Thursday, September 27, 2012

Make Your Own Printables

Over the last few years I have tried many different planners and calendars, from store-bought to ones I found online. After getting frustrated trying to adapt these to my life, I finally designed my own weekly and daily planner sheets. As promised, I have put together a tutorial to show you how easy it is to make your own.

Some people use PhotoShop or Excel to make their printables but I like to use Open Office's Draw program. It is a free download and is very easy to use. The package also includes a word processing program, a spreadsheet program and others - free alternatives to Microsoft Word, Excel, etc - and they are all great! | Download Here | Once you have downloaded the program and click to open it you will see the following screen.

Click on the button that says "Drawing" to open the Draw program.

1. This is the preview box. It will show your entire document at a glance.
2. This is your working space for your document.
3. This top section houses the command buttons (left to right/top to bottom) to: start a new document, open a document, save your document, export to email, edit, save as pdf, print, manual spell check, auto spell check, cut, copy, paste, format paintbrush, undo, restore, insert chart, insert hyperlink, navigator (if you have multiple slides), zoom, help, style/formatting, lines, arrows, line style, line width, line color, area paint, area paint style, area paint color and shadow.
4. This bottom section houses the command buttons (left to right) to: select, line, line with arrow, rectangle, ellipse, text, curve, connector, lines and arrows, basic shapes, symbol shapes, block arrows, flowcharts, callouts, stars, points, glue points, fontwork gallery, from file, gallery, effects, alignment, arrange and extrusion.

When you open the program it will begin with a new document. To start out making your planner page, you will choose a shape at the bottom for your text box. In the example, I chose the rectangle button. Click on the button and then go back up to your document to draw your shape the size that you would like it to be. If you would like to change the color of the line, the width of the line or if you would like to have the box a certain color you would change that at the top before you start to draw. In the example above, I have the line color set to gray and the area style set to invisible to make an empty box.

In this example, I used the ellipse and set the style as color and blue 9.

After you have your "boxes" the way you want them you can add your text. Your text does not have to be in a box (or circle, scroll, etc.), you can add it directly to the page without one. Any fonts that you have downloaded to your computer will be able to be used on your document. When you add text, the upper commands will change to allow you more options for editing your text. You will be able to change the font size, color, alignment and you can also add a shadow or insert bullets and checkboxes for lists. 

To give you an example of what all you can do with the program, here are pictures of the weekly and daily sheets that I designed.

As you can see, there are many different box style options. You can also add your own images into the document. Play around with all the different options to get it just the way you want. Of course, this can be used to do any type of printables you want to do (ie: use Draw to make flyers or make your own worksheets if you teach/homeschool). I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions that I haven't answered, feel free to send me an email - lslbrk1 (at) gmail (dot) com - and I will be more than happy to help! Have fun creating!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apptastic - MindJet

Image Source: Google Play
I came across MindJet a few days ago and I am really enjoying it. This app is best used on a tablet. There is a bit of a learning curve to get the hang of it and I am still just learning what all it can do. The main purpose of the app is to take notes and brainstorm ideas into mindmaps (like they used to make us do in school). You can start a map from scratch or use one of their templates. There are different styles, colors and features you can use to customize your maps. You can add attachments, links and additional notes to each 'arm' and you can even add little icons or images to them also. I love making my notes pretty! :o)
Image Source: Google Play
The app is integrated with Dropbox and you can export your MindJet files to Evernote so you can access everything on the go. MindJet also has a task feature to organize all of your to-do's and easily prioritize them. The app allows you to connect with other users in order to delegate tasks to them and share your ideas with them. Mindjet is FREE at Google Play and on iTunes. For more help in using the app, check out the company site at MindJet for tutorials.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekly Goals - 9/24 to 9/30

Image Source: Google (orig unknown)

My Weekly Goals: Sept. 24th to Sept. 30th

Last Week's Goals : (insert dramatic sigh here) The week before last I had a rough week and didn't get any of my goals done and this past week I also had a rough week and didn't get many done. I procrastinated on most things until the weekend which was a huge mistake as I woke up Saturday AM in severe pain and spent the morning in the ER discovering I have a new kidney stone. Not good. I got through my weekend responsibilities with the help of some pain meds but was not able to tackle anything else on the list.

* Plan & Have a date night with hubby- Hubby & I are so overdue for a date night. This Friday is pay day so I will be lining up a sitter for this Friday or Saturday night asap.
* Cut both boys' hair - Oh dear I really MUST do this this week... they're turning into little Chia pets lol
* Plan & Have a weekly family night- Not a "typical" family night per se but we did have a couple of great nights together as a family this week.
* Start a new book to read to all the kids before bed each night - We decided as a family to have the kids each pick some stories from the Bible that they want to read and discuss together.
* Cleaning - declutter living room - this is a major disaster area right now
* Redo this months budget- Finished just in time to start October's LOL

* Get in at least 4 hrs of overtime- I was only able to get in 2 hrs of OT but hubby clocked in 12 OT
* Schedule hair clients for next week - done
* Plan blog posts for the next two weeks
* Write & Schedule full week of blog posts in advance

* Have daily Prayer & Bible reading time - I did manage some prayer & Bible reading almost every day
* Exercise at least 30 minutes daily - Nope but I did manage to walk quite a bit during my breaks at work so at least it's better than nothing.
* Get to gym at least twice this week for 1 hr session
* Fill out and use Daily Docket each day.- Switched to my daily sheet and loved using it each day.

THIS WEEK'S GOALS: My goals for this week are going to be very basic
1. Get through AM & PM Routines - Use Daily Sheet
2. Set up & go to appt with urologist
3. Work full-time job (taking off from hair this week... well other than the boys cuts... must do theirs!)
4. Take all meds like I'm supposed to

I am linking this post to: Money Saving Mom

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Weekly Planner Sheet

This is the completed design for my weekly sheet. It will go before my daily sheets as a weekly overview. 

In the boxes for each day I can write down any special appointments or events for that day as well as what we will have for dinner. The main box is a space to record my weekly goals.

Coming Soon: I will be doing a tutorial to show you how easy it is for you to make your own sheets just the way you need them! If you're interested and don't want to miss this upcoming post, be sure to sign up for my email list to get my blog post updates delivered to your inbox!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Daily Planner Sheet

I have used many different planners, calendars and planner sheets over the years but I have yet to find one that fit my needs completely. After struggling to organize using three different planning methods I finally decided to make my own daily sheet.

On the right hand side, the long blue box, I have a typical calendar style space that starts at 5 am and goes to 8 pm with lines for each quarter hour. My productivity is tracked at work and I need to keep a detailed record of the work I do each day so I can answer for any lapses in my productivity. I am also using the space to record appointment times. I use different colored pens to enter in each child's activities and/or appointments.  

At the top, on the right, is a box to write in the date and in the middle is a box for my MITs. If you have seen my previous weekly goals, then you may have noticed that I have been using Tsh's Daily Docket form. This is where I first learned of MITs... Most Important Things. You pick three things each day that you must get done. If nothing else gets done other than these three things than you can still say that you had a productive day. I regularly fall into the trap of putting way too many to-dos on my list only to end the day with a feeling of failure for not getting it all accomplished. Since I've been stating my MITs I have felt much better about what I get done... this is another reason I love having my whole day on one sheet. It makes me realize all that I really have done! 

The next box on the right is for my morning routine. These are all of the regular things I need to do to get our day off to a good start. And yes, some of them are really basic... I am one of those people that will put something easy (or something I just finished for that matter lol) on my list just for the joy in getting to check it off. At the bottom right is a box for my evening routine. This has the same purpose but lists the things I need to do to make our evening (and next morning) go smoothly.

The box at the top middle holds little glasses of water that i can check off as I drink. I am not a good water drinker and am trying to make it a habit to drink enough each day. This space also holds a spot for me to track my exercise minutes and which body part(s) I worked on that day so that I can alternate them. I have a note to mark off my stretching routine in the AM and PM and if I took my vitamins and other meds. 

The next section is a place for me to list out my calls and emails to make, any errands I need to do and other random to-dos I want to get done. If I don't get these done than I just forward them to the next day's list. After that is a box for me to use as a food tracker. Just listing what I have eaten is good enough for me right now. 

The last section (the scroll) is for me to use for all my blog and marketing to-dos. I have a place to list what post I am doing that day, boxes to check off for to-dos and extra lines for notes and planning. I will use this for marketing my blog as well as my stylist job.

Overall I am very pleased with how this turned out! Up next is a weekly sheet. Once I get that designed I plan to print off quite a few copies and take it to Office Depot to have bound into a spiral notebook as described here at Infarrantly Creative. Once that is done, my design will take the place of my work planner, my "life" planner, my exercise notebook, my food log and blog planner... all in one handy dandy sheet :o)

I hope that this sheet may help someone else but I also know how difficult it is to adapt someone else's for yourself. For that reason, I will be doing a tutorial soon to show you how easy it is for you to make your own just the way you need it! If you're interested and don't want to miss this upcoming post, be sure to sign up for my email list to get my blog post updates delivered to your inbox!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apptastic - Cardstar

Image Source: Google Play

If you are serious about saving money when you shop then you more than likely have many customer loyalty cards from various stores and little space to spare in your wallet and/or keychain. Before my smartphone, I had a separate small wallet just for these types of cards however, it was inevitable that when I needed one I didn't have it with me. Enter my wonderful smartphone to save me from this problem with the app named Cardstar. This app uses your phone's camera to scan the barcode on your loyalty/reward and membership cards and stores them for you. It is simple to scan them and it is equally easy to pull them up when you need them. The app will also backup your cards using your email address so that if you have to get a new phone, you won't have to scan all of your cards again. If you have a problem at the register getting it to scan from your phone the cashier may have to use their handheld scanner or if all else fails they can enter your card number manually. I rarely have problems scanning though, I even have success using this app with my Kroger card at the pump! The store/place of business doesn't have to be in their list for you to add your card, either. You can just add it manually. This is what I have done with our library cards and health insurance cards. If the card you have doesn't already have a barcode to scan but has a number only you can still use it too! You just type in the number and Cardstar will make a scanable barcode for it. Another neat feature that I enjoy is that if your card is one from their list of merchants (and there are tons!) then the app will give you coupons and deals. For example, I have my Barnes & Noble member card saved and when I go to it it shows me two deals that are currently going on. Overall this is a handy little app that saves me a lot of valuable space in my wallet and purse! Cardstar is available for FREE on Google Play and at iTunes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekly Goals 9/16 to 9/22

Image Source: Google (orig unknown)

My Weekly Goals: Sept. 16th to Sept. 22nd

Last Week's Goals : This past week was a rough one all around. It was just one of those weeks where everything seems to be coming at you from all sides and not in a good way. I didn't really accomplish anything from my list and it's very discouraging. However, this is a new week and I am determined that it will be better than the last. I am trying not to stress and only take control of what is in my power to control and add to that a lot of prayers! So with all that said, my list is the same as last week...

* Plan & Have a date night with hubby
* Cut both boys' hair
* Plan & Have a weekly family night
* Start a new book to read to all the kids before bed each night
* Cleaning - declutter living room - this is a major disaster area right now
* Redo this months budget

* Get in at least 4 hrs of overtime
* Schedule hair clients for next week
* Plan blog posts for the next two weeks
* Write & Schedule full week of blog posts in advance

* Have daily Prayer & Bible reading time
* Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
* Get to gym at least twice this week for 1 hr session (I used to go 1 hr/day 5x week but stopped when baseball season started. Baseball season has been over for almost two months now and I haven't gotten back into the gym habit yet).
* Fill out and use Daily Docket each day.

I am linking this post to: Money Saving Mom


Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Life List

A few days ago I came across this website: The site is proclaimed as a social network for goal achievers. Members develop a "life list" (aka bucket list) which is basically a list of items they would like to do, places to go, etc. Members can then encourage each other to take action on their goals and celebrate with each other when they are accomplished. I decided I want to have my own life list. Instead of thinking about all of these things I would like to do "one day", I want to write them down and work towards them and what better place to keep track of them but on my blog? :o) So, without further ado, I present my Life List...

Lose 100 lbs (47 down as of 9/10/12) - and keep it off * See the Pyramids in Egypt * Become Debt Free - and stay that way * Buy A Home * Write A Book * Complete A Marathon * Walk On The Great Wall of China * See The Eiffel Tower (again... I went to Europe on a HS trip... I would love to share this experience with my husband) * See The Vatican in Rome (again - see previous) * Learn To Play The Violin * Go On A Cruise * Vacation On A Tropical Island * Visit Every State (see map below - I am only counting states I have done "something" in and not just drove through. I'm also not counting Utah, the state where I was born, because I don't remember it) * Learn To Speak Spanish * Go Skydiving * Go White Water Rafting * See The Grand Canyon * See Niagara Falls * Ride In A Hot Air Balloon * Take Dancing Lessons * Visit Ireland * Go to the Kentucky Derby... and wear a big hat * Ride On A Zipline * Take A Week To Do Many Random Acts of Kindness * Participate in NaNoWriMo * Read All 50 Books on This List * Pay for Someone's Meal At A Restaurant * Ride & Sleep Overnight on a Train * Ride in A Taxi * Ride on a Double Decker Bus * Get My Handgun Carry Permit * Renew Our Wedding Vows * Have a Flower Garden *

My "Visit Every State" Map

Resources for you to start your own Life List:
1000 Places To See Before You Die
Smithsonian's 43 Places To See
Superviva Life Lists

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Apptastic - Waze

Image Source: iTunes

Between driving the kids to school, driving to work and back, and driving the kids to all their activities, I clock about 60 miles on the car each day! I am not a fan of my 30 - 45 minute commute to work but since I have found the Waze app it has made it a little better. The app relies on users speeds to determine traffic delays and each user has the option of putting in a report for accidents, hazards, construction, police and more. You earn points for driving, putting in reports and meeting different challenges (ex. Drive with Waze three days in a week or Have 5 Facebook Friends on Waze) to move up the ranks of Waze users in your area. Waze also has a feature that tells you the local prices of gas and will also do navigation for you when you put in the address you're headed to. I especially love that it has "learned" my driving habits so weekday  mornings when I turn on the app it will ask me if I'm driving to work and will start up the navigation giving me the quickest route around any traffic problems! I used to get stuck in standstill traffic at least once each week but not since using Waze! If this app would be helpful to you, you can download it for FREE on iTunes or Google Play.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekly Goals

My Weekly Goals: Sept. 9th to Sept. 15th

* Plan & Have a date night with hubby 
* Cut both boys' hair
* Plan & Have a weekly family night
* Start a new book to read to all the kids before bed each night
* Cleaning - declutter living room - this is a major disaster area right now
* Redo this months budget

* Get in at least 4 hrs of overtime
* Schedule hair clients for next week
* Plan blog posts for the next two weeks
* Write & Schedule full week of blog posts in advance

* Have daily Prayer & Bible reading time
* Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
* Get to gym at least twice this week for 1 hr session (I used to go 1 hr/day 5x week but stopped when baseball season started. Baseball season has been over for almost two months now and I haven't gotten back into the gym habit yet).
* Fill out and use Daily Docket each day.

I am linking this post to: Money Saving Mom


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Join Me! GMG Colossians Bible Study

I signed up for the Good Morning Girls Fall Session. I am so excited to be participating in this! If you would like to sign up, go here for more information. Leave me a comment that you joined and we can correspond during the study to keep each other accountable :o)

Remembering 9/11

Most of us will never be able to forget where we were on the day of September 11th, 2001. I remember that I had dropped off my oldest son (my only at the time) at my grandparents to head in for my day at beauty school when I saw the news coverage of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. As we watched, we saw live coverage of the second plane hitting the towers. I went on in to school with a heavy heart, this kind of thing wasn't supposed to happen here... not in the US. I knew that one of my husband's uncles worked at the WTC and I prayed that he would be safe. At school, none of us could concentrate. We all crowded around the radio listening to all of the latest coverage. I remember hearing about the plane hitting the Pentagon and all the reports of other possible targets and I left to be home with my family. I remember watching as the towers fell and hearing the reports of the brave passengers on Flight 93. The next day we heard that my husband's uncle didn't go into work that morning because he wasn't feeling well. We watched the coverage for weeks, always praying they would find more survivors, praying for all the rescue workers and the families of the ones who did not survive. I remember being warned to avoid highly populated areas. I remember, when planes began to fly again, the feeling of fear that came with hearing an airplane fly overhead. I remember how as a country we came together to support each other, how the National Anthem and our American flag meant something to us all again.

On the 11th anniversary of that day, I now have three children. Each year we sit together and we watch the memorial coverage on TV. I want them to know about this day. We, as a nation, said that we will never forget and that means that we must teach our children about it. We should teach them about it to show them that hate breeds evil; to show them that true hero's aren't in movies or on a football field but in uniforms and on a firetruck.

Below are some websites to help you teach your children about what happened on September 11th, 2001:

The 9/11 Memorial website will have a live showing of the 2012 Commemoration Ceremony starting at 8:30 am EST on September 11, 2012.

The History Channel has many great articles on the day and the aftermath.

New York Magazine has an Encyclopedia of 9/11.

Television Archive has links to news broadcasts from 9/11 and the days after.

CNN has many articles and links in their War on Terror Special.

There are some wonderful 9/11 tribute videos on YouTube if you do a search there.

You can also go to TV Guide online, click on listings and then put 9/11 in the search box to find this year's television specials.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Favorite Sites: Couponing

Image Source: Couponing 101

In the past, I was a huge couponer. I saved so much money matching store sales with coupons each week. At the time, I was not working full-time, had one less child and was able to spend more time on it. When I changed jobs and had another baby all my "free" time suddenly evaporated and I was beyond overwhelmed so I stopped couponing. That was a mistake! I realize now that you can still save money using coupons without it taking tons of time. The following sites help me with this. I am able to check their feeds and use the lists of deals they have posted without spending the time to do it myself. Then I just match up my coupons, go to the store(s) and SAVE!

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.

1. The Krazy Coupon Lady

2. Common Sense with Money

3. Southern Savers

4. Stretching A Buck

5. My Frugal Adventures

Do you have other favorites I haven't listed? Let me know in the comments!

Apptastic - Evernote

Photo Credit: Evernote

One of my most used apps has to be Evernote. Their motto is "Remember Everything". As a busy mom of 3 I definitely need help remembering. I love that this app syncs to all of my devices- I have it installed on my smartphone, my tablet and my PC. Evernote allows you to store text notes, audio notes, pictures and webpage clips in notebooks. You can have many different notebooks and arrange them how you'd like. Once stored, I can search by keyword or by tag in case I can't remember which notebook I put something in. Right now, I have a notebook for my blog ideas, to-do's, important reference information (hubby & kids clothes/shoes sizes, teacher email addresses, AC filter size, etc.), books I want to read and movies I want to see (we rarely see movies in the theater so I'll put them here when I see a preview I like so I'll remember which ones I wanted to see when I'm at Redbox later). I am also working on a Recipe notebook. I plan to input all of my most used recipes so that I can refer to them if we're out of town and I want to make it or if I'm at the store without a list, etc. If I have a project I'm working on I will start a new notebook just for it. A birthday party, for example, would be it's own notebook and I would have multiple notes within it for decoration ideas, food ideas, invite list, present list (anything the kids tell me they would like goes on their own wish list so I can remember when it comes time to buy them something or when other family members ask me what they would like), etc. There are many tutorials for how to use this app on the web if you do a youtube or google search for Evernote. I am still learning many new ways to make this app work for me.

Get Evernote FREE for all of your devices here 
If you already use Evernote, let me know your favorite uses for it in the comments!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bloggers Wanted: Winter Wonder Week

I will be participating in Winter Wonder Week 2012. This is a special week to celebrate the Winter Holidays by finding great new blogs to follow and getting the chance to win some fabulous prizes! Interested in participating? Go here for all of the details.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Apptastic - Fast Customer

Do you dread having to wait on hold forever to speak with a customer service rep? For me, Comcast is the worst. One night I spent an hour waiting on hold for them!! We don't use a landline anymore and luckily we have unlimited minutes on our cells, but even so, spending an hour waiting on hold is not a good use of my time. Well, I don't have to worry about that problem anymore since I have downloaded the Fast Customer App!
I just pick the company I need to call from their list - they have a huge list of companies - then push the have someone call me button.The app will then call my phone when a rep is ready to answer. Ahh! I love it!! This app is FREE for your android phone at Google Play and for your iphone at iTunes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Favorite Sites: Free and Cheap Kindle Books

I have always loved to read and I am a very fast reader. I remember as a kid, my parents would get so frustrated when they would buy me a new book and I would have it finished by the next day. Prior to ebooks, in order to feed my book addiction without breaking the bank, I was a frequent shopper of used bookstores and the library. When we purchased our smartphones one of my first downloads was the Kindle app. I love the convenience of having my books with me wherever I go without having to carry the physical book. Since I read so much, I am always on the lookout for free and cheap ebooks. I have over 400 books on my Kindle and over 80% of those were either free or under $5.00.

I use Overdrive to borrow free books from my library frequently. It was easy to sign up with my library card number and once I find a book that I want to borrow, it is downloaded to my Kindle app. has great prices on ebooks and they frequently run deals so that you can find many that are very cheap or even free! My time is limited as a busy working mom of 3. I don't have time to browse through the thousands of books on the Amazon site each day to find ones that I may like so I let others do that for me. Here are my favorite sites that will notify you of new deals on Kindle books at Amazon:

Hundred Zeros -
The Prudent Pantry -
Pixel of Ink -

Do you have a favorite place to find cheap or free ebooks? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Grilled Frozen Pizzas

Last night my husband fired up the charcoal grill and decided to try an experiment. He wanted to grill a pizza - which we have heard others rave about - but I didn't have the ingredients to make a fresh one. He told me to just grab one of the frozen ones we had in the freezer. I gave him a look and told him that you couldn't grill a frozen pizza to which he gave me a look back that said "watch me". LOL So I grabbed a Totino's pizza for him to toss on the grill.
He definitely proved me wrong. It was so much better on the grill than cooked in the oven! He placed it straight on the rack but if you don't appreciate a really crunchy crust like us, you would probably want to use a cookie sheet. I can't wait to try a real homemade one too. I am also excited that I have another meal that I can pass the responsibility of over to the hubbs :o)