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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Air Hogs Vectron Wave Set Rocks

This post was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Air Hogs. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine. #VectronInSpace

Ok. So when I was a kid, I totally wanted to be a princess. But I also loved working at the mechanic shop with my dad {when my Mister comes home smelling like grease, it totally makes me nostalgic.} And my two ambitions were to be an architect or an astronaut. So, I love it when my little girly, {Abby just turned four at the end of July} loves stuff like that too. I think it’s cool when girls have a balance of girly, smart, awesome, and bad ass. Right? :)

Which is why I thought it was super fun to have a playdate with her cousins, where we tested out the new Air Hogs toys. Sure, she loves her princess parties. But she thought these were AWESOME. And the big boys agreed – they had seen these in commercials forever, and were so excited to finally try them out. They take a tiny bit of effort to get used to – but then they rock. So much fun. They seriously just hover above your hands as you guide them around – like magic!

Air Hogs

The Air Hogs Vectron Wave set comes with the super cool “UFO” type piece that hovers above your hand, plus the charging base. To learn more about how it all works, and to stay updated on new promotions and info, check ‘em out online:

Flying the Air Hog

See how awesome this is? You just turn it on, let ‘er rip, and watch it fly and hover above your hand, any way you guide it! So cool. Definitely a must-have for holiday shopping. And – don’t forget to enter to win - Win a Trip to Family Space Camp” Contest!!



Entertain in Style this Holiday Season with New Appliances from Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. All opinions are always my own. #holidayprep

Prep for the Holidays with Appliances from Best Buy… Yep, it’s that time of year. The major holiday season has arrived. We entertain a ton around here, all year ’round. But summer months are so easy… Toss some floaty lounge chairs in the pool, throw some meat on the grill, add some beverages to a cooler, make sure your wireless speakers are turned up, and bam – you’ve got a rockin’ party. But during the colder indoor months, parties take a bit more planning. Which is why I LOVE the Holiday Prep at Best Buy ideas and product tips!

Frigidaire Self-Cleaning Electric Convection Induction Range [Read more...]


How to Make Mornings With Kids Less Stressful

Big thank you to Mom It Forward Blogger Network and IKEA for partnering with me to share solutions for morning madness – #first59

I’m a firm believer that the quality of your day doesn’t depend on outside forces or experiences – it’s all about your attitude and choosing to be happy :) But getting your day off to a good start, during that first hour in the morning, can help make having a good attitude much easier! We’ve all felt the stress that comes with a disorganized morning… Can’t find your keys or the kids’ shoes. Someone reminds you last minute about a game or teacher conference you forgot about. There’s nothing for breakfast, or you forgot to pack lunches. There’s yelling, nagging, grumpiness, and everyone starts their day stressed out. Which is NO good, right?

Beautiful Sunrise - How to make mornings more manageable for busy moms #first59 [Read more...]


Even Moms Can Party Like a Rockstar….

Disclosure: In exchange for my participation in this program, I am receiving VIP tickets to the Uproar Festival and a bunch of awesome product from Pura Vida Tequila - tequila recipes coming soon! Photos provided by Pura Vida Tequila.

I’ve had a rough week. Like, really rough. I was supposed to travel to Chicago and then Wisconsin, to the Kimberly-Clark HQ, to speak to a panel of other mom bloggers about potty training, and how awesome the Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy is. {And honestly, it really is. If you have littles, or know someone in potty training stage – share it with them. They’ll love you forever.} But then we had a major family emergency. Like, life-threatening emergency. And I didn’t feel comfortable traveling across the country when my family was in such an uncertain place. But, we were blessed…. Things have changed dramatically in a few days. It looks like everything will be ok. I can breath again. And – it’s awesome that as that happens, I also get to have an amazing event to cover tomorrow – the Rockstar UPROAR Festival, at the beautiful White River Amphitheater near Seattle, Washington.

Pura Vida Tequila Party Bus - Godsmack - Rockstar UPROAR Festival [Read more...]


When it Comes to Girl Scouts – Together Counts!

Big thank you to Together Counts and the Girl Scouts of the USA for giving the compensated opportunity to share my thoughts about the new #HealthyHabits campaign!

I think that it’s super important for kids to be active. Not just physically active, but also active in their communities, active in their world. Which is why a new partnership between the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and the Girl Scouts makes perfect sense to me. And, as a former Girl Scout, I might be biased, but I do love the Girl Scouts. {I was a rockstar Girl Scout, and sold the most cookies in our county. Now, I eat the most Girl Scout cookies in our county. But that’s a separate blog post….} I love that it gives little girls a sense of belonging, a role model, in case they don’t have one at home, and a set of goals and adventures to embark on. {The experience stuck with me so much that about a year ago I bought You Can Do It!: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls, which I can’t wait to finally get started on. I’ll be blogging it, don’t worry :)} And next year when Abby is old enough to start, I’ll be leading our own Daisy troop. I can’t wait! {They can become a Daisy Scout as early as Kindergarten.}

Little girls, scouting, and healthy living tips! [Read more...]


Under the Sea Lunch Idea

I’m always looking for easy, frugal, and FUN ways to help the kiddos eat healthier. And, actually eat – you know what I mean? It’s hard enough staying on a budget. It’s worse when the kids don’t like what you serve, and you end up throwing things away. So, I decided to take a few minutes each day – honestly, it only takes a few more minutes prep to make fun lunches, I promise! – to create meals that entertain the kids enough to actually eat…..

Under the Sea lunch - #BumbleBeeB2S [Read more...]