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New years resolution. Yep I made one, yep I’m keeping it. So far anyway…

If you know me personally, you know I am simultaneously the most organized and the most unorganized person you will ever meet.  lol  Let me explain, I love my label maker, organizing bins, color coding, and labels that all face the same direction but I can never remember what time to take what kid to what sporting event or party.  I’m always losing papers and I have a stack of mail on my kitchen countertop that I’m confident will reach the ceiling soon if I don’t deal with it.  Unfortunately, 3 kids haven’t always allowed me to be as organized as I would like. I was so tired of being late, missing events, and forgetting where I put things that I vowed to get more organized in 2015.   I had been toying with the idea of putting A in a mother’s day out program 2 days a week for a while but she’s my last baby and I was hesitant.  When they called in December to tell me they had an opening for her, I decided to take the leap and enroll her.  Figured it would be good for both of us and i’m so glad  I did.  She’s still adjusting to not being with me 24 hours a day but the extra time I’ve had to get organized has done wonders for my sanity.  It’s definitely a work in progress.  I’ll share in a later blog how I organized every nook and cranny of my house but today I’m going to share how I’m organizing my life.

I’ve always been a fan of planners, organizers, and journals but my problem is, I’ve never really committed to them or carried them around with me at all times to fully utilize them.  I would write something down on a post it, toss it in my purse, and forget to transfer it to my planner when I got home.  Rather than my usual pick up a planner at Target bit, I decided to jump on the Erin Condren Life Planner bandwagon as recommended by many friends.  I’ll be honest, my main appeal was (and still is) the interchangeable covers.  On the inside it’s much like any other ole’ planner but the cover switching helps keep it fresh in my head I think.  You always like to use new things so switching them out every so often should help with that in my head.  haha

When it arrived, I was immediately impressed with the packaging.  It was colorful, fun, and welcoming.  It included a little envelope of bonus stickers and gift labels.  Who doesn’t love freebies!  :)

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I selected a cute and colorful paisley-ish cover.  I didn’t put too much time into customizing it because I knew I would work my own magic with it later.

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The tabs and all the pages are very colorful and cheery and I love that!

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I picked up several goodies to help me make my planner manageable including a cute little bag (probably meant to be a cosmetics case) at Michael’s for $4, China markers for the laminated inserts (stays better than a dry erase marker in my opinion), and washi tape in assorted colors and prints.  The EC planner came with several sheets of these cute colorful stickers and I opted to customize a few extra sheets for an additional $5.  The weekly menu insert was an additional purchase from EC and the errands tab I added myself.  I’ll show you how and attach a printable you can use too later.

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I also ordered a package of erasable markers off of amazon.  Yep, I said erasable markers!  Are you as excited as I was?  They are by far the greatest thing since sliced bread and I think I need more ASAP!

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You can find them here

http://www.amazon.com/Pilot-Frixion-Colors-Erasable-Marker/dp/B00F9MYPCS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423074830&sr=8-1&keywords=frixion+erasable+markers

Here’s what the pages look like from monthly and weekly views.

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If you’re not the do it yourself type, you can purchase additional covers directly through EC for around $10.  You can also find some cute ones on Etsy.  To make my own cover, I selected a cute scrapbook paper combination and scanned them into my computer.  I used photoshop to scale it to size, add text and/or shapes, and then printed them.  I upload mine to office depot because their colors are so much more vivid than my printer at home but you can do it however you choose.  While I was there, I used their straight cutter to trim the covers to size, place pages back to back, and then have them laminated on thick lamination.  Be sure and tell them to laminate it in the center so you have room to cut and make your binder holes on the side.  I then used the straight cutter again to cut the laminated cover down to size leaving an edge all along the sides.

Once home, I lay the new cover over the top of the planner and used a sharpie to mark where the holes would need to be quickly.  I then used a handheld small hole punch to make holes all down the side.  Once that is done, you take your scissors and make a slit through the center of the hole.  Now the cover is ready to click right into your planner.

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We’re only in February and I’ve already created 2 optional cover sets.  I have commitment issues.  haha

I also created a few printouts to help me with my little goal oriented organization.  I kept seeing the 52 week savings challenge on pinterest and was dying to try it for our next Disney trip spending money stash so I added a checklist for that as well as a little mason jar weight loss page.  I’ve been keeping up with the 52 week savings challenge thing but I will plead the 5th on the weight loss page!  It’s not my fault, it’s those darn girl scouts I tell you!  ;)

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You can laminate these and insert them the same way as the covers if you so choose but I just glued them over some of the additional memo pages in the back that I will likely never use.  I used little heart stickers to symbolize the about of lbs I wanted to lose this year and then as I lose them, I’ve moved them to the other lbs lost mason jar.  Sadly, there are many more hearts in the lbs to go jar than there are in the lbs lost jar!

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Overall, I’m really loving my planner and the fact that it’s large enough for me to see and really write in yet compact enough to toss in my handbag.  I think I’m officially an EC believer!  Ready to get started?  You can follow this link to start your own account and create your very own Erin Condren Life Planner

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/loriannelatch0107

Now here are some of the goodies I made for my planner.  I’ve removed my name for you so that you can add your own and print if you so desire.  Hope you enjoy!

plannerfrontandback1  This one can be used for the front and back of your planner.  Just add your name.

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Obviously, once you print, you can arrange them any way you want them, this is just how I did mine.  Here are the mason jar printable, errands bookmark style insert, and the 52 week savings challenge to match.

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plannererrands  Just print this, cut it, place it back to back, laminate, punch holes, cut, and insert like the covers

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Hope you get some use out of these printables.  Have you used any of my printables in the past?  Would love some feedback.  Did they work out for you?  How did you use them?  Keep them coming?  Comment here or email me at dysfunctionaldomesticdiva@gmail.com

Thanks!  Happy organizing!  <3

American Girl Bitty Baby House Party

If you know me, you know that I love throwing a good party and I tend to go overboard.  If you don’t know me, you probably could have figured that out all on your own!  I’m not someone who does things the easy way either.  Nope, store bought decorations, invitations, and favors have never been my thing.  Not that there’s anything wrong with store bought party stuff, just saying, it’s not my thing.  I know I have mentioned before that my children (and myself who am I kidding) love American Girl Dolls.  We share our house with several of them but one of our favorites is Lizzy, T’s Bitty Baby.  She loves to push her in her stroller, sit her in her highchair, and carry that diaper bag everywhere we go.  When baby sister got old enough to take an interest in baby dolls, she pretty much kidnapped Lizzy for good.  I had officially decided that A would be getting her very own Bitty for her 2nd birthday in December.  Now P says she wants one too of course!  Got to have 3 of everything in a house full of girls you know!  Anyhow, a couple of months ago we got wind that AG was planning to release their revamped line of Bitty Baby at the end of August.  T was ridiculous amounts of excited so we had to do a little internet research to see what changes were being made exactly.  We discovered that there would now be 11 bittys to choose from, a whole new line of story books geared towards the younger AG lovers, and lots of exciting new accessories.  We also stumbled upon the House Party website.  How on earth had I never heard of House Party before?!?!?!  My love for over the top parties and my love for free products combined into one fabulous website!??!?!  If you don’t know about House Party, you NEED to check them out at http://www.houseparty.com and sign yourself up to host your very own!  American Girl teamed up with House Party to select 1,000 or so lucky ladies to host a Bitty Baby tea party to introduce new Bitty to the world!  Naturally we signed ourselves up to be hosts and patiently waited for what seemed like forever to find out if we had been chosen or not.  I have to tell you I had pretty much psyched myself up for disappointment because I never win anything.  Seriously.  NEVER!  Imagine my joyful surprise when I checked my email on host picking day to discover that I had been selected!!!  So in about a month we will gather around with some of P & T’s favorite lil’ ladies and have a tea party to welcome our new Bitty home.

This is the new Bitty Baby.  Her face mold has been changed as well as her hairline.  She now comes with her own full color story book called “Bitty Baby and Me” and a cute little wishing star.  Her little sleeper outfit has changed too and is super cute with little ruffles.  Can’t wait to see her in person.  T is ridiculously excited!

F6254_main_2American Girl and House Party are sending us and our guests lots of goodies and naturally I had to start whipping up my own special touches immediately!  I don’t normally share my party plans pre-party because I like for my guests to be pleasantly surprised by my personal touches but I figure there are so many other host mamas who could probably benefit from my hours of computer design work too.  My husband always says nothing in this world is free but why I ask, WHY!?!?!  We mamas have braces, shoes, school, and dolls to pay for by golly.   Shouldn’t something be free from time to time?   So here you go fellow Bitty Baby House Party Hostesses some FREE downloadable printables for your own party!  I know I’ve already emailed several of you the water bottle labels and cupcake toppers but I’ve added a few other goodies for your printing pleasure here!   Just click on any of the links at the very end of this post to download whichever party goodies you would like.  When printing make sure you select “scale to fit (print entire page)” so that none of the design is chopped off.  Some printers may have you select to print at 90% instead of 100%.  Hope that make sense.

image-5To create the place cards, simply cut each one out around the solid black lines and fold at the dotted line.  I used the computer and a snazzy font for our names but you could easily handwrite them if your handwriting isn’t chicken scratch like mine.

photo-11The water bottle labels are pretty self explanatory.  Just cut them out and use tape to secure them.  If you plan to keep them in an ice bucket you may want to laminate the labels or cover them in clear tape to make them waterproof.

image-4You can cut the cupcake toppers out by hand or use a circle shape maker if you have one.  I used to have one purchased at Hobby Lobby but it was M.I.A. so I had to do them the old fashioned way.  Once they’re cut out just tape or glue a toothpick to the back.  If you’re feeling extra ambitious you can make them 2 sided by sandwiching the toothpick in between 2 circles!  I personally think the fact that I created them, cut them, and taped them at all was ambitious enough for me!

image-6To make the Bitty Baby scratch off lotto tickets you’ll need to print 1 copy of the page with the winning ticket and then a couple without.  You also need a small paintbrush, some clear packing tape or wide shipping labels, dishwashing liquid, and silver paint.  Cut your clear tape or clear shipping label to fit the scratch off area and place it over the print.  In a cup or bowl that’s okay to get paint in mix 1/2 dishwashing liquid and 1/2 silver paint (or any color of metallic paint you choose).  Paint over the labels or tape until you can’t see what’s underneath anymore.  Mix a little bit of black in your silver for a darker better coverage if you don’t want to have to do so many coats.  I did and still had to paint on 3 coats!  If you’re using the shipping labels it’ll probably be much easier to paint them before you cut them and stick them on.  It was tough to stay in the lines with the tape.

picstitch-2Once the paint has completely dried (overnight would probably be best but I was dying to try it so waited an hour), cut out the lotto cards and they’ll be ready for your guests!  You can pick anything you want big or small to be your door prize.  I will probably do one of the new Bitty books.  What a fun project!  I will definitely be doing these again!

I also created a party welcome banner to match and invitations too!  You’ll obviously have to add your own party information.  The invitations are formatted to a 5×7 size.

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Check out the new Bitty Baby line for yourself at

http://www.americangirl.com

and don’t forget to check out

http://www.houseparty.com

I love you because…

Positive reinforcement is such an important key when dealing with our children and spouses.  Sometimes just saying “I love you” isn’t enough.  Sometimes your significant other and those precious kiddos need to know WHY you love them.  Everyone needs an extra pat on the back and a sweet little reminder of the things that make them so special and so very loved!  I saw a post on Pinterest once with this idea and although it was just a photo that lead nowhere with no link, it looked simple enough so about a year ago, I designed 1 for each of my children and they got such a kick out of them I got to thinking we might need one in our bedroom too!

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Dave may not be very pleased that I used his most recent love doodle for my blog but I don’t get them often so I would like to forever embed it into internet history!  haha  Sorry honey! I made one for the baby’s room too but she’s not old enough to appreciate it yet so I change it less often than the others and it’s more for my sweet memory.  I leave a dry erase marker by each and although I don’t change them daily,  I try to change them at least once a week.  Every once in a while, I’ll find a sweet something written just for me too!  It’s no grand gesture, just a little something that says “Hey!  You’re pretty awesome and I love you for it!”

You can make your very own “I love you because…” sign too and remind the people you love what makes them extra special to you.  All you need is a picture frame, a dry erase marker, and a printer!  I’ve created a few downloadable printable signs for you but you can create your very own to match your child’s personality or decor.  These were created in a 5×7 size so all you need to do is select the image you like best and print! There’s a little something for everyone-even the boys with legos and camo hearts!  Just click on the link to view, print directly, or save and send to your favorite online print company.  They sometimes look a little blurry when you first open the file but they don’t print that way, it didn’t for me anyway.  Enjoy!  <3

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