Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vital Records + Freebie

With the western states up in flames, it calls to question just how prepared and organized I am for a possible evacuation. What would I grab if I had 30 minutes before I need to leave? 10 minutes? mere moments? Would I have all the documents and important items that we'd need in case we couldn't go back?

It has sparked (sorry, pun not intended) the motivation I needed to put one of my planned projects into action. The Vital Record's Binder. A collection of the important documents and information we might possibly need. It takes so much less time to grab one binder than run around the house trying to remember in a hurry.

I have not completely finished collecting everything, but as I finish it I am excited to share it with you. That said, I have done some looking around for ideas and inspiration on this particular preparedness project. One of the best ones I've seen is here at (a favorite preparedness blog of mine) Prepared NOT Scared. There are also some great page ideas over at Your Own Home Store and All Things Simple. You can also check out my Pinterest board here for more links to ideas.

It can be a little daunting to take on a task that seems so important and vast as emergency preparedness, but if I take it one step at a time, it seems plausible... I am also a very visual person, aesthetics is key in getting me excited about something.

Step 1 for me then is to: start with some structure and the organization, and I had to make it cute. So here is my freebie for you! Its one of my first so I am very excited to share it!
Vital Records Cover and Tabs
Pictures and specifics to come. But for now, All you need to get started is:

  • a binder. (At least 1.5". I am working on mine and am thinking 2" or even 3" will give me a little more available space to work with... depending on how much stuff you want to collect.)
  • page protectors. (Costco has the best deal on these as you can get 250 sheets for about $12.)
  • card-stock paper to print the tab dividers on. (or you can have it printed someplace like Kinkos or something... if you do, let me know if it works! I'd like to know)
  • Tabs. (you can purchase a package of tabs that stick to your page protectors. They come in packages either clear or colorful. I used Martha Stewart's line from Staples. They are cuter... and easier to use!)
Step 1: Print off the divider pages and add them to your binder in the order that you choose. (I purposely made it so the order could be fairly flexible)
Step 2: Add tabs to divider pages
Step 3: Begin collecting the important documents that you know the location of. The individual pages have more specific guidelines and ideas that could be helpful as you start your collection. 

I compiled a list from a few different places to create my list of useful documents. Personally, I do not have all the sorts of documents that others might, so I tried to include those that anyone could have. Let me know if I'm missing any you might think of... I have thought of creating a blank one (so it can be filled in individually as you go). Let me know if you think that might be a good idea. 

Please, let me know if you use it, love it, or find any typos! (Especially as this is my first-ever freebie!) Leave me a comment! I LOVE comments. Good Luck!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


So much for a quiet (no press) passing for an old dog. It only seems fitting that I pay a tribute to man's best friend. I call him "puppy" even though he was old since when we got him all those years ago. I was in seventh grade on that fateful day in January. I came home from school to the surprise of the century...a dog sitting on the top of the stairs. We named him "Max" after the Grinch's dog... Just look at him...

He was the perfect size, didn't bark, and even smiled when he was happy... not just a hint of a smile, no, it was a big toothy grin. (We found ourselves explaining it to people who were meeting him for the first time. They usually thought he was about to bite... except the tail wagging...) He was a master beggar and if there was a possibility of a particle of food being dropped, he would follow it un-blinking and not daring to breath.

I accidentally trained him to jump into the tub and let me turn the shower on him when it was time for his bath. He sat there and shivered but he knew a good brush was coming afterward. 'Til the end, he would only put up with a bath if was me giving it to him. I know Dad always secretly hoped I would take him down to the tub when we visited. (sorry Dad...)

There were quite a few times I remember crying alone in my room. The door would open and there was Max. He would nuzzle his head under my hand and look up at me like he knew my pain."That awful high school drama. I hate when these things happen." There were countless walks around the block, a greeting from the stairs as we came home... and always a pile of golden hair on our clothes before we left the house.

In his old age, he could hardly see, smell, or move. We are convinced he possessed by our previously passed cat... and he steered clear of the kid as best as he could. It made me sad to see him like that, and so I pay tribute to the best "puppy" a girl could have asked for, but I do so with a smile because there's bound to be some smarties up in heaven... So long old friend. 

PS. I hope he chases that cat a little for all the tormenting he's been doing the past year...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Fresh Start. Operation Simplify

There are times when it seems that life has swept the rug right from under me and continues onward without heeding that I have been left behind. As I flounder about, feeling only sub-par in everything I attempt to do, I am left overwhelmed, exhausted, and moody.

The solution?  Take a step back, slow down, enjoy the day, and refocus on the important things. So, with the official resolution season here, I have begun to take small steps toward a better me.

Step 1: De-clutter
Yes, the regular "I have too much stuff for this tiny apartment" bug has returned with full force. The donate box has been filled, donated, and filled again. I am not finished with this task, but it is amazing how freeing it is to be rid of stuff laying around that is unused.

But there is more clutter in my life than just the physical stuff. I have emotional baggage, diet clutter, inward spiritual chatter (also known as a bad attitude), and I am sure I can do with a good mental focus on something useful to learn. Digital clutter plagues me as well. So I am afraid there is a major overhaul of my digital life (including blogs, digital files, email inboxes, and the like) that needs to be organized too.

I have determined that this month is to be dedicated to the de-cluttering of my life in its entirety. Simplifying all aspects of my being is going to make me better, healthier, and happier.What better time than the fresh start of a new calendar year? Thus "Operation Simplify" is born.

1. Unplug from the noise that is generated from social media and imaginary pressure to be super to strangers. (ie Facebook)

2. Physical Clutter: One room at a time, get rid of the junk, reorganzie the storage, and find a place for everything. (New challenge, find a place for all of our new Christmas stuff)

3. Digital Clutter: Backup + Organize: My computer could bite the dust at any time. It usually chooses to remind me right at a very critical part of an important project (like a wedding reception hot cocoa bar...). All files worth keeping need to be backed up and sorted to find easier. Delete the files that I will never use again... Officially move my blog to this address... and delete the others. (this one is going to be really hard for me...)

4. Spiritual Chatter: focus on the positives in life, the small successes, and happy moments. Don't get bogged down by what seems to me like a failure. I have no one to answer to but my dear husband (who loves me very much) and God (who also loves me more than I know). As long as I am doing my best, that is all that really matters...

5. What is resolution season without a goal regarding weight? I do have a goal weight, but I am choosing to focus on my exercise output and my nutritional input rather than what the scale tells me. The scale just messes with my brain, and is un-motivating when nothing changes... Healthier me.... that is the goal.

Wish me luck! What goals have you set for yourself?