Plum Paper Designs Planner Review

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Plum Paper Planner. Say that five times fast.

Or don't. I just want to let you know if you are a planner type person, you need to check out Plum Paper Designs planners. They are sold from PlumPaperDesigns on Etsy.

Last year I posted here about my May Designs planner. It scored major bonus points because, well, dinosaurs. It had dinosaurs all over it, which pretty much won me over from the start. (P.S Can I just squee for a moment about Jurassic World coming out on MY BIRTHDAY this year?!)

It was small which I loved for fitting in my purse, and it mostly got the job done.

Except I started running out of space. As the year went on, and things continued to be added in, the 'small' factor I once thought was a good thing turned out to really not be. It was also completely paper. It had no plastic covering, and I did say, even last year, that no cover was a negative due to the nature of being a mom of three young children and how easily and fast thing go from clean to gross.

I looked high and low for another dino option, but they just weren't out there. Besides I figured I probably needed to go with function over form. Which, after lots of research, led me to... *drum roll*

Plum Paper Designs planners

So there aren't any dinosaurs, but the first thing that caught my eye was that it did in fact come with a plastic cover over the front and the back printed covers

I opted for this pretty gold honeycomb design. It didn't have any overlays I could choose from aside from a monogram which I'm not super into, so I figured I'll eventually get someone I know who owns a Cricut to cut me a sticker to put in my own overlay... sort of like this, except I'm thinking a bee

First things first, I'm the realest. What? Iggy Azalea get out of my head!!!

OK, first things first, they give you a 2015 quick look overview which is really nice and also colorful which gets bonus points

Then to select your month, it has these really pretty, sturdy monthly tabs

Go to your select month and the first page is a notes page. This is so great for me and my never ending to-do lists, there is also one at the end of the month

Flip the page, and you'll have your whole month at a glance. I love that there is a place for birthdays, events, and even more notes to the left

Flip again, and you have your first week of the month. It has a small month so you can see which day falls on which day of the week, a weekly checklist as well as more notes. Hooray notes!

But my favorite part is definitely this...
Oh yes. You can have it custom made to add in each family member, plus any category you choose. I chose to leave mine blank but they could be for meal planning, exercise schedules, or even Girl Scout activities (if you're a troop leader. Which I am. I know, I can't believe it either)

Now of all the things I may write about, cleaning will likely never be one of them, that's because I totally suck at it. I was excited though to add this monthly cleaning chart in to the end of each month to maybe help me keep up
No one hold their breath

The thing I liked the most about Plum Paper planners were how much you could really customize it to fit your needs. I chose the family planner, which allowed for all of our names to go in the separate sections on the side of each week, but they also have regular planners, teacher planners, student planners, wedding, fitness, and meal planners.

They also have additional add-ons, like the monthly cleaning schedule, that you can purchase for just a few dollars more, or the sections I'm about to show ya

Do you sell 31? Stella & Dot? Do Passion Parties? If so, you may want to try out the "direct marketing" section to add to my planner. The tab is blank, so you can write in anything you desire.

Even if you aren't in direct sales, this section could also be useful if you have an Etsy store or something similar. Plum Paper has a custom listing you can order, and while I haven't asked them directly, I'm thinking it would be pretty easy to hand pick which sheets you would want under your blank tab to more accurately organize your business

The first pages are your monthly overviews, giving you a place to write your monthly goals, to-dos, incentives given and won, parties scheduled, etc.

The next 3 pages are your party planning lists. For someone whose whole business is based on parties you would need to add in additional part planning pages. They are just $1 each. You could also just photocopy the pages I suppose, but it would be so much nicer to have them all the same color and in the same place  instead of loosely flying around

Here's a To Do list, and Monthly Tasks list. Always helpful for staying on track and keeping up with meeting goals for your business

This was something I had not thought of at all, but saw how useful it really could be. I have a friend who travels pretty far for her parties, and something like this would be so helpful in keeping track of her mileage and keeping her expenses accurate

Which then leads up to the Income & Expenses pages. For my business, for example, I have a lot of trial sized bottles, stickers I buy to label them, books that I hand out or people buy, so this will be a lot nicer than having to make one of my own and keeps it all together with everything else

There is also a large section for contacts. Leads, Hostesses, and Consultants, depending on which types you need. They all come standard with this add-on though.

Then there is a page for passwords. Also, helpful, and apparently I didn't find it necessary to take pictures of these sections?

Then there are the Monthly Expense sections. This can help you reconcile your accounts each month and stay on top of everything for when tax time comes calling and also show you which months were most profitable

The next add-on I purchased was the "Blog" section

It has a few of the same features that the direct marketing add-on has, like a monthly overview

Income & Expenses. Depending on which type of blog you write, this could be helpful. Generally I just blog about what we're doing, so I can't really expense anything, but  you could put in domain hosting expenses and things like that

I have a notebook which is full of ideas. I definitely would be writing down more than just these to pages worth, but it would be good to put in some solid ideas that you'd like to save for a later date, maybe a time when you're busy or having writer's block

I do look at my "stats" mostly because they are posted right next to the title of each blog post when I go to write/edit one, but if your blog was looking to become a more steady and serious business, this would be very helpful information to have to give to advertisers and collaborators


I don't have anything that I would need to put in here... at least not yet? Thus far with my little google ads, I have made $1 and something cents over the last year, but for someone who did reviews of products, or got together with other bloggers or companies to do giveaways, this would be very helpful

An annual planner. This would be great for writing down post ideas you knew you wanted to do seasonally, like a Valentine's Day or Christmas gift giving guide, or it would also be helpful for certain things you needed to do throughout the year, like renewing your hosting, scheduling with someone to help update your blog design, etc.

Then at the very end of the planner, you have you general contacts area, a list of all the US holidays

2016 year at-a-glance, and a folder (it's front and back) to hold things, papers, receipts, whatever you need to keep with you

Plum Paper Design planners offer quite a few other options as well. Everything from a Home Planning section and Monthly Bill Tracker, to adding in photos or extra contacts and check-list sheets, or even a Baby section to record doctor visits, feeding and changing times, and a growth tracker. There is a page limit, so you can't add everything in, but if you really needed it all, you could have two. One for your personal scheduling and home life, and then one for your business side.

And last but not least... the price.

This planner was a bit expensive, at $54.75 shipped. So it did cost more than my May Designs planner did, about $35 more, but the difference is huge. I really wish I had taken a side by side comparison shot to show how much more the Plum Paper Designs planner holds than the May Designs planner.

It also isn't always necessarily that price, as I added in two sections, and the monthly cleaning sheets. Without those the whole planner would have been $43.75, plus I know they offer codes sometimes as well.

Mine did take a couple of week to come in, so if you're still wondering how you're going to keep 2015 organized you should definitely check these planners out and order soon. Here's to a more organized 2015!

**I am not in any way affiliated with Plum Paper Designs. I  just bought their planner and really love it, and wanted to share :)

15 for 2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

Are you like me and just looked at the calendar all "Holy cow! It's New Year's eve on Wednesday?!" What are we going to do?? Well, fret not my pet. Here's a list of 15 ideas that I've come up with, or gleaned from Pinterest-land, that are low-to-no prep (read: great for last minute!), and will guarantee a super fun evening for your whole family.

A lot of the materials here I have on hand at home because well, kids and craft supplies kind of go hand in hand. If you don't have these things on hand however, they would be really easy to pick up at your local Target or Walmart or even grocery store depending on how big of a city you live in. (We live in the country so I now determine store availability of product by town population)

1. Get dressed for that Fab NYE party...
Even if you have no where to go. Paint nails with sparkles, put on one of Dad's ties or better yet, bow ties, put on lip gloss and blush, your nicest clothes, whatever. Kids have so much fun getting dressed up, this alone will be so fun!

2. Glitter Crowns-

Super easy tutorial found here at Best Friends for Frosting. These would be the perfect compliment to all that hard work you put into getting dressed up. We'll be making them a bit more kid friendly and use gold, glitter pipe cleaners instead of wire though.

3.Have an all out New Years Eve dinner-
Let the kids get really involved with helping. Light candles (we love all of our flameless candles!), get out fancy plates (even if they are paper), and really make a big to-do about getting dressed up and eating a "fancy" dinner, even if it is pizza bites and hotdogs!

4.New Years Eve Bingo-

This Bingo free printable is found at Kristen Duke Photography. My kids love to play bingo and it always raises the stakes when you play for leftover Christmas Hershey's Kisses. This can also be a great time killer while you're waiting for that fancy dinner to cook!


Is that not the cutest thing you've ever seen? I found these over at Modern Parents Messy Kids and thought they would add just the right touch to New Years Eve dinner.

6. Year in Review Interview-

I found this awesome free printable Year-In-Review interview sheet at Thirty Handmade Days. This would be a great thing to do during dinner, like a 'What was your favorite part of today' type question 2015 style. But regardless of when you do it, it would definitely a fun memory to add to your children's keepsakes.

7. Photo booth Free Printable Props-

Also from Kristen Duke Photography, these are adorable, and my girls LOVE taking pictures. This would be a fun after dinner activity, and before the party begins. I mean, all fancy dinners have parties afterward, right?!

8.Bake brownies (or cookies, or cupcakes)-
Add icecream and let the kids go to town with sprinkles, candies etc to decorate. Just remember to keep this earlier in the night if you don't want to feed your kids sugar right before bed.

9.Dance Party!!!
Yep. Always have a party after a fancy dinner. While you're waiting for your sweets to bake you can party like it's 2015. Pretty much every child I have ever known loves to sing and dance... Pandora station 'Kids Bops' is where it's at.

10.Paint the fireworks-

I thought this was such an easy and fun idea from Fantastic Fun and Learning for kids to do while waiting to ring in the new year.

11.Make noise makers-

I am not really keen on the horn type ones, so something you can put together and shake or jingle sounds a like a slightly better idea. These looked simple and fun from Kix Cereal

12.Scavenger Hunt-
I really liked this one from Buggy and Buddy because it isn't anything I really need to make sure we have around, these items are all common, and it also involves counting and writing down the numbers. Fun and learning! Win-win!

13.A New Year Balloon pop countdown with a new activity in each balloon-

I found this whole countdown at Craftabilities and thought it was just too good. Basically every idea she has is awesome.

What's new years without some sparkle and pop? A lot of fireworks stands are already up and running. Sparklers are cheap and the most kid friendly (adult supervised) fireworks.

15.Have a balloon drop at Midnight-
Regardless of it you make it a "Noon Years Eve" party, or set your clock fast and make 9 o'clock the new 12 o'clock, having a balloon drop is always a good idea. I looked on Pinterest to find a good DIY and this from Pinnedit looked easy enough and like so much fun!

Here's to 2015!!! Ahhh is it really already '15???

Small Playroom Update

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where am I? How did I get here?

Summer is going AWESOME. But things got a lot a bit overwhelming, so I checked out last week. I've basically been doing super boring stuff around here anyway, like sorting broken crayons and mowing the grass, so there wasn't much to report anyway.

Today I wanted to post a few updated pictures of the playroom since the last time you saw it it looked like this and this.

Not a whole lot has changed, but I am hoping that is not the case for long!

We trekked to Ikea and picked up a few things, and a couple I am still waiting on to be delivered.

First, and most importantly for me, we finally got some more chairs for our play table that fit. That means I can now sit with them when we are working on things, and there is room for all three of them without them being on top of each other on the bench. We also got a sweet light to hang over their work space.

We also picked up this shoe organizer. I honestly am not very hopeful that it will keep the shoes *that* organized, but if it could at least hide the chaos I am happy. Also, that space behind the door is really tiny, so it's slender design works great. I plan to put a mirror over it and make it an entry type space for us since that is typically the door we use.

Here is the current toy organization situation. I am planning on moving one of those cubes into Owen's room, and I have two bookcases I ordered from Ikea that will flank either side of the remaining cube. I also plan to paint them, just not sure on color yet.

This space I plan on turning into the kids' drop area. Where they put their backpacks and school papers, etc. If you look on top of the shoe organizer a few photos up, you will see multicolored dog butts. Those are hooks I bought in preparation of that. We thought they were funny.

The dress up clothes will be moving to this corner. Pile-o-babies anyone? I plan on moving the kitchen outside and replacing it with a smaller one. The reason, is that I have been inspired by our outdoor playhouse building experience, and want to build them one indoors, too. Right above this space. Then underneath will be the pretend market/cafe space.

Here's sort of the bigger picture of that

So on my list:
Paint walls with black chalkboard paint (because I'm masochistic like that)
Repaint peeling trim
Paint light fixture hanging above play table... thinking yellow?
Build and paint bookshelves
Paint cube organizer
Create "drop" space for kids (not sure on all those details yet, but I have some ideas)
Find mirror for over the shoe organizer
Build and paint indoor playhouse
Make "Market" banner and "counters"
Find shelf to fit food and accessories
Build smaller kitchen
Find or sew fun pillows for papasan chairs
Find new rug for in front of door

And one last super quick update since we are talking about playhouses, we got a roof on the playhouse!

We built the whole thing ourselves, but the roof had a lot of angles and "bird mouth cuts" and we are just not in the least bit experienced enough for all of that, so we hired someone. I know, such cheaters. But we felt like it was worth it to give them a shady place to play up there. I will hopefully be painting that bad boy soon too, so more to come!

Daily Summer Schedule

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer is now in full swing, and our first entire week went fabulously. We are having so much fun!

Week before last, Lily, our oldest daughter, and I sat down in front of my Pinterest boards and came up with some of her favorite things she wanted to do. I split our "learning activities" into 4 categories.

Letters & Writing. Letters for our 3.5 year old, writing for our nearly 7 year old.

Numbers & Math. Again, one for the younger and one for the older.

Science Experiments. Basically anything fun and exciting and bonus points if it involves pretty colors or something exploding.

Art. Because well, I love art and what kid doesn't either? Express yo-self!

Then, because I do best with lots of guidelines, I put together this daily schedule. Now, it isn't exactly what we do everyday. Sometimes we'll have something in the morning, so our learning activities come later in the day. Some days Field Trip day is on Tuesday, and we go to the Library on Monday and Friday. But this is our basic structure and it's working super well. I made it so it could be a "free printable" of sorts, but mostly I just wanted to share what's working for us, and maybe help anyone out that might be looking and drawing a blank as to 'what to do all day?'. Also, below our schedule I posted all of the different activities we have for each category for the month, and any Pinterest links accordingly.

What our days generally look like:
Click HERE to print your own

1. Put alphabet flashcards in order
2. Salt Tray Writing. Pour salt in a tray and have them write with their finger letters or numbers in the salt.
3. Chalk & Spray bottles. Draw on a fence or sidewalk with chalk and then have them spray certain letters or numbers you call out.
4. Use upper and lower case alphabet flashcards to play a "memory" game
5. 'Write' letters in play dough
6., these are great and FREE!
7. Roll an alphabet die and color or paint which letters you land on
8. Use a q-tip to paint/trace letters onto paper
9. Put a print out with letters your are working on in plastic sheet protector and trace with dry erase marker
10. Play with magnetic letters. Example:Pull letters out of hat and name them as you stick them to a cookie sheet. Or this idea.
11. Build letters with blocks
12. Use water to draw on a chalk board and have your child 'trace' the water lines
13. Draw and cut out a large letter(s) from construction paper and then decorate with glitter, tissue paper, cereal etc.
14. Write letters on Easter eggs and have an Easter egg hunt. Have them say the letter as they find them.
15. Try and make the letter with your body. We have a great book that inspired this called
16. Make pages for an 'ABC' Book. Have your child write the letter and then color and paste a picture of something that starts with the sound. When you've done the whole alphabet, make them into a book with a hole punch and ribbon.

(A lot of these will be the same as Letters, just adjusted for age)
1. Write fan mail to celebrity of choice (we wrote to Selena Gomez). I wanted to write, 'Quit talking to that douche!' but I refrained.
2. Salt Tray writing vocabulary words. We started using these but any Google search of "1st/2nd/3rd vocabulary words" would work.
3. Chalk & spray bottles. Write a sentence and have them spray erase the subject noun, verb, adjective, etc. Or if they are just learning to read, write sight words and have them spray down the words you call out. The possibilities are endless
4. This is hosted through her school but it looks like you can register for a free account regardless. She really loves this site and it has lots of subjects and great feedback the parents can check.
5. Spell vocab/spelling words in play dough
6. Write a story using a writing prompt. I don't have as many ideas for the "Writing" category because multiple days involve using writing prompts. Here are some I found via Pinterest that are super easy to print and use: Free Writing Prompts
7. Q-tip painting vocab and spelling words
8. Vocabulary prompt I found via Pinterest here
9. Spell words on your spelling list with magnetic letters
10.Write spelling list words on chalk board. Bonus if they make them artistic looking

(A lot of these are the same as letters, just subbing in numbers and math concepts instead)
1. Sort color teddies into groups, count them, make patterns. Teddy activities can be found here
2. Chalk & Spray bottles again. This time identifying numbers, shapes, or spraying '2' of something, etc.
3. Put number flashcards 1-10, or even harder 1-20 in order
4. Print number sheets out and put in plastic sheet protectors. Trace with dry erase markers.
5. Number "memory" game with flashcards
6. Draw the head of a caterpillar, then make it's body with colored cotton balls arranged in a pattern
7. Count with pennies. Not only counting but early introduction to money and the names of coins.
8. Beads on pipe cleaners. Idea found here
9. Make cards (just cut pieces of paper) that have corresponding dots to written numerals. Count and match them.
10. Play 'How many blocks tall?' Let them pick an object and measure it using blocks.
11. Make a row of numbers, then underneath, draw columns and have your child stamp in the column for the amount written at the top
12. Color the shapes activity sheet found here This one isn't free, but it's only 50 cents.
13.  I also use the same websites, and for math, too

1. Worksheets. This covers addition/subtraction, word problems, money, time, etc. While not exciting and hands on, my oldest loves to do 'homework' so these are great practice for her and cover a lot of bases for math practice over the summer. *affiliate link* These books are awesome.
2. Chalk and Spray bottles. This is a favorite here so we use it for everything. For the older ones, write multiple equations out, and then give them one answer. Have them spray erase the problem that the answer belongs to.
3. Count Money. Sort money, then ask them to give you a "x" amount. This can also be tailored in so many ways depending on the level of the child.
4. Pattern caterpillars. These can get pretty complex. Make those little noggins work!
5. Cut out shapes and have your child draw and then cut the shape into 'halves' 'thirds' 'fourths' etc.
6. Can you buy it? Give your child 'x' amount of money. Put toys in front of them with prices written on paper or stickers. Have them count to see if they could 'buy' the object or not.
7. Beads on pipe cleaners. Idea found here. For the older kids you can write equations at the top and have them put the answer in beads below.
8. Makes graphs. You can graph how many yellow, blue, and orange toys you find. Again, the possibilities are endless.

Science Experiments
1. Sink or float? Exactly what it sounds like. Grab a pot and have your kids pick objects and guess. Can also make a graph out of this and kill two birds with one stone!
2. Baking soda and vinegar volcano. An oldie but goodie. Have shot glasses you'll probably never ever use again in your life? They make great inserts for the volcanoes to hold the baking soda.
3. Ivory Soap cloud. They thought is was SO cool. Instructions found here.
4. "Walking Water" Place water with food coloring into a glass and place the end of a paper towel into it. In an empty glass next to it, place the other end of the paper towel. The water will "walk" into the other glass. Works best if the glass of water is slightly higher that the empty one.
5. Sprout beans in bags. Put in a few beans and a slightly wet paper towel. Hang in a window and presto.This was a neat idea, too.
6. Grow rock crystals in eggs. I cannot wait to try this! Instructions found here. Yeah, we're gettin' a little Martha Stewart with it.
7. Make a rainbow jar. Add all different colored oils and liquids to make a rainbow in a jar. This is another really cool one. Find out how to make it here. Sidenote: and are two of my favorite learning sites
8. Make bouncy balls from borax and corn starch. Just make sure these stay away from little ones prone to try and eat them. Borax is no bueno! Recipe found here.
9. Write with 'invisible ink' using lemon juice. How to do it here.
10. Dancing Ooblek. Ok, this looks so awesome. I had no idea that something could be liquid when touched gently and hard when force was applied to it. Then you put it on top of a speaker and watch it dance to music. This blog has cool videos of it as well as instructions.
11. Transparent egg. Soak an egg in vinegar and the shell will disintegrate in a few days but leave the egg in tact.
12. Sparkly Rainbow Crystals. Found here
13. Shaving Cream Cloud. Put shaving cream over a glass of water, place food coloring drops on top and watch it "rain" into the water below.
14. Get an Ant Farm! We plan to order *affiliate link* this one
15. Exploding chalk. Again, anything with the explosions. Find it here.
16. Stab a water bag with pencils. I think they'll have the most fun pulling them out. This is so simple but I had never done this before, I got the idea here.

(Tired yet?? hehe)
1. Tie-Dye snowflakes. This is a big hit because A) lots of color and B)OH MAH GAHHHHHH FROZEN!!!! I would never have thought of this for little hands to cut. Find it here.
2. Oil pastels and water colors. Color with oil pastels first and then watercolor over. Creates fun texture.*
3. Marble drawings. Put a piece of paper in the bottom of a box. Place a few drops of tempera paint and then a few marbles. Let the kids have at it moving and shaking the box creating their masterpiece as the marbles roll through the paint
4. Jackson Pollock Splat Art. I heart Jackson Pollock. If you don't know who he is, here's his wikipedia bio. His art is awesome. And it really does look like a little kid did it, so it's a win win.*
5. Tape painting. This is so many places I can't site the one that originally gave me the idea, but put tape on a canvas and let the kids paint. Once paint is tacky to touch, pull the tape and have a crazy negative space painting.*
6. Water color and salt. Again with the nifty textures.*
7. Kandinsky circles*
8. Potato prints. Cut a potato in half and use the raw end to carve any type of design, use it as a stamp in tempera paint.*
9. Nature rubbings. These are another favorite here. Put leaves, flowers anything under a piece of paper and rub the side of a crayon over it.
10. Bubble painting. Find it here.
11. Glue prints. Use glue to 'draw' a picture. Let it dry completely then paint over the paper. Place another paper on top and lift to reveal the 'print' from below.*
12. Make sculptures with tin foil.*
13. Multi-media collage. Get ALL the craft materials. Let them have at it.*
14. Fabrege Eggs. Blow out an egg (I will make scambled eggs with them!) and then paint them with nail polish or acrylic paint. Since these are typically not washable, this is best outside in old clothes.
15. Buttermilk chalk. Soak chalk in buttermilk and use them on black construction paper. Makes chalk really creamy.*
16. Still life drawing. Make it crazy, creative, whatever you want and let them try their hand at drawing it!
* Denotes that I found all of these ideas in *affiliate link* this book

So that's the plan for June. A lot of these I came up with off the top of my head. Things that I've seen our oldest do over the last few years in school, or things that we did back when I taught preschool, etc. It's been quite a few years though now, so I'm relying more and more on other blogs and especially Pinterest to jog my memory or give us new and fresh ideas.

If you don't already, follow me on Pinterest HERE

Happy Monday! <3


Friday, June 6, 2014

We have been thoroughly enjoying our first week of summer. So much so, that there were two posts I was hoping to get done this week and didn't. One was our summer schedule. I spent hours Sunday night putting together this whole June calendar only to seriously screw it up and not know how to fix it, and it doesn't print right. *Sigh*

I rethought the whole schedule idea though, but then I'd pretty much used up all my time making that damn calendar. It is however hanging in our kitchen, so all was not lost. It's just not internets material. (Ok but let's be honest, I'm pretty sure nothing on this blog is)

The other is my "State of the Hydrangea Address" because I know you've just been absolutely riveted on the edge of your seat since this post. *hint* They're alive. Mostly.

So until then, here are some shots, and couple that only went to my personal facebook, from Instagram over the last week...

We started off our summer with a bang. Bang = lots of shopping

And no joke, this picture was taken less than 5 minutes later

My night owl

My oldest girl's first riding lesson (taken really far away with my phone so excuse the extreme blur)

A very relaxing day with my wonderful stylists

The hose is our best friend currently

It's hard waking up from a nap after a morning of sun and water

Gettin' our learn on

My handsome boy (looking terrified-ly...that's not a the car wash we are about to enter)

He liked it once we were in there

If you don't already, follow me on Instagram here!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

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