A Sticker Chart for a New Year

My focus for the year is to get more organized. This “organized” is all encompassing, including organizing the things in my home, my scheduling with a better routine, and my mindset as a mom. The “mindset as a mom” is a big one for me as I have often felt recently like I am always catching up instead of being ahead of the kids’ new transitions and phases. As a result, I am wanting to do more intentional parenting this year so that I can feel more on top of what my kids are going through and have a more smooth ride through each phase.

Lately, Sophie has been as curious as ever and testing more and more with each new day. It is sometimes hard to remember that just as I am learning everyday more of how to be a mom, she is learning how to go about life and how to grow and develop through different stages of life. And with that comes a lot of frustration and days filled with “No”. I was tired of having the same day over and over again and not doing anything to make a change.

Sophie has been very into stickers recently! She loves to make cards with stickers to send to her cousins and she loves to put stickers on her shirt. I decided to take this new interest and match it with something to encourage good behavior- A Sticker Chart! It is so simple to make and, so far, quite effective!

Here’s what I did…

  1. Choose your categories – Find a few tasks that your child can work on where you know they will be able to have some success. This is important for them to understand the concept of the sticker chart and to feel encouraged to continue
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Margins for the New Year-Simplifying my Life

Busyness verging on chaos with a schedule so packed I sometimes felt like I had NO TIME for sleeping or breathing. My 2017 was marked by an unexpected remodel of a major portion of our house. This disruption of my regular life was disconcerting and ridiculously frustrating on many levels but in the process, I learned so much about myself. In the end, I LOVE the changes and the openness of the living room, dining room and kitchen area. I love the lightness I feel with so much of the clutter gone and less stuff everywhere. But the process was VERY DIFFICULT for me. I had to face some of the ugly realities of my “too busy” schedule. What could have been fun and enjoyable often felt like a burden and there seemed to be so much wasted time. The experience was stressful for me, since I am the queen of “efficiency”—-someone who really does NOT like wasting time. I spent much of 2017 trying to stay organized in a very disorganized environment.

So in 2018 my theme is simplifying my life-MARGINS for the new year-created by scheduling pockets of unscheduled time in my life on a regular basis. My expectation is to allow more time for God to surprise me with His agenda.  Welcoming and having quality time for the unexpected phone call, the spontaneous invitation to go for a walk with a friend, more time to read, send encouraging notes and pray for people I know and love. More time to serve, more time to enjoy each precious moment with my grandchildren. More time to invest in the lives of others. Time to minister to the poor and raise awareness, getting others involved in Gogo Grandmothers where friends and I can be putting our love in action to …

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A Grand Adventure (Part 1)

Three weeks of my life disappeared in a blink of an eye. Time is such a unique phenomenon. When you have a “to do” list a mile long it seems to hang over your head and creates stress and tension on a day to day basis. But when you have a deadline that includes leaving the country… power through that list in a day or two and get everything checked off-DONE!
That sensation of being free from the day to day commitments and obligations is a vacation in and of itself. Adding to that, a long awaited, much anticipated vacation to one of the spots on your bucket list is like a dream come true. Our 40th anniversary trip to Italy last month was all that rolled into one of the best vacations we have ever taken. It was far from “relaxing” but it was a GRAND ADVENTURE!
The planning and preparation was a bit more tricky than I anticipated because in the middle of planning our trip we had the unexpected kitchen disaster that dipped into our finances. But for me-the bargain hunter extraordinaire, it was a challenge that motivated me even more. Armed with my Rick Steve’s books, our Marriott points and our United mileage plus points, I began the process of planning. My goal was to provide the best trip possible on a shoestring budget and be able to see and do all the things we had dreamt about for years. Mission accomplished.
We began our trip in Venice. A very romantic city. Wandering the streets alongside the meandering canals was relaxing and fun. Although we had to navigate around the throngs of people who were there for the Italian Film Festival being held on the island of Lido and this prevented us from seeing the Armenian …

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Out with the Old, in with the new

After a blissful free summer, sometimes school and fall can hit you like a slap in the face. School, homework, practice, holidays right around the corner, and the days getting shorter. But… I guess it is good to have a reality check and get back into the swing of things. I think this time of year is the perfect time to set some intentions, try new things, reorganize your priorities, and get after it!

Keep an organized Calendar. Whatever it is, phone, planner, chalkboard, be consistent. And make sure you add new things when they come up.

Choose one new thing that challenges your mind. Try something new. A class, book, hobby, writing, job, side biz… Whatever it is, challenge yourself to broad your horizons, even if its just a little bit. Just don’t be afraid.

Keep the most important things the priority. Set your intentions. Know yourself. Do the most important things first. Life tends to just roll right through if you aren’t intentional with your time.

Choose a time of the week. Chose a time of the week where you are going to get organized, plan out the week, make lists, set goals, and get after life.

Don’t be afraid to try new systems. Don’t get stuck in the old ways. If you want to try something new like meal planning or a new grocery list app or a new online ordering system, do it. If it works for you, great, if not, stop. But you will never know if you don’t try.

It is okay to say no. You do not have to do everything. Say no, and don’t feel guilty about it. You can only handle so much.

Get rid of a few things. Look at your closet or your space, …

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Remodeling My Heart

Remodeling my heart….
Many of you know that we have been in a renovation/remodeling process for over 6 months. What started as an innocent pool of water in front of our refrigerator in November, has been a time of waiting, wondering, planning, decision making, waiting some more and waiting some more. Now that we are into the renovation process, full swing, a friend asked me how I have been remodeling my heart and my life? So I started to ponder……and one of the things I realized was that I am uncomfortable with uncertainty. Give me a task to do and I am on it! Give me a challenge and I am not afraid to take risks to conquer the hard stuff. Give me a problem to solve and I not only like the end result of solving the problem…I love the process…(probably why I am someone who loves math)….but fill my life with the unknown, time frames that are indefinite and general day to day uncertainty and I go a little nuts! I like to make leadership decisions and I love responsibility but I do not like it when I do not have enough information to make good decisions. I also do not like having too many options to choose from. I usually know what I do not like but sometimes narrowing down the things I DO like to make one final decision is difficult. Part of the problem is that things and stuff do not matter that much to me. I am passionate about people NOT possessions. I love having a home to open up to share with people but the actual stuff in my house is not that important to me. So all of these discoveries have come upon me because of all the uncertainty in a renovation/remodeling …

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To Red Card or Not to Red Card


To Red Card or not to Red Card, that is the question??…. But it shouldn’t even be a question! I held off for so long, but wow am I so grateful that I finally bit the bullet and signed up. I know, I know every time you go through the Target line they ask you if you want a Red Card… It may get old, but they really are only trying to help your quality of life. How many of you shop at Target weekly, or maybe even daily some weeks? How many of you have trouble keeping track of all your receipts? How many of you like free shipping? And how many of you like discounts and added benefits? If you raised your hand or said me to any of those questions, I think it may be time you take advantage of the Target Red Card. You may be thinking, “really, one more card”, but did you know it doesn’t have to even be a credit card? You get a debit card that is linked to your bank account with no credit charges or fees. So what are the actual benefits?

  • 5% off all purchases
  • Keeps track of all purchases
  • Longer time to return items
  • Free shipping on all online purchases
  • You make the target workers so happy when you get to say you already have one
  • Special Pharmacy rewards

5%… really??  That’s 5% on all food, gifts, baby items, clothes, sales, clearance items…. It’s a great savings on top of great deals already!

How can you say no??

So next time that friendly person in the red shirt asks you, say yes! It has definitely improved my life, helped my budget, and rewarded my spending habits.

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Let’s De-Clutter in 2017

My life is FULL of treasures!!

I love my family. I love photographs and I love children’s art. I am a mom that hangs every school art project that my girls have ever brought home to me on my walls and on my refrigerator. And now the next generation of budding artists, my grandchildren) have begun to mail me incredibly adorable drawings to decorate my kitchen.

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I love antiques. My parents collected antiques and passed many beautiful pieces of Pennsylvania Dutch furniture and decorative brass and pewter items to me. My husband and I continued collecting antiques when we lived on the East Coast.


I love books. I love to read and my husband and I both love to learn so we have a huge collection of resource books, travel books and bible study books. I began to read to my girls when they were very young because I also love children’s books.


I love to cook. I collect cookbooks and recipes and kitchen tools. I was the blessed recipient of all my grandmother’s hand-me–down kitchen stuff and I have loved and used every baking dish, platter and utensil.


I also love to do any and every kind of arts and craft and I love to sew……..

Here is the problem…..I do not like to waste anything and I always believe there will be a use for anything leftover….leftover food goes in the freezer, leftover craft materials go into stacking bins for the next project or for when the grandkids come to Gammie day camp. Material leftover from a sewing project can be used for quilts or lining baskets for gifts. So the bigger problem is that I now have a clutter problem.

For the past three weeks I have been sorting boxes and packing boxes and working around the …

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What is Success?

Do you think about success and how it looks in different areas of your life? For example, what is a successful marriage? Successful parenting? Job success? Personal success?

How do you define success?

According to the dictionary, success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”

Last week I shared the importance of writing down your goals, and even sharing your goals with others. Why? So your path to “success” (however YOU define it), is drawn out. So you can define daily action steps to get to your goal. The path might not always be straight, in fact, often our path to success is riddled with failures. However, when we know where we are going, we CAN take those daily steps to get there.

I love this definition of success from Robert Collier, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”


What does this mean to me? It means success takes work. Success takes consistency. Success takes planning. Success takes patience.

This definition also breaks down the path to success in daily steps. We might feel like we aren’t moving forward towards our goals, but daily action steps keep us moving. Daily action steps give us a plan and a way to track how we are moving toward our goals.

I know the journey WILL be tough. So arm yourself for the journey. I am really enjoying the devotions from the YouVersion Bible app. I recommend “Staying Hopeful” and “HILLSONG – Let Hope Rise.” Today’s devotion from Let Hope Rise states, “Singing songs that remind us of the goodness of God, we shift our focus from our own hardships and struggles to his consistent faithfulness. Even more, worship reminds us not to mistake the presence of such hardships and struggles as the absence of …

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Overload? Reorganize your Thinking


Do you sometimes feel like this??? Our brains are flooded with thoughts, ideas, emotions, stress, tasks, details, and responsibilities. Most of the time we feel like we are on overload. Brain overload is a real thing. And I think I suffer from this disease. I am realizing I need to figure out how to energize my brains to help it function, but also how to relax my brain. If my brain is constantly firing on all cylinders, trying to do five million things at once, I will not be able to function at maximum capacity. And I cannot continue to try to live this way. So here are some tips I have been thinking through and trying to incorporate into my own life.

How to keep your brain at full productivity:
1. Find some time to let your brain rest
2. Find ways you like to recharge (Read, listen to music, pray, exercise, spend time with people)
3. De-clutter your life
4. Turn off your phone
5. Pay attention to when you are able to be most productive
6. Find your routines.
7. Record things so you remember them. Record what works for you. What doesn’t work for you. Record the process of how you got from here to there.
8. Focus on blessings. Think about what you are thankful for.

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An Egg-cellent Egg Hunt

If you are going to include an egg hunt in your Easter celebration and you have a wide age span of egg hunters…here is a fantastic, organized and creative way to do your egg hunt. (This is a family tradition in my SIL’s family) They hosted an Easter celebration yesterday and I was able to witness this ingenious idea first hand.

Supplies Needed
1 Easter egg basket per person
1 paper bag per person lunch-sack sized paper bag-(Spring/Easter designed bags make it more fun)
16 plastic eggs per person (different colors for each child necessary-you can split the egg colors for example half yellow/half green and half green/half purple and half purple/half yellow)
fun treats for kids…small boxes of raisins, M & Ms, gummy worms, jelly beans, fruit snacks and any other of your favorite Easter candy treats.

Fill the plastic eggs with treats. Put one paper bag and one egg into each basket (a different color in every basket) Have the kids go into a part of the yard or house where they can not see, as the egg hiders do their job. Have the egg hunters line up from youngest to oldest. Hand out the baskets and explain to the children that they ONLY HUNT for the egg color in their basket. Reassure the kids that everyone will be finding the same number of eggs so they should pass up all eggs that are not their color and let the other kids find their own colored eggs. The kids at our party seemed to really understand this concept and once they had found their own 15 eggs they began to help the younger children find their last ones. After all the eggs had been found. The parents helped empty the contents of the eggs into the paper …

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