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[ad] Today I am dreaming of Christmas parties. Anyone else? We’re only halfway through the month and we’ve already had more family gatherings than I can count with so many more to go. And Christmas parties in the Bartlett household means photos…lots of photos. But I just didn't feel very photo-ready thanks to my grays (and yes, I had A LOT of grays). So I picked up @zotosprofessional hair color at @sallybeauty and these days I'm feeling gorgeous, confident, and ready to take on the holiday photos. Today on the blog, I'm sharing how I get myself photo-ready as well as what I plan to wear to this year's Christmas party! #MyAgeBeautiful #sponsored #linkinbio
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[ad] Today I am dreaming...

I've been a bit MIA lately. Why you may ask? Well, because I've been half on the struggle bus and half working on a rather large project that I've had in draft mode for far too long. And I am SO excited about it. I literally woke up the other day and decided THAT was the day I'd get started on it and I've been hooked on it ever since. If you're a mom in Southern Maine, you won't want to miss this! So be sure to sign up for our email list via the link in my bio so you can be one of the first to know what's going on.
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I've been a bit MIA...

Well, it's officially the day Zack and I have been looking forward to for a couple of years now. While we've already unofficially been "moved on" from military life for a couple of months now, today it's official that Zack is no longer an Active Duty Marine and I am no longer a military spouse. The first big chapter of his adult life and our life together has officially ended. It's scary almost when you've been living with all the stability of a lifestyle for so long. A stable job, stable income, health benefits, a home. It's been a challenging couple of months as we get more settled here in Maine and figure out the next step for our little family. But I know we have so much to look forward to in the next year and it's refreshing to know we have the opportunity to start over. I am so proud of this guy and I can't wait to see what the next chapter of our life has in store for us. •
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Well, it's officially the day...

This mama is on the struggle bus today. This morning I spent over an hour searching for Allie's sippy cup of milk only to find it in the shower...where I looked 5+ times considering that's where she was playing while I got ready for the day. I then got the incorrect order from Dunkin and to make that even worse, it was pumpkin flavored...and if you know me, you know I cannot stand anything pumpkin flavored so I couldn't even suck it up and drink it (shoutout to @mwhited8195 for bringing me the correct drink order!). Nap time wasn't any better. A solid 40 minutes of crying before Allie finally went down...then she woke up 30 minutes later 🙄 And now I'm scrambling to get everything on my to-do list done so we can officially launch Blogmas tomorrow 😬 It's been a morning and I'm about ready for my own nap at this point. But at least it's Friday? 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
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This mama is on the...

It's yet another snow day here in Maine. The last winter I spent here was in 2015 and we maybe had three snow storms all winter. This year, we've had 3-5 just in the last couple of weeks 🙄 I'm already homesick for beautiful and warm North Carolina summers 😔 anyone else here who hates winter? If you need us, Allie and I will be curled up inside with some movies and a never-ending to-do list. #bloggerlife •
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It's yet another snow day...

Blogmas starts in T-5 days! I've been working so hard on producing awesome Blogmas content these past couple of months so I'm super excited to finally start sharing it with you all this weekend. Today on the blog I'm sharing a quick breakdown of Blogmas 2018, what you can look forward to on Mainely Keating, and 25 blog post ideas for those of you who want to participate in Blogmas as well! You can find the link to the full blog post in my bio! •
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#christmastime #christmassy #christmasinspiration #holidayinspiration #christmascountdown #letitsnow #happyholidays #giftgiving #holidaycheer #alliwantforchristmas #deckthehalls #blogmas2018 #newenglandblogger #maineblogger #mainelife #maine #bloggersofmaine #thewaylifeshouldbe #newenglandlife #newengland #southernmaine #maineinvitesyou #mainetourism #maineliving #newenglandliving #howyouglow #darlingdaily #bloggervibes #behindtheprettypicture #mommybloggers

Blogmas starts in T-5 days!...

5 Tips For Keeping Your Family Organized This Holiday Season

*Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PilotYourHoliday #CollectiveBias

5 Tips For Keeping Your Family Organized This Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us and in our home, this is easily the busiest time of the year (as it is in many households across the country). Between keeping track of my blog content, remembering appointments, and keeping track of work schedules, I’m always left feeling drained and a bit overwhelmed. Does this sound familiar to any of you? I’m sure if you have kids, you understand this very well!

A few winters ago while Zack was stationed in Japan, I came up with a system that worked wonders in terms of keeping my life and everything in it organized.

*Roll over the image to check out the Pilot FriXion® Pens!

Create a Command Center 

First and foremost, your household needs to have a command center. In our home, this is a bulletin board and it’s a complete life-saver during the busy holiday season. Our bulletin board contains notes between me and my husband, a calendar of events for the month, appointment reminders, important phone numbers, Christmas party invites, etc. Anything we could possibly need to know or access can be found right here on the board. How handy is that?!

So to create your command center, you need to find a good place in your home for it. Currently, we’re living with Zack’s mom while we buy a house, but she has a really awesome space in her kitchen that is perfect for this. It’s a small corner desk with cabinets above it and plenty of space for office essentials. If you don’t have this kind of space in your home, then all you really need is a bit of wall space for a bulletin board.

This brings me to the next step – choose a board that works best for you. This can be a bulletin board a chalkboard, a wall calendar, or even a combination of the three. Ours is a bit of a combination at the moment and it works super well for us.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Family Organized This Holiday Season

Once you have an idea of where you want your command center and what you want it to look like, it’s time to gather your materials. For us, this includes:

    • A bulletin board
    • Nails (or another way to secure it to the wall)
    • Sticky notes
    • A small wall calendar
    • Notecards
    • Pilot FriXion® Pens
    • Thumbtacks
    • A small envelope

The materials list can be as long or as short as you need. This sort of thing will look different in every home depending on your family’s individual needs. So once you have everything, it’s time to get it up on the wall and start putting it all together.

To do this, I like to pull together my personal calendar and my husband’s work schedule so I can start plugging everything into the calendar. The calendar includes our work schedules, various appointments, holiday parties, and anything else we have going on in the month. I like to use the Pilot FriXion® Pens for this because they’re erasable! Sometimes life happens and plans change. So having a pen that is easy to erase and make simple changes is a complete game-changer! It’s the only pen that gives you the power of infinite do-overs. Another thing I love about this pen is its smooth writing gel ink. So you can write smoothly and erase cleanly every time!

These awesome pens can be found at your closest Target location. If you download the Target app, you can get 15% off any FriXion Erasable Pen from 11/30-12/31!

Once all of your important dates and events are listed on your calendar, it’s time to set up the rest of the board. I like to have an envelope pinned up to hold various notes, holiday party invites, cards, etc.  I also keep thumbtacks and sticky notes closeby to make it super easy for Zack and I to leave each other notes. If you’re using a chalkboard, be sure to keep chalk in an easy to reach place as well. We also like to keep a long piece of paper up so we can add items to the grocery list throughout the week.

There might not be too much to add from the get-go, but the key is to make it easy for you to communicate with each person in your family and create a space where you all can easily see what everyone’s plans and schedules are.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Family Organized This Holiday Season

Use a planner

Although we have pretty much everything located on our home calendar, I also keep a daily planner in my bag which has a copy of our whole schedule and everything I personally have to do/get done and when. This houses a lot of my business deadlines and checklists. Things Zack doesn’t need to know and/or things that don’t affect him and his schedule. So rather than cluttering our main calendar with items that don’t pertain to him, I keep them in my own planner instead.

Color code everything

I love the Pilot FriXion® Colors Marker Pens for color coding. Pretty much everything on our calendars is color-coded in some way. For example, in our home, orange is my work/blog due dates and tasks, blue is ‘home’ (aka appointments, holiday parties, family get-togethers, etc), green is Zack’s work schedule, red is bills, etc. The Pilot FriXion® Colors Marker Pens make it super easy for me to keep all of our various tasks and events organized so it’s

5 Tips For Keeping Your Family Organized This Holiday Season

Don’t over-book yourself

As easy as it is to say ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way, it’s important to also learn how to say ‘no’. Allow yourself some downtime so you aren’t left feeling drained all the time. Weekends are especially challenging for this. It’s okay to not go to every single holiday party or every tree lighting or whatever it may be. If you want a night in with some Netflix, then do it! Your mental health will thank you.

Create a system that works

Finding a routine that works is crucial. And every family’s routine will be different as well so there’s no right or wrong here. If your husband gets home from work at 5pm and you don’t get home until 6pm, then leave the cooking to your husband. If it helps then you can even plan (or even prep!) your meals in advance to make meal times easier. Order takeout once a week to give yourselves one less thing to do that day. If your kids are old enough, get them involved in the cleaning to help keep the home clean and organized. Communicate with each member of your family at the start of the month and find a good system that will work best for your family during this busy time of year.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Family Organized This Holiday Season

Want to try the FriXion Erasable Pen for yourself? Check out Target’s mobile app to get 15% off any FriXion Erasable Pen. This offer is valid 11/30-12/31.

How do you keep your family organized this time of year?

XOXO
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