Monday, February 26, 2018

More Bullet Journal Collection Pages

Hey everyone!

So I have been trying to post bits and pieces of my bullet journal over on my Instagram. This led to a friend of mine asking if I wouldn't mind setting one up for her so that she could get a little more organized. Of course I agreed because drawing spreads is a great sort of therapy for me! So far we have gotten through her collection pages and so I wanted to share them here as well. I am pleased with these spread and am even thinking of adding them into my own journal in some spots that I have left blank thanks to my OCD and knowing that I will appreciate the space to add in more later. Here are the spreads I did for her:

I also have a Wishlist page, although mine does not have a price column and I simply check off the items like I would a task. But my friend saw this, and for her it helps to see what she wants to save up for. I think it is a great idea!
She was even forgiving of my drawing of the dandelion; something I am going to have to practice since I plan to use the design in one of my future monthly themes!

Nearly all of my social media accounts have the same password. Or I manage passwords based on theme, like the email account I use for my writing and my Goodreads page both have a literary themes password. So I didn't feel the need to put something like this in my journal, espcially as we are currently in a place where I fear my journal could be looked at. Perhaps in my next one I will include this spread.
For now I did this page for my friend who manages not only multiple social media accounts but many small businesses as well. This page will definitely come in handy for her!
It was quiet interesting finding the symbols for some of the accounts she needed, and as you can tell I am no artist. But one thing I told her, was that this is about functionality foremost. So as long as she could tell which logo was for what site, she was set.
Another thing about this layout, if pressed, depending on the length of some of her usernames and passwords, she could add a second column of sites. As it is I gave her 2 additional spots at the bottom in case she created more accounts after I send the journal to her.

This is the last of what I think of as the organizational collections for my friend's journal. She needed a place to keep up with her daily medications. I actually found and tweaked the layout as she simply knew that she wanted one, not what she wanted it to look like. This one is far more simple than my other spreads tend to be, but we were really looking for functionality here.
In case you can not see the titles of the columns, I included a space for each medication, dividing that by name and dosage. The next section is for when she would need to take it, int he morning, evening, and if multiple times a day. Then we made sure to include a spot for refills, because that can be one of the most challenging things about have a prescription, remembering when to get it refilled.  Each prescription has 3 refill date boxes. While I am hoping that will be enough to get through the journal, there are additional rows for her her to rewrite a medication on a new line for additional refills. Finally I made sure to have a Notes section. My friend wanted a spot for the prescribing doctor, I wanted her to have a spot on the effectiveness and/or side effects of each medication. Notes was our compromise in the space we had. We are both happy with this layout.

My friend really fell in love with this page when she found it on Pinterest. She finds joy in doing little things to make other people's days brighter, something I love about her. So I took the spread she had found and grabbed a couple of the things I knew would be easy for her to do. The rest of the space on the page is for her to fill in more of the random acts that she would like to do, would feel comfortable doing, and even a few that I would consider bigger acts that she might be interested in doing.
I love this spread and am considering doing something like it in one of the blank spots later in my journal as a sort of list my children and I could accomplish this summer. When you have it down on the page, it makes it more difficult for you to forget about it. I like the thought of having my journal hold me accountable for doing a little something that could brighten someone else's day.

This last spread was something that I pushed to put in the journal, actually. I wanted to make sure that my best friend took time to make sure she was ok. This spread gives her a few ideas of what to do when she might need a little pick up or a chance to focus on herself for a minute.
I am also looking forward to putting this spread into my own journal in the first available free space because it is a great one! Everyone needs to make time for self care and having a page with ideas for that makes it a little less overwhelming when you might be too stressed to think beyond your need to simply stop and think about yourself.
I also love this particular spread because it makes you slow down and think about what you might need when taking time for yourself. Instead of a spread that simply lists a variety of activities, this one is more focused, something I need in my journal.
As you can tell I wrote down plenty of ideas for my friend, things that I know will help her, things that she would be comfortable with doing. However, I also left plenty of room for her to write in her own activities, things that she has found work best for her over the years. I highly recommend doing something like this in your own journal!

That is it so far for her stuff. Besides a calendar I have left blank for birthdays and anniversaries that I may post a picture of later, depending on if it is actually requested, and a rather long private note that I wrote for her to help remind her how incredible she is. We haven't made it far in the prep for her journal, but I have time to kill so I can wait for her to be ready. I have also been using that time to begin working on my May spreads already! Y'all, this journal thing is so incredibly relaxing for me. I love doing it!
So today I leave you with another of the notes I have added to the free space I have in each daily spread. It was something I have heard plenty of times and loved and when my mother shared it on Facebook when I was having a bad day, I knew it was something I had to include in my journal. The scrap of paper I wrote the words on is part of the wrapping my bullet journals from my mother were wrapped in. She said they came that way when she ordered them and the colors and designs are so incredible I had to save them for my journals. Keep these words close to your heart, guys! And I hope your February ends on a high note!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Some of my Bullet Journal

With January done, I thought I would share a few of the spreads that kept me going through the month. I am using my journal not only to keep track of everything we have going on, but to help me take a closer look at myself day to day. This means including a mood tracker so that I am forced to sit and really think about how the day went, spaces on my habit tracker to keep up with anxiety and headaches, and a Notes section on each daily to write a little like I would have in my old journals. I am loving it! This new system has really helped me focus on myself and my mental health a little each day. And with my writing coupled in, I choose to lay down the problems rather than dragging them into tomorrow. I won't say this system is perfect, I still have issues I need to handle in my life in order to get rid of one of my biggest contributors of anxiety, but I do think it is helping me on a smaller scale.

So, my dailies:
I never fill up all the space in the "To Do" or "Goals" boxes, although on a few busy days I have come close. Mainly the boxes are so big because I have this OCD-driven urge to use an entire page for a daily spread and I didn't have too much to fill space. Having a large box for the "To Do" box also allows for a little sigh of relief when the box is mostly empty on a hard day.

Something important about this set up for me: I don't let myself feel discouraged if any of the black boxes are left empty. I try to do better the next day, but I know that while the black is set in stone, there will always be that bar on every daily forever, it is there to encourage better habits, not demand them. It's the end of January and neither the "miles" or "workout" boxes have been filled a single time thanks to the weather. And that it ok.

My notes section also doesn't always get filled. Sometimes it's just a comment on how many new Pokemon I got. It's a mind dump space for me to just let it out. And I love having it.

The gratitude log:
This is something I have tried many times over the past few years, keeping up with things that I am thankful for in my day to day. Sometimes it worked out pretty well, when I was having good days. But I changed it a little this year. I am allowed to be grateful for the same thing 3 days in a row, especially if it is the only thing keeping me going on bad days. I am allowed to not fill it in if the day has been rough and I can't think of anything, or if I forgot to fill it out and looking back that day was blurry and who knows what I was thankful for. I am giving myself leeway. And I think it turned out really well this month! I am looking forward to continuing it in future months, despite having a drawn out battle with March's design thanks to the theme and my need to keep these things looking pretty consistent. We will see how it turns out.

One thing about my version of this, I tend to offer up an explanation for why I am so grateful for a particular thing. And sometimes that works really well. Like when my husband does something incredible
and I want to talk about it for hours, and then the next day I have forgotten why I married him because he left his socks in the middle of kitchen table. I love being able to look back on why I was grateful for something. However, this year I am letting myself get away with not elaborating. Day 1 simply says Jareth. Do I really need to go into detail on why I am so lucky to have my son the day of his birthday when we have so much to do? No. I can simply be happy I have him.

My last main spread to help with my mental health this year, is my yearly mood tracker. This one is at the start of the whole journal. I also have one next to my monthly habit tracker that I fill into little designs to fit my monthly theme, I think I will post that in March because that is the one I am most happy with. Right now I want to share my yearly with you.
This is the sit down in the evening and really think about how today felt tracker. This one forces me to stop and think about my overall mood because there isn't space to really detail out the ups and downs of some of my days (I do that in the monthly one) but instead I have to think a little closer on how I generally felt. Some days I do mix colors, there are great days striped with some anxiety, and I do that on the days when the anxiety or anger or exhaustion was so overwhelmingly noticeable, it had to be noted on the long run. I am so grateful for this spread! At the end of January I took a look at it and noticed way more pink days than I thought I would have had. Days where things were great and I was really happy with how things are going. I am looking forward to those days in the future and seeing how it all changes with a new house, family experiences, weather changes, all that. I think this is my favorite page in my journal!

Oh, "Inside Liv" is my daughter's page. She is journaling with me, and while she doesn't always sit down to do it, we are having fun sharing the time in the evenings when we do get to sit and fill in our trackers and dailies together. I encourage you to share this with your kids!

Those are a couple of my major spreads helping with my day to day mental health. Remember, this kind of thing is no substitute for seeing a professional, it is simply a tool I am using to help manage my day to day with my depression, anxiety, and OCD. I hope that some of this helps you with finding ways to help yourself in your own bullet journal. And check out Pinterest for ideas on other mental health related spreads and blogs. Research before you jump into something like using a bullet journal to help manage problems, because sometimes what works for someone else could really be a bad idea for you!

I wish you the best of luck with your spreads and journal. I would love to see what you have in your own journal! Feel free to share in the comments or find me on Instagram or Tumblr (I am trying to increase my presence on there, so be patient) to share with me! Have a beautiful February!

Something I have written in one of the blank spaces on my dailies, right next to my goals. This spot is used for doodles, stickers, quotes, or even just left blank. My mother shared these words with me and it touched my soul.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Jareth's Harry Potter Themed 11th Birthday Party

It's no secret that I am raising little nerds to carry on the mantle, just as my mother and grandmother did before me. Dudes, I am a legit third generation Trekkie and proud of it. So there was never any doubt when I looked at my son and suggested that he have a Harry Potter/Hogwarts themed birthday party the year he would be receiving his letter to Hogwarts. My heart smiled bright when he enthusiastically agreed. What followed was straight out of my best dreams!

To prepare we watched all of the Harry Potter movies, starting on Dec 29th, a day after ABC Family aired the first movie for their final marathon before turning the series over to HBO. We ended the marathon with the last 3 movies back-to-back on Jan 3rd thanks to HBO Now. I cried, Jareth cuddled with me and rubbed my back, everyone had a great time.

At this point I had already been planning the party, but had to get down to business of actually doing things. So things were ordered on Amazon Prime, Walmart was raided for crafts, and invites were printed off. Because Jareth is a New Year baby, we always wait for school to be back in session before throwing the party so that he can invite classmates. This year, twice as many kids as usual attended and it was a blast!

Oh, before I talk about the party, I want to celebrate my little man. When I suggested that Jareth throw a party centered around an orphan hero, I went ahead and threw out the idea that he pick a charity, to give to those in need, in kind of memory of Harry and his second chance and becoming something great despite his beginning. It took Jareth a week to decide before he smiled, agreed, and listened to the charities I had to suggest. His birthday was then dedicated to New Leash On Life which takes in dogs facing termination and pairs them with inmates seeking a second chance. We were thrilled to get to raise money for them.

So, leading up to the big day I asked Jareth to take the Buzzfeed Sorting Quiz, to find out his Hogwarts house. But then I wouldn't tell him which house he was in. Because I wanted to sort him. Sadly the Sorting Hat was not to be, along with the Dementor Pinata. But Jareth was ok with their absences. As the kids arrived I had the ones who didn't know where they belonged take the quiz on my phone and I wrote down their houses and glued pins on the ties. Finally we were ready!

Before a student can attend Hogwarts they need a few things. So the kids had to pick out their wands:

And choose the animal they would be taking with them:

Then we had the kids line up and I got to call out their houses. At that point I had an adult from each house standing there to pin a tie on the kid now in their house. I got to pin one new Hufflepuff! We are besties now!

My sister, Vicky. is a Gryffindor. She was over the moon that her nephew is now part of the house she loves so much!

Then, CAKE!

We also played Pin the Nose on Voldemort, but I failed to get a picture. Our one Slytherin, pinned by her very proud Slytherin mother, won the game, despite taping the nose on sideways. It was very comical.

I think of it as a person win, not only because everyone had fun, but because EVERYONE had fun. I did a job well enough that my Harry Potter fanatic of a sister, who got me into the series way back in the day, was loving it. And my non-Potter fans, the kids I thought would remain muggles agreed to take the test and join in the fun. I was very rewarded by that since one of them turned out to be my Hufflepuff. I hope they take that excitement home and discover the magical wizarding world themselves. 

It's been a while since I sat down after a party and felt more giddy than drained, but this was one such day. When everyone had left and I had cleaning to do, I just couldn't stop grinning. That's something amazing for me these days. And I love being able to share it all with Jareth. Livia, who is only 5, is eagerly awaiting her own Hogwarts party. And so am I!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Obligatory New Year Post

I am sure if I were to look back each year I could regularly find posts claiming that I will be updating my blog more, posting more about all the things my family intends to do over the year. And there is a very strong chance that while I mean well, each year I fail spectacularly. So I won't make those promises. I will say that I have the goal in mind to post more on my social media, this blog included. I'll say that my plan for this year is to focus on reclaiming who I am, as a person, as a mother, as a wife. And I'll say that I have already started a few things to help get me in that direction. So, I am hoping to update more to share with you my plans and path.

The beginning of which is my new bullet journal. I have been using a journal for a few months now to help keep me focused and on track, and I believe it has been working well. So I got my new one started up early on, drawing out collections, agendas, dailies, to get me year rolling. And I can't wait to share it all with everyone. For assured updates, check out my Instagram.

For today I will leave you with the sentiment inside the cover of my newest journal and I hope you take it to heart.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jareth's 10th Party

I realize that I have been very lax in posting about my children's birthdays. And for a family that does incredibly random themes, I feel this is a major failure for me. With all the trouble that I have with finding things to fulfill themes my kids pick, I think I really need to share the ideas I come up with for these themes for others to use. I'll try to do better in the future.

This year my son decided he wanted to do a birthday centered around Miyazaki, the Japanese film maker that our family absolutely adores. So here is what we were able to come up for the party.

First off, my sister-in-law saved me by agreeing to do a cake at the last minute because I completely blanked on the that front as I got caught up in the fiasco that was the invites.
Cakes De La Vega came through for us and made an absolutely amazing strawberry cake that my son just loved!

In case you do not know, this is Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle. It became a funny joke that Vega saved my bacon from burning.

For a game we played "Pin the face on NoFace." Unfortunately my son thinking rationally and used a trick to figure out where to put the face on the black figure, so he won darn near right off the bat. But still, it was fun and the kids were able to take the masks with them after it was over.

If you do not know, NoFace is from Spirited Away.

The goody bags were the easiest to manage as we simply put things that we enjoy in them. Including a pair of chopsticks, some pocky, Swedish fish, bookmarks, and glowstick bracelets. The bookmarks I made from red cardstock to look like the bath tokens from Spirited Away. I love them. I am keeping a few for myself!

This party was so much fun! Even though nearly none of the guests knew anything about the films we took our inspiration from, they enjoyed the things we did and had. And once more my son was thrilled with the whole thing. And after all, that is what matters to me most!

Pork Cutlet Bowls!

Recently I discovered the anime Yuri On Ice. It is the story of a male figure skater who in considering giving up after a particularly bad loss. But then in struts the man he has looked up to his whole career, offering to be his coach and take him to gold. What follows is an incredible story about a man finding his inner strength along with love.

The night Funimation streamed the season 1 finale, my son and I binge watched all 12 episodes. This was a bad parenting move since it kept him up past 11 on a school night and the show-hangover I had the next morning had me sleeping through my alarm and waking just in time to rush him to school right before first bell. But it was one of the best nights he and I have had since we accidentally binge watched all of the first season of Stranger Things last summer. We have a problem, we know, and we love it.

So what did that experience have to do with our family cooked meal? Pork Cutlet Bowls were a big part of the show (you have to watch it to fully understand) and it led to a sort of obsession. So guess what we made for dinner this past week?

We found the recipe right here. But since none of us like onions we did change them out for noddles, something we will leave out in the future. The only other change we made was making our own pork cutlets. My husband bought a pork loin which he cut into small cutlets that we breaded with panko. He says they were a little bland, but I enjoyed them none the less. Plus it was fun watching my kids coat the meat in the panko together.

We had so much fun talking about the show while we cooked up this dish! And it will definitely be something we have again in the future!

Please, if anyone knows where we can get some good Katsu bowls, let me know, because we would love to have these made by professionals as well! Meanwhile, we have found a Ramen place next to the HMart where went for the kombu (and party favors for the party I will posting about shortly) that we will be visiting at the end of the month! We loved our trip into Japanese cuisine!

Next month, my son wants to try piroshki! Another Yuri On Ice reference. You should really watch the show!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Plans

How many of us have made New Year's Resolutions that don't go anywhere? Plans to do things like eat better, work out more, clean out the negative, and then two months into the year they are gone, forgotten, labeled as actually unobtainable and why did we even bother? I did it every year until about 2014 when I decided that I would give myself 1 thing to change and that would be it. In 2015 the only changes I made were lists in my journal: a spot to list what I was reading, a line for what I was thankful for each day, what I thought of the new movie I watched. Things I could write or not write but that I saw daily because of my journal. I still didn't stick to these things through the year, but when 2016 rolled around I put all the same captions in my journal and tried to fill them all in once more. Because these are little things, notes about my daily life that I feel that I can admit to. I won't be able to work out every day because I don't always have the energy. I can't say I will eat healthier because there are days that I don't eat at all. I don't make resolutions because when my depression hits and I don't want to do anything at all, I feel like more of a failure for not doing something I told myself would stick this time around. But I can give myself permission to leave a page blank in my journal because that is my safe space. I make resolutions that I tell myself I am allowed to stutter on because I can always try again tomorrow. Because I am trying to give myself a little slack.

This year is more of the same. My main personal resolution is giving myself a set of goals for each day, things that I want to get done before I go to sleep that night. Most importantly they are things I believe are possible to manage in the day to day, like finish reading the book I have been working on for two weeks and only have 10 pages left. Write that blog post about said book. Do that load of laundry all the way through so nothing wrinkles. And more than likely there will be days that "Get out of bed" is the top goal. Because I give myself permission to have off days, to struggle, and to make getting to a better place a top priority and something to acknowledge. Daily goals rather than something I am expected to do every day for the next year.

My other big goal for the year is pictures. I read in Health Magazine that the University of California did a study on taking pictures: smiling selfies, things that made them happy, or something to make someone else smile. After taking the photos the students felt happier. And I thought, that's easy! I take pictures, I love taking pictures, I wish I took more pictures! And I want to do this. So over on my Instagram (had it, never, ever used it) I am going to take a picture every day that fills this study, and maybe, for a few moments every day I can be a little happier. Feel free to come follow me @mommachristy2 to see what makes me happy and share your own pictures. I am using the label #happypics for this series.

I also have smaller goals that I would like to manage this year, things I can do sporadically enough that maybe I can manage them. Like writing letters to people I don't get to see, because it's great to know someone is thinking of you and everyone gets a little excited these days when they get snail mail! And I want to write daily again, even if it's just an outline for a story idea I may never get around to, it will get my creativity working. And blogging! I am going to try to post on this blog more. 2016 saw 58 new posts on my book review blog and nothing here since March. I want to change that since so much of my world revolves around me as a parent.

What will I be posting here? What do you have to look forward to in my parenting adventure?

Once a month my family and I will be cooking up a new recipe for our family night. All four of us in the kitchen, trying our hand at creating something new together. It should be interesting, to say the least! I will try to have pictures along with these posts.
We will also be trying to do something of a service project once a month. Whether it is helping out at a local shelter or taking dog food up to Noah's Ark. We want to teach our children to pass on the love, and we think this would be a great way to start. I don't love the idea of sharing these projects because it feels like bragging about what we are doing. BUT I want you all to see what they kids do, what they learn from these events, and maybe give you an idea of something to do with your own kids. So I'll be sharing these days as well.
We also ambitiously plan to have a family night out once a month. Maybe discover new things in our area through changing our nights up. So pictures and notes about the places we go will definitely be shared.

It seems like we have a lot planned for this new year, and maybe we won't stick with it all, but I look forward to trying. This year is going to be about getting back to our happy place as a family and for me as an individual. I invite you all to join me on the journey!

Our first #Happypics of the New Year! The birthday boy is ten!
Starting the year off right! #birthdayboy #parenting #newyear #happypics
  • 1like
  • 0comments