My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

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My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

Was I always a little flaky? I don’t know. For years, I could get away with being very loosy-goosy with my planning because I was a stay-at-home mom of preschoolers. We moved all the time too, so by the time people developed expectations of me, we were off and away to the next town.

Over the years, I have slipped into a routine of planning as little as I can get away with planning. I’ll procrastinate decisions until they are made for me. Yep. Guilty of that. Sometimes I get this fear of commitment. If I sign up for things, I’m going to have to figure out how to actually accomplish those things with toddlers in tow.

And I never knew when my husband would be here or not be here, so making plans felt like shooting darts– real darts–in a room full of people, blindfolded.

No thanks.

So friends, that is how I became the version of April you have today.

April, are you going to the yada yada yada meeting?

**Total deer in the headlights**

Ummmm. Uhhhhhh.  Umm, yeah, you know, I might…

(Inside my head I’m thinking……IF all 4 kids are well, IF Alan is in town, IF I have energy left that day…..IF I am not supposed to actually be at Dan’s tee-ball game or some Army function that I can’t remember the exact dates for…..If, If, If…..)

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

I love to rock me some babies. Go away, world, until I finish this.


Actually, for the past 11 years those were all perfectly good reasons to be flaky, indecisive, unprepared, uncommitted, and unsure. Did I shut the world out a little bit? Yes, yes, I definitely did.

In fact, I had to google the word “twerking” not too long ago. I’m so out of touch with pop culture, and I kept hearing that word. All I can say to that one is ew, girl! Ew. Somebody get that poor girl a sweater and some capri pants.

But things keep popping up on our calendars, and I’ve re-entered the world of work with my blog. I actually HAVE to FORCE myself to plan and be less free-spirited, more grown-up like.

You people who have a plan amaze me, and I mean that in a good way. You totally have my respect.

You know when you are going on vacation. You’ve actually committed to specific dates, and you probably even know how you are gong to pay for that.

You have a budget.

You know when people’s birthdays are, and you plan for that accordingly.

You keep some sort of planner or calendar.

 My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan
About that….Y’all! I have purchased TWO different “planners” this year. They are both mostly blank. I have a calendar hanging in my kitchen too, which makes 3 planners, really. All I’ve written on that one is what the kids are doing for lunch and when their dentist appointments are.

I even downloaded an editorial calendar plug-in to try and start planning my blog posts. (It’s actually extremely helpful, fellow bloggers, check it out. It’s called “editorial calendar.”)

Only I’m so anti-structured in my thinking, I can rarely bring myself to write about what I’m ‘scheduled’ to write about.

I also have 2 different e-books I’ve written half of, and now they are just sitting on my hard-drive taking up space. My hard drive is so full, my computer has actually stopped letting me download or upload new things.

And suddenly I find myself wanting to change.

See, I bought all those planners. That’s the first step. I WANT to do the right thing and be all responsible again. I always was one-half responsible and one-half not at all, even back in high school and college. I used to make myself plans and stick to them, sort of. Well, I used to make plans. Maybe I never did really stick to them. I almost always turn in everything on time, actually, but I live in fear of signing up for extra things.

So I decided to pray about this today.

And this was my answer:  If you can plan out each day by making a list and crossing things off, then you can apply that same strategy to weeks. Then apply it to months. Then do that for years. Do it at the start of each week, each month, and each year, just like you are doing now for days.

Huh. Brilliant. Maybe even doable?

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

My planning tends to never go past the day that I’m on. This is the typical extent of my planning.


What I do now for each day is this. After I have safely delivered all of my children to school, I come home and have a little time for Bible study and prayer. You have to pour inspiration in to yourself if you expect to pour any out, right?

I close with prayer, and I ask God to help me make my to-do list for that day. I write the list out on the wipe-off board in the kitchen. Then I mentally prioritize the things that HAVE to get done.

That’s why I usually cook supper in the morning, by 12:00, because I know everyone HAS to eat, and I don’t want that task hanging over my head. Also, I have no energy left at 5:00pm.

I see no reason why this method for planning each day could not be applied to my weeks, months, and years, with one of the 3 planners I’ve purchased laying open on my lap.

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

And don’t even say that I should use my phone as my planner. I can’t do it. This falls under scatter-brained people problems. The minute I open my phone to use the calendar or some other useful, productive app, I immediately forget what I was doing and end up reading Instagram or my email or something.

So watch out, world! I now have a plan for how to plan!!!! Who knows? Maybe next week I will make a budget, a meal plan, or catch up on my 2,809 emails…….nahhhhh…

Please share your best planning tips in the comment section! We would love to hear more ideas! Thanks, y’all!








Making Over My Morning…Like a Night Owl

Make Over Your Morning Like a Night Owl!

I’ve mentioned before that I signed up for the Make Over Your Morning Course by Crystal Paine, of

I can’t tell you how many of my friends have asked me how that’s going! And some of you mentioned the same misgivings that I felt:
“I saw the part about her waking up at 5:45am, and decided that is not for me.”

I love that I have friends that I can relate to.

I have friends that are morning people too, and I’m always trying to get into their heads and figure out HOW they do it!

I asked one of my high energy friends this question– How do you get up so early?

She said, “Oh, I just love getting up early in the morning.”


I figured she must have a great deal of self-discipline to make herself go to bed early enough to be able to get up before 6 every morning, so I forged on with my cross-examination:

“But how early do you have to go to bed to be able to handle waking up that early?”

And that’s the part where she admitted that she goes to bed around midnight but just doesn’t need that much sleep.

Which confirms it. She (and many others of you) is not human at all, but instead she is a super-human and must be of an entirely different species.

And that’s okay!

My body works completely differently from hers, and you know what?

That’s okay too!

Why should I begrudge her the gift of needing little sleep? Why should I beat myself up over my need for at least 8 hours/night? I am finished feeling ashamed that at 7 am, I often look like this:

make over your morning like a night owl

6:45 am

I get up between 7 and 7:15 these days, but that is not always the case. Right now, Alan is in graduate school, so he keeps later hours than our norm. I’m one of these people who has to stay awake until everyone goes to bed. I can’t help it. I do. Since Alan stays up later right now, I do too.

I’ve tried to build myself schedules that did not allow for my sleep needs. Last year, I thought that in order to be a successful home school mom and blogger, I needed to wake up every morning at 6 am.

And I turned into heavy-eyelids-unhappy-snappy Mommy. No, thank you. I couldn’t even finish my day. I’d spend from 2 to 4 every afternoon just sort of laying on my bed and staring into space the whole first nine weeks of last school year!

Gradually, I realized that if I want to be a good mom, I need to sleep until 7.

Now, I have good news about the Make Over Your Morning course.

One change that she does not say that you have to make, and believe me, I refuse to do it, is getting up earlier.

Some people may genuinely need to wake up earlier, so you may feel lead that way, but that’s not what the course is all about.

So far, I’m only on day 7. It’s been more about reminding you to prioritize your time in order to be more productive, setting ACHIEVABLE goals for yourself, and having good morning and evening routines.

I love the videos of the Make Over Your Morning the most. It’s like listening to a motivational speaker everyday. I particularly loved this You Tube video, which is also referenced in the course:

It’s called “Dispelling the myth that I do it all”. No one does ‘it all’!

Some of you have asked if I made any changes from the series.

Yes! It has been a great reminder about setting attainable goals and breaking those goals into small tasks, but those were things I already KNEW to do. I just wasn’t necessarily doing it.

Here are changes I am making:

1. Spending less time on Facebook. Most of you already know that I spend too much time on there. I was able to cut back by NOT putting the Facebook app or log in on my new phone. I only check Facebook when I’m on my computer now.

So don’t think that I don’t like what you’re posting! It’s just that I’m reading FB a lot less!

I used to enjoy FB, so I spent way too much time on there, but lately it’s been full of extreme political stuff. And all that Planned Parenthood mess? Oh my gosh. That makes me want to throw up. I know the public needs to know about it, but I just can’t read it. I’ve had too many babies to be able to think about it.

2. Setting home school prep goals. I’m knocking them out a little at a time.

3. Getting up earlier plays no part in that!

4. I set a hard “Nap time is blog time rule.” So, at this moment, it’s 1:20, and I haven’t even finished cleaning up lunch, but JD and Dan are asleep, so THIS is the ONLY good blog time.

Also, there are a few advantages to being a night owl that doesn’t wake up at 6!

make over your morning like a night owl

See how wide awake I look at 8pm? (Truthfully, I don’t look that happy every night, but this was our anniversary!)

It’s not unusual to find me at 9:30 pm, scrubbing carpet stains out and vacuuming, something a morning person probably couldn’t do. Have you ever cleaned carpet stains out while the kids are still awake? It’s impossible. They track dirt on top of the wet carpet, making it worse!

I have the energy to clean the kitchen up before going to bed. Many people can’t do that!

I can stay up late making lesson plans without falling asleep. I’m not sleepy, even at 10pm!

We all just have to work within the framework of who we are. No need to try to be somebody else, right?

I can’t wait to finish this series. If you’d like to join me, here’s the link to the Make Over Your Morning site. Just click on the picture below:

Click on this affiliate link to learn more about this course or to sign up.

Be sure to follow my blog on Facebook, and we night owls can encourage each other!

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Classical Conversations Cycle 1: Week by Week with Brain Pop Jr.

Classical Conversations Cycle 1: Week by Week with Brain Pop Jr.

I’ve mentioned before that Brain Pop Jr. is a hit at our house. As part of my planning for next year, Cycle 1 of Classical Conversations, I combed through each week and lined up the material with the corresponding videos. I am not a Brain Pop Jr. salesman or affiliate. We just like the videos and find them helpful!

Each link will take you to a Brain Pop Jr. video, with lesson materials that correspond to that week’s CC lesson. Note that Brain Pop Jr. does require a membership fee. They DO offer free videos as well. You can find just the freebies here. You can also download an app with freebies.

Brain pop Jr.!


All of the book links are quick and easy Amazon links.



SCIENCE: Classifying Animals Video, Animal Card printable, and games (This one is FREE.)

I also think this book looks fun for this topic Is a Camel a Mammal?

WEEK 3 or 4

Cells: This video is actually on regular Brain Pop, not Junior, but it’s FREE!




HISTORY: Ancient Rome video, game, and mosaic printable activity

 I also recommend this book! My boys, especially Joshua, LOVE this series.



SCIENCE: For week 6 we memorize that fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds are all vertebrates. The possibilities are endless for enrichment.

Fish Video, Activity, and Quiz

Frogs Video and Activities



MUSIC: Reading Music Tutorial, printable activity, quiz, etc.

Great book with CD:


WEEK 8: Ancient China video and activities This one has a really cute dragon craft.


WEEK 9: Parts of a Plant, complete with science experiment and lab sheet

MUSIC: Pitch, Tone, and Beat


WEEK 13:  MATH: Cups, Pints, Quarts, and Gallons

SCIENCE: The Earth  This one’s really good! It goes with our memory work perfectly.


WEEK 14: MATH: Inches and feet

SCIENCE: Rocks and Minerals


WEEK 16: History: Maya Civilization

Math: Area


WEEK 19:  History: The Pueblo People

Science: Ocean Habitats Another really good one!

My boys love this book: It comes with a poster, which is already hanging above Caleb’s bed.

WEEK 22: Music: Mozart

Presidents: Presidents

I now have this in an easy-to-print PDF format:  Cycle1BrainPopJrPrint


I hope this list helps! If you are new to Classical Conversations, be sure to read my article for newbies. Brain Pop Jr. is a fun way to engage children in the learning process, but of course it’s not a replacement for memory work, and my favorite CC help of all is the app!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for more fun ideas. Happy Planning! 🙂

I’m off to bed. I did want to remind you all that the Money Saving Mom course on “Making Over Your Morning” goes on SALE tomorrow morning–as in TUESDAY morning. The earlier you shop, the cheaper you get the book. I’m looking forward to reading it! It’s not supposed to be about getting up earlier than you already are. The focus is more on what you do with your time, I think. I will tell you more about it once I get the book in my hands. 🙂 Here’s the link: