Wednesday, January 20, 2021

DIY Custom Dashboard

I love DIY planners.  I rarely use all of the inserts that come with a new planner and I am just now realizing that I know better than to think I will!  It's because I also love the creative process of making things and seeing how it will look in my planner.  I love seeing other inserts and layouts and see if I can duplicate the look until I move on to trying something else.  The planning system remains the same, so everything else is just for looks!

Today I created a new dashboard for my planner.  I made it a top tab that says "Inbox" and while I was getting ready to print out the template, I decided to put a label, "shopping" in the upper right-hand corner because that is where I always put a little sticky note to jot down things we need at the grocery (there's also a little square printed the same size at the sticky note). A 3x3 white Post-its was added for note-taking.

My last idea was to print my "if lost return to:" information at the bottom of my dashboard.  My planner sticks pretty close to me -  I hope that is never needed.  I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose my planner.

All of this was printed on vellum, cut out, and then laminated.  My laminator is my favorite new toy.  It cost me about $20 on Amazon - I don't know why I waited so long to get one!

Let Me Share With You - My Desk

For the last couple of years, most of our homeschooling was done at the kitchen table.  I didn't have a desk of my own so when the school day was over, everything was put back where it belonged.  I really wanted an area of my own and my husband made it happen!

Even though the boys have graduated, I still need desk space for some of my other interests such as planning/planners and Bible study, menu planning, etc.  Now I have so much space, I have a little dedicated spot for some of my favorite Willow Tree figurines.

My husband and I visited Home Depot to purchase a piece of 8 ft wooden laminate that fit perfectly into my space and 11" was cut off to make two shelves that were installed above the printer.  It is well-lit with fluorescent light and is really everything I wanted. It's not a fancy spot, and as renters, there is only so much you can do, but I absolutely love how is customized to my liking.  Not only is my husband very handy, but he's not much of a procrastinator.  When I told him I was ready for my creative space, he set out to make it happen

Below are some snaps of my area.  The pictures on the wall were just placed wherever a nail was present.  My next project is to add more pictures and balance them all out appropriately!

Do you have a designated creative space in your home?

Monday, January 18, 2021

Vegan Meals This Week [Menu Plan Monday]

visit The Organized Junkie for more meal plans

A big goal of mine this week is to tackle my whole meal planning process. For me, this includes lists of family favorites, quick meals, and frequently used grocery items.  Meal planning has become a frequent frustrating thing for me, and that is mostly due to changing circumstances.  The oldest eats a post work out meal that sometimes clashing with mealtime, the youngest has to eat at a specific time before his runs (often 9 miles), and it has to be something that won't sit like a brick in his stomach.  Schedules, preferences, pickiness, all have to be considered and when you ask them what they want to eat, they "don't know" (but you can be sure it's not what I've prepared!!)

Even with the frustration, amazingly enough, they all like to eat plant-based healthy meals, and for that I am grateful.  Maybe I won't ever have a streamlined, automatic system, but I think I will keep trying!!

Our meals for this week:

Taco Soup

Marinated Tofu & "Fried" Rice

Lasagna Soup

Great Northern Chili

Cowboy Potatoes

Does anyone else plan their meals, order them online, and pick them up, only to realize later that you didn't plan for your lunches during the week?

Friday, January 15, 2021

Someday/Maybe List - free download

This week I created a Someday/Maybe list for my planner.  These items, for me, are ideas of things I have been thinking about doing, but for some time in the future.  For example, I've had the idea of creating an e-book of vegan meal plan ideas for people who struggle with meal planning.  Right now it is just a thought in my head, but I've written it down on my list so that when I review my lists, I have to give it a little thought as to whether or not I want to pursue it or put it back on the shelf.  Don't give up on your dreams!  Review them often!

This insert was made to be printed on Compact size paper.  2 pages are included to be printed back to back.  If you are interested in a different size, let me know and I will see what I can do.

download here

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Links and the Things I Love: January 15


It doesn't get easier than these 3 Ingredient Pancakes (scroll down a bit to find the recipe).

I have some serious flashback tunes going on this morning.

Did you know that McDonald's once made bubblegum flavored broccoli?  What were they thinking?

What are the best planners for 2021?  Productivity experts weigh in with their opinions.  I have used a Stalogy before and liked it, but I'll be sticking with binders long term.

Plant-based eating is no longer controversial...I didn't know it ever was!

This list of 50 Ways to Make New Friends After 50 will work for most ages.

On The Becky Blog this week:

  • Vegan Meals for the Week Ahead (Menu Plan Monday)

It was quiet on the blog this week.  I've spent my week pouring over Pinterest for some craft desk inspiration.  My hubby is building me a new creative space this weekend, and I can't wait to have a place to spread out my laptop, Bible, and planner.  I will keep you up to date!

Two Types of Planners According to The Becky Blog

I think there are at least two types of planners (but probably more): 

  1. people that use a planner.
  2. people that use a planner, and are INTO planners.
My sister is the first type of planner.  She buys a new spiral-bound planner every year and uses it to fill in important dates and keep up with her appointments and other important events.  She is highly organized, so having a place to keep up with information, that she might otherwise forget, is important to her.  

Then you have people like me.  I have a ringed planner and I use it faithfully to record my doctor appointments and family events.  The system is important to me so that nothing falls into the cracks.  However, I also change up items in my planner that doesn't interrupt my system at all.  I change dividers, page markers, inserts, and sometimes even sizes.

I change up inserts even when what I am using obviously works for me, but I am, yes, one of those people who are INTO my planner.  I see other pages and I just want to try them, even when I know I won't necessarily try them for long.

I have used my current daily page for a few months now, but I feel the itch to switch!  I'm not sure what I will be trying next, but if I come up with something new, I'll be sure to share it with you.  Suggestions are always welcome!

What kind of planner are you?

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Vegan Meals for the Week Ahead [Menu Plan Monday]

After many years of menu planning, I still sit down with pen and paper and declare, "I have no idea what to fix!"  Am I the only one?  Menu Plan Monday, hosted by the Organizing Junkie, is a great place to find inspiration.

Here's what my family has planned for this week:

Spaghetti and (vegan) Meatballs

Chili with guacamole

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings (for the championship game!)

Potato Soup

Pad Thai

Tofu Scramble and Hash browns

For lunch this week, I will be experimenting with a new recipe for a rice bowl.  The ingredients include a brown/wild rice mix, sauteed mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, spinach & kale.  I will drizzle it with hummus and top with a few slices of avocado.  It sounds yummy to me!

Friday, January 8, 2021

Free! 2021 Monthly Fold Out [Many Uses!]

My first download of the new year is a 12-month fold-out calendar in Compact size. I will be using it as an editorial calendar for my blog, but you can use it for anything you like!  I personally print them only on one side and then discard them when the month is over.  I never have figured out how to design a page that folds out and is printed on both sides - I always mess up the margins, so this way works best for me!  <grin> The blank side often serves as a dashboard of sorts (see image below).

Here's what I do:  

  1. print the insert on letter size paper
  2. trim the page to 6.75" in length.
  3. punch holes in the left side of the insert
  4. trim a half inch off the right side of the calendar
  5. place the insert in your planner; fold the right side over to the left until it nearly touches the rings (or until the fold is lined up with your other inserts)
Because I will be taking it in and out of my planner a lot, I cut slits in the holes to make it easier to pull the pages out and press them back in.



Weekly Link Love: January 8

It's finally Friday!  Enjoy your weekend, but be sure to bundle up if you live in the south.  Brrr!

Plant-Based/Vegan: These pinwheels look perfect for the big championship game coming up on Monday night - Roll Tide! (This taco bowl looks good as well)

Movies: This guide is hilarious - and maybe very helpful!

Weight Loss: This has the potential to be a game-changer for me.  I hate figuring out what I can eat.

Planners:  If you are into planners, especially Filofax, you'll want to check out Philofaxy.  Every week he publishes a collection of planner videos from the week, and a collection of planner blog posts.

Fun: Bored?  Have nothing else to do? Click here.

Good People:  What a blessing for his patients!  

On The Becky Blog This Week:
  • The First Post
  • 2021 Planner Setup
  • 2021 Weight Loss Goals
It's been a good first week of blogging.  I'm glad to be back at it and am looking forward to where it will go.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

2021 Weight Loss Goals

 You can read more about my weight loss history here.

I've been so up and down with my weight, it almost seems pointless to write down more goals that I'm not going to achieve.  Sorry - that's the way I'm feeling right now, but nonetheless I refuse to give up so I push forward.

In November I started counting calories and began to lose weight.  Although my ultimate plan is to follow a plant-based diet, I found myself adding things to my diet that I felt made it easier to count the calories.  Before long I was on a slippery slope and found myself in a place I didn't want to be.

Here we are in January - the perfect time to get a grip, you know what I'm saying. 

So, first and foremost - I'm eating a plant-based diet.  I am convinced in my heart that it is 100% the right way to go.  No added oil, no meat, no dairy.  That's how I roll.

Portion control.  Many in the plant-based community believe that you can eat as much as you want as long as you are eating whole foods.  This is obviously not so, if it were, I wouldn't be needing to lose weight.

Exercise.  If you can move, you gotta move.  I know I can lose weight without moving but it's harder and it is not good for me.  Besides, I plan to be more and more active as I lose weight.  That is not going to happen automatically - I have to start moving now!

Now that I read over these goals, I see that they are not unlike the goals of most people who are wanting to lose weight. I think just listing them helps me believe I am taking a stand, and am stating:  this is where we go from here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2021 Planner Setup

The first of the year is such a good time to post about what organizing system you are going to be using for the months ahead.  I have tried many different planner sizes, inserts, and systems, but I always come back to what is tried and true.  I started learning how to use a planner in 2014, and my main source was Kristy at Giftie Etcetera.  I will share with you below my core system.

Size:  I use personal size planners, but use inserts that are 6.75 x 4.25, or Compact size (commonly used in Franklin Covey planners).

Dividers: I made my own dividers by printing the tab names on vellum, and then laminating and cutting them out.   Since I love the whole DIY aspect, I frequently make a lot of my own accessories.

Side tab names: Daily, Weekly, Monthly,  Projects, Health, & Food.  
Top tabs:  daily page marker by Franklin Covey, A-Z files laminated tab, and an Avery sticky tab for quick access to my goals section.

A-Z tabs: These tabs are address page dividers.  I have always used them in my planner as a filing cabinet of sorts.  I include information to remember (passwords, phone numbers, the name of the makeup I use) on the address section of the dividers themself, and file other information alphabetically as needed (such as Someday List under "s" and Review List under "r").

Inserts: I plan using daily, weekly, and monthly insert pages.  All 12 months, as well as a 2022 Future Page, are kept under the monthly tab.  For weekly, I use a week on 1 page, with a Mon-Sat column and a weekly tasks and priorities column.  Every week I transfer important events and appointments to this page, as well as list the tasks I want to get done that week (but they don't have a firm due date). The tasks eventually get transferred to a daily page and are either marked off as completed or migrated to another day or week as needed.

Projects: Projects are to-do items that require more than one step to complete. I usually plan family events, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, in my project pages.  For me, it is just a larger workspace with more room to make related lists and notes.

Health: I'm not using this section as much as I thought I would.  Currently, I have a tracker to record any health-related items or symptoms for my whole family, my medication list, and a pounds loss tracker.

Food: Master grocery list, family favorite meals, menu planning, etc.

That's it!  If you have any questions about my setup, feel free to ask them in the comments below or send a message under "Contact" in the sidebar.

Monday, January 4, 2021

The First Post

 Welcome to The Becky Blog!  My name is, wait for it...Becky!  LOL!

I've been blogging off and on for 20 years. Wait, what?  20 years?  That's crazy!  I started when my oldest was 5 months old, and he just turned 20.  So yeah, like I said, crazy!

My sons graduated high school in the summer of 2020 and my homeschooling responsibilities are over.  That leaves me with time on my hands and blogging is what I love doing.  I've had mommy blogs, homeschooling blogs, weight loss blogs, planner blogs, recipe blogs, and probably more.  What now?  I have decided to do a personal blog, much like the one I began in 2001, but instead of focusing on one subject, I'll probably hit a bit on all of them.  My blog isn't monetized, and I'm not trying to make money.  I just want to have some fun doing and sharing the things I enjoy most.

I'd love to have you join me on this journey of life after homeschooling, and if you have a blog...I'd love to visit yours!

Note:  Today my laptop goes into the shop to have the screen replaced.  When I get it back, I'll update this layout and make it a bit more fun!