Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Should I Carry a Full Sized Planner?

***This post may contain affiliate links. See my "Disclaimer" link for additional details.***

My sister visited and let me explore her planner!

She uses it in a much more simple way than I do, but I wanted to share it with you because the size, 8 1/2 by 11, is one that is great for some people.

planner, 8.5 x 11, 8 1/2 by 11

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The 7 Essential Parts of a Travel Plan

Even though I am known for my planner, I do most of my travel planning in OneNote on my laptop, since I pack and plan at home anyway.

That way, I can keep old packing lists and travel plans for using as models for new plans.

But what if you don't have a plan? What do you NEED to include in your travel plan?

travel, planning, organize, globe, carry-on bag, water bottle

There are seven things that you need to have in a complete travel plan. Some are obvious, but some are not.

1. Packing List

Consider dividing it based on the bag that you are packing the items in.

2. Weather Report

Making a packing list is so much easier if you look up the weather forecast for your destination.

3. Menu/Food Plans

If you are going camping, you can make a simple list. If going into a new city, look on-line for restaurants in your areas. The plans can be tentative, but at least it lets you decide how many snacks and drinks you need for the trip.

4. Shopping List

Put stars next to anything that needs to go on your shopping list. Then, before the trip to the store, add those things to your regular shopping list in your planner.

5. Task List

This one actually goes in your planner. It should include stuff like shopping, packing, and charging electronics.

6. Driving Directions

Do NOT just rely on the GPS. Many places don't have satellite coverage.

Also, didn't you learn ANYTHING from watching Cars?!?

7. Itinerary

If anything is time-specific, make sure you have the itinerary in your planner.

Have all 7 things? You are all set for your trip!

If you think of something else needed for planning a trip, let me know in the comments!


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: Momma Told MeFriday FavoritesWeekend Blog HopHome MattersPretty Pintastic, Funtastic Friday, Saturday Sparks, Saturday Sharefest, Reasons to Skip the HouseworkMonday MusingsSomething to Talk AboutAnything GoesGood Morning MondaysWorthwhile WednesdaysWednesday ShowcaseLink It To MeA Little R and RWednesday's WisdomWay Back WednesdayTraffic Jam Weekend

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Organize Your Day with a Planner

***This post may contain affiliate links. See my "Disclaimer" link for additional details.***

Go get your planner or your notebook. I'll wait...

planner, you tube

Monday, September 21, 2015

How to Plan Pending Tasks

Whether you use a paper planner, Outlook, or Google calendar, pending tasks are a problem for most people.

What do you do when you are waiting on your husband to do something critical, like call the insurance for preapproval?

How do you remember to bring the boy scout popcorn order form the next time your scout has a meeting, if the meeting isn't scheduled yet?

What if you want to organize the kitchen counters AFTER you purchase a new toaster?

planner, pending, tasks, weekly

I use the @ symbol.

I follow the @ symbol with the person I am waiting on, the date that I am waiting on, or the other action that must happen first.

For example, the preapproval will say "@A: schedule appointment." (A is my code for my husband, Alan.)

The kitchen counters task will say, "@toaster: organize kitchen counters."

Thinking of the @ as meaning "AFTER" helps me to keep track of things.

TIP: Write the pending task on the next day that the waited on part could possibly happen. For example, if my husband cannot call for preapproval until the correct person in the insurance office returns from vacation on Wednesday, the @ task will go on Thursday.

You could also just have a waiting on list, but for time sensitive stuff, having them on a weekly spread makes sure they stay on your radar.


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

How Hashtags Work on Facebook With Privacy Settings

I used a slightly sarcastic hashtag in a private group in Facebook. A friend who was also in the group saw it and asked how privacy settings work.

off topic, facebook, twitter, hashtag, hashtags

For obvious reasons, I can't tell you what I actually wrote, but for illustrative purposes, assume I was talking behind John's back and wrote #JohnSucks in the group post.

On Facebook, you can search in the Facebook search bar for any hashtag and see all the relevant posts about that subject. (Try it. Type #DonaldTrump in the Facebook search bar and enjoy the options that pop up!)

Now, if my friend John searches #JohnSucks, he might stumble on my post, right?

Well, actually, no. (And good thing, because John would be really mad at me.) John would only see it if he was ALSO a member of the private group.

(Is this a good time to remind all my friends named John that I adore them?!?)

The Hashtag Rules on Facebook

1. If you post IN A GROUP, group privacy rules determine who can search for and see your post.

Public group = Anyone (can see it)

Closed group = Group Members Only (can see it)

Private group = Group Members Only (can see it)

2. If you post ON YOUR WALL, your privacy rules apply.

Public posts = Anyone (can see it)

Friends of Friends post = Friends of Friends AND Friends (can see it)

Friends post = Friends Only (can see it)

3. If you post ON SOMEONE ELSE'S WALL or TAG SOMEONE IN THE POST ITSELF, your friends and their friends can see it.

Hashtags are useful for adding to the Facebook conversation. For example, if you and your knitting group friends decide to use #KnittingRocks on your knitting posts, you can easily search for all knitting-related posts.

Be careful. #Jaysexwife looks inappropriate, while #JaysExWife looks a little less awful.

#GiftieEtcetera #PlannerPorn #ShareOnFacebook


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Planning Today's Schedule

***This post may contain affiliate links.  See my "Disclaimer" link for additional details.***

Life can get crazy.

This weekend, we have a black belt graduation and two birthday parties to host. We have a house guest coming over.

Oh, and my epilepsy kid is having freak outs at school and hiding under desks.

I have a lot on my plate.

planner, task, tasks, schedules

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Chore Chart Like You've Never Seen Before

***This post may contain affiliate links. See my "Disclaimer" link for additional details.***

Today's flashback considers a system that I used, discarded for technology, and think I might return to doing in my planner instead.

The truth is that a check mark on-line is just not the same as checking something off in my planner.

planner, household, you tube, chores, chore chart

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How to Make Facebook Ads Less Intrusive

A friend of mine has a young daughter who was recently assigned a school e-mail account. It was only to be used for teacher/student/parent communication. Instead, the child received one of "those" e-mails referring to enhancing parts that she does not even possess.

Another friend posted about red heels. The heels were a classy deep maroon and went with her crisp dark grey suit.

Then a relative started a Facebook debate about wedding cakes and gay marriage.

I am an active Facebooker (is that a thing?) and commented on their posts.

I'm going to pause here for a moment and let you imagine what the ads on my Facebook page looked like that week.

off topic, technology, Facebook, advertising, advertisements

Let's just say that they were controversial and less timid than I would like, particularly when working in public places with my laptop!

But Facebook has some built-in solutions that can help (as shown in the highlighted portion of the above picture). 

Don't worry if you can't read it in the picture. I'll walk you through the step-by-step of minimizing Facebook's creepy use of your information in advertisements.

This should be done on a computer rather than your phone.

STEP 1: Select the privacy icon right of your Earth-shaped notifications icon.

STEP 2: Select "See More Settings" at the bottom of the list of Privacy Shortcuts that pops up.

off topic, technology, Facebook, advertising, advertisements

STEP 3: In the left column, select "Ads" as circled below.

off topic, technology, Facebook, advertising, advertisements

STEP 4 and 5: Edit the Third Party Sites and Ads and Friends by choosing "Edit" then "No one."

off topic, technology, Facebook, advertising, advertisements

STEP 6: The "Ads Based On Your Use Of Websites Or Apps Off Facebook" section includes a link to the Digital Advertising Alliance. Click the Digital Advertising Alliance link and follow the directions on the site.

You'll still get ads, of course, but they will be less mind-reader creepy.

Also, Facebook can always change its policies, Facebook still knows what you post, and you should still act as if anything on Facebook is public, just in case.

But at least you won't have ads that would make your momma blush!


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why Planner Layouts Matter

There are three things that you should see at all times in your planner's weekly spread:

planner, today marker, planner spread, paper planner, day planner

1. Today

Obviously, you should be able to see today so you can complete today's tasks.

2. Tomorrow

I like to see tomorrow. That way, I can easily add tasks that I cannot get to today. Also, it lets me know if tomorrow is really busy and I should do even more today.

You should consider making sure you can always see tomorrow.

3. Weekly Tasks

If your weekly tasks disappear, how will you ever accomplish them?


It takes a little bit of shuffling to make such a layout system work, but you can do it with a few tricks.

***Double hole punch daily pages.

They can easily move left and right, as needed, if there are holes on both edges of the paper.

***Use sticky notes for weekly tasks on the page finder.

Since the notes can be repositioned on the front or back of the page finder, this works really well.

***On days with a daily page, set up so tomorrow is visible.

***On days using a weekly box only, set up so today and tomorrow are both uncovered, when possible.

Sometimes, that won't be possible. But whenever it is, move around daily dockets and sticky notes so that you can see both days.


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: Reasons to Skip the Housework
My Favorite ThingsCreate Link Inspire

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Doing Homework in the Car Changed Our Lives

***This post may contain affiliate links. See my "Disclaimer" link for additional details.***

When I pick up my kids from school, we always talk about their days. That will never change.

But our commute is really long (45 minutes) and after about 10 minutes, I know who got in trouble (always some OTHER kid, of course), what was for lunch (well, I discover the dessert portion of the meal), and what they learned (nothing...every single day).

So we do homework in the car.

parenting, homework, kids with backpacks

Monday, September 7, 2015

My Project Is Finished...Now What?

***This post may contain affiliate links. See my "Disclaimer" link for additional details.***

Whether your project is a craft, a term paper, a work event, or a birthday party, there is a feeling of relief when it is done.

After all, you use a planner at least partly for the satisfaction of checking off tasks, right?

But is it really done? Have you completed everything necessary to move on?

planner, file, projects

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The "Almost" Perfect Husband

One of my personal favorite posts of all time is about how to live with people who are not planners by nature.

You can read that Sunday Flashback post HERE.

I still love my husband.

I still wish he'd get on the planner bandwagon.

Feel free to encourage him in the comments.


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: 
Simply SundaysMaking Your Home Sing, Inspire Me Monday, Inspiration Monday, Sundays Down Under, Motivation Monday, Mommy Monday, Monday's MusingsAnything GoesSomething to Talk AboutBaby Brain MondayReasons to Skip the HouseworkPretty PintasticFuntastic Friday, Wedded WednesdayHappy Home LifeWay Back Wednesday

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Organize Your Link Parties

Loyal Readers know I will organize just about anything. If something is organized, it's easy and quick to find, use, and put away.

Websites that I want to visit on a certain day at a certain time, like link parties, are prime material for organizing.

blog, blogger, bloggers, link party, link parties, bookmark, Chrome

For my blogging friends, today features a peek at how I organize link parties in three easy steps!

(For non-bloggers, check out some link parties, included at the bottom of most of my recent posts. It's a great way to discover new, soon-to-be favorite blogs.)

1. Add the link-ups that I like to my Google Chrome bookmarks (pictured above).

2. Divide them by day.

3. Subdivide by time

The pink part of the picture shows a.m. linkups. The purple part demonstrates a party that starts at 8 a.m. And the blue is for p.m. parties.

Having link parties set up this way is critical for quick linking. I just link when I have free time, so if I have free time at 9 a.m. on Monday, I can do just the Monday morning links.

Simple, but effective.


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: Meetup MondayMy Favorite Things. Reasons to Skip the Housework, Saturday Sharefest, Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share
Share the WealthSmall Victories, Happiness Is HomemadeSimply Sundays, Making Your Home SingInspire Me MondayInspiration MondaySundays Down UnderMotivation MondayMommy Monday, Anything Goes, Something to Talk About, Baby Brain MondayCreate Link Inspire, My Favorite ThingsHappy Home Life, Way Back Wednesday

Featured atSmall Victories Sunday, Happy Home Life

Friday, September 4, 2015

Don't Waste Your Time Planning

***This post may contain affiliate links. See my "Disclaimer" link for additional details.***

Once someone decides to dedicate to using a planner, it is so easy to fall into a trap of planning instead of doing. 

planning, productivity

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Arriving Home With Kids Without Losing My Sanity

I swear that walking in the door after school sometimes feels soul-crushing. 

To my credit, no family members were harmed in the making of this blog post.

homework, parenting, time management

Admittedly, their lives were saved only because I showed a superhuman level of restraint.

(Seriously, y'all. Superhuman. Also, ignore the unmade bed in the photo. Just keeping it real for my Loyal Readers!)

After school, the kids need a snack, to finish homework, to do chores, and to get ready for any evening activities. My husband has one or two outfits that must go in the laundry most days. I have to start dinner, finish up my own work (interrupted by a 2:30 carpool pick-up), and sign all the school paperwork.

I do have a few tricks up my sleeve, though, and when I use them consistently, the witching hour goes much smoother.

Let them eat cake.

If there is one time when a bit of junk food is allowed (in limited quantities, of course), it's right after school. The kids need the energy and it gives them a few minutes to transition from school to home.

Those minutes of snack time give us a chance to sit down and discuss their day. That is so important to them and to me.

Divide and conquer.

My husband and I have different responsibilities during this part of the day, and we try to keep them pretty consistent. He helps with math and calls out spelling words. I deal with timers (for the timer-motivated kid), writing, and consequences. He throws in laundry. I start supper and process paperwork.

We are all working, but we are all working separately. It seems more fair when mom and dad are clearly doing "homework," too.

Have a checklist.

Each afternoon, the kids have a simple checklist to complete. They actually check off stuff as it gets done, and give it to me to approve before they can play.

Snack, give mom red folder to process, homework, pack lunch, red folder/homework/lunch back into school bag, water bottle and lunch box filled and to fridge.

Only politely-requested and limited homework assistance allowed.

Each kid is responsible for his own homework, even my second grader. He checks his homework planner. He does the tasks. He checks them off.

If a kid needs help, he must 1) try first and 2) ask politely.

Even then, I don't even give the answer. I will read a word or reexplain a concept, but they must try, even if they get the wrong answer. I also leave wrong answers on the page, even if we work the correct answer next to it, so teachers can see their struggles.

The biggest advantage of this is that I can process their red "take home" folders, chop some veggies for dinner, pay bills, or check my e-mail until they need me for something.

Be consistent, unless a change is needed.

Every now and then, especially if they had a particularly tough day or more homework than usual, we stop at a library or coffee shop and work there. Sometimes, that's just the thing they need to cope.

Otherwise, we all sit around the kitchen table. The television is off and we give each other the respect of quiet voices.

Don't expect perfection.

After school and work, everyone is tired. This is really just the "get through it and move on" part of the day. Save thinking for the mornings or after dinner!

I hope some of this helps you get through the afternoons and early evenings without too much angst.

The Loki was not posing for this picture, by the way. He actually fell asleep mid-homework!


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: Momma Moments Monday
Meetup MondayThis Is How We RollThink and Make Thursday, Get Your Shine OnYour Turn to Shine, Pintastic Pinterest, Thoughtful Thursdays, No Rules Weekend, Friday Features, Weekend Blog Hop, Weekend Retreat, Momma Told MeFoodie Friends Friday, Friday FavoritesFridays Five FeaturesFuntastic FridayPretty PintasticMy Favorite Things, Reasons to Skip the HouseworkSaturday Sharefest, Sharing SaturdayDare to ShareShare the WealthSmall VictoriesInspire Me MondayMotivation MondayMommy MondayMonday's MusingsAnything GoesSomething to Talk About, Mom 2 Mom,Twinkly Tuesday

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How to Write Assignments in a Planner

If you are a student or, like me, the parent of a student, homework assignments create a dilemma.

Usually there are too many to merit a DUE DATE entry without making big deadlines fade away in the clutter of the planner page, but the due date needs to be written down. 

homework, school, assignment, due dates

I solve this problem by writing my 2nd grader's assignments on a sticky note on the Today page marker.

I can't miss it in my weekly spread, but it's out of the way until we are ready to do homework.

TIP: If you are a student, schedule a regular daily time to tackle homework and reading.

TIP: This tricks works well for ongoing projects or weekly tasks, too! Just put the projects in your project section and list them in your weekly spread just like the homework is listed. That way, projects stay on your radar.


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: 
A Little R and R, Create and Share, Way Back WednesdayMy Favorite Things

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why Your Kids Need to Make Mistakes

I was chatting informally with a couple of my 4th grade child's teachers the other day. 

They work really hard posting all assignments and grades on a website for parents, but I found myself confessing that I barely even look at their hard work.

After all, I commented, I'm not in charge of my kid's homework and studying. He is in charge of his school work.

off topic, box, kid in box, child in cardboard box

I felt a little guilty, but the teachers instantly nodded knowingly.

One of them commented, "you've got to let them fail, or they will never learn."

Now, not every fourth grader is ready for this. I have two very different children, and the other child needs more hand holding and likely will until fifth or sixth grade. But the idea is the same.

At some point, we need to let our children forget their homework, fail a big test, or get a demerit for forgetting school supplies.

Otherwise, they won't learn consequences and responsibility. (And there will be consequences. Don't doubt that!) They won't learn the difference between what happens when you work hard and what happens when you don't put in in the effort.

Remember when your baby was learning to crawl and she tried for a couple of weeks, with scouting and stretching and rolling, and failed every time?

Eventually, she learned that if she moves a certain way, she can grab your cell phone!

Let your kid fail at something. Then, seize that opportunity to teach. I suspect you will make much more of an impression on your child that way.


If you enjoy what you read at Giftie Etcetera, please share on social media. Click here to join the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

Partied at: Country Fair, Hip Homeschool Hop, Roses of InspirationTuesdays with a Twist, Dream Create Design, Link It To Me, Wednesday Showcase, Wow Us Wednesday, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Whimsy WednesdayWorthwhile WednesdaysA Little R and RCreate and Share, Coffee and ConversationThink Tank Thursday, Waiting On WednesdayWay Back Wednesday, This Is How We Roll, Think and Make ThursdayGet Your Shine On, Thoughtful ThursdaysYour Turn to ShinePintastic PinterestWeekend Blog HopWeekend RetreatMomma Told MeFriday FavoritesFridays Five Features, Funtastic Friday, Pretty Pintastic, Sharing Saturday