The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2012-10-21

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Moving my Filofaxes to higher ground....

According to "Everyone in New Jersey is watching Hurricane Sandy as it churns north. This historic storm could be New Jersey's worst-ever, and the storm's track is crucial in determining how much damage we get."


If that doesn't sound bad enough.... "Meteorologists are forecasting what could be the worst storm to hit the eastern United States in more than 70 years. Dubbed the "Frankenstorm" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the system could potentially pummel the Mid-Atlantic and northeast with gale-force winds and snow at the same time."

Snow?  Yeah... that was the only thing missing from Stormpocalyse.

She's making a beeline right for my Filofaxes at the moment but Sandy will have to fight me for them.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Comparing apples and oranges

This is a LONG video, just letting you know. I  filmed it on my iPhone and there is a lot of moving around. Didn't mean to make anyone seasick but... It's shaky. I've been trying to upload this for 6 hours already and if it uploads this time... I'll be happy!

A few people wanted to see a comparison between an A5 Finsbury and an A5 Malden. I recently got the passport sized Midori Traveler's Notebook so that's also in the video with the regular sized one. And I compared everything together in a sort of general way. It's not an exhaustive comparison but it will give you some ideas!

And of course there are cameo appearances by Ginger and Ventura

Depending on where you live it can be hard to find the Traveler's notebooks but there are more and more places selling them now:  The journal shop,   Baum-KuchenResor ShopTabiyo, and  Maido as well as eBay and Amazon.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The point of effective planning...

Over the last week I've used my A5 Malden Filofax with a new setup that is, for all intents and purposes, blank paper.   Holy Aha! Moment, it works really well.

The only downside is it's a giant paper suck but I can't argue with my daily success.


Although  Mr. Malden might, he's getting a gut from the volume of added paper and is in dire need of some Man - Spanx ( Manx?)

The left side page is for anything that has to do with self-care, the right; everything else.


 I know this kind of planning gives people the creeping heebie-jeebies and yes, it  seems counterintuitive at first.  The whole point of planning is to structure your time, your life... Specificity seems called for but it's a double edged sword and sets me up for very negative thought processes in the name of perfectionism. 

It's like when I was in school.  If I didn't see 100% blazoned across my work I had a meltdown. Since things are rarely perfect,  I melted down a lot.  All or nothing expectations leave you with a vague (but constant) feeling that you don't measure up in a way you can't quite put your finger on.

Striving for perfection in theory seems like a good idea but the reality is, it's a hindrance.  Julia Cameron said in her book The Artist's Way  “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop — an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole.”

Setting unrealistic goals is almost always accompanied by critical (and usually unkind)  self-evaluations and  feeling like people are grading you in some way.    Ms. Cameron is right about perfectionism and I think the loop she talks about extends to the way I use planners.

When I get stuck in the details of how to use my Filofax, obsessing about how I plan or the correct way I should plan, I lose sight of the whole point because planning isn't doing.


Planning is a tool to get me from to-do to to-done.  In a perfect world I'd just know what needed doing, grab that toilet  brush with two hands and have at that awful thing but it doesn't work that way for me.  I need the reminders that planning gives me.

I have to be very careful with my planning.  To little and the toilet (plus everything else) remains an unspeakable horror but if I plan too much perfectionism creeps in.

And nothing still gets done.

The reason loose planning works is it allows me freedom to plan creatively which I love and to enjoy the planning process itself.  Without a lot of shoulds about my system I can do it however I want and not feel graded on the results.  I love marking off what's done...  Love knowing (or thinking) I have a handle on my my life  and love using all my colored pens.   

There is a simplicity about the whole thing which is great because simple keeps me from getting stuck in the planning stages of anything.  

 It's a difficult balance for me; planning vs. doing.  Truth is I really like the planning process much more then some of the things I make lists about doing.  So it's kind of a trade off.  The sooner I  complete the task, the sooner my head comes out of the business end of a toilet and  goes back into my Filofax...

... and my life.

Ben and #ventura have a great big belly laugh

Because that's the point of effective planning...


My Favorite go-to spaghetti and meatballs recipe and GIVEAWAY

75% off Holiday Cards

Update: The winner is Rebecca Shockley and I love your comment!
"All my kid's love pasta with Ragu and they sleep through my nagging as well, arggg!"

In honor of National Pasta Month I tried "Mama's Best Ever Spaghetti and Meatballs" recipe last night and it is so going in my Favorite Recipe Linkbar.  It was delicious, easy and a one-pot meal; a total winner!

Speaking of winners.... Ragu is sponsoring a giveaway to celebrate  "Ragu’s Long Day of Childhood campaign – serving your children a meal they would love because childhood is hard too!"   Details on how to win coupons for free Rago and an Amex Gift card at the end of this post.

I make a pasta meal about once a week with meatballs and spaghetti the favorite by far but I didn't have a go-to recipe.  I tried a lot of different versions, even bought ready-made meatballs thinking that would help but my son hated the dense texture of all the pre-made meatballs (Rubber balls he calls 'em)

Dinner last night was a HUGE hit on all fronts.  With just a few ingredients, one pot (YAY! Less clean-up!) and very little time or effort, I had a nice big pot of sauce and meatballs! 

Once it had been cooking about fifteen minutes my son came down the stairs (he'd been sleeping) and said,' Are you cooking something? It smells amazing!' And my kid isn't easy to wake, he sleeps through everything...  The telephone, smoke alarms.... me nagging....   But this smelled so good he not only got up but didn't wait for dinner;  had a bowl as soon as it was done and loved it.  


The meatballs had a great texture, and it was the easiest recipe I've used to make meatballs and spaghetti.  



A classic Italian-American dish that can be as simple or as fancy as you want it to be.
  • 1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) RagĂș® Old World Style® Pasta Sauce, divided
  • 12 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained
  1. Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs and 1/2 cup Pasta Sauce in medium bowl; shape into 18 meatballs.
  2. Bring remaining Pasta Sauce to a boil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet. Gently stir in uncooked meatballs. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until meatballs are done.
  3. Serve over hot spaghetti.
Preparation time: 20 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 6

More  Ragu Recipes (here) but the next one I'm trying is the skillet pasta and beef.

You can find more information about the campaign and recipes at their Facebook Page and Twitter @ragusauce 

Giveaway Details
One coupon prize and $25 AMEX gift card will be given out to a US resident.  Contest will end with National Pasta Month on  October 31, 2012 11:59 PM. 

 To enter just leave a comment on this post...  Maybe tell me your favorite go to Pasta Night recipe... Or which Long Day of Childhood recipe you want to try...  Or let me know your kid sleeps through nagging too.  I'd like to think I'm not alone.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Getting buy with a little help from our Filo-friends

Reading Filofax posts is a lot of fun and gives me scads of ideas.  Since you can customize a planner to suit yourself there are as many ideas as there are people using them.  And for serious, every time a Philofaxy Web Finds pops up I find a bajillion new life altering ideas and products that I need, like yesterday.   

The only downside to shopping globally is (Do I really need to say it?)  shipping costs.  I don't understand worldwide shipping costs at all.  I get that costs ARE high but some quoted shipping prices aren't reflective of the actual costs incurred to send something.

But this post isn't about my aversion to paying $50 to have a notebook sent kinda a long way.

We Filofax people are an ingenious breed and have our own methods to get life altering stickers.   We ask someone nearer to the source to get our coveted planner jewels and mail them at a fraction of the cost the company would.

  It's a roundabout way of doing things but it works for us.

 Seriously, why don't sellers want to sell to everyone so they can have the widest possible market? Things of light weight are not expensive at all to send first class and true at-cost shipping would really help this along but like I said...  Don't want to go there and I'm done.

I've sent to Christa before so when she wanted more I was glad to help.  Her orders have been rolling in for a week and now that they are here, I have to share (in an enabling sort of way).

First, I ordered  from Staples (US) for her because they don't ship internationally.  And apparently getting Martha Stewart things abroad is as hard as getting Martha herself to cater your next brunch.


This is so puzzling because I think these are some of the most desired items out there.  Look how fabulous and well designed these are!  Love the colors and beyond that they are so functional.   The Martha line isn't even available in all Staples brick and mortar places which is nuts, frankly.   Who wouldn't want to buy at least something from this line the second they saw them?  Martha please spread the organizing love around....

Other Staples items were from Daytimer brand and Christa, I have a question...


I didn't realize until now the Daytimer Mom Planner is about A5 size and the two packs of inserts are more like personal.  I went back and looked at the links and they are right according to the list but was this a mistake?  Let me know if you want me to return something here....


The Daytimer Mom Planner rocks some adorable tabbage...  Love the colors!

I also ordered the Filofax Family Organizer for her because you can't get that in Europe easily (Really, Filofax... That's just silly).  There are some images of included pages here.


P.S - And speaking of silly....It's almost November so why aren't the 2012 dated planners heavily discounted?  Does that even make a bit of sense?   I'm itching to try these out, love them and buy them forever and ever but for serious,  there's not much left to 2012.  Yes,  I'm a planner addict but I'm not crazy enough to feed my habit to the tune of full price with not much left in the year... Even I have limits.

The last place was Hazel + Russell; I've stalked them for quite some time.  The categories they sell are gifts,  wedding,  binders+files,  paper,  smartdate system,  accessories, leather and storage so definitely worth a visit even if your Filofax is bursting and can't hold another thing.

The order came carefully packed and in a box. 


Some places ship these kinds of items in envelopes so it was great to see them boxed and bubble-wrapped.


Even had a thank you card...  Gotta love that.


The project planner sheets are made by Post-It and way more attractive then their usual line.  They are 4" x 4" 50 sheets per pad and three pads in the set for $10.


The SmartGrid is also made by Post-It.  Same size, configuration and price.


The To-Do adhesive notes (also by Post-It) are 4" x 6", same configuration and price.  

So there you have it and the whole order will soon be winging it's way across the Atlantic.  Christa, hope you love everything and glad I could save you some money.  

Maybe someday sellers will charge only what it costs to ship but until then, as the Beatles said, we'll  get 'buy' with a little help from our Filo-friends...


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