Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Goals & Resolutions: Our New Shop Goal & A Free Printable To Start the New Year

It is hard to believe that we are just hours away from saying goodbye to 2014. What an absolutely INCREDIBLE year this has been for our families and our shops! 

Last New Years Eve, my mom and I talked on the phone about our goals for ThePolkaDotPosie and the one thing we both agreed to do in 2014 was make the shop a priority. Since we opened in 2012, our shop has been more of a hobby. A place where we could display some of the things we enjoyed making in our free time. But thanks to the amazing support from our friends, family and loyal customers…word started to spread about our shops and suddenly we were getting a steady amount of orders. Filling these orders on our very little "free time" was not working out. We realized that if we were truly going to grow our business, we would have to make the shop a priority and dedicate time each day to filling orders and designing new products. 

And so we did just that.

We scheduled "work time" in our planners and we spent every free moment we had in our office or sewing room. We sacrificed time on other things in our lives and gave up some of our other hobbies in order to grow our little business. But our dreams were coming true…ThePolkaDotPosie was GROWING and we were so overwhelmed with excitement…we didn't dare think of slowing down. We said "yes" to every custom order that came our way and we never turned down the opportunity to make someone the perfect planner or the perfect bridesmaid bags for their wedding. We were honored to be asked and we still beam with pride when we see pictures shared on our Facebook wall. This has been the most rewarding year for us in SO MANY ways and we have all of YOU to thank for it.

We hope that 2015 is just as successful and rewarding as this past year has been, but we also know that our priorities need a little adjusting again. The "work time" that we scheduled the beginning of this year was not supposed to cut into time with our family, time with our church, time with our hobbies, time with our other jobs and responsibilities and most importantly, time with ourselves. We were supposed to find a healthy balance of all those things and well…let's just say we did NOT find that balance. Ha! We worked tirelessly to keep up on emails and shop questions, fill regular orders, create new products AND complete custom orders. But in doing so, we had to cut into time on those other things that are important to us. And that, friends, is where our 2015 goal comes into the picture.

We realize that if we are going to find that balance in our lives, we are going to have to reassess how we use our scheduled "work time." As much as we love custom work and the one-on-one experience it gives us with our customers, it is an incredibly time consuming process.  My mom and I both have a 2-page list of exciting and fun new projects we want to work on and complete for our shops. Also, we have big plans for our shop blog and Facebook page and BOTH need a serious makeover and reorganization. Our To Do list is quite long for the New Year and if we are going to make time for these things and continue to provide the kind of customer service we pride ourselves on, something has to give.

And so, after a LOT of thought and consideration, my mom and I have decided we will not be taking on any new custom projects for the time being. We do not have an exact "end date" in mind, but please know that we will eventually offer custom work again in the future. We just want to start 2015 with some necessary maintenance and find the time we need to work on new items and inventory. We just know you will LOVE everything we have in store for both shops this year. Many of these new items have been requested by you, and others have come from late-night inspiration. We hope to post a little teaser of these new items next week in our "Get Organized in 2015" post {so stay tuned}.

Thank you all again for making our dreams come true in 2014. It brings tears to our eyes when we think of how far our little shop has come. We owe it all to YOU!!

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy, BALANCED 2015 :) We encourage you to join us today in writing our your goals and resolutions for the new year. We have this free printable available in all 3 planner sizes and you can download your copy HERE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Printable Christmas Lunch Box Notes

When I was a kid, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were the most exciting of the whole year. I remember my mom would slip Christmas cookies in my lunch and write me little notes reminding how many days it was until Santa arrived :)

As an adult, Christmas is still my favorite time of year and I had SO MUCH FUN making this month's Lunch Box notes. There is a mix of holiday themed jokes, blank cards for writing personal notes, a Santa countdown, a reminder to "Do something Sweet for Someone" and a favorite Christmas quote from The Grinch. I hope you enjoy using these as much as I enjoyed making them.

You can download our Christmas Lunch Box Notes HERE.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

FREE Disney Countdown Sticker Calendar

If you search "Disney Countdown" in Pinterest, you will find hundreds of fabulous DIY projects and crafts for your trip. When we first booked our Disney vacation, I spent hours pinning unique paper chains, advent-style pouch calendars, scavenger hunts and more. The ideas are endless!!

But if you are like me, and simply couldn't find the time to put together a 150 Day Mickey paper chain, here is a simple alternative.

Our 20 Day Disney Countdown Sticker calendar is easy to print and assemble. You can make one for the family, or individual calendars for each of your children!!

Here are the supplies you will need:

* Color printer
* White Cardstock or Copy Paper
* Sticker Paper or a Full Sheet Label {you can also print on card stock and use tape on the back}
* Scissors or a 1.5" round paper punch

We hope you enjoy using our countdown calendar as much as we did!!! Click HERE to download your copy :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Printable Thanksgiving Lunch Box Notes!

I hope the kiddies in your life are enjoying our lunchbox notes as much as mine are!! We've made a very special November set that has a Thanksgiving theme. With a combination of jokes, fun facts, riddles and blank cards, you are sure to have fun with these all month long. We've also include two "I am Thankful for you because:" cards that can be used in your kiddie's lunches, or at your Thanksgiving dinner table!! Get creative and have fun.

You can download these free Thanksgiving lunch box notes HERE.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Introducing our Merry Christmas Planner!

Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year! Sipping hot coco by the fire, driving around in pajamas to look at christmas lights, spending quality time with friends and family...what's not to love?

But every year, as Christmas gets closer, much of that joy and holiday magic gets replaced with stress. Busy shopping malls, tight budgets, packed schedules and a stack of christmas cards that still need to be mailed can really turn your "Ho Ho Ho" into "Bah, Humbug."

But the holidays don't have to be stressful! With a little bit of early planning {and a super cute notebook or planner} you can avoid the holiday chaos and actually DO all the fun activities that make this season so magical.

The great news is that you can get started with your holiday planning RIGHT NOW!

The first step is to decide how you want to organize. If you like the simplicity of a plain notebook where you can jot down holiday notes, ideas and lists, our handmade shop has some beautiful fabric notebook covers in a variety of patterns, including limited edition holiday designs {COMING SOON!}

But if you are like me and you want your holiday planning to be as specific as possible, then our Merry Christmas Planner has you covered!

Our Merry Christmas Planner was definitely a labor of love to create, but I think all of the hours of work were worth it because these pages are SO MUCH FUN!!! We have all of your holiday organizing needs covered. The set includes:

Christmas Checklist: This handy list can serve as both a ToDo list and seasonal bucket list for you and your family.

Advent Activities Calendar: We LOVE filling out an Advent Activities calendar each year on Thanksgiving weekend. The goal is to have one fun activity or tradition each day of Advent. Our calendar includes things like:

* Donating toys, clothes and food to various charities in our community.
* Driving around at night to view Christmas lights.
* Visiting Santa at the North Pole (or shopping mall).
* Hosting a Girls Cookie Bake Day.
* Attending Christmas Programs at my kids' schools.
*Christmas Movie marathons.
* And more…

December Monthly Calendar: Every christmas planner needs a festive December monthly calendar to track holiday parties and events.

Holiday Baking List: Use this list to plan what you want to make this holiday season, and also keep track of the things you will be making for each occasion. This sheet also includes a handy supplies and ingredients list at the top.

Meal Planner and Christmas Dinner Schedule: For those of us that host dinner {or dinners} during the holidays, you can use these pages to keep track of your menu and who is bringing what, as well as plan our your cooking schedule for the day of the party. 

Christmas Card List: Another holiday task that takes LOTS of planning {at least in our house} is the annual Christmas card. Our list of recipients changes and grows every year and even though I keep addresses of our friends and family in our address book, I use these handy lists to keep a running total of the people we send to. This also helps tremendously when ordering or printing Christmas cards.

Gift Trackers: Depending on how you like to keep track of gifts, we are including two different Santa's Gift List pages. One is more simple and tracks all gifts, recipients and totals on one page, and the other is a better option for those keeping a Christmas budget.

Online Shopping Tracker: For those of us that primarily do our Christmas shopping online, this handy form will help you keep track of order numbers, online stores, shipping, and more.

Santa's Supply Inventory: At the end of every holiday season, when you stock up on wrapping supplies and decor for the next year, track the items on this inventory sheet so that you don't forget what you already have.

ToDo List: This set also comes with a basic ToDo list for all of your other holiday needs.

Cover Page: And because no Christmas Planner is complete without a matching cover, we've made that for you too :)

Are you ready to set up your Christmas Planner? Here's what you need to get started:

The first step in setting up your Merry Christmas Planner is deciding which size to purchase. This set is available in 3 sizes:

Our Large size is by far the easiest to print. It doesn't require borderless printing, although we highly recommend it so that you can better utilize the space on the page and the beautiful colors and designs will go to the edges. Large planners can be bound or housed in a 3-ring binder or Large Disbound Planner. We prefer the ARC system by Staples, which works beautifully with our Fabric Discbound Covers.

Our Small Planners are slightly more work to print, only because they need to be cut down the middle after they are printed. But we LOVE the portable size, especially in an ARC Junior Discbound notebook {with one of our fabric covers}. This size can also be bound or used in a mini binder, Filofax A5, Kikki K, Daytimer Desk Size, Franklin Covey Classic or any other planner that can accommodate this size page. 

Our X-Small pages are the most labor intensive, as they require quite a bit of cutting, but if you LOVE personal size planners and the portability they offer, this size is for you. The will fit in Filofax Personal and Compact Planners, Kate Spade planners and Daytimer Portable planners. They can also be bound.


Now that you've determined which size works best for you, here are some tips for printing each size:

Large: As stated above, our Large pages are the easiest to print. You do NOT have to print them borderless, however, we do recommend borderless printing because it will utilize the entire page. PLEASE NOTE that pages are NOT in print-ready order, meaning you will need to look at each page and determine if you want to print it, how many copies you want to carry in your planner at one time, and how you want the planner to flow. To give you an idea of what our planner looks like, we typically begin with our cover page, December Calendar, Advent Calendar, Christmas Checklist, etc. The GREAT thing about having each page individual means that YOU can decide how you want your planner set up and you can print only as many copies as you need of each page. That means no wasted paper, ink or time :)

Small: As stated above, our Small planner pages require a little extra work to print and assemble, but the portability of this size is SO worth it, in our opinion. The pages are designed and set up to be printed two-to-a-page on standard Letter Size paper. AFTER the pages have been printed, you will need to cut down the middle with scissors or a paper cutter. All single-use-per-year pages in this set {like the Cover page, December calendar, Advent Calendar and Holiday Checklist} are already set up in order for you to print front-t0-back. The rest of the planner, including gift trackers, holiday card lists, meal planners, etc. are set up double on each page so that you can print as many copies as you need of that particular sheet. So, if you print the same sheet front-to-back, it will give you 4 copies once printed. The great thing about having the flexibility of individual pages means YOU can decide how you want your planner set up and you can print only as many copies as you need of each page. That means no wasted paper, ink or time :)

X-Small: As stated above, our X-Small pages are the most labor intensive to print and assemble, but if you LOVE personal size planners, it is worth the extra work :) In order to utilize as much space as possible for the X-small/Personal planner size, the margins are set for one-sided printing only. What this means is that these pages are NOT designed for front-to-back printing, as that would require margin space on both sides of the page and would take away valuable writing space. But the good news is that the pages can be set up any way you want!! If you open the file using Adobe Reader, you can simply enter the page numbers you want printed, check "Actual Size" and under the "Multiple" tab, select 2 per page. If you need to print the same page multiple times, simply repeat that page number, separated by a comma. {For example, if I want 4 copies of page 6, I would select: 6,6,6,6}. Once all pages are printed, they are to be cut on the guidelines and punched for your specific planner. 

We really hope that our Merry Christmas Planner makes your holidays a little less stressful and a LOT more fun!!!

Be sure to check out our other great holiday downloads, like this FREE Elf Stationery Set!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!! Be sure to keep BOTH of our shops in mind for holiday gifts this year! And be sure to follow along here and on our Facebook and Instagram feeds for more freebies and fun this holiday season!!

{Some design elements, backgrounds and cliparts in this set were purchased from two of my favorite graphic designers on Etsy, Sugar Studios and Clementine Digitals.}

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Winner of our 2015 Seasonal Planner, Plus a Chance to Win a Digital Copy!

We are blown away by the number of entries for our 2015 Seasonal Planner Giveaway!!

The lucky winner is…

Kelly Lennon

Congrats Kelly!!!! We will be notifying you by email as well, so be sure to claim your prize within 24 hours.

Thanks to everyone who entered and played along with our 13 Days of Spooktacular fun!! For those of you that didn't win the printed planner, there is one last chance to win a digital copy TODAY!!! Just head over to our Facebook page to enter.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Help us Celebrate the Grand Reopening of our Handmade Shop with 10% Off!

Opening ThePolkaDotPosie in 2012 was a dream come true for my mom and I. We said in the beginning that even if we only had one sale a month, we would consider it a true success.

Well, our little shop has seen much more than one sale a month and we couldn't possibly be more grateful for the way it has taken off over the last two years. We now have a handmade shop AND a printables shop, a blog, a Facebook page, an Instagram account and two separate emails. The two of us have a LOT to manage on a daily basis, and when my mom found out in July that she was going to have surgery, we decided that putting the handmade shop "on vacation" was the best decision.

For those two months, we received countless emails and messages from concerned customers. When we shared that my mom was taking some time off for surgery, those same ladies wrote back again and again just to check on her. We can't tell you how much that means to us both. We've always known that we have the best customers in the world, but that just solidified it for us :) Thank you all so much for your patience while we were one woman down this summer. My mom truly missed everyone {and the shop} while she was away, so I am VERY HAPPY to report that she is back in the game!!! 

Our handmade shop has officially reopened and we are slowly filling it with a bunch of brand new items!!!!! We would love for you to hop over to ThePolkaDotPosie and see all the great things we have, like our brand new "Cute as a Button" Notebook covers!!!! And while you are there, be sure to use today's awesome COUPON CODE!!

Please note this coupon code is only valid in our handmade shop for one day only!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Printable Halloween Treat Box

We have another spooktacular Halloween freebie for you today! These printable treat boxes are perfect for classroom parties, Halloween bashes, lunch boxes and trick-or-treaters of all ages. 

Printing and assembling is easy! Your PDF download will already be formatted for two treat boxes per 8.5 x 11 sheet so all you have to do is print, cut, glue and stuff with your favorite treats!!

You can download your printable Halloween treat boxes HERE.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Printable Halloween Lunch Box Notes!

I am having WAY too much fun making Lunch Box notes, and this Halloween set is by far my favorite!! If you don't have school-age children, remember that these little notes are fun for "kids" of ALL ages! Bring them to work, put them in your planner…get creative!!

You can download these Halloween Lunch Box Notes HERE.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

FREE Fall Planner Printables!

Day 2 of our 13 Days of Spooktacular Fun features our brand new FREE Fall Planner Printables!! Our Spring Cleaning Checklists were such a big hit, we decided to make a Fall version to help you maintain and prep your home for the winter and holiday season ahead.

And once you are done with your chores, have a little fun and fill out a Fall Bucket List! I love doing this with my kids each year. It's a great reminder to enjoy all the fun things that this season has to offer, like visiting pumpkin patches, picking apples, going camping, and more!

These printables are available in all 3 planner sizes. Just click on these links to download them now:

Be sure to check in daily here and on our Facebook page! We have a lot more freebies, giveaways and discounts to come!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WIN a 2015 Seasonal Planner & Cover!

We are kicking off our 13 Days of Sooktacular Fun with our first FABULOUS GIVEAWAY!!!!

ThePolkaDotPosie{Printables} has had an INCREDIBLE year. We opened our printables shop with a total of 11 items, all of which were digital invitations. And then last August, we ventured into the world of printable planners and we've never looked back! We currently have 93 different items in our printables shop with TONS MORE on the way.

But of all the planners in our shop, our most popular style and size has been our

My mom and I have tried just about every planner cover under the sun, but one of our favorites will always be the ARC Customizable Notebook System by Staples. So, we purchased one of our favorite styles (pink leather in Junior size) and the winner will receive their 2015 Seasonal Planner printed, punched and housed in this beautiful planner cover!!!!!!

We will also throw in one of our favorite pens, as well as some other surprise planner goodies.


 Here are some Important Rules to Take Note of:

* This giveaway is for U.S. Residents only. {Don't worry International friends…we have other giveaways coming this week that you will be eligible for}.

* You may not re-sell our printed planner inserts, as that violates our Terms of Use. However, if you decide not to use the planner, we ask that you please pay it forward and gift it to someone else as a Random Act of Kindness. Please do not try to profit from our generosity.

* The winner will have 24 hours to respond to our email and then a new winner will be selected. 

* We are keeping it simple this time and only asking that you follow us on Facebook :)

Good luck, friends!! We are SO EXCITED to be giving away this planner. You have until October 12th to enter. A winner will be selected and posted on October 13th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

13 Days of Spooktacular Giveaways, Freebies, Discounts & More!

Happy Last-Day-of-September!! We are finally recovering from the back-to-school madness around here and we are SO EXCITED to kick off the holiday season!!

My mom recovered beautifully from her surgery in August {thank you all for the prayers} and she was finally able to reopen our main shop this week!! To celebrate, we are going to be posting some FABULOUS giveaways, freebies, new items and discounts over the next 13 days. Trust us…you won't want to miss any of the fun!!! So follow along here and on Facebook {our link is on the sidebar}. All of you planner-lovers won't want to miss our first giveaway :)

Stay tuned for all the spooktacular fun!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

FREE September Lunch Box Notes

It's official! The kiddies are back in school! We have LOVED seeing all of your adorable "First Day of School" pictures over the last few weeks. We feel so honored that our Printable Chalkboard Sign was a part of these special memories :)

We hope that all of these cuties have a WONDERFUL school year!!!

And to make the school year a little sweeter, we are offering FREE Lunchbox notes every month!!

If you missed the August Lunchbox Notes, you can download them HERE.

Our September Lunchbox notes were so much fun to make!! My daughter loves telling jokes and we thought this set would give your kiddies (and their friends) a little giggle at lunchtime. We've also included three blank notes this month so that you can write in your own joke or special message :)

{download them HERE}

We hope your kids love them!! Be sure to stop by again in october for some SPOOKTACULAR Halloween themed lunch notes, treat bags and more!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Introducing: My First Planner

For the last year, my 6-year-old daughter and my 7-year-old niece have watched me make planner pages. At first we called them "fancy calendars" and the girls would ask if I could print them off a few pages to play with. They would color pictures in the squares or circle their birthday with a big heart.

During their first year in school, the girls learned more about planners and how kids use them to write down their homework and remember important dates. But when my niece saw the elementary school's planner, she told me it looked way too BOR-ING! She said she wanted a pretty planner like the ones I make in my shop. What can I say…she's a girl after my own heart <3

This summer, the girls sat down with me to talk about what they wanted in a planner. Obviously, nothing in my shop was going to work for a 1st and 2nd grader. They needed something for beginners that would be fun, simple and easy to use.

So, after LOTS of brainstorming sessions over chocolate milk, the girls and I have come up with 

Getting in the habit of using a planner does not come easy to kids (or adults). I actually appreciate the fact that our elementary school now requires kids to use their school issued planner to write down homework and important reminders and have the parents sign off each day. What a wonderful lesson to teach these kids early!

But as my niece said earlier…those planners are a little boring and not something they look forward to pulling out on their own to write in. To truly get kids in the habit…the act of writing in (or playing in) their planner should be FUN! So, that is why we made our kids planner bright, colorful and geared specifically to their needs.

Perhaps the most important page of this set is the Daily Page, which the girls helped me design by simply explaining what they did in their Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms. 

At first, I wasn't going to include a traditional monthly calendar page, but when I mentioned that to the girls, they said, "Well how will we know when a birthday party is coming up?!!! How will we know how many days left until Christmas?!!!"

I mean…duh. They needed a monthly page.

 One of the most important parts of any planner set is having a basic "notes" page, but at the beginner stage, we thought having a "Doodles" page was much more appropriate :) And of course…no planner set is complete without a pretty cover.

My First Planner actually comes with 4 cover options if you consider the two blank versions that kids can use if they would rather write their own name in (you can also convo us for custom cover options and pricing).

Printing and Assembling "My First Planner"

As with all of the planners we offer at ThePolkaDotPosie{Printables}, "My First Planner" is also a printable set, meaning you receive the PDF file and print it yourself at home. Perhaps one of my FAVORITE features of this beginner planner is how easy it is to print!!! Detailed, step-by-step instructions will come with your download and we are always available to help if you have additional questions. 

Once your planner is printed, it's time to decide how you will put it together. In the picture below, you will notice that the planners I made for my niece and daughter are bound with pink discs and a laminated cover.

Our planner has a total of 3 sections: The Monthly Calendars

The Daily Pages

And the Doodle Pages.

The discs I used for the girls' planners are from the Arc System by Staples. I own my own laminator so I simply laminated the front cover page, as well as a back page, and punched the pages using my Arc punch. For those of you that do not want to invest in the Arc punch, some Staples stores (but not all) may punch the pages for you. You can also get your covers laminated while you are there :)

If you want something a little more durable as the cover for your kid's planner, you can also use one of the great covers Arc makes, or you can skip the discbound system entirely and go for a standard 3-ring mini binder. Avery makes several options, as does Target. In fact, Target's mini binders are SUPER cute and SUPER inexpensive.

And finally, another option is to have your kids planner bound for you at an office supply store or printing shop. And that's the great thing about a printable planner…you can set it up however it works best for you!!!

Once your pages are printed and you've selected your binder, you may want to consider finding a way to separate each of the sections of their planner by either using dividers (you can find them already made for any size binder or planner), or you can separate them with paper clips or even page markers. I purchased these adorable plastic Project Life dividers, cut them down to size and then punched them for their planner. I labeled on "Homework" for the Daily section, 

 and one "Doodles" for the doodles section.

 It just makes it easier for them to flip to the section they want to work in :) 

Well, the girls and I hope you LOVE our newest planner design!! Now even the tiniest planner-junkies can have their very own special book. Here's to a bright and organized new school year!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go "play planners" with  my girls :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Get Organized for Back-to-School!

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.” 

~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

A friend of mine shared this quote with me the other day and I thought it was the most fantastic way to describe the month of August. Although, judging by our filled calendar, I feel like the drop to autumn is less like a ferris wheel and more like a roller coaster. Those beautiful blank calendar squares just waiting to be filled with lazy days at the beach are now behind us. So as we reach the top of this crazy ride, I realize it is time to start preparing us for the drop :) 

We have a lot of changes going on in our house this year! My son will be starting his second year of preschool (which will be 5 mornings a week) and my daughter will be starting First Grade! This means busier mornings, packed lunches every day and a list of things to do each evening. So over the next two weeks, I want to start preparing for the craziness by getting my planners updated, getting my house and our routines back on track, work on meal planning and lunch duty and of course, get ready for our FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!! Below you will find a bunch of FREE PRINTABLES and other resources from our shop that will hopefully help you all along the way too :)


Judging by the traffic in our shop the last few weeks, it's obvious that teachers, parents and students are all eager to start planning for the school year. If you don't already have a planner started for the 2014 - 2015 school year, we have several fun options available. In the last two weeks, we've launched our Teacher & Homeschool Planners, our new Student Planners and for those of you that want a more basic home planner to use for multi-tasking, our Signature Undated Planner set is incredibly flexible (and cost effective because you can use it year after year).

This set is also to great to use for a Home Management Binder or Household Planner. We have recently updated all of our FREE Home Management Planner Printables and extras to coordinate with this set! 

This set has a TON of great freebies for your planners, including:

Emergency Contacts
Physician Contacts
Annual Appointments
Annual Renewals
Special Dates
Password Tracker
Updated 2014 - 2016 Holiday List
Cleaning Schedule

It also has a bunch of great list pages, including:

To Do checklist
Books to Read
Movies to See
Things to Make
Recipes to Try
Bucket List
Blank List page that you can use for whatever you want!

A lot of people ask what the difference is between a daily planner and a Home Management or Household planner, and this answer can be different for everyone. For me, the difference is that my daily planner is something only I look at. It's where I keep my schedule, notes and other important info. 

Our Household Planner is something that sits in our office for my husband and I to both access when we need to see the kid's school paperwork and calendars, their activities schedules (for dance, library, etc.), our menu planning (NEW SET COMING SOON!) cleaning schedule, important contacts and notes. I always use 8.5 x 11 binders or notebooks for this planner because it is so easy to punch and file the things the kids bring home from school. I hope to do a special post this on this planner sometime in September :)


I have a love/hate relationship with the word "Routine." By the end of the school year, I am so ready for carefree days and blank spaces on the calendar. But by the end of summer, I am craving it. This summer, all of our routines went out the window, including my cleaning schedule. One of the most important lessons that Martha Stewart ever taught me was that if everything in your home has a space, then everything can easily find it's way back to that space before the day is over. If your closets are so packed you can't squeeze in another folded pair of jeans, or if your kid's toy bins have no rhyme or reason, the likelihood of either of you putting things back where they go is slim.

So I am taking her advice and making "space" for everything we need for school. That means spending a little time reorganizing:

* Bedroom closets and hall closet.
* Coat racks and hooks
* Kitchen cabinets (make room for lunch supplies)
* Office and homework station

I am also going to try and nail down a new weekly cleaning schedule. I have updated the one that is part of our FREE printables and I am excited to start using it!

And speaking of cleaning schedules and household responsibilities, make sure you don't forget about the kids!! Although mine both love their chore charts, we have really let them slide this summer. This week we are going to assign our new chores for the school year and fill up our "reward" bin. Right now, we have several cute designs in our shop and will hopefully be adding more this fall! Check them all out HERE.


There was a time when I was SO good at meal planning. That time was definitely not this summer. Ha! But this school year is going to be twice as busy as last year so I MUST get back on my game. Luckily, most of our planners come with a meal planning option built right into your weekly schedule. We also have some fun daily and weekly dockets that also have space for planning dinners throughout the week. Perhaps my favorite docket for back-to-school is the Workin' Mom Daily Docket. But please don't let the name mislead you. This docket isn't just for Moms who work outside the home. This docket is for ALL moms who have work to do during the day. Many stay-at-home-moms like myself have small direct sales businesses, online shops, blogs and more to keep track of, so this page is a great way to balance all that on one page.

For those of you that want to spend more time with meal planning, we have a fabulous new Recipe & Meal Planning set coming out this month that will have everything you need for planning, grocery shopping and putting together an awesome, personalized recipe planner. So stay tuned for that :)

Planning dinner is a big enough challenge some days, but what about during the school year when you need to be thinking about lunches too? I have a whole Pinterest board filled with cute lunch ideas and when I show these to moms who have been packing lunches for years…they just laugh at me. Apparently most moms don't have time to make ham sandwiches that look like sailboats every day :)

But one thing that these experienced moms have told me is that cute little lunch notes go a long way. I used to LOVE when my mom would slip little notes into my lunches as a kid, especially when I was younger and missing her at school :) There are a million options for free lunch notes online, but I went ahead and made a cute set anyway. My goal for this school year is to share a free sheet of lunch notes every month. But to get you all started for the school year, you can download this set HERE.

These lunch notes can either be printed on card stock and slipped into your child's lunch tote, or you can print them on Full Sheet labels, cut them out and stick them to our child's lunch bag.

I also got a little excited and thought it would be fun to do a printable treat box for special days too :)

 These little boxes are so easy to print and assemble at home and you can fill them with anything. They would also work for teachers who would like to give a special treat to their students (or parents…hint hint…you could use them to give your teacher a special treat one day too :)


My daughter has had her "First Day of School" outfit planned for a while, but my son will leave that part to me :) I get so excited planning the kids outfits for school and I love seeing their fresh new backpacks hanging by the door, ready to go. I know "First Day" and "Last Day" pictures are all the rage now, but having these memories of my kids each year is priceless! But don't wait till the last minute (like I did) to print your signs and get them ready for pictures. Nothing like realizing your printer is out of ink 20 minutes before leaving the house on the first day. YIKES! So now you can plan ahead and download our new Chalkboard First Day of School signs!! 

I am so in love with these. Maybe it has to do with my obsession with chalkboards and bunting banners this year…but they look so darn cute framed. I hope you enjoy using them :)

Now…in addition to all the great FREEBIES we are sharing in this post, I also want to do another GIVEAWAY!!!! I get a LOT of custom requests in my shop, but perhaps the most common request is for customized daily and weekly dockets. Some people like posting them on their fridge or family bulletin board, while others use them in their planners and home management binders. Many people like to customize the colors or the headings of the different sections to meet their needs. And since I understand how valuable these one-page dockets can be…I thought this would be a PERFECT back-to-school giveaway!!

So here's the deal…

THREE lucky people will win their very own 

Winners will choose:

Page Size
Colors & Patterns
Category Headers
Your View (daily or weekly)

You will have one week to enter and we will announce all winners on Monday, August 11th! We hope that this will get all of you excited for back to school and give you the motivation you need to say goodbye to summer and hello to another fabulous school year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 1, 2014

Our New Student Planners are Here!

My freshman year of college, I took a class with a professor who required students to use a planner. They gave us all a Franklin Covey planner as part of our book fees, and we were graded on how well we took notes, wrote down homework assignments and used our monthly calendars. I remember the grumbles and moans from all the students as the teacher wrote "How to Use a Planner" on the board. It seemed pretty self-explanatory, right? You have a calendar and you write important things on it. Easy peasy. Our professor, however, said that if we were going to use our planners effectively, we would have to follow three simple tips.

Tip #1: Look at your planner every single day.

It seems like such a simple rule, but it was surprising how many days I would forget to look at in and then as a result, I would forget an assignment. So I followed this tip and looked at my planner every morning while I ate breakfast.

Tip #2: Write in your planner every single day.

Even if there isn't an assignment to keep track of or any notes to jot down, the simple act of writing in your planner every day taught you to make it a part of your routine. I remember some days I would just write what I did that day or jot down a to do list.

Tip #3: Make your planner your own.

One day, our teacher walked in the room with a stack of newspapers. She had saved the comics section from about 6 months worth of Sunday papers. She told us to find a comic that made us laugh, cut it out and put it in our planner. Some kids just shoved it in a pocket, while others (like myself) glued it to a sheet of paper and put it at the front of our planner. The next day, she asked us all to bring in a picture of our family or friends and put that somewhere in our planner. By the end of the semester, our planners weren't just boring agendas anymore. They were personal to us. They were a part of our daily routine and by the end, many of us (not all...we are talking about college kids here) enjoyed looking at and using our planners every day. 16 years later, I am still using my planner the same way :)
Learning to use a planner in school made me a better student. I was more organized and on task when it came to my school work and extra curricular activities, and I truly believe that I got better grades because of that. So if you are a student, or the parent of a student, I challenge you to try using your planner every single day this school year. Look at it, write in it and above all else, PERONALIZE it!
The best way to motivate yourself (or your child) to use a planner is to make it your own! We took our boring old University Edition Franklin Covey planners and made them our own with fun pages, comics, stickers and more. I can't say the guys in our class got quite as excited as the ladies, but they still found a way to personalize their pages.

So with both types of students in mind, we have designed two different Student Planners that are fun, flexible and easy to use!

Our first Student Planner option is my personal favorite :) The Yellow & Gray Design is bright and fun and it makes me smile every time I look at it. This design comes in LARGE 8.5 x 11 and SMALL 5.5 x 8.5.
Both of our Student Planners come with two different weekly layouts to choose from. The first is a more basic, lined, horizontal weekly layout with plenty of space for writing assignments and other tasks. The second option is a more detailed weekly layout with 7 subject boxes to help you better track homework and assignments throughout the week.

Our Student Planner also comes with 2-page month-at-a-glance calendar pages and two fabulous dockets!! Dockets are an excellent way to look at your day or week at-a-glance with plenty of space for various lists, agendas and more. You can use these pages with (or in place of) your other weekly and monthly pages.

Although a traditional spiral bound planner is convenient, it doesn't offer a lot of flexibility for adding your own pages. Between handouts from school and schedules from extra curricular activities...students have a lot to keep track of. And if you have a planner system that allows you to add pages of your own, you can include great extras like the ones included in our Student Planner! It comes with a variety of Notes and ToDo lists, a Class Schedule page, Assignments and Projects checklists and a detailed Project Planner for your bigger assignments and presentations. We've also added a contacts page and a standard cover.

I realize that our Yellow & Gray planner may be a little too fancy (and too girlie) for some, so we have also created an equally fun and simplistic version of our Student Planner! This set is easy to print, uses minimal ink and is perfect for guys and girls! You can easily customize it with stickers, washi tape or other embellishments, or leave it classic and clean!

Our Simplistic Student Planner also comes in LARGE 8.5 x 11 and SMALL 5.5 x 8.5 and includes all the same great pages.

For those of you that have never printed your own planner pages before, let me assure you that although it a process and will require some "project time," the flexibility and customization it offers is worth the work!!

There are a variety of different planners out there from Filofax to Franklin Covey, but if you are looking for an inexpensive, easy way to put together your Student Planner, I highly recommend looking into the Arc and Martha Stewart Discbound systems from Staples. I talk a lot about these planners on our blog and it's because I absolutely love them!

This week, I told my 11-year-old neighbor, Patrina, that I would help her put together her student planner for the coming school year. Because our sets come with fun cover pages (or we can design a custom one for you), we decided to go with the Customizable Poly Arc Notebook so that our cute little cover could show through the front.

We also bought a set of the plastic tab dividers so that it's easier for her to find what she is looking for. I used my inexpensive DYMO label maker and came up with 5 categories that I thought worked well for the Student Planner.


Under the "calendars" tab, I included a year's worth of monthly pages. Patrina plans to use these to keep track of birthdays, special events, holidays and other school programs. She is also a cheerleader so she is going to use it to jot down her games and performances.


Under the "homework" tab we have included 3 months worth of weekly pages. Carrying a whole school year can get quite bulky, so we went with 3 months to get started. Patrina chose the weekly layout with subjects to help her keep track of her homework assignments under each class category.

To Do Lists

This section is great for using simple To Do lists and our Daily or Weekly Docket pages.


We both had a tough time coming up with the perfect tab word for this section, but we wanted a place to house her class schedule, contacts pages, project planners and other important paperwork. So we simply labeled it "important."


Every planner needs a good old "Notes" section and the student planner comes with super cute note paper that you can use anywhere in your planner.

Patrina is already home filling out all of the dates in her planner and she just told me she can't wait to start the school year! She may be the only one that excited right now :)

I know all of these pictures showcased the Yellow & Gray planner, but the Simplistic set has all of the same great pages and can be set up the exact same way in your planner! Our file now provides detailed print instructions to help you set everything up from start to finish. But of course, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us in our Printables shop!

And stay tuned...

We will be back next week with a fun Back-to-School post that will offer some helpful tips for getting you and your kids ready for a fresh new year! And stay tuned for another FABULOUS giveaway and a bunch of new FREEBIES!!!