Thursday 2 September 2021

Simple Living: Entryway Organization

Getting out the door isn't always an easy task.  I try my best to give myself enough time before I have to be somewhere.  With all of the moving parts that come with being a Mom, one of the simplest solutions for getting out of the door on time is to make your entryway work for you.  I love all the beautiful pictures online of people's mudrooms and giant foyer closets, but that is not my reality.  My home's entryway is quite small.  It has a small closet area (we removed the red accordion doors from the closet) and very little wall space.  I know that others have smaller entryways than mine, so I hope that some of these solutions will be useful to you.  My entryway organization is neat, tidy and functional.  It really isn't beautiful, but I would choose function over beauty any day.

I came up with a few solutions for the entryway before summer.  They have served us well.  I needed to clean up the area and make sure that everything in the entryway was necessary and seasonally appropriate.


My husband installed three hooks for me.  This gives my daughters a place to hang their jackets.  They can both reach the hooks and be responsible for their own things. (Yay!)  


I cleaned up the 3 hooks by making sure that the items on the hooks were necessary.  My daughters have splash pants that I put elsewhere because we haven't used them very much this year.  I also removed sweaters that had made it onto the hooks.  We keep sweaters in the bedroom.  My oldest daughter's backpack will go on her hook during the school year.  I didn't hang it yet because it is full of a year's worth of school supplies and is too heavy at the moment.


We needed more shoe storage space, so my husband brought up this shoe shelf from our basement.  He built it years ago when we lived in a different home.  We removed the closet's built in shelves and put our shoe shelf in.


I took out shoes that we aren't utilizing and reorganized the top shelf.  I don't love these bins for the shelf, but it's what I have on hand at the moment.  I have measured the shelf and plan to replace the bins once I find what I am looking for.  The bin on the left holds my tote bag and items that need to go back to my vehicle.  The bin on the right holds containers with dog food.


This storage solution isn't pretty but it has worked so well for us this summer!  My kids can access all of their things and are able to put their stuff away on their own.  It is a shoe organizer from Walmart that I hung on our basement door.  The basement door is directly opposite of where we come in and having the items in a place that is easy to access has helped all of our family members get out the door on time.



I went through the pockets and made sure that all the items were still needed.  I removed our sun hats because they aren't as needed now that the weather is turning colder.  My children's hats hang by the door with their bike helmets on Command Hooks.


  • Ask yourself if the items in your entryway truly belong there.  Can off-season shoes be stored somewhere else?  Does your summer gear need to be taking up precious space when your kids are back to school in the fall?
  • Worry less about whether something looks pretty and worry more about function.  The shoe organizer isn't my favourite thing to look at but it is super functional and allows my kids to be independent.
  • Make a habit (and help your kids make a habit) of putting things in their place.  Give essential items a designated spot.  My three-year old knows exactly where to find her hat, coat, and shoes.  My keys are always in the same spot and so are my sunglasses.  Getting out the door is much easier when you know exactly where your things are.

Happy organizing!

Thursday 26 August 2021

Simple Living: Playroom

The playroom in our house was starting to feel overwhelming.  Our toy bins were not doing the trick and cleaning up had become a big chore.  My kids weren't sure where to put things and often would tear the room apart looking for a certain toy.  I decided to purchase a cube organizer and get down to organizing/purging the playroom.  

I recently discover Dawn at The Minimal Mom and she had a great tip when it came to decluttering your closet.  Dawn asked the question, "Which items are your favourite?"  This helps us to make easy decisions as to what belongs in our closets.  I decided to try to apply this question to our playroom with our kids.  All my other efforts to declutter had been met with resistance, but this question worked beautifully. My kids quickly found their favourite toys and I sorted them into the bins.  I made a quarantine box (another tip from Dawn!). I told the kids that if they noticed a favourite toy was missing to let me know and I would get it out of the box.  We agreed that I could get donate the contents of the box after a few months.  The 'favourites' idea worked really well for our dress-up clothes.  The kids kept less than half of their dress-up clothes.

The other tip that Dawn gave was to make bins the "bad guys".  I told my kids that everything they kept (with the exception of a few larger items) had to fit in 9 bins for the organizer.  The bins set the limit and I didn't have to be the bad guy.  This idea will really help when we receive a new toy or gift.  The kids will need to make decisions about what can stay and what has to go.




The result is that the playroom no longer makes me feel overwhelmed.  The kids can clean up in less than 10 minutes with very little direction from me or their Dad.  They also know where to find their toys so there aren't as many toy explosions as there once were.  We have been so happy with the result.

Happy simplifying!

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Wardrobe Wednesday- Summer Outfits

 I was aiming to have a capsule wardrobe this summer, but I am having trouble maintaining a smaller capsule wardrobe with this pregnancy.  I have had to purchase a few items because a lot of what I owned didn't fit anymore or it didn't feel good on me.  I will get back to capsule wardrobes after Baby is born, I am sure.  Until then, I am going to wear whatever feels comfortable.  I wanted to share a few of my summer outfits with you.  I found some great items at Mama Bear Maternity and Motherhood Maternity.  I am also wearing a few items that I have had in previous pregnancies or that I swiped from my husband's side of the closet.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Sunday 22 August 2021

Motherhood Monday: Back to School Prep

My oldest daughter returns to in person learning this year.  I have a lot of feelings surrounding this.  I am happy that she will get to see her friends again and be around children her own age.  I am excited to not have to be the 'teacher's assistant' this year and I am happy that I won't be trying to troubleshoot when Zoom suddenly crashes on my computer.  I will miss having her home all the time.  She has basically been home since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020.  I am also fearful with the lack of restrictions that the provincial government has in place.  I worry about her health because she has asthma.  I am angry that there aren't better protocols in place for children her age until a vaccine becomes available to them.  My anxiety is running high and I am working on trying to find a way to balance my fears with what I am hoping is a calculated risk.

In preparation for my daughter going back to school, I am trying to make the transition as smooth as possible.  Here are the ways that we are preparing for back to school:
  • Going to bed on time and getting up early.  To be honest, this one will be hardest on me.  I love to sleep, especially at 32 weeks pregnant.  Getting back into proper bedtime routines and getting up at regular times will help smooth the transition so that we are used to the routine before it hits again.
  • Meal prep.    I plan to make some muffins and easy meals to have in the freezer for when the frenzy starts.  Having lunch kit items ready to go and planning some easy meal items will help us all feel prepared.
  • Get the entryway ready.  We have a tiny entrance to our home and it always looks a little different depending on the season.  I want to get the entryway organized so that it is easy for us to find the things that we need as we head to school in the morning.
  • Put together the backpack and school supplies.  I need to label all of my daughter's school supplies and get it all packed up in her backpack.  We are doing our shopping this week, so I hope that I can still get everything I need!
What do you do to prepare for back to school?  I would love to hear your ideas!

Monday 5 April 2021

Quarter 1 Goal Updates

 It has certainly been a while since I popped on here.  Life has been full of both wonderful and frustrating things and I haven't had the energy to come to the blog.  I can't believe that the first quarter of the year is over.  A lot has happened and the next three months seem like they are going to be an adventure! 

Before I share my goal updates, I have some news!  My husband and I were very excited to learn that we are expecting.  Our new little one will join our family in October.  Our daughters are very excited to have another child in the family.  They have already started giving name suggestions which are, at the very least, creative.  I have also enrolled full-time in school to finish off my program.  I am excited to be done, but I have a lot of work ahead of me in the next three months.  Our oldest daughter is still doing virtual school from home and my 3 year old likes to keep me on my toes.  I am going to need to rely more on the habits that I have put in place to keep me on track.

I had 2 main goals for the year.  I had workout goals and the goal to implement a morning routine.  My workout goal was to complete 4 strength workouts, 4 cardio workouts and 2 stretching/yoga workouts per week.  I have met or exceeded my goal consistently this quarter, with the exception of 2 weeks where I fell short on my strength training goals.  I have noticed such a difference in my life because I feel strong, my mental health has been good and I feel like I am doing a good job of taking caring of myself.  I am so happy with how things are going.

My morning routine has been much slower to develop, but I have made progress.  I have been consistently getting up in the morning before my kids, meditating and working out.  I love having a few moments to myself in the morning.  It helps me to start the day feeling calm and ready, rather than frazzled.  I will need to start pushing my mornings to start earlier this quarter because I have to build in extra time for my school work in the morning.

I hope to be back soon with my capsule wardrobe.  I am still figuring out what I will need and what I can make work. Until then, take care!

Sunday 10 January 2021

Life Organization Series- Meal Planning

 For the month of January I will be running a life organization series that will give you simple ideas to keep your life running smoothly.  I know that even with a pandemic happening, life goes on and sometimes things can feel out of control or disorganized.  I am hoping that this series will help with that.  I want to share some of the things that work well for me to keep my household running smoothly.

The first thing I am going to talk about is meal planning.  Meal planning has been an extremely impactful part of my life.  In general, I don't feel particularly energetic at the end of my day.  During the week I don't have to spend time or energy choosing what we are going to eat for dinner.  I have already done that work and it really makes my evenings run smoothly.  Planning is easy and only takes me 15-20 minutes a week.

Step 1:

I take a look at what I have on hand.  It is important to me to use up anything that may be expiring soon or going off.  I like to reduce food waste.  At this point, however, I don't usually have much left in the fridge.  I have learned what we use and I pretty good at purchasing only what we need.  

Step 2:  

I make my grocery list.  I try to only purchase things when they are on sale, with the odd exception.  I look at the grocery flyer and find out what is on sale.  I write out my grocery list by category.  I used to write my list by aisle, but they have recently changed things up on me!

Step 3:

I decide on meals according to the ingredients that I will have on hand.  It can help if you have a master list of the meals that your family enjoys.  I do try new meals, but for the most part I pick from our family's master list.

Step 4:

Decide which days to put the meals on.  I always look at our calendar in case we have something going on that will make it difficult to do meal prep that is more involved.  For example, I host a Zoom book club on Monday evenings.  This means that I need to get my kids to be early.  On Mondays, I choose quick and easy meals so that I can serve dinner early.

Meal planning is so simple and it really takes the pressure off of me during the week.  It is a 15 minute investment of time that can really change how you feel about feeding yourself and your family.  There are a few simple things that you can do to help make this process even easier:

  • Make a master meal list.  Write down meals that your family enjoys.  Ask your family what their favourite meals are.  Use the list to help you plan when you are feeling stuck.
  • Plan a theme night.  On Fridays we always have chicken fingers and fries for supper.  It isn't a culinary masterpiece, but by Friday I am so sick of cooking.  It gives me a break and my kids love it.  Saturday mornings are for cereal which is something I don't serve during the week.
  • Feel free to swap your meals around if you need to.  If you forgot to take out meat for supper, swap it with another meal on your list.  There are no hard and fast rules to meal planning.  It is simply framework for you to work with.
Happy meal planning, friends!


Tuesday 5 January 2021

Winter Capsule Wardrobe- 2021

 This capsule wardrobe is the smallest I have ever made for a full season.  We are still living in a pandemic, however and we don't go out or socialize.  This means that I need less from my wardrobe.  I have chosen to create a wardrobe that is simple, comfortable and suits our pandemic life.  I am hopeful that with the vaccinations coming, we will be able to resume some of our normal activities by late spring or early summer.  Maybe my clothes can be more interesting at that time.  Until then, my casual and comfortable capsule wardrobe will work just fine.

My wardrobe consists of 13 pieces:

3 tees:

6 sweatshirts:

4 pants:

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Sunday 3 January 2021

2021- Word of the Year and Goals


I chose the word build for my word of the year.  2020 was challenging in ways that most of us were not expecting.  During the pandemic I worked on skills that I had learned in the past.  I figured out skills that were useful for my mental health, for our family finances and for the overall happiness of our little family.

The most important thing that I did in 2020 was undertake a strength workout challenge.  I made the decision in October to complete 82 strength workouts before the end of 2020.  This averaged to 5 workouts per week.  My mental health had been suffering and I was tracking my mental health so that I could figure out what tools would help me feel content.  What I discovered was that on days where I had worked out, particularly on days where I had done a strength workout (walks don't produce the same results for me), I felt happier and didn't experience extreme lows.

The results spoke for themselves.  Short, intense strength workouts do wonders to improve my mental health.  This year, I vow to build on that.  I plan to complete a minimum of 4 strength workouts a week.  I also plan to complete a minimum of 4 cardio workouts (including walking) and a minimum of 2 stretching or yoga workouts.  I want to feel strong, both mentally and physically.

The other skill I plan to build on is strengthening and maintaining a good morning routine.  This is a habit that I easily fall out of, but it is so beneficial when I keep it.  I am an introvert.  I enjoy spending time alone.  This year, I have felt like I am never alone.  My kids and I are always together.  My oldest is doing virtual school and we have been avoiding pretty much all social contact.  I love being with my family, but I still crave time to myself.  My evenings are spent plugging away at my school work or with my husband so I am still not getting restorative alone time.

When I get up early and have time to myself before my kids are up, I am happier and my day runs smoothly.  I love the way the day feels when I get time to myself in the morning.  The problem lies in the fact that I hate rolling out of bed, so I often avoid getting up until the last minute.

I acknowledge that I don't ever feel like jumping out of bed, even on days when I have had ample sleep.  I am never going to feel great getting up early, but it certainly sets a much more positive tone for the day and helps me feel prepared.  This is worth it.

I am going to ease into my morning routine, especially since the holidays have been full of late nights.  I plan to have my routine in place by February and then I plan to keep it going all year long.

Did you set any intentions for 2021?  I would love to hear them!