Christmas Planner!!!

Christmas is only 48 days away! I cannot wait! Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday. I am one that puts up the trees and listens to Christmas music way too early. I just get giddy about the holiday. I am rubbing off on my kids too as they have been singing Christmas songs and keep asking when we can put the tree up.

The holidays get hectic for me. The older the kids get the more holiday events we attend. I need to be organized in order to have a stress free holiday. I have been using a Holiday Planner for 4 years now. My first year I used one from Organized Christmas. They had several different types of planners with several free printables. Year two I used some of my printables from Organized Christmas and made a few of my own. Year three I found several bloggers with free holiday printables and pick various forms that suited me, but I hated that they didn't all match or have a theme. This year I thought I would create my own based on the past three years printables. Well time was getting the best of me so I went in search of a Christmas Planner in blog land.

The angels began to sing when I visited one of my absolute favorite bloggers, A Bowl Full of Lemons!!! Toni has created the most amazing holiday planner with everything you need to stay organized this Christmas! She does charge a minimal fee for her planner but it was worth every penny spent!

My planner set-up

I print all my pages on white card stock because it is more durable then regular paper and I love to use Sharpies! The card stock prevents the bleed thru from the pens. I purchased a three ring binder, printed my cover page, and slapped it in. I was already happy!

The very next thing in my planner is my calendar. I have a calendar for November and December. The calendar helps me plan out when I am decorating, all our holiday events, when the kids are on holiday breaks and more. I downloaded my calendar from Eli Blog. You can get it here.

I just loved how they had that Subway Art feel to them.

The next item in my planner is just a 3 hole punch poly pocket to keep loose items in. I put coupons, Christmas lists, notes and more in there.  I also put two envelopes in the pocket to hold my gift receipts and shopping receipts. I even gave the front of the envelopes a Christmas feel - it makes me smile when I pull them out! I then put tabbed dividers in and used my label maker to label each tab.

Tab One:
My first tab in my planner is my shopping tab. I love how Toni's holiday shopping list is set up. There is are so many more items to purchase then just gifts at Christmas. I now have a place to jot down any new decorations I need to pick up, Christmas card items, wrapping items, and a spot for miscellaneous items to purchase. I then have her Black Friday shopping form. I usually go shopping on black Friday (more for the fun then anything) but I now have a spot to jot down the store, the item I need, the price, and the time frame to get the item. So important to stay on task on that big shopping day! I use her Gift Giving list to keep track of those non-family gifts to give - teachers, neighbors, friends.

Tab Two:
The second tab is my budget for gift buying. My husband and I sit down every Christmas and set our budget for each family member, each other, our kids and non-family gifts. This tab is huge to me. It keeps me on budget and also gives me a place to keep track of gifts bought.

Tab Three:
The third tab is lists. The My Christmas Wish List form is a great way to let people know what your number one item is, things you want versus things you need, sizes, and more. I added a gift card list for stores that I love gift cards from too. I will also punch in the list I get from others for reference.

Tab Four:
The fourth tab is my events tab. Toni has a wonderful way to keep track of all those events to take the kiddos to around the holidays. Whenever I receive an email or find an event that we might want to go to I jot it down. I missed out on a Groupon last year for an event that I would have loved to take the kids to!

Tab Five:
The fifth tab is food! Now I occasionally host a Christmas dinner, but I will be using the Holiday Menu Plan for any event that I will be hosting during the holidays. It breaks the meal down by course and I love that it gives a spot for preparation date. There are so many things you make the day or night before your event that you need to have a plan for. I also love there is a grocery list sheet too!

Tab Six:
The sixth tab is my Christmas card list. In the past I have used a list that you are able to keep track of who you sent/received cards from for 2 to 4 years. The problem I had with that is my list is always changing. I like that Toni's is a one year deal mostly because I am anal and hated messing up my list if someone moved, lost touch, divorced, or whatever the reason may be for not sending a card the next year. You know......I like things to look pretty!!

I am a planner - I always work better when I make a plan! To find out more on Toni's awesome holiday planner or to purchase it click HERE. Happy Holidays!!  

Thirty Days of Thanks

What are you thankful for??? Join me in doing the Thirty Days of Thanks. Thirty Days of Thanks is where you post something you are thankful for each day. Post it on your blog, Facebook, or just jot it down. I did it last year and loved doing it as it really made me realize what an amazing life I am living and all the wonderful people in my life. It was also awesome to look back on what I wrote. If you have a blog or social media site where you are posting please feel free to link up below. 

Nov 1: Today I am thankful for Advil. I know that is silly but there are days that I just don't know how I would survive with out it.....being a woman and all!

Nov 2: I am thankful for my son Nathan. He is such a thoughtful kid. I am so blessed to have his positive energy in my life!

Nov 3: I am thankful for my son Trace. He is the sunshine in my day! 

Nov 4: Today I was thankful for coupons. Did some Christmas shopping and everything is so expensive but with coupons I got some good deals!  

Nov 5: I am thankful my husband takes the financial burden so I can stay home with my boys. I love that I am there for them everyday, in anyway!

Nov 6: Today I am thankful for my parents. I love hanging out with them and making them laugh! They have always been there for me, supported me, and help me become the woman I am today! Love you both!

Nov 7: After watching Greys tonight I am thankful that both my babies were born with no complication and remain healthy today! 

Nov 8: Today I am thankful for my girlfriend who always make me feel special around my birthday. 

Nov 9: Today I am not feeling very thankful. Having a terrible day! But I guess I have to be thankful for bad days so I know what good days feel like. 

Nov 10: I am thankful for another year in my life. As much as I dislike getting older on my birthday, I love to add another year that I have lived in the physical world!  

Nov 11: I am torn on my thankfulness today. I can be thankful for more than one thing today right? First I am thankful to my Father, Grandfathers, and best friend Michael Buck for their service to our country. Today and everyday my thoughts, prayers, and thanks go out to those who have served, and those who continue to serve our country. 

Today I am also thankful for Grandpa Kotwica. Today is his birthday.Even though he is no longer with us here in the physical world, I know he is with us in spirit. I am thankful for the time I got to spend with him. He came into my life through marriage but filled a void in my heart from losing my own Grandfather so early in my life. Love you and miss you tons Grandpa! 

Nov 12: Today I am thankful for quite in my house. There are just some days I enjoy the kids being in school all day and the husband in the office! 

Nov 13: Today I am thankful for the love that my kids give me everyday. I know someday to soon they will no longer want to crawl up in my lap and cuddle with me so for now I will cherish those moments and be forever thankful for those moments of love! 

Nov 14:  Today I am thankful for my car. She is getting old but runs great and I love not having a car payment!

Nov 15: Today I am thankful for my husband for giving me a break from my daily routine. He is such a great husband and dad I never worry leaving him for the weekend

Nov 16: Today I am thankful for my mom teaching me it is better to give than receive. As I sit here making my Christmas cards I am thinking about the smile it may bring to a friend or a family members face when they receive it. I am also thinking my extra cards should go to a good cause.

Nov 17: Today I am thankful for love. I watched my parents today and even though they drive each other crazy once in awhile they truly love each other. They get each other and accept each other for who they are. Almost 45 years of marriage will do that to one another :)

Nov 18: Today I am thankful my dog Hazel is still here with us. She is almost 11 years old and her age is starting to show. She is such a good dog and I love that she still wants to play with me at night!

Nov 19: Today I am thankful for my bed. Silly but true. We spent a good amount of money on our bed and I love it. I sleep so much better and it really helps my back.

Nov 20: Today I am thankful for candles. It is amazing to me how a scent of a candle makes me feel. I love it when my house is filled with a wonderful scent.  

Nov 21:Today I am thankful for coffee. I treat myself to coffee at Starbucks and today it was just extra yummy!

Nov 22: Today I am thankful for my a day with my husband. I love spending time with just him even if we are just running errands.

Nov 23: Today I am thankful I got so spend time with my husband's side of the family. We don't get to spend much time with them and I really enjoyed my time with them. I am glad it worked out for everyone and we were able to get together.

Nov 24: Today I am thankful for my cooking. My mother taught me well as I made a wonderful dinner for my parents and my family!

Nov 25: Today I am thankful for how I was raised. I had my boys teacher/parent conferences today and got nothing but praise for how good my boys are doing in school - from school work to their behavior. I have to give some credit to my parents and how they raised me, as this is where I learned it from. I also needed this myself as I feel I am too tough on my boys but today help me realize there is a reason why I have rules and expectations.  

Nov 26: Today I am thankful that my husband and I can be silly and make each other laugh. I really think it is a strong trait and helps us to have a great marriage.

Nov 27: Today I am thankful for my neighbors. We have been in our new neighborhood for a year now and could not have asked better neighbors! 

Nov 28: Happy Thanksgiving. Today is the day I should be thankful for all my loved ones in my life, but this is a Thanksgiving I will never forget. I guess for today I am thankful that I now know the truth.

Nov 29: I am thankful for my friendships. I have so many amazing friends and even though some of us are so many miles apart our bond is still so strong.

Nov 30: On the last day of thanks I am thankful for sleep! Wow this holiday was exhausting and now on to Christmas!!