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.

March Favorites

March Favorites

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Happy Easter! I have been super busy but I’m so glad to post today and share my March favorites. There so many things I’m enjoying and wanted to share with you today.

The Featured Image

One of my favorite things about living here in North Dakota is seeing nature all about me. I was lucky enough to see these two Bald Eagles hanging out in our trees. Just beautiful.

Favorite March Moment


One of the things that I want to share is one of my favorite moments from March. Little J’s Birthday! Little J is now four. I feel so blessed being the mother of such a kind, loving and smart boy! Josh and I could not be more proud to be his parents. For his special day he got to celebrate a bit at his daycare. Then he came home to a Mickey Mouse cake, gifts, Grandma and Grandpa Hagen and family on Skype from Barbados too! Having all the family made the entire experience feel rich and blessed.  He’s been enjoying all the gifts he received especially his ever-growing collection of Tsum Tsum.

Fave T.V and Movie Time

If you don’t mind reading subtitles on movies then you might enjoy these two pics. The first is a television series from Korea called Bad Guys available on Netflix. This cast is amazing and the story is fun and intriguing. It’s a crime drama about a detective who enlists convicted criminals to help him solve cases.

I am Dragon is a beautifully shot Sci-Fi fantasy story from Russia. This one was referred to me by a friend and I’m so glad I watched. I love the music from this movie and the artful way in which the story is creatively and simply told. I found this on Amazon Prime Video.

On Hulu I’ve caught up on episodes of Star. A drama series about three young women trying to make it big in an unpredictable music industry.  I love the soundtrack from this series  also but know it’s not for young ages. Queen Sugar from the Own Network is another story I’m following lately. It revolves around a family trying to farm land they inherited and the struggles that come along with the land and working together as a family should.

For Hair:

You may know from previous post that I’ve enjoyed the Mane Choice products for my hair. I recently really started trying to treat my natural hair with a bit more love. My top three fave products now are Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, Mane Choice 3 in 1 Conditioner and The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Gold Twisting Gel.

The Cantu leave in has mixed reviews online but for my super dry hair this water based formula works wonders. It makes my hair soft and manageable. The Mane Choice products are more universally loved with good reason. They are effective and maintaining moisture and styling without leaving crispy texture or residue.

Household Faves:

Lastly I’ve loved the Grove Collaborative. I have used the grove collaborative a few times before but I recently got an order and recalled how convenient this service truly is. This site allows you to order household supplies at reasonable prices and have them delivered right to your door. They offer products without all the harsh chemicals. It’s a customizable service so you have total control over what ships and when. I love that they carry Mrs. Meyers and Method products and I enjoy discovering new products through them as well.

Well that’s it. My March Faves. I hope something on this list was of interest to you. I want to send out an Easter greeting once more to you and your family from ours Happy Easter!


Let’s catch up – February 2018

Let’s catch up – February 2018

In this post I talk about an experiment we did. Do not try this at home!

Ok so long time no post right! I know I’ve been M.I.A for a while now and for that I apologise I have just been so busy but I’m happily back. I told you in a previous post I was doing this course for work and well it kept me super busy. Working a forty hour week and being a student was hard. My blog didn’t stand a chance guys, sorry. Now let’s catch up!

Can you believe this year is flying by already. I’m glad we are getting ever closer to spring, especially because it’s been so bitter cold here. Despite the frigid weather we’ve still had a bit of family fun playing with dry ice, making salami snowmen and seeing the community play.

The salami snowman appeared one friday in January I believe and the lucky snowman is still standing! Well leaning only a little to one side but still sporting all his accoutrements. This was a daddy day project. Josh and I both work during the week but Little J spends Fridays with dad and not daycare, as Josh works from home. I love seeing and hearing what they’ve been up to while I was at work. This snowman was a fun day for them.

Another Friday after receiving a steak delivery we thought it would be fun to do a little science project with our son. Do not try this at home! Dry ice is a solid form of Carbon Dioxide! Please know that simply breathing this in is dangerous in enclosed spaces but we were in a large open space. Josh or I held on to little J the entire time as I didn’t want him anywhere near the ice. Dry ice will cause severe frostbite on contact. Little J’s Grandpa Boyd,a family doctor was also home. We cautiously set up some dry ice in a big metal bowl in the sink. Josh took control of the experiment and I took control of our son.

Of course when water hit the ice it began to fog up delighting our little one. I was a nervous wreck for most of the experiment but it was a fun experience too. Not something I’d urge one to try to do and certainly not without due caution!


This year I did not act in the Nelson County Arts Council’s Community play as I had in earlier years. Mostly I was just too busy! It was still important to me though to go and support the actors that doing this year’s production. The Nelson County Arts Council hosted Snow White by Marjorie Sokoloff this year. The production was great. If you live in the area, have kids or just love the theater I highly recommend going to one of their productions.

These have traditionally been family friendly plays performed by talented actors in the community. Their audience seems to grow every year and we could hardly find parking this year! Performances are in winter and I am never sorry I trudged through the cold or snow to make it there. I do it most years.


We had such a blast at this performance and it actually held our three-year old’s attention very well. He laughed and laughed which made the entire experience 100% better too! We got to take pics with the actors after the show and took a pic in the infamous mirror as well. Loved it!

Well now that you are all caught up I’ll promise once more.. not such a long wait between post. In fact I have a fun one lined up with a friend and artist I truly admire. Until then though I hope you are having the best start to the year.