New planner pages, new planning style.

New planner pages, new planning style.

What I love most about my ring binder is the freedom it allows me to reinvent my life. New planner pages affords me a new planning style every year.

I have used a Franklin Planner for years. This was my first planner system as a teenager and I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Last year I used an old binder my husband had with my Franklin Planner pages. I love the layout of the pockets and the zip in the back of the planner. It’s a Cambridge binder. I’m sure it was pretty affordable and I can tell you it’s well made. This binder has been through hell for a year and it is still in fairly good condition.

My old faithful Cambridge Binder. (Not sure they make this anymore as I couldn’t find it anywhere).

I was using The planner Love system from Franklin Covey and My mind’s eye but wanted to switch the way I was organizing my in 2019. What I needed was more space but also structure. Not an easy ask.

The solution came on Etsy. Last year I wanted to bullet journal in my planner I’d put so much love into but was having a hard time finding paper in Franklin Covey’s Compact size. That’s when I stumbled onto the JeePapeterieShop on Etsy and fell in love. Not only does Jee sell paper in the hard to find Compact paper size but the quality of her paper and variety of paper sizes in her store was excellent. After looking through her shop I found the 2019 planner pages I needed.

The pages I’m using this year are her Day On 2 Pages-B, FULL-YEAR of Daily Inserts-Version B. I opted for the 4.25×6.75 Franklin Covey Compact size punch. I’m loving them. I’ve been looking for every excuse to touch this luxurious feeling paper and take every opportunity to write in my planner.

The paper is a bit more expensive than most. Certainly more pricey than what is on offer at Franklin Covey for pages at the moment but the quality is excellent and the layouts are well thought out. Since getting my planner I have ordered extra pages to use for writing, my small bullet journal needs (mainly lists) and blank paper for journaling. I love the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and plan to use my planner this year not only for scheduling purposes but the creation of the various journals referenced in the book.

I am keeping one month at a time in my Today section with a page finder so I can easily find my day. These pages afford me space to list my gratitudes thus acting as a daily gratitude journal. My bullet journal lists will be kept in my goals section. My notes section and meetings section will house my lined paper specifically for those purposes. Finally my journaling section will house my blank paper for dream boards and to serve as my illustrated discovery journal. Everything I need in one place.

That’s it. That’s my planning system of choice this year. It will help me keep organized. I still highly recommend the Franklin Planner systems and even hope to upgrade to a leather Compact Franklin Planner Binder eventually. For this stage of my life though the pages by the JeePapeterieShop are just too perfect to resist.

What are you using to plan your year with? Do you use a planner or are you solely digital? I mix the two. Do you blend both? Let me know what you think and check out the JeePapeterieShop on Etsy while you are at it.

Starting with Sleep and a Night-time Routine.

Starting with Sleep and a Night-time Routine.

My instinct was to build a morning routine first but after much researching I have now come to believe building an effective night-time routine first is the better approach for me.

Building a night-time routine.

My first step was determining my sleep goals. First I contemplated what my personal “Nice Mode,” sleep amount was. By “nice mode” I’m referring to the amount of sleep I need to wake up and be pleasant.

With seven hours of sleep I can do a lot and not feel like I’m dragging myself through the day. Six hours of sleep makes me cranky and that’s not good for anyone around me. Eight hours of sleep is bliss for me but I truly can’t do nine unless I’m sick. That’s me. That’s how I seem to function best. So my personal sleep goal is seven hours on weekdays and eight on weekends. So far it seems to be working.

Experiment. Have a go at determining your own “nice mode” for sleep. All of this experimenting will aid you in determining when to go to sleep. You’ll know how much time you have to accomplish things between the time you get home from work till bedtime.

I was working so hard during the day that I’d come home, prepare Little J for bed, sit on the couch eat dinner, stay on that couch all night and then turn off the television and roll into my bed. Please, tell me I’m not alone!!!

This definitely has to change. There has to be a better way of living. There is and it starts with a commitment. Decide that the couch will swallow you up whole and you won’t sit in it until you have accomplished your major evening goals.

My must do tasks before bed. My Routine.

Once home, in the first thing I do is prepare my son and myself not just for bed but for the next day. Shower, get ready for the evening and put clothes out. Once Little J is ready for bed I take the time to go through his school bag and prepare him for a successful morning. If he has a book to read for preschool I put it out on his bed so that becomes his bedtime book.

I’m lucky as my husband does most of the cooking while we are doing this part of our routine. Once done with evening prep we can usually go eat. If I was a single mom or the main cook in the household I would move this activity to later in the evening.

My next goal is doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen before bed. This year I am going to try to tackle this whilst drinking tea, chatting with my husband or watching you tube. Youtube will become my bestie and I’ll leave my husband and son to bond. I like to watch cleaning and homemaker videos as inspiration for cleaning. At the very least I feel these YouTubers are suffering through dishes with me. Drinking tea is my way of not over eating. It cuts my appetite and helps me prevent snacking. At night I go for decaf teas or those that naturally aid in sleep.

I’ll still make it to the couch and completely relax. Now no guilt is following me to the couch there I can rest assured I’ve done at least two smart things before bed..

I then head downstairs for my son’s night-time routine. The last thing on my must list is me. I’ve already had a shower, washed my face and put on my pjs earlier. My focus now is doing my hair and a quick brain drain journaling and planning session before I close my eyes to sleep. If I don’t empty my mind I don’t sleep very well.

These are the main components of my routine.

Let me know what you think.

What are your must before you close your eyes and drift off into dream land? Do you stick to definite order and time? The struggle is real. Let me know and share your tips.

Return to Blogging 2019. Order and Routine.

Happy New Year! It’s been ages since my last post I know but I’m back. I was afraid I’d never have time to return to blogging. I have been so incredibly busy! Thankfully, here I am.

Blogging for me is a hobby. It’s something I enjoy but I have a full time job too. I work forty hours a week, I’m a wife and mother. Not saying this to compare realities. They are many others who juggle way more. I’m hoping that it’ll help you understand where I’m coming from when I state; In 2019, I am looking first for order and routine in my life. In fact that may just be the title of next blog post.

Within the months of silence, I’ve been promoted at work and taken on a lot more responsibilities. Meeting those standards has meant more time and training. I love my job but it has taken a while to regain some control in other areas of my life. I’ve never really been one who functions on routine. My lifestyle has been more instinctive. I jump in. Adapt. I move on.

That approach was fine in my youth but as I have grown and added more roles and responsibilities to my life, that simply isn’t working for me any more. Looking for new ways to handle life’s challenges has opened my eyes to the many benefits of routines. This is what I want to share with you in January and I hope you find it to be of some benefit in your life as well.

A great way to start

One great way to start working on routine building is to visualize the routine you want. To do this you’ll have to really take an honest look at the routines you have. What works? What doesn’t work and why? Once you understand the issues you can start to envision your perfect morning or evening routines.

Ideal is a great word because of it’s implied individuality. What is ideal for you may not be what is ideal for me. When you build your routine remember that the best solution is the one that works and brings you closer to your goal. For me that may be working out at 5am but it might be better for you to workout at 5pm. The right answer is which ever solution gets you to workout! See what I mean. Your routine should work for you specifically. Your life and your family.

We will explore routine building and creating order in our lives more fully as the month goes on.

Some of you out there are probably way ahead of me when it comes to routine building. So if you have any great tips that will aid our community here please go ahead and share them in the comments below. Sharing is caring. We all learn from each other and sense of community is what I hope to promote on the blog this year.

My 2018 Planner.

I know many of you are working on your goals and aspirations for the year. Perhaps it would help to look at your own routines at this time too. What we do every day no matter how exciting or mundane serves as building blocks for our future, so let’s take a closer look at those actions.

Well, that’ll do for now I think. I want to wish you all the very best for the new year. Thank you for sticking with me on this Beach to Prairie journey. I truly appreciate you all.

Crop Over and Kadooment Day

Crop Over and Kadooment Day

It is Crop Over and Kadooment day in Barbados. Family and friends are out enjoying music, dancing and revelry in the streets. As they celebrate they pay tribute to the original festivals that marked the end of the harvest during the times of slavery. This festival renamed and given a new life in 1974 is important to our culture. It is important that we remember where we came from and to celebrate how we’ve overcome overtime all the challenges that faced us.

Barbados is on a long road to financial recovery yet the spirit of the people is high around the Crop Over festival. The festival provides the opportunity for Bajans to take a break from the reality of the economy. The festival itself is good for the economy as it draws many tourists yearly. The music and dancing are the stars of the festival. Calypso music is distinct to the region and covers themes from casual feel good themes to politcal commentary. If you ever have the chance I highly encourage a visit to the island during the crop over festival.

Enjoy the rest of the festival my fellow Bajans… Yes I am thinking of home today.

Historic Election in Barbados

Historic Election in Barbados

June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month and for this first post I want to celebrate a historic election in Barbados, my home country.


Formerly a British colony Barbados gained Independence on November 30th 1966. Today Barbados is one of the most developed countries in the Caribbean with one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The Barbadian lifestyle blends simple island beauty and modern living.

The Beauty of Barbados.

I am aware that Barbados is currently struggling to manage debt and find its footing after the global financial crisis. Added taxation during the previous administration put a strain on its citizens. It is my hope that my country can pull through these financial struggles and come out the better for it. Leading the way is the first female prime minister of Barbados, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

The First Female Prime Minister of Barbados

Mia Mottley (age 52 years) is the eighth Prime Minister of Barbados. She was formally the country’s first female Attorney-General. She reportedly began her political career at age 26 and has been on the rise ever since. Despite a challenging race Mia Mottley and the BLP won all 30 available seats in parliament. Prime minister Mia Mottley will have her work cut out for her but I wish her the best as she takes up the task.

My sister Sabrina met her recently and found her down to earth and amiable. My Brother in Law Corey Blackett is pictured above with the Prime Minister.  Congratulations Prime Minister Mottley.