Monday, January 30, 2017

Bullet Journal: getting started

This year, I have decided to try the bullet journal to organize, well, everything. It's been a little over 3 weeks and I'm loving it. I love that my schedule and my thoughts and ideas are all in one place. Back in the days when I was using pre-printed planners, I had to carry a separate notebook to write down my random thoughts, which often was far from organized and rarely looked over again. The beauty of keeping everything in one place is that, when I come up with some interesting ideas that are not relevant to the task I'm currently working on, I can just jot down that idea onto my journal and put my focus back onto the current task. You know, those seemingly brilliant ideas always pop up when you're doing something else. But now I know, with the bullet journal, I'll be able to look at that idea and work on it later if it still seems like a good idea. And in the bullet journal system, everything I write down has a page number so I can go back to it easily. Clever.

I love its flexibility too. Because you'll use a blank notebook, it's up to you to decide how you'd like to write out your day, tasks, ideas, inspirations etc. You can make it fancy by using colored pens and pencils, decorating with stickers, drawing some cute pictures, using fancy fonts but you can also make it very simple by using just a black pen. 

Yes, there is a standard way of writing the bullet journal, which is explained in the official bullet journal site. So far I'm following the idea of the Index, which lists the topics of your "collections" (notes, schedules, project ideas, goals etc.) and their page numbers, and the daily log. I don't do the future log because I keep those future events and tasks in my Google calendar. I still find that ping on my phone as a reminder useful, and an electronic calendar seems easier for me to organize future plans because future plans always change and a lot of my future tasks are recurring ones. Instead of the monthly log, I only write down my monthly goals.

My journal, however, has a week log, which lists major events for the week and my goals, things I want to accomplish for the week. I go through a separate to-do list that has all the things I need to get done or want to do in the future, and the tasks I couldn't finish the previous week. Then I pick a couple that has higher priority or are relevant for that particular week. My daily tasks (other than the recurring ones like paying bills or routine cleaning) are created from these weekly goals. Yes, there are lots of repetition in here like writing down the same tasks twice in the weekly log and the daily log and check back on my to-do list again and again. But as is said in the official bullet journal site, this repetition is intentional. 

"This process makes you pause and consider each item. If an entry isn’t even worth the effort to rewrite it, then it’s probably not that important. Get rid of it.
[...] to distill the things that are truly worth the effort, to become aware of our own patterns and habits, and to separate the signal from the noise." (

If you search on the Internet, there are literally hundreds of interesting "collections" to add to your journal. For example, I love this morning routine spread. I even made a nighttime one too. 

I also like the "2016 in review" page in this journal, which has many more beautiful pages.

Not necessarily relevant to my journal but I like this "to be read" page as well.

This idea of taping a card with key to the edge of the journal seems useful and I have already incorporated it into my journal.

And for many more inspirations, check out this article "6 Instagram must follows for the bullet journal obsessed". I don't have such beautiful drawing skills or time for that matter but I still love looking at them.

Let's see if I can keep up with my journal for the whole year. And I'll write how it went at the end of the year. If you're already writing the bullet journal and have ideas you'd like to share, please let us know in the comment section :)

For more about the bullet journal:

Mochi's favorite star

I made this star blanket a long long time ago for Mochi. She still loves it :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Weekly Favorites 1/25

Hi everyone. 

This week I've found these really cute letter and number heart puzzles to do with your preschoolers/kindergarteners. They are perfect for a Valentine's day theme so I'm planning to try them next month with Little Guy. As I linked to their activities many times earlier, Totshooling is a great site to find free educational printable activities for preschoolers and kindergarteners. If you find it useful, make sure to subscribe to their newsletter because there are more free printables for subscribers and I found most of them really good.

Now that I've sort of started to take control of my time (thanks in part to bullet journaling), I've started to work on our finance. Our financial situation has improved dramatically in the past couple of years, which is good, but it also made us lazy about our financial dicisions. So I've decided to make more conscious decisions with regards to our money. These two articles, How to Make a Spending Plan and Why I'm Tracking Every Single Purchase I Make in 2017 put me on track.

Lastly, I have this yummy White Bean and Avocado Baked Burritos recipe for you. I've made this a couple of times before and it's always been a hit. This time, in addition to making brritos as per the recipe, I just baked the fillings to cut down on the amount of wheat I eat. I did cover the fillings by putting a tortilla over the fillings so it won't dry while baking but did not eat it together. It was delicious this way too.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Weekly Favorites 1/18

Here are some of my favorite reads this week:


My son loved this worksheet! It's a great starting point to learn how to read a clock: Telling time preschool worksheets

When considering what skills my son (and the kids of his generation) would need to get a great career, one cannot ignore the fact that AI and robots will be taking over a lot of jobs by the time they grow up (probably even sooner). Even the skills currently in need or popular to study may not be so in the future. I love the conclusion, though, that we need real physical experiences to stay ahead of AI and robots in the article

I'm a very typical introvert. I do like my introverted nature most of the time but many other times I wish things were a little different. So it's nice to be reminded of positive aspects of being an introvert in The 12 Gifts Of Introversion 

Learning Spanish
My Spanish skills are not so great yet but hopefully soon I can learn more natural conversation from one of these shows: Top 5  Spanish TV shows that will let you learn  Spaish on your couch


One of my goals last year was to squeeze in some reading time for enjoyment, even for a few minutes, everyday, because I felt like I hadn't done anything just for fun in a long while. Happily I was actually able to finish a few novels last year (which you can see in my read list on Goodreads or in the sidebar on my blog). The Perfume Collector is the most recent one I've finished reading and I loved it! It involves a woman who receied inheritance from a woman she didn't know. She went out to Paris to find out about her inheritance and this woman. Her story is beautifully intertwined with the story of this woman. It was actually not that difficult to guess who this woman was but you'd still want to know how and why. And the reference to perfume and scents was just fascinating for someone like me who used to own a collection of perfume.

If you liked these stories don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, PinterestFlipboard to get notified as soon as I share them. Have a wonderful day :)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Weekly Favorites 1/12

It's already been more than 10 days since the new year started. I've been busy working on my 100 things to do list and setting goals for this year. This year I've decided to give a go at Bullet Jounal. I'm going to write about it in a few weeks but in the meantime, here are my favorite reads for this past week:

A nice reminder for veteran cat parents, a concise useful infographic for new cat parents:
Keeping your cat happy indoors infographic 

It's not particularly an eye-opening idea that lanugage and math are not the only areas where you can assess people's smartness but it's still a nice litte video to check out and think about what it means for someone to be "smart"
8 Intelligences: Are You a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One? 
We haven't tried this activity yet but looks fun

You know, we always hear a phrase "find ourselves" but this article states that it is not the right mindset. Rather you create yourself, which to me is an intriguing idea.  "If we attach ourselves to something, we are desiring for it to be stable, which directly goes against the forces of the universe." Hmmm
Neuroscience Learns What Buddhism Has Known for Ages: There Is No Constant Self 

I love this quote, as I myself am a bit of a worrisome person

Don't know if true but it'd certainly be nice if these brain functions translate to everyday activities


I also have two great children's books we've recently read. The highest mountain of books in the world by Rocio Bonilla is a perfect book for those who want to pass on their love of books to their child. The title itself is appealing to book lovers, don't you think?

Hooray for Today! , a sequel to the fun book Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won, is a yet again fun book to read. The story might look simple with a lot of repetition but perhaps that's a good thing for small children.

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

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Mochi on a stack of blankets

I always know the warmest, the most comfortable spot in our house

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Weekly Favorites 1/4

I hope you all had a wonderful winter holiday with friends and families.  Sadly some nasty colds caught us all and our holiday wasn´t as eventful and active as we had planned. But we instead had a goood rest and a warm family time sitting in front of the fire or watching a few movies together, so that wasn´t bad after all.

Here are my favorite reads these past weeks:

As an introvert myself, I wish one of my teachers had thought of this when I was a student:
How to teach a young introvert

Some great tips for a teacher who's just come back to school: 
Teacher tips for the first day back from winter break

I wish I came across this article before I had that birthday party

Have you ever thought it'd be awesome if things you created with Lego blocks actually moved? Now they're making that thought come true. And kids can learn how to code too. Sounds very fun.
This article explains how a piano was invetned pretty well. I listened to the recording after reading the article, and I could easily imagine the people back then amazed at this new instrument, perhaps with a little skepticism. Beautiful sound.
I've recently tried this Creamy Butternut Squash Linguine with Fried Sage, and really liked it. I thought the sage might get overpowering but actually it just adds a nice salty accent to the pasta. I'd add more next time. If you omit the red pepper flakes, it'll be very kid friendly. My son loved it too.

An inspiring article for these first days of a new year to set goals, decide how to approach your goals and work on it. I've started to make my 100 things to do list too. Hope it helps me reach my goals, as right now they are very messy and I need some structure to tackle it.
How To Invest In Yourself

I remember how sad I felt when I heard of the passing of Alan Rickman. Seems like he was indeed a good person. RIP
And speaking of Harry Potter, here's a fun little article:

I know Christmas is over but here are two fun articles about some unique (and maybe a bit strange) " Christmas traditions" in Japan:

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

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