Although the school year is almost over, I've decided to start a daily routine of a preschool activities with my 3 year old. Why am I starting now? Well because she is eager and ready to learn and really shows interest. I have been reading homeschool blogs, scouring the Internet and collecting hundreds of resources (free and purchased) over the last few years so I could one day homeschool my daughter. Although I plan on sending her to pre-3 this fall, I am eager to get her started. I plan on having daily activities of music, art, phonics, fine and gross motor activities, counting, circle time, and sensory activities.

I want this experience fo be fun for her and I want her to enjoy learning so I will not force her to do activities that she is not interested in. My plan is to do maybe a hours worth of structured activity a day, 3-4 times a week. I am excited about this upcoming experience and plan to document our journey.

 

Update: 01/02/13

OK I am not going to lie... I'm a little behind on the selling part. This week I have gathered and sorted all unwanted baby items but I have yet to post items to Craig's List. I still need take pictures of lots/items and get them listed.

Although I am a little behind selling my items, I have been super busy getting other projects done. I will post these projects in the upcoming days. One in particular I am super excited to share! Keep up the great work!

Jamie

I must admit when I was pregnant with my first and only child, I went a little overboard buying baby clothes, baby toys, baby gadgets and furniture. Fast forward two years and I have bins and bins and bins and more bins of clothing, toys, shoes, bottles, etc. I think I might actually have enough baby stuff that one could possibly start a gently used baby boutique. No joke! However, I have no desire to start such a business. What to do... Hmmm, well the first obvious choice was to give some of the baby items to friends who were expecting or who'd recently had a baby. The only problem with that was all my friends had or are expecting baby boys. So decisions decisions! I thought about having a yard sale... but after I thought it through I decided against it. The thought of random strangers picking their way through my baby's clothes paying pennies on the dollar after spending hours and hours preparing. No thanks!. I would rather give everything to charity then go through the hassles yard sale. Then a friend suggested that I sell my stuff in lots on Craigslist. Hmmm... not a bad idea. This would take a little work to sort, photograph, and post but if I gave to charity, I would have to itemize for tax deduction anyways. So I finally decided what to do.... I will post items/ lots on Craigslist. If the item/lot does not sell within a reasonable amount of time, I will donate it to charity.



Just a note- I do have other items that I will part with but the majority is baby items.



My plan for the week.

1. Gather all items that are in my attic and closets that are going to be sold/donated.

2. Go through the numerous bins of items and sort. (Some items like baby clothes and toys will be sorted out by age and sold as a lot. Big ticket items like car seats, high hair, etc will be sold as individual items.

3. Itemize each lot using a tax donation worksheet.

4. Take pictures of each item / lot for sale.

5. Post items /lots to Craig's list. (This happens to be a good week because my husband is on vacation and he'll be home if people want to view the items).

6. If the items are not sold by one week, they wil be donated to charity.



I have lots to do but with my husband's help, but I know we can get it knocked out. I will post an update!! Thanks for reading and don't be afraid to leave a comment. Lol



Jamie M.

 

My home office is where I sew, scrapbook, edit photos, pay bills, and do all things crafty. I also use this space to complete work for my job outside of the home.   It houses all craft supplies, home files, work books, novels, and fabric. I also use this space to store my daughters art/ craft supplies and homeschooling materials. My husband's home computer and desk are in this space as well. So if you can imagine, this room can get crazy real quick if it's not kept in check. My office is pretty much already organized but there are a few things that need my attention: organizing my digital files, organizing my filing cabinet, and purging any excess items that take up space.

Digital File Organization 101!

Welcome to Digital File Organization 101. Let me first say that I am by no means a "computer expert" but the methods that I explain here work for me.  I will discuss how I store, organize, and access all my digital files.
I once heard someone say "They're two types of hard drives: ones that have failed, and ones that haven't failed yet." Well that kinda stuck with me and ever since then I've always had my digital files stored on two separate devices; my portable hard drive and a third party provider (online host that charges me a minimal fee to store my digital files). I personally chose the online route for several reasons. The first is that my computer does not have enough hard drive space for me to store all of my digital files. The second is that I want to be able to access to my files from anywhere as long as I have internet access. If you only have your digital files stored on one device, then I recommend you get them backed up to another device (2nd computer, external or portable hard drive, online hosting service) as soon as possible. From what I understand once your hard-drive fails, it is very costly to recover those files if it's even possible at all. To me, it would be absolutely devastating if my photo and video files were lost. So again, please back up your digital files to a second device!!!! Also please note that most online hosting services like Google Drive or Media Fire are free until you reach a certain amount of gigabytes. Please check with the different providers for their services and fees.

I have a lot of digital files in the form of music, work and documents, movies, photos, digital elements, videos, and the list goes on. Because I have a lot of files, it is absolutely necessary that there is rhyme and reason to how my files are organized. So again, there are different ways of organizing files and I am explaining what works for me.

Photos - I have over 30,000 digital photos that go back 17 years. I simply sort them by year and then into daily folders that house the actual photograph files. This really works for me. The actual photograph I name by year(2013)month(12)day(25) _ picture number (01) and then I name it based on what it is to give me a reminder what I photographed that day. I categorize my home videos using the same technique.

Photos (Main Folder)

Year (Tier 2 Folders)

2013

Daily Folder (Tier 3 Folder)

20131225

Photo (Actual File) 

20131225_01 Christmas

Other categories I have my digital files sorted by:

Audio Files
Crafts
Digital Elements
Documents
E-Books and Guides
Education
Emergency Planning
Misc
Photos
Printables
Videos
Work Files

I have these Folders in the Root Menu (main menu) because they have enough material to warrant their own category. You can name and categorize your files to suit you.

Over the last few days I have completely organized all of my digital files from my computer, hard drive, and flash drives and consolidated the files to my external portable hard drive. I use my Google account and Google Drive to back up all my files. When my external hard drive is connected to my computer and internet, it syncs with Google drive updating any changes I made. Currently, I have no files on my computer other than system and software files. I can access any and all files in my Google Drive by any device with internet access. This is important for me because I have an Iphone and not only can I access my files but I can make changes as well. Any changes that are made from my Iphone or any new files I upload to my Google drive using my Iphone automatically sync with my external hard drive. I cannot tell you how much I love this service. Prior to using Google Drive I use Media Fire for all my Photo backup but in my opinion Google drive is much easier to use. Another plus using Google drive is that I can easily share files with anyone.

I pay a minimal monthly fee because I exceed the minimum storage space that Google drive provides for free. I am not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.


 
Having a two year old I am constantly cleaning and picking up all the time but despite my effort, I feel like my house is in constant disarray. Sometimes I spend 20 minutes looking for something because it doesn't get returned to it's designated spot or it doesn't have one to begin with. When this happens, it drives me absolutely crazy and it completely derails me from my routine. Lately this seems to be happening more and more often.

I know cleaning is part of everyday life in order to maintain a clean and organized home but I believe that I can get better use of my time if I have less stuff to contend with. With that said I have decided to do something about it. Starting this upcoming week I am starting a 14 week challenge!

Over the next 14 weeks I plan on getting my house de-cluttered and really organized. Each week I am going to pick a different area in my home to clean and organize. I am going to set weekly goals of what I want to accomplish in each space. My goal to is purge items that I am no longer using like baby stuff, craft supplies, seasonal items, and collectibles. I want every item that stays in my house to have a "place". I also want to deep clean each and every room/ space in my house. Some of the more heavily used areas like the kitchen will take more time to clean/ organize so I will take a couple of weeks to work on specific areas. If time/money permits I want to freshen up some rooms with a coat of paint and maybe some decorative items. When the 14 weeks is up I will have a clean and organized house.



The following is tentative schedule of how I'm going to divide the spaces in my house over the next 14 weeks! I may rotate or swap areas for a particular week depending on my work schedule because some areas of my house will not require nearly as much time as others.

Week 1_Dec 29th-Jan 4th: Purge
Week 2_Jan 5th-11th: Office
Week 3_Jan 12-18th: Master Bedroom
Week 4_Jan 19th-25th: Kitchen part 1
Week 5_Jan 26th-Feb 1st: Kitchen part 2
Week 6_Feb 2nd-8th: Kitchen Part 3
Week 7_Feb 9th-15th: Lily's Bedroom
Week 8_Feb 16th-22nd: Playroom/DR
Week 9_Feb 23rd-Mar: Living Room
Week 10_Mar 2nd-8th: Bathroom
Week 11_Mar 9th-15th: Linen Closet
Week 12_Mar 16th-22nd: Entry Closet
Week 13_Mar 23rd-29th: Hallway
Week 14_Mar 30th-Apr 6th: Bathroom 2

Each week I will talk about my weekly challenge and what I plan to accomplish and of course the end result.







 

I made homemade Play Dough this morning. It was super easy. Here is the ingredients:

2 cups Flour

2 cups water

2 Tbls Oil (cooking oil or baby oil)

1/4 cup cream of tarter

1/2 cup salt

Gel food color

Mix first 5 ingredients together on medium heat until it has that play dough consistency. Then divide dough into however many colors you want and add different color to each divided section. Mix color until well blended.

This is a great play dough recipe. The play dough has a real nice consistency. I store the play dough in a craft box along with various tools.

 

I love to bead every now and again so over the years I have accumulated a mini stock of beads, buttons, charms and other jewelry making supplies. I like to be organized and have everything categorized so I can easily find what I'm looking for. For years I had my beads in those little plastic divided containers which I didn't care for so I made my own bead storage boards. The bead boards I made from chip board, 2x3 plastic bags, and brads. The bead boards fit in plastic sleeves that fit in a 3-ring binder. These worked better than prior storage attempts but they were time consuming to make. Recently I was trying to organize some buttons that I'd purchased and because I did not have time to make more bead boards so I ended up placing them in 2x3 bags. While filling my bags I was again trying to come up with a storage solution that was quick. What would my little bags fit in? Then it hit me... what about business card plastic sleeves that fit in a three ring binder! I actually had some on hand and what a perfect fit!!!! Finally a perfect solution for me.

 

I just finished the map for the Treasure Chest and Map Qiuet Book page! It's coming along. I used the pattern from www.imagineourlife.com.

 

One of my favorite blogs is "Imagine Our Life" by Stephanie Segall. She is a very dedicated mommy and a very talented artist. Not only does she make these fabulous educational crafts for her three year old but she shares her work by making and sharing her patterns for FREE!! Yes for free! I am in awe of her dedication and creativity. She has multiple patterns for these amazing felt book pages. Not only does she supply you with the free pattern but she also gives you instructions and where to find the materials. You really have to visit her website and see for yourself www.imagineourlife.com

The latest project that Stephanie is working on is a Montessori Wall Map (made from felt) that will feature the different animals and landmarks specific to each Continent including matching 3-part cards. She includes the printouts and patterns for free. She has already completed the world map along with North America, Africa, and Oceans of the World.

The picture below is marine animals that I've made from the free pattern that she provided on her website. This is a huge project but I am excited to make this for Lily. It will be a great learning tool for her throughout her preschool and school years.

Picture
My work in progress!
Picture
http://www.imagineourlife.com/2013/08/06/animals-of-the-ocean-for-the-montessori-wall-map-quietbook-with-printables/

This is the wall map that Stephanie has created so far. It's just fabulous! Please visit her website!

 

I have made a life decision today and I could not be more excited! I have decided to make a career change. I want to be a Professional Photographer. Woohoo!!! I really enjoy Photography and I am tired of my current job and decided to make a change! I will not be quitting my day job tomorrow because I still need to make money.

My plan over next 18 months:

1. Take photography classes at the community college in the fall. I need to learn more of the technical side of photography.

2. Build a portfolio. I think this means that I wil be doing some free shoots for friends/family.

3. Do lots of research about the business end of things so I can come up with a business plan.

4. Figure out what kind of photography I want to specialize in. (Children, weddings, studio, etc)

5. Become proficient in Photoshop. (Huge learning curve but I am up for the challenge). Practice, practice, practice.

6. Develop a website, blog, and logo so I can get my name out there.

There is do much to do and I am truly excited. I have always had a passion for photography but until now I've never really considered it as a career option.

Update 07/22/13. So I decided that I am definately going to take at least one photography class at the community college in the fall. I want to take 2 classes but that will depend on my schedule as I work part-time and I'm a full-time mom.

07/31/13

I am registered for two photography classes for the fall semester. I am taking Digital Darkroom (basically learning Photoshop) and an advanced photography class. I am so excited to take these classes but not excited about the cost. I was shocked at how much 6 credits cost at the community college. If fact tuition is literally four times the amount I paid 13 years ago. Unbelievable!!!! I can't imagine what the cost will be in 16 and a half years when my daughter will be college bound.