Friday, January 8, 2016

Creating a Personal Planner

If you haven't bought one already, chances are you have been searching for the perfect family calendar or personal planner.  I've had this struggle for years.  Trying to find the one that has spots for everything you need or enough room to right it all in.  Finally, you buy it, and then start out strong but towards the end of the year you realize you have hardly touched it.

Last year I finally decided to make my own planner. There are tons of options online to print your own pages and place them in a three ring binder, or order one all set up.  The one that really caught my attention last year, was a mom that used grid paper to make her own.  At first I thought it was a lot of work and was skeptical.  I'm not going to sugar coat it, it does take time.  However, once you have found the "formula"  you want to use, setting it up is a breeze.

I started my planner in June of last year.  I could not find any grid or graph paper, so I came up with another idea.  I had this super cute notebook that was pretty thick, and I had been hoarding it for sometime.  You know the type: it's so cute, it's on sale, I'm sure I'll have a use for it, but I'm afraid to put just anything in it.

Here's my notebook.  See, it's cute!  I took little post it tabs and added them in on the whole month calendar page so I could skip right to where I needed to go.  It also has a ribbon that runs through it, so I can place it right to the week I am on.  Here's how I set up the inside of mine.

I used a clear ruler and marked off my calendar like so.  I allowed plenty of room for extra rows, so no more of that split date at the end of the month on a Sunday or Monday.  I HATE that part of calendars.

I have played around with the weekly format several times, trying to get exactly what I wanted.  The first picture below is the one I am currently using.  I set it with times so I could see quickly when I have appointments, class, ect.  I also added in when we eat dinner, the night routine and chores.  At the bottom I have listed what's for dinner, what my declutter mission of the day is, and a chore each day.  This helps me stay on track of things, so when the weekend comes I am not necessarily spending an entire day doing all the housework.

With the picture below, I used one page for the week, the other page for chores, menu planning, to do list, and a check list for things for me to do.  This took a lot longer to draw out and honestly, just didn't do the trick.

During December, I changed things up to a two page spread for the week.  Period.  I knew I wouldn't be spending as much time staring at the calendar as I would to do lists.

Here's another bonus:  you can add pages any way you like.  Just try to stick with drawing out one to two months at a time, until you have the hang of it.  The plus with a binder is that you can literally add pages anywhere you choose, regardless of what you have drawn up.

Here's a list of pages I add to mine:

Birthday Months: I add an extra page before I add the weeks to account for party planning.
Vacation:  When we took a week vacation last summer, I used the two pages for the week to write in a check list for what we needed to bring, per person in the house.  It was awesome.
Thanksgiving: I do not do the cooking on Thanksgiving, but if you do, this is where you can add a page for menu planning, shopping, ect.  I added a page that included Black Friday deals to shop for.
Christmas: I had like six extra pages.  One for gift planning, one for grocery shopping for food gifts, one for menu planning (Christmas is my day to cook-breakfast, lunch, dinner, as the parents all come in shifts throughout the day). I also included a "Bucket List" of things we wanted to do over the holidays.

I have eight months in my calendar so far, and I haven't even used half of this notebook.  I love it.  When it runs out, I may chose a grid system, or a more sophisticated printed one.  For now, this one is exactly what I need and it isn't too big.  Wants some more ideas?  Check out my Pinterest board here called Let's Get Organized.

I'm making progress with my decluttering this week.  I'm still following along with the Home Solutions calendar and sorting through my kitchen.  I'll be sharing tips and tricks I'm finding along the way very soon.

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Happy New Year!!

I really cannot believe I have not posted since June of last year.  I took the summer to just enjoy time with my husband and kiddos, and then school started back (myself included) and time just got away from me.  Right now, two of my three are back in school and I have another week off before my classes begin.  So, I wanted to take time to share with you a mission that I am on: ORGANIZATION and DECLUTTERING.

I started following a site last year, but I never gave it a chance.  This year I am determined to do it.  It's about getting rid of the clutter in your home and organizing it all over the course of a year.  I know you may be thinking, A YEAR??  Seriously.  Think about it though.  Unless you have several days (or weeks) in a row that you can truly go through and clean out every area of your home at one time, what happens?  If you're like me, you get started and then have to get back to reality.  Everything just shifts from one place to another or goes into your storage building until you can finally have that great big yard sale.

Yeah.  Okay.

Keeping this short and sweet today, I'm going to share with you the link I am following along with.
Home Storage Solutions 101. Sign up for her daily email and she will give you a 15 minute mission per day to start your organization.  It's really an awesome set up and I'm so excited to start.  I'll post updates along the way and also some helpful tips to getting all the unwanted clutter out of your home for good.

January focuses on your kitchen first.  Truthfully, your kitchen is the heart of your home.  I just cannot rest at night until my kitchen and my living room are clutter free.  I just took pictures of all my cabinets and counters, and I am so embarrassed to post them.  In fact, I think I will wait and show you the before and after photos together.

Feel free to share your organizing and decluttering tips with everyone along the way.  I would love to see your ideas as well!

Until next time,


Saturday, June 6, 2015

End of Year Teacher Gifts: Six Gifts for $14

As summer is approaching, the school year is ending.  You've spent out on spring pictures, yearbooks, possibly graduation supplies, and a list of other things.  Do you really need to buy anything else?  If you are like me, you become guilt ridden and cannot bear the thought of not providing some type of end of year teacher appreciation gift.  After all, these teachers have seen our children more during the past ten months than we have.  Shouldn't we show them how much we appreciate them and all their hard work and dedication? 

So how do you do this without breaking in to the vacation fund?  Especially if you have more than one child, and they have more than one teacher?   I've been trying to master this for the past five years and I have done fairly well.  This year I am really pleased with what I put together. 

We have five teachers to buy for, and a birthday party this weekend.  I have been pinning through Pinterest the past few days and came across a really cute idea titled "Thank you for a picture perfect year."  So, off to the Dollar Tree I went.  Here's what I bought:

3, Two Packs of Popcorn containers
2, Three Packs of Gift Bags
2, Three Packs of Popcorn
Total:  $7.00

Then, I went to the grocery store and purchased:

1, Six Pack of Mini Coca Cola Bottles
6, Packs of M&M's
Total:  $7.00

I wrote on the gift bags "Have a Picture Perfect Summer".  Five teachers and one friend's birthday complete!  I did pick up three more items from the Dollar Tree to go with the friend's birthday, making the total $17 for 6 gifts!!  That's a score in my book.  Here's the photos:

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years!  Are we ready to tackle the new year with some new projects?  I hope this is my year to get my groove and get some crafty things accomplished.  This past year, I did take a lot of photos of different projects, I just wasn't able to get blogs updated with them.  After the birth of my daughter and loss of my job, my world was flipped upside down to say the least.  I decided to go back to school and that took up a lot of my time. 

Thankfully the craft bug got me right before Christmas and I started some new projects.  I had a friend ask if I cold make boot cuffs and I had no clue.  Of course I said I would try to figure them out.  And I did.  I will post on that at a later date.  For now, I wanted to check in and tell you all Hi from the dirty south and wish you all a wonderful New Year!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

100 Days till Christmas, 72 Days till Thanksgiving, 45 Days till Halloween!

Let the countdowns begin!  I am so ready for a fun season this year.  Last year my pregnancy and complicated delivery slowed me down from doing quite as much, but now I'm ready to be back in the game!  Tomorrow I will be pulling out the Halloween d├ęcor and getting it set up.  It will be interesting this year, as my almost ten month old is in to EVERYTHING.  I may have to try that whole hanging a tree from the ceiling deal. ;-)

To get the season kicked off, here are a few of my favorite ideas, Pins, and links.

DIY Large Outside Halloween Spider

Turkey Cupcakes

Vintage Christmas

I also follow along with 100 Days to Christmas on Facebook, viewing and sharing with other readers some of our favorite ideas. (Website link here.)

Tomorrow I'll be posting about my month's worth of cooking in one day, including recipes.  A good start to the hectic and busy season ahead, is to get your dinner time routine simplified.  After some research, I decided to give it a try.  I can't wait to share the info with you!

After that, I will be sharing more holiday decorating, baking, gifting ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Yay for the holidays!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva

Sunday, August 10, 2014

81 Days to Halloween! Halloween Sweets and Treats Vol. 1

Seasonal treats can be so much fun to make and experiment with.  Finding sweats to make with the little ones can be more of a trick than a treat though.  Here are some of my favorite Pinterest finds that should be fairly easy to accomplish:

Candy coated pumpkins.  All you need is a package of Orange Wilton Candy Melts, some green icing and pretzels.  I always melt my candy in a microwave safe bowl on half power (or defrost) in the microwave and stir every 30 seconds to a minute.  Insert a pretzel stick in one end and dunk in the melted candy.  Lay on waxed paper or a cooling rack to harden.  I place mine in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes for faster drying.  Pipe on some little leaves and all set.

Candy center piece.  I have been in love with this since the first time I saw it.  Take a large vase and start layering with your favorite Halloween candy.  This would be great for other holidays as well.

Green ice cream cones decorated with some black icing gel to look like Frankenstein.  Add pretzels in the sides for his bolts, and use a little white icing to glue on candy like M&M's for eyes.  Fill up with tasty snacks and it becomes a great party treat, or classroom treat.

From Taste of Home.  Marshmallow witches.  Use a large marshmallow for the face and pipe on eyes and nose with chocolate icing.  Use chocolate cookies of your choice for the hat brim, and attach to the top of the marshmallow with icing.  A mini Reese cup and Hershey Kiss finish the hat.
What are your favorite Halloween sweets and treats to make?  I will post an additional blog with more in the coming weeks. 
All photos are from items I have pinned to my Pinterest page and are not mine.  If you are the owner of the photos above and wish these be removed, please email me and I will do so right away, or link if you would like.  I'm not claiming rights to these, simply showing some of my favorite ideas!
Until next time...
Amy~The Dixie Diva

Saturday, July 26, 2014

96 Days Until Halloween! Halloween and Harvest Mantles

Every year I decorate my mantle with a mix of fake and real pumpkins, spider web and other trinkets.  This year, I may have to do something a little different.  With a just crawling infant, I may have my hands full.  Right now, the front of the fireplace is where I keep her box of toys and things.  Not how I want it for the holidays.  So, in searching for new ways to express our Halloween spirit, I'll share with you some really cute and scary finds from Pinterest.

All of these can be found on my Pinterest page here, with links to their original sources.  I apologize if I am posting someone's photo that doesn't approve: please email me and I will remove asap.

Keep counting down to all the holidays with me and let me know what you'd like to see!

Until next time,

Amy~The Dixie Diva