I was just introduced to a great web site/blog called Simple Mom. The site is dedicated to simplifying the complex job of a mother and is filled with many helpful hints and ideas. One of the most helpful things I found is a daily docket download. This is a "to do list" made especially for moms. At the top, you will find a section that contains "Today's MITs" (or "Most Important Tasks'). These are the three things that you really want to accomplish that day--whether it be writing that note you've been putting off, RSVPing for a party, or doing the dark wash. It was a section where you write down what's for dinner, a water log (to make sure you're drinking enough), an area to write down the general plan for the day and at the bottom a miscellaneous notes section. There are other downloadable forms on the Simple Mom website like grocery lists, chore lists for kids, etc. Go to the Simple Mom website, click on "resources" then "downloads." Check it out. I plan to use the daily docket today and will let you know how it goes. www.simplemom.net
Recently I discovered a really talented artist and blogger, Anne Harwell. She does illustrations of exteriors, interiors, and her greatest talent in my opinion is illustrating interesting chairs. One of her chair illustrations made its way to the movie "It's Complicated." I also love the giclee quotable prints that I think could add warmth of color and playfulness to any room. Looking at her work, you see that she has a way of bringing life and personality to mundane things through her use of color. Check out her blog and Etsy site. annechovie.blogspot.com
I love to see ideas for organizing bookshelves and these really impressed me. The shelves are from IKEA and I love the matching storage boxes, magazine organizers, open bins and toys at the child's level, and the general overall feel. When organizing shelves, first remove everything before putting it back. You may want to do something fun like cover the back of the shelves in a fun wallpaper or paint them an accent color. Be very critical about any books, magazines, or collections you feel like you need to keep. If you really don't feel that you'll ever read the book again or it's not a classic, consider donating it. I also go hard-core on getting rid of any self-help or parenting books that are no longer relevant. Ditch the travel books that are out of date--chances are if you go on a trip you can borrow a book from someone else or a library or find all the information you need on-line or through your phone. As far as kids' books, make sure they are age-relevant to your kids. Donate the others unless you feel like you need to hold onto the classics for your grand kids, and in this case keep just a few and store them away in a bin (in a previous post I recommended keeping ONE bin of this kind of thing for future generations of kids or for a special friend's kids, etc.).
I am in love with Serena and Lily bedding for kids' and adults' rooms. It is definitely pricey, but when you find something you adore sometimes it can be worth it. A local store here in Mt. Pleasant has almost all of their beds adorned with a few Serena and Lily pieces. Watch out for their sales and sometimes you can find some of their products on EBAY.
One of my favorite blogs of the moment is Young House Love younghouselove.com--the story of a young couple falling in love with their house as they transform it into the house of their dreams. The DIYers have become very popular and have even been featured on HGTV and in various publications. Visit their blog to gather home improvement tips and to follow how they transformed their home step by step. They have great ideas on paint colors and great places to shop. You can send them pictures of your own home and they will come up with ideas about what you can do to create a space you love. One recent post I saw on their site was about "vacation jars," a really neat and funky way to display vacation memories using simple (and cheap) mason jars. The next time you go on a trip, bring back some sand, shells--if not the beach a ticket stub, a matchbook, a plane ticket. Put the objects in a mason jar and create a nice label for it and display them somewhere on a shelf. Don't forget to write yourself a postcard from the trip to include in the jar!
I am now a stay at home mom but in my former life I was a French teacher--I have my B.A., M.A., and A.B.D. (next step to Ph.D. in French literature). I love teaching and miss it but in the meantime I am enjoying operating a part-time home organizing and design business. Contact me for more info if you are interested!