How to Create a Home Command Center for Organized Mornings

This post was compensated by IKEA for your participation in this campaign from the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. All thoughts about the #First59 campaign for making mornings easier are all mine…

So, a while back I told you about one of my goals around here was to get more organized so that we could make mornings with our crazy schedules less stressful. My Mister recently went back to work full time, after working at home with me the past few years. Which leaves me trying to work all day – with a wild four year old little girl. I also have my nephews most mornings and after school. My mom lives with me part time, so I have to keep track of her mail and things. The boys have sports and events for me to attend, the Mister has a side business cutting vinyl, and of course – my own business, conference calls and travel, cleaning and cooking… And trying to squeeze in a little “me time” in between. It’s a challenge, to say the least!

IKEA chalkboard, Command Center

But it’s not just me….  IKEA conducted a recent survey about Americans’ morning habits. In the results, 72 percent of the respondents said that a stressful morning affected the rest of their day, and three in four people do not have a regular weekday morning routine. Building more consistent routines has been on my to-do list for awhile, and this was the perfect push to really do something about it, so I’ve been really excited to partner with IKEA on their “First:59″ program – it’s all about sharing ideas and tips on solving common morning routines, and the areas we all use to get ready, to help us all make the most out of the first hour of our day!

IKEA - How to improve morning organization and routines - #first59

And as you can see – I definitely need some help! This area between the kitchen and laundry room started out with good intentions. But clearly, I never finished things up. This is what was currently on my wall. Yes, that calendar says April. Yes, that’s a clear sign of unorganization. Another statistic from their survey: 49% of adults over 35 that get stressed in the morning identified getting kids prepared for the day causes the most stress. I’m not 35 yet, but with getting the boys breakfast and to the bus each morning, helping with homework and snacks after school, keeping up with their other activities, and Abby starting preschool soon – I definitely need to find a way to streamline our morning routine and my daily schedule. THIS was not cutting it.

Making Command Center

Isn’t this so much better?! I added the KVISSEL wall magazine rack to hold mail and the kids’ papers. Then I used my label maker to create little name labels for each cubby. It’ll be a lot more efficient than the 4 piles I have randomly around the kitchen…. Then I added another piece I’m super duper excited about – the LUNS chalkboard. It’s a great spot to write reminders or fun messages, plus it’s magnetic too! {And I put it together all by myself, no tools even needed, it has it’s own little tool that you just tighten up the screws with – easy peasy!} Now, each morning I can see everything at a glance, and plan my day to fit. SO much better than scrambling last minute trying to find permission slips, homework, or remember who has a game or event that night. {Or getting a huge surprise when the boys show up early, due to a half day I didn’t have on the calendar!}

IKEA chalkboard, Command Center

And – since I’ll be using this area several times daily, I wanted to make it more fun, to brighten up my mornings :) And it’ll make the kids more excited to use it too, which will ensure I actually get those calendars and important papers I need. So, this month I added some pretty holiday garland, a fun Christmas message, and some cute magnets. This is the chalkboard, with our letters to Santa, and some of my favorite ceramic Santas on the shelf. {I painted the one second from left :)} See more:

IKEA white board

Here’s another look. My old white board, with the super cool IKEA chalkboard nearby, and the mail sorter underneath. I also grabbed a few cheap frames to balance out each side, and filled them with pretty holiday scrapbook paper. Next month I’ll change it out, maybe an inspirational message to the chalkboard, and some sign-up flyers reminding me to check out the gyms in our neighborhood….

Now – I’m not always good at visualizing how things will fit and look in my house when ordering online – or even when shopping in-store. So I had to wait for these pieces to arrive first {along with a few goodies to make-over my desk, another MAJOR daily trouble spot. Watch for that post coming soon too!} But now that everything is in place, I can order the other accessories I was eyeing from IKEA. Underneath these organizers I’m going to add a couple of FINTORP rails, with accessories: a little bin and bucket for things like magnets, chalk, and markers. And extra hooks for my purse and the kiddos’ backpacks. Which makes mornings much more grab and go. Then I’ll also add a low row of FINTORP magnetic knife racks too, that Abby can use to hang up all of her “masterpieces” that are covering my fridge, and I can stick my sets of keys onto. Both of these products are actually meant for the kitchen – but that’s the beauty of IKEA, right? They have such clever pieces, you can use them in a million unique ways in your home. And it’s all so darn affordable too!

To learn more visit for more inspiration, and to shop your favorite products. You can also check out the #First59 hashtag across social media to see how other real moms have simplified their mornings, ask questions, or share your tips!

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How to Rock Your Holiday Music This Year

I’ve been compensated with a complimentary set of wireless speakers from Best Buy to evaluate, and share my experience with you guys. All opinions are my own, as always.

I love music. Like, almost any type of music. I like oldies – everything from motown to rock. I like Salt N Pepa, Norah Jones, Nickleback, Sublime. I like country. I like Taylor Swift. I have a majorly eclectic taste in tunes. And – since I entertain so much, I need to always have a way to play songs that fit the event, the crowd, and the mood. Which means ditching my old school CD player and CDs that I collected for years….

CD's from the 90's

You know how hard it was to toss my awesome collection of 90s rap CDs? Seriously? It was like, throwing out a high school yearbook or class ring or something. Totally hard. But – who listens to CDs anymore, right? These days, it’s all about my Pandora radio stations, where I can customize my music selections to be exactly what I’m in the mood for. And, it means a need for awesome wireless speakers that can play music in every room of my house.

Wireless speaker [Read more...]


How to Make Jingle Juice Punch

This week I made my Sweet’N Low Cran-Pink Grapefruit Punch Recipe as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. #SweetNLowStars You guys know I love to party. I’ve told ya many a time. Which is why I love coming up with fun new party drinks for all of our events! We have a super huge, super awesome, super, super festive Christmas party coming up next weekend, so I created a new drink especially for that. I wanted something low-cal, diabetic-friendly, and waist-line appropriate :) I think you’ll love this Cranberry and Pink Grapefruit Juice Punch Recipe. I call it Jingle Juice. Check it, yo:

Cranberry and Pink Grapefruit Juice Punch Recipe

So, this is seriously easy to make. First, you start with some basic ingredients – All stuff you can find super easily in any local grocery store.


You’ll need some diet cranberry juice, only 5 calories per serving, which rocks. Some SkinnyGirl Pink Grapfruit juice, which is also low cal. Sprite Cranberry. And some assorted fresh fruits like sliced lemon, orange, lime, and cranberries. Whatever – as my new favorite phrase goes, “tickles your fancy.”


And since we’re making this drink super low-cal and low-sugar, we want to sweeten it up just a bit, in a healthy way, by adding some Sweet ‘N Low. One pack per drink is a perfect addition!

Drink with extra

To make your drink, you just use equal parts of the cranberry juice, Sprite, and pink grapefruit juice. Pour them all over ice. Add a packet of Sweet ‘N Low, and your delish fruit slices. Stir again. And enjoy! You can also make a big batch in a punch bowl for parties, if you want to. And if you want to create more a cocktail drink, add a splash of your favorite vodka on top. Enjoy responsibly!

For more festive ideas, check out these links:



What Is Your Joy?

I received compensation for my work on this post about what brings me joy. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

It’s the season of joy. The season of thankfulness, of love, of happiness, of appreciation. The best season of the year! :) Which is why I’m going to share what makes me full of joy, and ask you to share the same with me. Why? Because joy needs to be shared. And because I always love hearing from you guys.

Abby and bear [Read more...]


Free Do-It-Herself Workshops at Home Depot

This compensated post is a partnership between me and the awesome people at Home Depot to tell you more about their free Do-It-Herself Workshops at local stores across the country! #DIHWorkshop I love them, and know you will too….

We all know that The Home Depot rocks, right? I mean, I could seriously spend hours there, just browsing flooring, paint colors, bathroom fixtures…. Love it. But there’s one super awesome thing about them you might not know – they have free workshops every month. Almost none of my friends or family knew about these until I told them, so I’m guessing some of you ladies might not be familiar with them yet. But they ROCK.

Ladies love RYOBI power tools! [Read more...]


Huge Cricut Mystery Box Deal!

This post contains affiliate links – but I only share stuff I think is awesome!

Cricut Mystery Box Deal

The December Mystery Box is Here!

The Cricut December Mystery Box only $29.99 is now available! The contents are a mystery, but this winter mystery box includes at least 3 cartridges! This month’s mystery box is over a $100 value. Supplies are limited, so get it before it’s gone! All mystery box purchases are final, but if you read reviews of past boxes, you can tell that everyone loves them.

Also, don’t forget about Free Shipping in December with code FREESHIPDEC - No minimum order required. If you’re a Cricut fan, or have any crafty types on your list – don’t miss out on this deal!!



World’s Largest Ugly Sweater Party

During the holidays, I love to entertain. But, in between all of the festive events that I host here at my house, I also love to go somewhere to grab a bite for dinner that I DON’T have to make and clean up after. So I’m totally loving this fun idea… To warm up for the holidays, Red Robin is hosting the “World’s Largest Ugly Sweater Party,” all day long on Wednesday, December 10! Any guest who visits Red Robin decked out in their most fabulously festive “ugly holiday sweater” will receive a FREE appetizer with purchase. How cool is that, right?

To warm up for the holidays, Red Robin is hosting the “World’s Largest Ugly Sweater Party,” all day long on Wednesday, December 10! Any guest who visits Red Robin decked out in their most fabulously festive “ugly holiday sweater” will receive a FREE appetizer with purchase. [Read more...]