Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful time filled with family and fun, but that you also get some quiet time to reflect on God's gift of His perfect Son.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers (and anyone else who feels like celebrating)! Our plans are to spend today with my husband's family and tomorrow with mine. I love all the family time (and the yummy food, of course!).
I hope you have a joyful Thanksgiving, giving thanks to God for all of the many blessings He has showered you with!
I discovered bullet journaling just over a year ago, and I knew immediately it was something I needed. I am now a stay-at-home mom, but previous to that, I taught for ten years. That meant I had a schedule and a routine, and sticky notes all over my desk to keep track of my to-do list. When I stopped teaching, I lost that built-in organization. Enter bullet journaling to save the day!
If you're not familiar with bullet journaling, you can check out the official website here. There are some standards, but basically you create the organizational system that works for you. Over the months, I've played around with my weekly and monthly setups, and I'm pretty happy with what I'm working with now. I love seeing the bullet journals of people who spend hours creating their spreads, but I am not that person. I spend about an hour and a half at the beginning of the month setting the whole month up, and then I'm good to go. I do like fun pens and pretty colors, but I keep things pretty simple. Without my bullet journal, I would only get a fraction of things done that I am able to get done now.
In honor of completing one year of bullet journaling, I thought I would share how I set up a typical month.
This is my monthly spread. It's a lot simpler than it was when I started out! The calendar on top gives me an overview of events for the month. The to-do list are bigger projects I want to complete during the month, and I refer back to it when I'm setting up my weekly spread.
This is my daily tracker. I used to have a whole grid and about 15 items I was trying to accomplish each day. Eventually I realized I was coloring in squares just so I wouldn't break my streak, even if I hadn't quite accomplished the goal that day. Kind of takes away the point. So in June, I switched the this style. If I complete the goal that day, I color the number. If I don't, oh well. At least I'm honest now. :)
This is my weekly spread. On each day, I write events happening that day, as well as my to-do list for the day. The bottom section is for meal planning and areas to clean during my Ten Minute Tidy time. The facing page is blank. Each night, I write down several things that happened during the day that I want to remember (usually cute stuff my kid did).
So that's how I keep myself sane and organized! Anyone else out there keep a bullet journal? What works for you?
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Even if you're not in the U.S. and not celebrating Thanksgiving, you still have much in your life to be thankful for - the roof over your head, the family and friends surrounding you, and all of the love and laughter in your life. I hope you have a blessed, thankful day!
I am typically a fairly voracious reader. I read at least 100 books a year, and I always take great pleasure in setting my Goodreads goal to challenge myself. But this past January, I only set my Goodreads goal for 50. You see, I was having a baby in April. And I didn't know exactly how that would change my reading, but I knew it would.
But since my little boy has arrived, I've had to increase my Goodreads goal to 75. And then 100. As of right now, I'm actually 25 books ahead of schedule. It turns out that having a baby can actually increase your reading time.
How did that happen? Well, I'm still not entirely sure how I'm getting through the amount of books that I am. But here's what I think is working:
I know I'm far from the only book blogger out there with kids. What are your tips for reading with little ones around?
Back in September, I posted a list of 31 things I wanted to accomplish before my next birthday. At the beginning of December, I posted my first progress report. Since it's been another three months or so, I thought I would check in again with what progress I've been making.
#1: Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
I have been working on this little by little since the beginning of January. I am now 69% complete!
#4: Finish our upstairs remodel and finally move into our new master bedroom.
Remodeling our upstairs has been a project we've been working on for three years. I am happy to report that (besides a few minor things) we're done! We moved into the upstairs bedroom at the end of January, and I'm enjoying it very much. (I'm also getting a lot more exercise going up and down those stairs all the time.)
#6: Read 50 books from my own shelves.
In my December update, I said that I had read 10 books from my own shelves. That number is now up to 25!
#22: Try 20 new recipes.
Okay, I haven't done stellar with this one yet. I've tried two new recipes - pumpkin muffins (two ingredients - so easy!) and Ranch Chicken Roll Ups. I really need to be better about this goal.
#24: Instead of just making fun of 10 grammatical errors, actually tell someone who can fix them.
I've done this once. A digital sign for a dentist in our town had a typo - "Can we think sring yet?". I called and told them so they could fix it. Instead, they just took that screen out of the line-up. I suppose that counts as a success.
#25: Visit the Creation Museum.
I was really excited that we were able to make this happen while visiting some friends over Christmas break. I'm looking forward to going back someday when they have the Noah's Ark section open.
So there's my progress, halfway through the year. Once again, it's not as much as I thought it was. There are some goals I haven't even touched. And now with a baby arriving in April, I have feeling I may need an extension. . . But hey, anything I get done on this list is more than I would have done without it, right?
I love the beginning of a new year because it means new reading challenges and new goals. I've typically over-committed to reading challenges, yet somehow managed to complete them (which is often more stressful than it should be). I always participate in the Goodreads challenge, sometimes setting my goal as high as 125 books.
This year, I'm reining myself. My Goodreads goal is set at 50 books. I'm severely limiting myself in the number of reading challenges I'm signing up for (a total of 3, as of right now). And the reason for these self-imposed limits?
We're expecting a little bookworm in April!
We're very excited and very nervous, and I'm sure reading will take a backseat to the little one for awhile. Smiling Shelves will definitely continue, although I'm figuring I'll be on hiatus for a little bit in April.
I'm determined this baby will grow up to be a reader. He already gets a bedtime story every night!
Back in September, I posted a list of 31 things I hoped to accomplish in my 31st year of life. Since it's been approximately three months since then, I thought I would provide an update of those things I have completed or that I've made progress on.
#3: Visit ten more Michigan lighthouses.
My husband and I took a weekend away over Labor Day and saw 5 lighthouses. Somewhere on our camera we even have pictures of them all. . . We saw:
- Fort Gratiot Light (Port Huron)
- Lightship Huron (Port Huron)
- Peche Island Rear Range Light (Marine City)
- William Livingstone Memorial Light Station (Belle Isle)
- Windmill Point Light Station (Detroit)
- Bonus - Detroit Lighthouse Supply Depot (not technically a lighthouse, but still a cool thing to see)
#6: Read 50 books from my own shelves.
I won't post a list here, but since my birthday, I have read 10 books that I own. Working on numbers 11 & 12 right now!
#11: Write a short story.
I've started a short story - while my students are working on their Creative Writing projects, I do too!
#12: Get my piano tuned.
Done in October!
#15: Visit Greenfield Village.
This was the other part of our weekend away in September. We spent Labor Day exploring Greenfield Village. Such a cool place!
#21: Create (and use) a Twitter account for Smiling Shelves.
Done! I created one for Dewey's 24-hour readathon in October. Haven't done much tweeting since then, but I enjoy reading everyone else's. You can follow me if you like - @SmilingShelves.
Those are the major ones that I've completed or made progress on. It's not quite as much as I thought it was, so these update posts are good idea to keep myself on track. I hope I can keep checking things off through the winter!
My name is Julie, and I own a lot of books. As in, they are stacked on the floor because I've run out of room on the shelves. And those shelves? There are so many books on them that they smile -- not sag; smile. This blog will cover book reviews and all manner of other bookish things.
You can contact me at email@example.com.