deal with...and can't possibly take time to rest (insert little angel on my shoulder saying..."even God rested.")

At one time I was also an avid couponer. Getting a Sunday paper with coupon inserts was like receiving GOLD because I knew the value that was contained in its pages. Yet many years later our family size has grown along with my time commitments and couponing has felt more like a chore than a blessing. So much so that I don't do it but hadn't taken the time to realize that I could probably save myself the trouble of getting the Sunday paper.

I came home from the retreat, pulled out my coupon basket and started sorting... 

Nothing like finding coupons that expired over three years ago.

I cleaned out all of the expired coupons and suddenly my basket was nearly empty. 

The funny thing is that after getting back from the retreat I received the renewal letter for the Sunday paper. With one great big smile I put it in the recycling bin. 

Not only did I gain some time back into my routine but now my mind and house are free from the clutter of that task as well. Who knew eliminating a five minute a week task could be so liberating!!!

What will be the next thing this question will be applied to?!?

So let me ask you, when you think about your daily routine what is one little thing that you need to stop doing?

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Living Well Spending Less

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An Inviting Home's First Video: Essential Oils 101

I promised I wouldn't leave you hanging. This is for those of you who weren't able to join us for our live essential oils class at the coffee shop last month. My friend Ginna and I filmed an essential oils 101 class just for you! Perhaps you've been wondering what essential oils actually are or what they can be used for. Well, this thirty minute video is jam packed full of helpful information! 

Behind the scenes info: We filmed the introduction in two takes. The first time I had an empty coffee mug in my hand and when I said "grab a cup of warm goodness," I flung the empty mug up so high that surely the "real coffee" would have splashed all over Ginna. :-) It was empty but we did put some real water in it the second time around to remind me not to fling the cup. I also say strange things like "two and a half kids" otherwise explained as, Ginna is due with her third child in February. :-) 

For those of you who are local and couldn't make it to the last meet up, we are getting together again in just a few short weeks. Mark your calendars and join us for an evening of fun!

essential oils st. paul class

If you decide you would like to purchase an essential oils kit, I will also send you a goodie bag filled with some helpful tools to get you started. All of the ordering information can be found here. When you sign up for a wholesale membership through An Inviting Home you are supporting the making of this blog. I really appreciate all of your love and support!

Grab some warm goodness and enjoy the class!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Managing My Time

Lately I've been working hard to figure out how to manage my time more effectively so that I can have time to do the things that are the most important. You would think that with having four kids in school and only one at home I would have more time, but, as is often the case, I have taken on one new adventure after another in this new season. 

These were things I really felt were important for me to start getting involved in and very fitting with the things I felt I was already doing, plus it seemed like a good time for our family as our schedules were changing heading into the school year.

Since then, though, I've found myself having to figure out a new rhythm for each week and a new routine for each day. In the midst of the craziness of figuring this out it occurred to me that maybe there was a better way to engage this new season than what I had been using before. 

What if I approached time in the way I approached money? 

What if I budgeted time differently than I had in the past? 

I came across this post by Michael Hyatt on How to Better Control Your Time where he proposed scheduling out an ideal week and using chunks of time for certain themes. So, I proceeded to give that some thought and I've been taking steps to organize my time differently. 

I will report back with some steps I've learned along the way another time, but for now I'd like to find out from you...

What things have you found helpful in managing your time?

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Monthly Budget Breakdown ~ September 2014

In an effort to challenge my contentment meter and stay within a budget,
I have $50 per month to spend on Decor & DIY projects for around the house. 
On the first Tuesday of every month I'll show you how I spent it 

Here is the monthly break down for September...

Starting Balance = $49.54 (you can check out here to see what was spent in August.)
Income: September $50 + Starting Balance = $99.54 left to spend

It is always fun to look back over the previous month and see what little or big changes were made to transform our house into a more functional and welcoming place. 

One small addition this month was the basket that we added in the kitchen to store potatoes & onions. With multiple people in the kitchen these days it is working out great to share basic staples like this. It also makes visually seeing what we need more of super easy. I found it at World Market and it cost $11.69 after my 10% off coupon. 

One of the best transformations last month was completely free. ;-)

When decorating for fall I mainly used things on hand or nature from outside. However I also grabbed a new wooden sign that I had bought from Gordmans. It cost $10.39 after my 20% off coupon. 

The final thing that I purchased in September was a replacement lamp for our bedroom. It was $7.99 from IKEA and I mentioned why it took me so long to replace it here

With more light, no rotten vegetables and a beYOUtiful sign, I would say September was a success

 Final Breakdown...
Beginning Balance $99.54 - $30.07 (September purchases) = $69.47

Are there any projects on your to-do list or ones that you finished up in September?

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Monday, October 6, 2014

My Calling As A Party Planner

With all of the extra time I had last week for abnormal tasks I planned and executed a pretty amazing birthday bash for our boys. 

It was perfect. 

If you have a soon to be 6 or 9 year old boy then you are definitely going to pin will be overwhelmed with inspiration! ;-)

The boys both have birthdays in October and last year we threw them a joint birthday party. It went so well (killed two birds with one stone) that this year they decided (we convinced them) to do another joint party. 

We sent homemade invitations to school.

Homemade as in, I used WORD to type out some quick details and mass produce them. For once my printer didn't jam up minutes before the boys headed to was a Christmas miracle.

The boys invited all of the boys in their class...and their families. Now granted I had no idea how many boys were in their class but we are all about including everyone so I sent in plenty of invites and told them to just bring all of the extras home. After all, the plan was to watch a movie in the backyard so including the masses seemed like a great idea. This way we might actually get a chance to meet other families from school too.

The boys each came home with one extra invite. 

I began to freak out realizing what I had done. 

That means 26 boys were invited AND their families!

I of course watched the weather like a hawk! 

OF COURSE it was raining all week and temps are dropping...why did I expect anything else? We do after all live in Minnesota. 

So we went to plan B and moved the party inside. (There never was an official plan B but this is how it turned out.) Since I knew you would be thoroughly impressed with all of my attention to details and inspiring party decor I couldn't even think of not blogging about this experience. 

After last years experience with no balloons I decided to ease myself back into them and stopped into the dollar store for a $3 cluster. This way I could tie them on the railing by the front door to alert families of our location and still assure myself that I wasn't going overboard. 

In one brilliant move I told the kids that they should create some "decor for the party." It was a LEGO themed party...perfection! This also gave the five kids who were JUMPING OFF THE WALL IN EXCITEMENT something to work on before the party I said, brilliant.

Now with essentially two parties happening inside we decided to send one group down to the basement and set up the projector (that was salvaged out of a dumpster) in the living room for the other group.


Not so fancy.

With a double feature happening, this also meant that we had to stop at Redbox hours prior to the party to pick up a second copy of the LEGO movie. 

We served unique beverages...

and gourmet food. 

I went to my go to place for beautiful (read: easy & affordable) cakes. Sam's Club it is. They didn't have a LEGO cake option. It crossed my mind for about four seconds that I could make one...then I decided that was just crazy and went with the next best thing...SUPER MARIO! has LEGO colors...same thing.

Everything went great!

Every detail was planned, organized and executed. I even carried the coffee table out to the garage in a moment of desperation to ensure that we had plenty of room.

We had a blast with those that were able to make it...true statement. There was absolutely no chaos or clocks crashing to the ground by the overwhelming movement of children...false statement.

By the end of the night the house reminded me of a party scene in a movie where the parents come home unexpectedly to find the kids partying.

Only in this version I promise that parents were present AT ALL TIMES.

By the last goodbyes we crashed. The next morning we hauled out all of the trash.

It was a success because the kids had a fun time with their friends. :-)

It went so well I'm considering going into the party planning business.

OK, totally NOT doing that!

All joking aside. I stressed about the party all week long. I actually swept the house before everyone arrived (what was I thinking?), I cleaned the house and forced myself to keep things simple. Even in what I thought was a simple party plan, I was overwhelmed because it's not something that comes naturally.

I fought through some insecurities, determined to simply be present and then cried from exhaustion by the end of the weekend.

I did have one mission from this whole thing...

I wanted to be present with the boys and watch their faces light up every step of the way.

Happy birthday sweet are two of the best things that ever happened to us.

How do you like to celebrate birthdays? Any memorable ones?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Finding Time For Abnormal Tasks

Blogging is probably one of my favorite things to do. I also like staying up late watching Netflix with my husband, talking to my sister on the phone and chatting with friends over coffee...just to name a few.

Among all of the things that I enjoy, life seems to keep happening. I've noticed that life doesn't slow down for anyone and the words simple, balance and present are words that flood through my mind on a daily basis.

Every day normal things happen like getting the kids off to school and abnormal things occur like having to replace the hot water heater.

Most abnormal occurrences mean that additional tasks are created like needing to fill out a rebate form for the hot water heater... something that is still sitting on my desk. I also may or may not still have the kids' first day of school surveys sitting on my desk as well. They are 90% of the way filled out. I am determined to measure their height before they head off to school today...or tomorrow.

Life happens and it doesn't slow down for anyone. How we choose to live it though...that is completely up to us. As I thought of all of the things I could blog about this week it occurred to me that being present at home and taking care of the abnormal things of life that have come up was what I needed to do.  

Being present where I am at (and working through the clutter of the abnormal) will leave more space in my mind to do all of the things that I love...the following week.

I'm planning on hitting the "reset" button on my To Do list this to speak. 


This week I'll be stepping away from the computer and filling out a rebate form among a list of other tasks that have been building up. While I normally try to inspire you with thoughts or tips that we are learning along the way...this week I hope to inspire you by the ones that I'm not sharing. 

None of us can "do it all" least I know I can't. 

Clearing out the abnormal tasks helps my mind to be clear so that I can truly be present for all of the normal ones that I cherish.

I look forward to being with you again next Monday. Have a great week!

Are there abnormal things in your life that you need to attend to so that you can flourish and thrive in your normal every day life? What intentional decisions would you have to make to find time for the abnormal? What helps you deal with the normal and abnormal things that pile up?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Let There Be Light!

For a while now the lamp on my nightstand has been broken. After putting a new light bulb in it I realized that the wire must have shorted out...something about the constant flickering that occurred after the new bulb was put in and the fact that it wouldn't stay on clued me into that (I am a smart one)

Given the broken lamp situation I started checking out other lamps while I've been out and about.

The only problem is well, these...

1) If I change out one lamp then I need to change out both of them. Something about the way my mind works and how it appreciates symmetry in certain circumstances. (I totally googled "simitry" to figure out how to spell it correctly. I knew something didn't look quite right.) 

2) Lamps aren't cheap and by needing to buy two that could leave me using up anywhere from $40 - $80 of my monthly Decor/DIY budget

3) I couldn't find anything that I liked better than what I already had. 

That is when the lightbulb finally went off in my head. Just replace one of the lamps from IKEA with the exact same one! However my logic was trying to tell me that the lamp wasn't very good quality since it had only lasted two was "cheap." This is your opportunity to switch it out buy something buy something of better quality. 

After all...that lamp is cheap.

The debate went back and forth in my head. It felt like I had a little person standing on each shoulder.  

This is just plain silly, I thought. Make a decision already.

And that is when I headed to IKEA one morning for an impromptu outing with a friend. I could only laugh when I found the lamp and saw the price tag. I couldn't remember how much I had paid for these so I was hoping that it would be reasonable. 

It was $7.99! I remembered exactly why I liked it in the first place...because it was so CHEAP! 

I can now tell you that after months of only having one working lamp we now have TWO working lamps and it is glorious

ikea lamps

Have you ever waited months to replace something because you couldn't decide what to do? 
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