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Scattered Squirrel

Scattered Squirrel: December 2012

December 29, 2012

Printable Palooza and Farewell Blogger

Hi there everyone!  I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday.  We had a quiet holiday, just the four of us, which... considering this stupid cold we all seem to have to varying degrees, was probably a good thing.  The boys had fun though, and it was a great day.  Today is blog catch up day for me.  I didn't mean to be gone all week, but with the kids home it's been hard to find the time to sit on the computer.  My days have been filled with light-saber duels, snakes and ladders marathons, puzzle building, and lots of hugs and snuggles.  I really couldn't say no to that!

Don't worry though, while I may not have had time to sit down an whip out a few posts, I did finish up the last of the printables for the personal planner.  (Hence the title of this post)  There's a number of them coming up at you, so I'll stop babbling and start sharing.

 The first one I'm sharing is a request.  I received a few emails asking if I was going to do the daily planner in a half page, and here it is!

free printable, half page, two day, planner, agenda

Next up, a little something to help keep track of special dates through out the year.

free printable, yearly planner, special dates, month by month

This one is followed by my yearly planner.  I don't, as a rule, make resolutions.  I do, however, make goals, and the new year is a great time for setting goals for the coming year.  This page is more for small, personal goals, like establishing a new routine, learning something new ... you get the idea.  

free printable, goal setting, planning,

I've also included some space for things we want to do as a family.  These could be anything from a vacation destination to a simple outing.  And, because I have a hard time taking time out for myself, I decided that this year, I would think of 12 things I could do to sort of nurture my soul.  To recharge my batteries.  I figure I can handle once a month.  It probably should be more often, but for now this where I'm starting.  These will most likely be little things like, "take time to let nails full dry after painting"  or "spend a couple of hours at the library... alone!"  

What planner would be complete without a monthly calendar?  None that I can think of.  Because everyone uses planners in different ways, and because I know no everyone is looking for a planner per se, I thought I would whip up a blank calendar.

free printable, monthly calendar

You could print this one off and throw it in a frame or a sheet protector and stick on your fridge, or wherever it is that you hang your calendars.  

And that concludes the planned printables for the personal planner.  I hope you find some of the useful in the coming year.  It also means it's just about time to wrap up this post.  I'm getting kind of misty eyed here, because this is my second to last post of the year, and it also happens to be my last post here on Blogger.  Yeap, that's right!  The switch to Wordpress is happening tomorrow!  Crazy, yep!  Scary, you betcha!  But I've been testing the new site, playing around with some of the features, and I'm happy to report all seems to be working well, and I think it's time to stop stalling and take that next leap.  To my friends on Google Friend Connect, I do so hope you'll come over and say hi at, or follow along another way.  We've got the Facebook page, the Google + page, Twitter, email, and RSS, and none of those are changing.  

All of you wonderful readers have made this blog such a wonder to be a part of!  Thank you for coming back each day, week, month.... whenever you get here.  And if you're new here, thank you for stopping by!  I hope we'll see you around some more!  You all mean so much to me.  Please enjoy this final, unplanned printable (or should I say printables, cause technically there are 12?) of the year!

free printable, 2013 calendar, monthly planner

I hope this coming year is full of wonderful moments, amazing opportunities, joy, love and many blessing for all of you!

Happy New Year!!!!  

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December 22, 2012

Busy Days and Two Free Printables

Good morning everyone, happy last weekend before Christmas.  Are you all set for the big day?  We are going to be brave souls and venture out for one more shopping forray today .... hopefully I retain my sanity throughout.  I'm sorry yesterday's post didn't go up as planned.  I was at the school with Liam for his Christmas party.  It was a lot of fun, the kids spent the morning doing crafts, having some fabulous snacks and then the kids performed some Christmas carols.  We missed the carols, as Liam was nibbling on the goodies for snack time he told me he was feeling kind of tired, and asked to go home.  Poor guy!  He made the right call though, because we got home and he spent most of the afternoon laying down.  At least he was able to see his friends and his teacher and wish them a Merry Christmas, and he was able to take part in some of the holiday fun.   This cold is not a nice one, I'm hoping it goes away soon.

So, between craft morning and still sick Liam (and a still kind of sick me) I just didn't make it onto the computer yesterday, and I'm very sorry about that.  Busy days tend to make my head spin.  I find that on those days I need to pay extra attention to how I'm using my time.  Most often, those days find me reaching for a blank sheet of paper, where I proceed to fill it with lists, sectioned off by category, and a plan for the day.  Last week, as I was doing my usual scribble, it dawned on me that maybe having a daily planner page in my personal planner would be a good thing.  I know I won't use the daily one every day, but having it for those days I do need it would be a huge help.  And so, my daily planner page was born.

free printable, daily planner, to do list, check list, agenda

This is sort of a window into my brain.  I use this one two different ways.  On days when I'm feeling particularly scattered; when I know I'm going to have to dig deep to find any kind of productivity, I use the category boxes to list the items that MUST be done that day.  Then I schedule them into the day planner on the left side.  I use the to do list for any items that I feel need to be done, but don't quite meet the MUST stage qualifications.

On days when I'm not feeling quite so scattered, I use the boxes to keep track of things that I want to do over and above the normal.  Perhaps it's something like "plan a family game night for later in the week" or maybe it's something I noticed around the house like "clean vent in half bath".  I guess you could say that on these days, I use the boxes as a sort of secondary planner.

Now, I know that not everyone wants so much on a daily planner page, so I thought I would make a simpler one for those of you who just want a simple day planner. 

free printable, personal planner, agenda, half page

This one is kind of a two in one.  You would use it as it is, two days on one page, or you can use for a half sized planner for in a mini binder.  With the half page planner in mind, I took care to possition the two days so that you had two ways of putting it together.  You can print doubled sided and using a paper cutter, cut the pages down the middle.  (straight down the middle) Or, if printing double sided isn't an option, you can simply fold the page in half.  Hole punch and you're ready to go.

As always, to grab your copy click the captions.  And that pretty much concludes the planner part of the personal planner.  I have a few more printables to share next week.  Because of all the holidays this coming week, and the switch over to Wordpress (I'll announce the exact date on Monday) I'll be sharing the rest of the planner printables later in the week next week, and I'll share the post of how I put it all together first thing in the new year.  

Can you believe how fast the month is going by?  Are you all ready for Christmas?  Are you ready to say good bye to 2012?

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December 20, 2012

Home Work Planner: A Reader Request

Hi everyone, I hope that this finds you all well and happy.  Last month I started a new feature, Reader Request.  Where you, my lovely readers, could write in and let me know what kind of printable you wanted. Once a month, or more often if I get enough requests, I'll make a printable that one of you has asked for, and share it here on the blog.  Last month, I made up a Room by Room cleaning  checklist.  It's been a huge hit.  This month, I've got something a little different up my sleeve.

This month's request came to me from a friend's niece   She started high school this year, and is feeling a little overwhelmed with some of the larger school projects being assigned for homework.  Because she is involved in a number of after school activities she is really trying to plan out her study time so she's able to stay on top of school work, as well as continue to meet her other commitments.  Currently, she uses her school issued planner to try to keep track of everything, but that means flipping back and forth between the weeks, and for her it just wasn't working.  She told me she was looking for something that would allow her to keep track of the important info for each assignment, as well as a place to break it down into smaller chunks.  This teen is pretty big on goal setting, one of the MUST haves for her, was a space to allow her to set her own deadlines for each step.  How could I possibly say no?

After much back and forth, and a little tweaking here and there, this is what we came up with!

free printable, home work planning, kids section, home management binder, student planner

I kept it pretty simple.  There's space for what class, what teacher, date assigned, date due, and how many marks it's worth.  Having the assigned date was really important to my friend's niece.  It allows her to see, at a glance, how long she has to complete it, as well as being able to see how long has already passed.  There's a box for keeping track of criteria, this is for any notes on teacher expectations.  The idea is that this sheet will hold all the important info and can be kept at home.  And the last section is a simple checklist area for breaking a project down into smaller, more manageable chunks.  This section will enable a student to schedule these tasks so that large projects are not so overwhelming.  

I realize this isn't a printable everyone will find a use for, but if you know a student who could use a little planning help, pass it along!  And I hope you'll come back tomorrow for this week's planner printables.  (yep, plural!)  

And I'm still taking requests for more printables, the more the merrier!  If you've been looking for just the right thing, or heck, maybe you don't want to spend hours scouring the web looking for the right thing, just drop me a line and I'll see what I can do!  

Can you believe there are only five more days til Christmas?  Do you ever feel like Christmas starts off taking forever to get here and then all of a sudden, BAM! it's so close you wonder where the time went?  Are you all ready for the holiday?

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December 19, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Hello everyone!  I hope this post finds you all well.  Today is the first day in over a week where I feel almost human again!  Just in time to enjoy the white stuff falling from the sky.  This is the view from where I sit in my office.

Isn't it beautiful!  Southern BC doesn't get much snow, so when it does snow, it's special, and pretty and almost magical!  Unfortunately, I've still got a sick little one, so I don't know if we'll be able to get out to build a snowman before the snow starts melting.  I'm hoping it will stick around for a few days! (tile next Wednesday would be great!)

I've got a ton of housework calling my name and some finishing touches to put on this weeks printables, but I thought I would pop on here and share some pictures of our tree.  I thought I would start with some pictures I discovered that the kids took.  The first one we've dubbed the "Nike" tree.

Liam was having a lot of fun taking pictures of the tree with just the lights on.

Our teen went for a bird's eye view after the decorations were put up.

And here is the tree, after Travis hung the lights and the boys decorated.

I think the boys did a pretty good job.  They may not have thought to balance size and vary colours, but it makes me smile every time I look at it.  Here's a good picture of Liam's decorating.

Liam really likes to group decorations together.  He's been doing it this way since he was old enough to start hanging decorations by himself.  He loads up one area, and then moves on to another.  I love it!   Those areas always make me smile when I see them.

Our teen tries for a more balanced, almost methodical look.  Here he was hindered by Liam hogging all the red coloured decorations.  

Did you, by chance, happen to notice the lack of garland?  Yeah, I noticed that too ... right after Liam put the star on top.  Ha!  I was so eager to get the boys decorating, to just watch and bask in the enjoyment of this tradition, that I skipped a part... MY part!  You see, every year we approach the tree the same way.  Travis hangs the lights, gets them just the way he wants them.  Then I fuss with the garland.  That's my job, the one I LOVE to do.  And then we let the boys hang all the decorations.  Sometimes we'll help a little, but for the most part, the actual hanging of the decorations is for the boys.

This year though, I was so giddy with the tree, eager to see it all decorated that I forgot to do my part!  Until the very end when something didn't look right, and the I realized what it was.  It actually turned out to be a good thing, because the beaded garland I usually use just wasn't working right on this tree.  My Mom came to the rescue and brought me a spool of silver and white ribbon to use.  It worked perfectly.  The silver was just the right touch the tree needed.  

I'm really happy with how the silver looks with all the red, gold and brown.  (yes, I took these photos this morning)

Because the tree is so tall and tucked into the corner, it was a little awkward to unwind the ribbon and I went around, but I think that worked out ok.  The ribbon ended up in a spiral, which wasn't what I had been going for, but I ended up loving it.

And did I mention how much the silver makes me smile?  Especially when I see it near the larger ornaments. It provides just enough contrast.

What can I say, other than that our tree makes me smile, and I think that's the whole point right?  And now, dear friends, I'm going to run and get to some of the housework, snuggle with Liam for a while and get the printables ready for tomorrow.

Did you have any snaffus while decorating you tree?  Do you have decorating traditions that you honor year after year?

Linking up at:

In Designer Jeans

The DIY Dreamer

The Fun In Functional @ Practically Functional - Wednesdays @ 8am

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December 18, 2012

Sick Days

Hi everyone, how are you all doing?  I hope this post finds all of you healthy and well.  Sorry for the lack of posts this week, you see I got hit with a nasty cold that's sapped all of my energy.  To say it has not been fun, is a gross understatement!  And today I've got a sick, little, boy at home with me.  I was really hoping Liam wouldn't catch this one, but he did!  He seems to be going through it faster than I did though.  It took about three days for me to go from coughing and being slightly stuffed up to full blown fever, chest congestion, joint and muscle aches and pains, and the inability to breathe through my nose.  Liam started coughing yesterday and today he's at the fever stage, so I'm holding out hope that he'll be well enough to go to school for Friday when they're having their special Christmas crafting morning, especially since he's missing out on building gingerbread houses today at school.  

For today I'm going to concentrate on snuggling my poor little guy, and trying to get us both feeling better soon.  I'm thinking lots of movies, stories and snuggles, some chicken noodle soup and ginger ale might be just what the doctor ordered today!  And since tummies seem to be the only thing not effected by this cold, maybe some jelly beans to add a dash of fun!

I do have some printables to share this week, as well as pictures of our tree, but those will have to wait until later.  For now, I'm off.  Christmas is coming up fast and I don't want any of us to be sick for it.

Does your family have any go to items for comfort on sick days?  Do you tend to drop everything when your little ones are unwell to focus on making them feel better?


December 13, 2012

Progress in the Entry Dilemma

Hello everyone, how is your week going?  Our week has been a really weird one, my days are all mixed up. Liam was home on Monday recuperating from a tummy bug.  On Tuesday he had not one but two Christmas concerts, and it was so wonderful to watch him perform in his first concerts.  The children did such a lovely job, it was so sweet to see all the kindergarten and grade one children dressed up like little bears.  Yesterday was the only some what normal day this week, and today I have Liam home with me again.  Whatever caused his upset tummy on the weekend seems to have worked its way lower, so I opted to keep him home, just in case.  And tomorrow we have Liam's field trip.  He going skating for the first time, and I can't miss that one!  Yes, all in all, it's been a busy, crazy week.

Despite the craziness and the full schedule, or perhaps because of it, I've been noticing little areas around the house that need some serious attention.  Not being one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to tackle the worst one yesterday.  Our old house had a whole room for an entry/mudroom.  In our new home we're not so lucky.  Our entryway by the front door is a good size.  The coat closet in the entry is a good size.  You would think good sizes would make it easy to organize a landing zone for all of our outdoor needs.  Not so much.  You see, while the size is great, the flooring is not.  The front hall is done in laminate flooring, and we all know that laminate does not like to have moisture sit on it.  This has proved to be quite a challenge, especially since we live in a very rainy environment.

Thankfully, there is an alternative that doesn't involve me having to mop up the floor every time we come in.  We can come in through the garage, into the laundry room (which had lino floors!).  I didn't give a whole lot of thought to how I set it up when we first moved in, I was more or less just looking to get it set up.  No good systems in place mean things get messy pretty quick.  Here's what it looked like yesterday before I got my hands on it.

It wasn't an easy room to photograph.  This shot was taken standing in the door from the hallway.  As you can see it was getting pretty messy.

This one was taken a little further into the room.  The umbrella was hung there on purpose, so it could dry.  Just one of the many reasons why this room makes sense to use as the family entry.  (and yeah, the rental came with a top loading washing machine :-(  )

And this is looking into the room from the door to the garage.  Not a pretty sight at all!  But I have plans... oh do I have plans. I really only have two walls to work with in here, when it comes to using vertical space.

Because opposite the washer and dryer is this closet.  Which would be an incredible blessing if it wasn't already full.  Behind those doors are our furnace and hot water tank.  As those are kind of important things, I won't complain too much.

First step was to clear out the room.

If I could have, I would have left it empty!  It looked all pretty and open.

Next step was a good cleaning.  With the room as empty as I could make it, I took advantage and gave everything I could reach a good scrubbing.  Then I worked on my plans.

 I pulled out my handy dandy room organizer and started making plans.  It's always good to have a plan when you tackle a space.  In this case, my plan will need to be implemented over time, but that's ok, we have a direction for this space.

Next up I started to put things back in. I had a few things I wanted to include in the space, like something to make use of the back of the door to the hall.

I wanted to find a way to include storage space for winter gear like mittens, hats and scarves, and I wanted to make space to store my mop and broom in here, since there really isn't a good place to keep them in the kitchen.

Here's what I started with.

In theory I thought this would work.  In practice, it doesn't.  I didn't want to put the taller shelf back beside the dryer because I wanted to be able to put the broom and mop in that corner.  Having the shelf here severily impeded access to that corner.  And from the hall it looked awful!

See what I mean?  Since my long term plan calls for installing four wall shelves, I decided to ditch the wire cubes and get a little more creative in short term solutions, and have patience while waiting for the long terms ones to be implemented.

Since all my laundry supplies were in a small tub, I simply set them on top of the dryer.  This effectively killed  two birds with one stone.  I was able to remove the ugly shelf, and since there is something already on the dryer, I'll think twice before putting other items on it.  No more drop zone (I hope)  The mop and broom are super easy to access now.

And the view from the garage door is better too.  I laid down a couple throw rugs, that I will eventually replace with a proper runner, but for now they are doing the trick nicely.

And the back of the door?  Ah, this is the part that, for me, brings it all together to function as our entry way.

(sorry for the crappy photo, it was the only one I got of the back of the door, and my batteries died before I could take another one)  A simple over the door hanger and there's a place for our coats and some of the winter gear.

To make it workable for Liam I simply added some 3M hanging strips to the back of his wall hook plaque and attached it to the door at a good height for him.  Now he has a place for his backpack and coat.

All in all, I'm happy with how it turned out.  My plans for the future will make it even more organized and multifuntional.  They include:

  • hanging four shelves on the window wall.  2 per side
  • towel hook for by the sink
  • small shelf for beside the dryer
  • wall hanger for the broom and mop
  • cubbies for shoes and baskets for hats and mittens
  • drying rack or line of some sort
Pretty basic I know, but in making my plans I'm trying to be mindful of the fact that we are renters.  Our landlord doesn't mind if we put up shelves, as long as we patch the holes and repaint if/when we move.  But still, I don't want to be putting holes willy nilly into the walls.  

So, what didn't go back into the room?  My cleaning supplies and rags.  They are going to find a new home.... somewhere... not sure where yet.  Yes, that is a HORRIBLE organizing plan I know, but I'm toying with a few ideas.  For the moment they are stashed under the kitchen sink.  Which is another area that has really been bugging me lately, so maybe that will be the next zone I tackle.

Do you find that life's busy times highlight organizational problems in your home?  Do you ever add more to your already full to do list because you just can't stand to let one more day go by before getting to a project?  Would you rather tackle a project in stages, or wait until you have everything and do it all at once?

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December 11, 2012

Got a Busy Week? There's a Printable for That!

Hi everyone, how are you doing?  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  My parents popped down for a quick visit this weekend, and it was such a lovely way to spend the weekend!  I was able to get in some time to work on the printables for this week, and get the finishing touches put on the Reader Request for this month.  Liam ended up with a tummy bug of some sort on Sunday, and lucky me, I seemed to have caught it yesterday.  Thankfully, it only seems to last for a day or two.  Liam was really happy about that, because today is his first ever Christmas concert, and he really didn't want to miss it.  He's excited to be able to be on a stage with lights and everything.  It's also his special week at school , where he gets to bring in some of his favourite pictures, his favourite story and a favourite toy to share with the class.  He got to fill out a question sheet that will get hung up with the pictures.  He was a little sad that he had to miss yesterday, but he was super excited to be going today.

Ontop of Christmas concerts, we've got a field trip coming up at the end of the week, a library trip to make, more Christmas baking to do, I've got bloggy stuff that needs to be finished up, our Teen has clubs and stuff most of the week, and Travis is off for the next three days, which means errands need to get run and so on.  It's is shaping up to be a busy busy week, and next week it only seems to get more so.   Why is it the last few weeks before Christmas are always so busy?

Last week I shared with you the Weekly Overview printable I made.  It's still working great, but for these busy weeks, it really has become nothing but an overview.  There is so much going on that there just wasn't room to put it all on the planner page, at least not in detail.  I knew this was going to happen.  There are going to be weeks where there is lots happening and more room for planning is going to be needed.  For those weeks, the Overview on its own just won't cut it, but I think one of these might!

free printable, weekly planner, half hour increments, schedule, landscape

free printable, weekly planner, schedule, half hour increments,

I know that with the addition of these ones, there are now a whopping five weekly planner printables on this little blog.  The two I shared earlier this year just aren't working for me anymore.  While they still function and work great, I wanted something that would allow me to structure my days.  With more and more being added to our weekly routines, I felt it was really important to start scheduling our days.  With the half hour increments I can easily block out times for each activity and that will give me a visual reference for how much time in the day I have for the things I need to do.  

Currently, I'm using the second one in conjunction with the Weekly Overview.  I used the Overview to keep track of what was happening this week, my to do list and so on, and I used the Weekly Planner to schedule it all in.  The week is still young, but so far this combo is really working out well.

As always to snag a copy for yourself, click the captions under the pictures!  And of course, all printables found here are for personal use only, if you would like to use them for something other than personal use, drop me a line and we'll work something out.

Just one more thing before I hop off, we will soon be making the move to Wordpress.  I've been busy trying to get it all set up.  To my friends who follow along on Google Friend Connect, please choose one of the other ways of following along.  If there was a way to get Google Friend Connect to work on Wordpress I would totally do that, but everything I've read says that it is no longer supported on other platforms :-(  If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line.  

So, what do you think of the planners?  Will the work for you?  Do you find that the weeks get more and more busy the closer it gets to Christmas?

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