surviving summer with a little bit of organization

I read the best post by Jen Hatmaker the other day about how to not go crazy during the summer months with kids at home.  She’s brilliant and funny and wise and even shared a few practical tips for surviving summer and enjoying it.  She offers a “few structural ideas for us Mediocre Mamas who want this season to be fun and memorable, but who also live in the real world where not every solitary day is pinnable … These are loose structures, because for me, complicated systems are basically an invitation to fail more“.  Amen and amen.

I generally avoid structuring my time because I don’t want to feel constrained to a schedule. I like the freedom to make and change plans on a whim. But I’ll be the first to admit that I know my kids would do better/pester each other less/wander aimlessly claiming boredom less frequently if I were more like the Pinterest-moms who have summer calendars and daily schedules and a fishbowl with activities on colorful little pieces of paper that their kids can choose from when they find themselves bored.

The ironic thing is that I design an organizational system – one that I love and find cute enough to post on my refrigerator.  I begin each month motivated and excited to organize and fill in all the details and then forget about it by about day three.

No more, I say. I must embrace the structure. At least a little bit. I know, beyond know it will make my life less chaotic to have our meals planned out and chores clearly marked. I know my kids will love having a daily plan {even if it is loose so we can change things up when other fun activities arise} and it will help us all enjoy our summer just a bit more. And maybe a little less pestering? I don’t know, but it’s worth a shot.

Sorry for the novel. All I’m trying to say is that 1. I’m a bit embarrassed that I create these great organizational tools and don’t fully use them and 2. I’m going to start fully using them.

So, want to see what’s new for JDC | monthly in July?

Oh, good. Because it’s pretty cute.

JDC | monthly is a monthly subscription of printable paper goods.

As always, here’s what’s included:

* monthly calendar
* weekly calendar
* menu calendars
* chore charts
* shopping list
* grocery lists
* note cards
* scripture memory cards
* art print
* a project tutorial with printable templates

The art print would work great for a punch of summery color in the kitchen, but I like it for a child’s bedroom or playroom, too.

For the project in July, there are a bunch of different packaging labels.


Use them for labeling canning jars,

packaging up treats for a party,

or sending snacks with your kids to summer camp.

I like projects that are simple, inexpensive and doable. I guess I like an organization system to be the same. Thankfully JDC | Monthly is about as easy as it comes … simply download the pdf, print on your favorite paper and fill in the details.

I would love for you to be part of JDC | Monthly and enjoy all of these goodies! The cost is $9.99 per month and your first month is free. You are welcome to give it a try. If it’s not the right fit, you can cancel at any time.

Plus, all JDC | Monthly members receive 50% off all printables in the shop.


Make your month organized and become a JDC | Monthly member!


When you sign up you will be directed to the current month’s link immediately. Billing is done on a 30 day cycle {so if you join on the 15th, you will be billed the following month on the 15th}. On the 22nd of each month, you will receive an email with the link to download the collection of pdfs, as well as the project tutorial.


Off to go fill in my calendars and assign the kids some chores. Wish me luck …

5 Responses to surviving summer with a little bit of organization

  1. Janie June 25, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    I find the clutter of summer can be overwhelming, so I created a landing zone in my walkthrough laundry room. Since it doubles as the garage entrance to the house, I wanted a place to catch all the junk that didn’t need to come to the kitchen or beyond. I bought 8 hooks from Look in the Attic & Company and installed the down one entire wall. Now everything gets parked there to deal with appropriately. Saved my kitchen and my sanity!!


  2. Natalie June 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Hey Emily! Thank you for your wonderful posts and designs. I’m still in awe of your living room redo. I have been wondering recently about the calligraphy class you took {last year maybe?} Did you find it helpful? Was it worth it?

  3. Diane June 24, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Your “fly in” came over as I went to comment and I can not believe…38,500 subscribers. Holy Cow!! Good on you girl!

    Okay…let’s try this again. :)
    As someone who has a ton of experience working with kids…and their parents…one thing is evident to me. The idea of scheduling a child’s life with activities is a lie from the enemy. Children need free time. Lots of it. They need this time to learn, to discover themselves, to discover God, to grow their imaginations, and to learn to be content with themselves and make their own things to do in their free time. And this free time should be free of screens of all types.

    Now, Emily, I know I am up on my soap box. But as you create for yourself an unnatural structure, consider that God doesn’t want you to be a Pinteresting mom. He has other plans for you…that fit you perfectly. Sure, we all need to be more organized so that we do the important things. But…not to structure our lives all day long by the calendar and the clock. Seriously…it looks great on paper…but, it’s through the spontaneity of life that we teach children about God…and they need time to think about him and experience him when someone is not orchestrating their time. I’m thinking you do, do that well.

    The hard part in all of this is the consistency and patience required to train our children to not pester and provoke, to not depend on mom or dad to entertain. I think if you give this a concentrated effort for a few weeks….and yes I know it will be challenging. The result will pay off bigger than any fishbowl of activities. That being said…it’s also great as part of that training to plan an activity or two together…something the kids want to do…together…for each week. It gives everyone some to look forward to and creates that special feeling….which helps both mom and kids.

    We all need to strive to live lives fully sold out for the Savior and help our children to do that too. Do these Pinteresting structures get in the way of that? Do the structures help us toward what is ‘really’ important? Or do they just help us keep a better outward appearance?

    Please accept my thoughts with the love in which they were written. I admire you, Emily. I think you sell yourself short based on how you think you should be. You are a talented, thoughtful and godly mom and wife. That’s amazing. You are a blessing to your family and all those around you and in blogland.

  4. Anna June 24, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    Oh Emily, how I love thee…
    I drool over all your creations and the writings of your life are all too familiar as I raise my 3 children! Thank you for always sharing your life, being real and never giving up on your passions and your business! You inspire me! I just want to let you know that I often feel selfish enjoying your blog and creations while I refrain from ever purchasing anything. It is certainly not for a lack of desire! I just want to say thank you cause while I cannot yet afford treats such as your creations (I know one day we will though and I can’t wait-we’re on the Dave Ramsey plan!) but for now I pray for your continued success and blessings on your family as you continue to share your heart and life with others! Thanks a million!

  5. Shannon {Our Home Notebook} June 24, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    For me there is such a difference between structure and a schedule. A schedule makes me feel that if I didn’t get everything done at the right time, I’ve failed. While structure gives me a plan to do things so they don’t get forgotten, but it also gives me flexibility, so I can do them when it works best and not get hung up on the clock. I usually structure by days (shopping on Mondays, cleaning floors on Tuesdays, etc.) and then by parts of the day (mornings for home school/activities with my little ones, after lunch we go outside, etc.). That’s what seems to work the best for me!

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