My Review of the Happy Planner Recipe Organizer

September 23
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My Review of the Happy Planner Recipe Organizer

 

So I have finally gotten my hands on the new Recipe Organizer from Me & My Big Ideas.  I love their Happy Planner so I wanted to give this a try too.   I don’t own very many recipe books, and I generally use Pinterest to store recipes found online. I don’t like cooking straight from a blog post as then I have to move my tablet to the kitchen and keep swiping it with messy hands to keep it on.  (Not to mention, many blog posts are so image heavy its hard to find the actual instructions.) Hopefully with this new recipe book I can write down the recipes I like so that I have one place to go for them all without dealing with all that other stuff.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

The book comes with 10 of these little shopping lists

 

The front of the book has the shopping lists and a three page glossary of cooking terms.  The book is then divided into eight sections with tabs for different types of foods.

The tabs are: Family Favorites, Main Dishes, Slow Cooker, Entertaining, Healthy Fare, Quick and Easy, Desserts, and Misc. Personally I am not in love with their choices so I will make new labels for some of the tabs.

I plan to keep- Main Dishes, Desserts, Entertaining and Slow Cooker.  I will switch the others to Breads, Lunches, and sides.  I think I will keep the misc. until I think of something else I want.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

Don’t you love this table setting chart? Its perfect just in case.

 

One thing I love about this book is that, like the Happy Planner, it uses the ARC system for its pages.  This means that I can take pages out and move them around change them as I see fit.

I immediately got started entering my first recipe.  We always make corn muffins using the recipe from the back of an old Quaker Corn Meal canister.  We no longer have that canister or buy that brand but we kept the recipe from the back.  Each time I go to make these I cross my fingers that I still have the little cup out recipe because I am sure that one day it will get lost or accidentally thrown out.  It’s just too little. This was the perfect recipe to transfer over. I pulled out a sheet and got to work.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

 

I love how the pages have prompts on the side so that you don’t forget to write down the oven temperature or cook time.  The prep time and servings information will also be helpful if it’s been years since I’ve made something, or if someone else is using my book. It comes with enough pages to write down 192 recipes, one on each side of the paper which should be way more than enough for me.

Of course, after I got all finished I noticed that the colored top right corner of the page was unusual.  I then looked at the rest of the pages and realized that this color coordinates with the section of the book that the page is from.  Great. So now I have Corn Bread as a main dish.  (Actually, that would be awesome, but no. )

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

I looked over the rest of the pages and the only other difference I saw between categories was for the Slow-Cooker pages.  They have this nifty little icon which is actually pretty adorable.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

So if you purchase this book keep that information in mind, but otherwise the book is completely customizable to meet your needs.  Below you can see this book on top of my Happy Planner to see the size comparison. They are pretty much the same, which makes since being that they share the same $24.99 price point.

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Overall, I think that I will be getting a lot of use out of this book to record all the dishes that I make from randomly found internet searches as well as recipes that I keep in my head.  Also, this will be a written record if anyone… maybe my husband?  Wants to make one of my dishes.

Interested in purchasing your own?  Currently they are only available on the MAMBI website,but they should be in Hobby Lobby this fall.
Do you have one?  Tell me what you think in the comments!

 

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Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY

September 21
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Dollar store pumpkin DIY

 

So, as we have already realized, fall is here.  Although I have plenty of fall decor, I wanted to try something new this year with these foam pumpkins I found at the Dollar Tree.  They are super bright and really quite ugly on their own, but I felt like they had some hidden potential.  (And hey, they are only $1!)

 

After getting them home I decided that I wanted to decoupage them old book pages to display on top of my card catalog.  I found some old books that were going t0 be recycled and grabbed them for this project.

 

Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY

 

Supplies needed:

Foam pumpkins

Modge Podge  Recipe Here

Paintbrush

Cut up old book pages

Newspaper to cover your workspace

Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY

 

Start by placing Mode Podge on your pumpkin.  Place a strip of book page on the Mode Podge and add more Mode Podge on top.  Press down so that the paper contours to the pumpkin.

Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY

Repeat this step all the way around the pumpkin, covering all of the orange.    Note:  Different thicknesses of paper will work differently on the pumpkin.  Thick pages will cover the orange color well, but won’t contour the pumpkin as well.  Thinner sheets, like from a paperback, will contour better but won’t cover the color as well.

 

Repeat this step all the way around the pumpkin, covering all of the orange.

After you have covered your pumpkins lets the dry.  Remember to move them every few minutes as the drying process starts so that they don’t stick to the newspaper.

DIY pumpkins from old books

After they have dried review and see where you want to do another coat.

I did’t love the green stems so I covered them in black tissue paper from my gift supplies.  You could keep it green, cover it in book pages or do whatever you think.

 

Here they are dry and on top of my card catalog.

 

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Painting Craft Pumpkins

September 21
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Painting craft pumpkins

In case you live under a rock, fall is here.  Even here in Florida we are getting into the spirit of the season.  I decided that this year I wanted pumpkins on my front porch but was worried about them rotting as it is still pretty hot out.  So I had these lovely pumpkins for my front porch but they needed something.  I din’t have the time or energy to do a lot, and I wanted them to look real, so I painted them.  After glancing around the internet I realized I wanted to do something with chalkboard paint to give it a nice matte finish.  So I headed back over to my favorite place, Michael’s, and bought some paint.  I grabbed acrylic chalkboard paint as well as orange and gold.

 

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I decided to mix the chalkboard paint with the orange  a a little gold for my all over color.  I then did some accent strokes with the gold and orange and then just the gold.  These were to give the pumpkins some dimension so they looked real.

Easy craft pumpkin painting

The whole painting project took only 15 minutes and I left them to dry.

easy craft pumpkin painting

Here is my finished project.

 

easy painted craft pumpkin

 

Overall I am happy with the results.  My craft pumpkins look realistic and won’t rot in the hot Florida sun like the real thing will. I love the matte finish given by the chalkboard paint. The best part? This was so simple that if next year I want to do something fancy I can just paint over this and not feel bad about it.

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Picking the Perfect Planner Style

September 17
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Picking your planner style

 

 

Daily, weekly,  or monthly?  For many who are new to planing, figuring  out what type of planner to get can be one of the biggest challenges.  Finding out what exactly you need can be difficult and finding out how to best manage your time with a planner can be even more difficult  Today, I want to go over a few common planner types to give you some ideas about what could work for you.  Please keep in mind everyone is different and these are just suggestions from my personal experience.

Daily 1

Daily:

Daily planners are great for people with busy days full of appointments, tasks, and other needs.  These planners work great for super busy students,  employees, managers, and entrepreneurs.  Moms also like these planners as well.  I love using a daily planner at work. I use the  2015-2016 Day Designer for Blue Sky.  (similar)  Due to the nature of my job, I have many tasks that I may be working on in a given day.  I also have other tasks to plan to work on later and I also must prioritize my day to ensure I get the most important things finished before they are due.  Because of this, I find that this planner is a great option for the “work me.”  Daily planners usually have an appointments column and/or tasks and notes. My daily planner also has a monthly calendar that I use to record staff leave time and events at a glance. The daily appointments area is very popular with people who attend many meetings or have appointments regularly with their job.  Although I don’t have too many meetings, (I am lucky!)  I do have many regularly scheduled programs each week.  I mark these here so I can see when in my day they occur and I also records stats for these programs in this area as well.    Although I love this planner for work,  I feel that it would not suit me for home or personal needs and definitely does not work for all types of jobs.

Here are my favorites:

Day Designer by Whitney English

The Simplified Planner (I LOVE Emily Ley, she is adorable.)

Franklin Covey (a big kickstarter of the planner movement in business)

Weekly

Weekly:

Weekly planners are most the most common type of personal planner for a very good reason.  They are simple, functional, and give you a view of the entire week.  Weekly planners give you a great view of what you have to do, what you have done, and where you can fit other tasks.  Also, because they are so popular there are many formats to choose from to find what works for you.  Erin Condren planners have popularized the vertical planner layout where you see each day as a column.  Horizontal planners are also popular, giving you a rectangular box for each day.  Also, there are weekly appointment planners that are great for those who have those meetings, appointments and events to schedule.

I use a Happy Planner as my weekly planner to keep track of everything unrelated to my job.  This is where I write my husband’s schedule, menu plans, personal events and appointments, daily to-dos and my blogging schedule.  My planner divides the day into Morning, Afternoon and Evening, but I change that to Life, Tasks, and Blog.  Because I see the entire week at a glance, this planner really helps me plan my week and put my brain at ease.  I also keep shopping lists, and other tasks in it on sticky notes to ensure all important notes are in one place.

When shopping for a weekly planner decide the view that you want, (Vertical or horizontal) as well as if you need the week to start on a certain day. (You would be surprised how annoying a Monday- Sunday week view is for someone who uses a Sunday- Saturday scheduling system at work.)  These planners often come in several sizes depending on your needs.

Here are my favorites:

The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas

Day Designer for Blue Sky

Erin Condren Life Planner (Check out their personalized items!)

Monthly:

Not sure about needing that much information in your planner but you need something?  Try a daily planner.  These are essentially a small calendar to record only a few things per day.  We use a large monthly calendar at make and record everyone’s schedule.  Checkbook sized monthly calendars are a great start and can be found anywhere, even dollar stores.

 

DIY Daily

Other planner types:

To-dos:  Whitney English recently introduced a to-do planner that has undated pages with to-dos and appointments that you can fill out as needed.  This means you don’t need to dedicate pages to days you don’t need to plan.   Of course, if you just wanted a place for to-do lists you could also pick up a inexpensive journal.

DIY:  Many, myself included, have made their own planners from journals, binders, and old planners.  Want to try a daily planner?   Pick up a Moleskine notebook or journal at target and date your own pages.  Once you figure out what you like you can stick with the notebook or pick up a dated planner in the style of your preference.

 

 

Still don’t know what you need?  Try some of these printable planner templates to get a feel for what works best for you.

Emily Ley free printables

Day Designer free printables

(Both of these sites have great planner printables and tons of extras. )

 

 

 

Please note:  These are just a small sampling of popular planners. I know I have skipped filofax and many other popular binder planners.  Still not sure whats best for you?  Leave a comment and see if anybody has any suggestions!

 

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Rice Cooker Jambalaya

September 16
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The Happy PlannerReview (2)

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite super easy meals.  I discovered this recipe after college when I purchased a rice cooker after my roommate who had one moved out.  After she left I of course knew I couldn’t live without perfect rice and snagged my own on Amazon.  After I got the rice cooker I realized it had so much potential and started researching other easy dishes.  This is one of my favorites and its always a crowd pleaser.

 

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What you need:

1.5 Cups rice.  (I use parboiled, but you can use whatever you like. If you use brown add more liquid.)
1 package kielbasa or whatever sausage you like.  (I prefer turkey)
1 can (15.6 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz)  tomato sauce or paste
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced bell pepper
1 clove diced garlic
2 TBS butter
1 cup water
1 packet chicken seasoning (or stock)
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp chili pepper

Chop kielbasa into slices or halved slices and set aside. Dice onion, pepper and garlic.  Place all ingredients into the rice cooker and turn on.  THAT  IS IT GUYS.

Easy rice cooker jambalaya

See? This is it!

 

Variations:

I am lazy, cheap, and hate buying chicken stock so I’ve been using chicken bullion.  If you’re a stock person substitute the bullion and water for a cup of chicken stock.

Picky eaters?  Try taking the tomatoes and veggies and running them through blender for a few seconds.  This will create a nice puree that they won’t even notice.

Like it hot?  Add cayenne pepper.  How much?   Consult an expert. (Not me.) This blogger says 2 tsp but as a non-spicy food eater I’m going to say I don’t know.

Cooking for a crowd?  Go ahead and add more rice.  You could do  2 cups rice and 2 cans of tomatoes if you’d like.  You could skip the sauce then.  It’s mostly for an extra tomato color and kick.

Not a sausage lover?  Add chicken or shrimp or both.  Cook them before adding to the rice cooker.

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Convinced you need a rice cooker now too? Try this one!

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My Planning System

September 13
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The Happy PlannerReview

 

 

If you haven’t noticed, planning, planners, and all things paper and stationery are big right now.  Personally I think this is awesome as I’ve always been a paper and planner lover.  However, I have found that its pretty easy to get caught up in what I call “pretty planning,”  where the stickers and accessories get more spotlight than the actual planning process which I consider very useful.

 

My planners

 

I am more of a functional planner in that I use my planner to ensure that projects get completed, time is used wisely, and to have a place to go to find a task if I have spare time.  My planner is also where I keep my husband and I’s work schedules, dinner menus, grocery lists and of course events and appointments.

I personally use two planners right now.  The first is a large daily planner that I use for work. My work day schedule itself is fairly simple, most of my appointments have a weekly standing time so I don’t have to worry too much about that, however I do work on several projects each day and it’s easy to forget about one or place it on a back burner.  Because of this I just my daily planner to keep track mostly of to-dos and currently working ons.  It also gives me a place to give myself reminders to contact someone on a specific date in the future or to begin planning for an upcoming event.  I also use my work planner to keep track of phone communication so I can keep track of who I have spoken to, when, and what was decided.  I generally do not write down my email correspondence as that is searchable within my email client.

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My home planner is where I log everything personal as well as where I keep track of all those little things mentioned above.  (work, dinners, shopping lists and appointments.)  I really like the weekly view as it gives me a way to see my whole week and it makes it much easier to decide when to schedule myself for tasks as well as when I have time to relax.

Back to the current trend of planner decorating.  As you can see, I do decorate my planner a little bit.  I enjoy adding color and some helpful or inspiring stickers.  I add these embellishments, but always keep in mind that my overall goal is functionality.  I also have created a few custom stickers that I just to help me track habits I want to form.  These stickers were made with Canva.  Although these embellishments are fun, I can still go about my entire week without them and they are not the central element of the planner.

 

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For my work planer I like to take time at the beginning of the week and map out my days.  I add any important events that would cut into my regular work time and add all programs and any due dates that I may have.  After that, I sometimes add a little washi tape for color or write something with a cute pen.  I don’t really do much more as this is an at work task and I want to maximize my at work time.

 

Just like i enjoy looking at the week in full at work, I also like to sit down and plan the week with my home planner.  This is where I add my washi and stickers and also begin adding menu choices, my husband’s schedule, and other events to the week.  If I see that there is a day where I will not be doing many or any home tasks this is where I have the opportunity to use this space for other stickers.

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When scheduling events and tasks that at several weeks out I like to use the monthly calendar in my home planner.  This calendar is a great place to write down trips, appointment and parties so that you can add them into your weekly layout later when you know how /where you want to put the information.

 

I hope that this information about my planner style is helpful to you as a guide for enjoying your planner but also getting the most out of it.

 

Interested in free printable planner stickers and inserts?  Click here.

Interested in purchasing a planner?  Click here

 

 

Amber Downs

 

 

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Machi Koro

September 1
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Hey guys, today I want to tell you about a fun game my family and I recently played.  Machi Koro is a game for 2-4 players in which each player competes to build his or her own city.

What we love about this game is that there is clear strategy involved but there  is also the element of luck based on how the dice roll.  We played this game with my parents, (not game people) and my father actually won!  It was easy to learn and is a fairly short game.  I want to recommend this game to anyone interested in a fun game with strategy that can be planned with board game fans and novices alike.  Have you played Machi Koro?  What did you think of it?