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2015 Christmas Gift Ideas and Thoughts on Gift Giving

Here are some articles with gift ideas – handmade and not – as well as thoughts on gift-giving:

  1. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/christmas-ideas/
  2. http://www.womansday.com/life/g955/gifts-for-her/
  3. http://www.iheartnaptime.net/handmade-christmas-gifts/
  4. http://www.iheartnaptime.net/handmade-christmas-gifts/
  5. http://www.moneyunder30.com/cheap-gifts-53-inexpensive-christmas-gifts
  6. http://greatist.com/happiness/meaningful-gifts-on-the-cheap
  7. http://www.betterbudgeting.org/2015/06/63-gift-ideas-for-under-10-any-occasion.html
  8. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/3-ways-to-be-a-better-gift-giver/
  9. http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget
  10. http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget
  11. http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget
  12. http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2015/11/helping-your-kids-give-great-gifts-giving-healthy-and-thoughtful-presents.html

I found these articles useful for ideas and tips, as well as some thoughts on how to give a great gift and what makes a great gift.  I thought I would pass them on in the hope that they help someone else.  In addition, if you are looking for more ideas, check out my list of 101 Gift Ideas on a Budget.

Christmas present

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#HighFunctioningMeans

ischemgeek

Intro: #HighFunctioningMeans – and its siblings, #LowFunctioningMeans and #FunctioningLabelsMean are trending on Twitter right now. For insight into what neurodiverse people really think of functioning labels, I suggest you check those tags out. I participated in the hashtag, and in my usual verbose way, I realized that I’d completely flood it if I posted all that’s in my brain, but I’m perseverating on it so I decided to turn it into a post. 

Content note: There are some offensive views I’ve written about in a first-person sense for reasons of satire. Content note for ableism and abuse. 

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52 Ways to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever

  1. Set goals, not resolutions – or at the very least, combine the two.  It is great to resolve to lose weight, but in order to actually accomplish that, you need GOALS.
  2. Make self-care a big part of your life.  It is important enough to SCHEDULE it.
  3. Be present.  Don’t wish away your time.  Focus on where you are, WHEN you are.
  4. Be grateful.  Look around you and appreciate what you DO have.  Say thank you to people who help you or show appreciation.
  5. Resolve personal issues as soon as you can.  Give yourself a fresh start for the new year.
  6. Is there something that you are passionate about?  Get involved!  Find your cause and take part in whatever way suits you – letter writing, taking part in a walk, etc.
  7. Keep your promises both to yourself and others.
  8. Don’t compare yourself, your life, your possessions, or anything else to others.  You will be much happier, and you don’t gain anything from the comparisons.
  9. Replace a bad habit with a good habit.
  10. Take action.  Do something today to move yourself closer to your goals.  Take another action tomorrow…and the day after that.  Make it a habit to take small steps toward your goals daily.
  11. Do 30-day challenges.  Set a challenge once a month – 30 days of gratitude, 30 days of exercise, 30 days of frugality, 30 days of self-care…and see what a difference each makes in your life.
  12. Spend time alone to focus on your goals, your dreams, and what you REALLY want.  Keep a notebook of ideas, goals, etc.
  13. Develop a theme for the new year.  I used “Soar like an eagle” for 2014 and used it to motivate me to try harder and to stretch myself.
  14. Let go of things or people that drain you.  If it isn’t helping you, it is probably hindering.  Look at the people around you – are they supportive or are they negative?
  15. If you feel overwhelmed,  take a step back, say no to new obligations, and take care of yourself.    You will feel better after a rest and be more productive.
  16. Plan date nights – with your significant other or even yourself.  Try something new and different that you both have an interest in, or something that you’ve always wanted to do.  Do this at least once a month.
  17. Simplify.  Clean out a drawer, a closet, a room once a month or so.  If you haven’t touched something in six months, ask yourself if you really need it or if you can find another if you DO need it later.
  18. Take care of the world around you as well.  Recycle.  Reuse, where possible.  Donate gently used clothing.  Use lightbulbs that are longer lasting.  Use green cleaning materials to clean your house.
  19. Get up earlier.  Even if it is just 15-20 minutes, it should give you a little time to sit and enjoy your coffee, read an article, or write in your journal.
  20. Take a walk in the rain.  It can be very invigorating, romantic, and sensual.
  21. Enjoy a three course meal.  Do this by finding three friends, or couples, and having each bring a course.  Ok, yes, you should count yourself, so either have two friends or have a four course meal…LOL.  There you go – a large, extravagant meal without you having to do ALL of the cooking!  Fancy!
  22. Be a Bookcrosser (check out Bookcrossing.com).  Register one of your favorite books with Bookcrossing, write its number in the cover, then leave it in the wild for someone to find.
  23. Celebrate your accomplishments!  When you achieve a goal, CELEBRATE!  Make a big deal.  There is nothing like positive reinforcement 😀
  24. Forgive.  Forgive those who hurt you – but remember enough not to let it happen again.  I am not saying to forget what was done to you, but forgive for your own mental and emotional health.
  25. Stop being excessively nice.  When someone hurts your feelings, say so.  Mind you, you can do so nicely, but stand up for yourself.
  26. Ignore the Joneses.  Focusing on what others have does nothing to make our lives better.  In fact, it can dull the shine on our own lives.  Appreciate what you have and ignore the Jones’;  what they have isn’t your concern.
  27. Visit one new place a month!  Expand your horizons!  Look around the area in which you live; you might be surprised at how much there is to do.
  28. Try a new cuisine.  Talk to friends and get recommendations.  Read the restaurant reviews in your local paper.
  29. Join a book club.  Talk to friends about what you are reading, and ask about things they like to read.
  30. Learn a new hobby.
  31. Develop a meditation and breathing routine.
  32. Make a list of activities that you enjoy and do one per month – or more, if money and time permit!
  33. Keep a gratitude journal.  List 5 things every day.
  34. Keep a journal – even if just a line or two whenever you feel like it.  Explore different kinds of journals – one line a day, work, travel, reading…there are a ton of ways to keep a journal.
  35. Plant something.  Work in the dirt – it is a great way to relieve stress and ground yourself.
  36. Cut back on communications.  You don’t really, REALLY need to be texting in the bathroom, the car, while in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Try checking your email once a day, not as soon as you get a notification.
  37. Purge your stuff.  Donate, throw away, clean out things that you no longer use, haven’t touched in six months or more, or can no longer use.
  38. Take a deep breathe, leave yourself more time to get to work, and drive slower.  Racing through traffic can be stressful.  Make sure you don’t need to and you may actually enjoy your day more.
  39. Cut activities that no longer serve a purpose, or that complicate your life unnecessarily.  Free that time up to use doing things you truly enjoy, or to spend with family and friends.
  40. Get your finances in order.
  41. Accept your current circumstances, limitations, strengths, and weaknesses.  Acceptance will help ease stress and anxiety and allow you to move forward and make changes to improve things where improvements need to be made.  Accept that you will be making changes to your life gradually; much like losing weight, making changes gradually will make them more likely to stick.
  42. Get out into nature.  Literally stop and smell the roses.  Look at local natural wonders – waterfalls, beaches, mountains, streams, deserts all have their beauty.
  43. Pay attention to why you back away from something that originally really excited you.  Frequently it is fear.  Facing that fear and dealing with it may help you move forward with things that will change your life.
  44. If something isn’t working in your life, don’t wait for someone to come along and fix it.  Make a change yourself.  Give up complaining – and take action.
  45. Learn a new language.  The process of learning a new language and becoming familiar with a different culture can change you and your outlook.
  46. Start a life handbook.  My concept of this is that it contains tips on self-improvement, quotes that mean something to me, life lessons, and ideas.  It could even include dreams, goals, and more.
  47. Learn something new every day – a word, a fact, how to do something.  Look for lessons everywhere.
  48. Spend quality time with loved ones and friends.  Sounds so simple, but when you are with them really focus on them.  Interestingly enough, what you give, you will get back.  If you truly pay attention to others, more than likely they will respond.
  49. Give up gossip.  It is negative and will bring you down.  Focus on the positives instead.  Your outlook will think you for it!
  50. Remember that change can be good.  It can be scary but some changes are good.  Write down positive changes and focus on those when you are worried about upcoming changes.
  51. Try yoga.   Good for mind and body!
  52. Clean your desk and room – and keep them that way.  This will help you focus and will also reduce stress; clutter is, believe it or not, a source of stress.

And that is my list of 52 steps.  I hope it helps, and I hope that you enjoyed it!  If you have additions for a future list, please feel free to comment!

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30 Foolproof Self-Care Tips for the Greatly Stressed

On Your Own Nerves

Life is stressful and complicated – I am fairly certain that we can all agree on that.  Many families either have two parents working or are single-parent homes.  Add to that schedules for children that require families to be in multiple places at the same time and you find stress – how to feed the family, be involved with both children, work, get laundry done, and so on.  Other stresses for people with or without children include travel for work, long work hours, having to work holidays, not being able to make ends meet, committing to too many things, not having enough time, eating poorly, inability to accept things as they are, and failure to take time to relax.  Of course, those just scratch the surface.  I am a mother of two, one of whom has a chronic illness that she will never grow out of, a lifelong situation that has changed her life and those of me and the rest of the family.  We face the stresses of changes in her condition, hospital stays, lots and lots of doctor visits of various types, and the fact that even simple things like having her teeth examined by a dentist are complicated. That doesn’t even begin to describe the stress of trying to make sure that our son, who doesn’t have health issues, doesn’t feel neglected.  Stressors abound.

In view of all this, I have been trying to find ways to de-stress, lessen my anxiety, and take care of myself.  I want to be a better worker (I work part time), better spouse, and better mother.  I have found that to be impossible as long as I am stressed to the max, anxious alm0st all time time, and beginning to see physical side effects of stress.  Here are a list of things that I have tried and found help me.  Some or all of them may appeal to you.  I hope that at least some of them will help you as well.

  1. Soak your feet in hot water and Epsom salts.  I use about one cup of Epsom salts in a dishpan that I use specifically for soaking my feet (purchased on Amazon, but can probably be found at Wal-Mart or Target).  I make the water fairly hot and soak for 10 minutes or so.  Then put moisturizer on your feet and cover with stocks.  I highly recommend this an hour or so before bed – it even helps me sleep.
  2. Solitude.  Sometimes you just need a brief break – some quiet to either contemplate the situation or to not think about it at all.  As I mentioned earlier, I have two delightful, wonderful children – one of whom is very chatty.  Sometimes I just need a few minutes of quiet to gather my thoughts.  In my experience, I have less stressful days when I can have 15-20 minutes of time to myself.
  3. Fifteen minutes to yourself when you get home.  I highly recommend taking fifteen minutes or so when you get home to sit in a quiet place and unwind.  Ask your children to give you a few minutes before asking you anything – or go in your room and shut the door.  Let them know it will just be a short time.  Read for a few minutes, rock in a rocking chair, crochet, write, or whatever else helps you relax.  If just sitting helps, by all means sit and be still.
  4. Keep a journal.  Write out the good things, as well as the bad.  You can look back at the good memories on days you need something to perk you up.  Also, seeing what you’ve overcome can help as well.  In addition, sometimes writing out a problem can help you see things more clearly.  Remember, there is no rule that says you have to keep any or all of your journal.  If you feel better burning, shredding, or otherwise disposing of what you’ve written, then do so.
  5. Be sure to get enough sleep.  At least once a week, go to bed at earlier than normal to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.  If you have trouble sleeping, try getting more exercise.  If that doesn’t work, talk to a doctor or look into other methods of getting help with sleep problems.
  6. Clear some clutter.  Believe it or not, by organizing, you will make yourself feel better.  Clutter is a source of stress.  When you cannot find something, you get frustrated and worried, especially if it is something like car keys or cell phones.  It results in time spent looking for things rather than being productive.
  7. Five things to give up:
    1. People pleasing
    2. Negative self-talk
    3. Complaining
    4. The need to be right
    5. Running from things you fear
  8. Exercise a little every day.  There are some creative ways to work exercise into your day; do some research on Google.  Even 20 minutes a day is a big help, and may help you sleep better too!
  9. Make a humor file – collect articles from magazines or newspapers, comic strips, pictures, etc. – anything that makes you laugh or smile.  Pull it out on tough days.
  10. Read, read, read.  Sometimes curling up with a good book, whether it is fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, book, magazine, or whatever, is a great escape for a while – long enough to relax and unwind a bit.
  11. Practice gratitude.  If you are feeling stressed or depressed, sit down and make a list of five things that you are grateful for; it doesn’t matter what it is.  Start small: a flower, the breeze, waking up this morning, the tree outside your window, the sunset.
  12. Cut back on junk food, caffeine, and sugar.  Don’t overuse alcohol.
  13. When stressed, focus on what you can control – and  stop worrying about the things that you can’t.  Keep telling yourself to do that until it gets to be a habit.  Worrying about things you cannot change won’t change things, won’t make them better – but it can make your stress worse and make you sick.
  14. Replace negative self-talk with positive.  This can be something along the lines of using positive affirmations.  Reframe the negative things you tell yourself.  For example, if you think something like, “I can’t do this,” rephrase it to: “I’m not sure how to do this yet, but I will learn.”
  15. Cut back on electronics and media.  Keeping up with world happenings is a good thing overall, but it is negative in general.  Bad news sells papers.  Cut back on the amount of time you spend on computer, playing games, reading the news, following the news stories.  Spend more time with family, reading, exercising, or doing a hobby.
  16. Take up a hobby – speaking of hobbies!  Learn something new or pick up something you’ve been doing already.  Crochetcan be very relaxing – and yes, men crochet or knit too…
    1. http://www.pinterest.com/csuecrafty/real-men-crochet-or-knit/
    2. On Being a Man Who Knits
    3. No Yarn: Charity Does Good With Stitch In Time 
    4. Meet the Soldier Who Learned to Crochet In Afghanistan
  17. Try meditation.  Start small – mediate for five minutes.  Keep practicing – it takes time to build up but any amount should help your stress levels.
  18. Take an online course and stretch yourself.
  19. Do something nice for someone.
  20. Stop trying to be someone else, for someone else – or trying to live your life to please someone else.  Be yourself – live your values and your interests and follow your dreams.  You’ll find that relieves a LOT of stress.
  21. Sit on the back porch and enjoy your favorite beverage as the sun rises or sets.  Enjoy the sounds of nature.
  22. Practice healthy breathing – many people don’t breathe correctly and stress can affect breathing as well.
  23. Learn to acknowledge all of your feelings – including the negative ones, like anger and jealousy.  Recognize when you are feeling them, explore why you are feeling them, and acknowledge them.  Then let them go.
  24. Cry – let it all out.  Sometimes you just need to vent and let out some of your internal pressure.  It is a way of releasing pressure and stress.
  25. Make a list of activities that you enjoy doing – and do one.
  26. Say no to something that you really don’t want to do, or say no if you don’t have enough energy to commit to something else.  Forget what other people say or think – this is for your own well-being.
  27. Stop watching TV and read instead.
  28. Set your own goals and get away from living by someone else’s rules and goals for you.
  29. Determine your core values and make sure your job and your lifestyle are aligned with them.  When they aren’t in agreement, there is a disconnect and it can be very stressful.
  30. Develop coping strategies.  Sources of help include:
    1. Common Coping Responses for Stress
    2. Stress Management
    3. 101 Ways to Cope With Stress

Stress Less

Sources of information:

Clear Clutter Out of Your Life

Why Mess Causes Stress

 

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10 Ways to Organize at the Start of a New School Year

Back to School

Ok, my children are in second and fourth grade.  I have put this off long enough.  I have been trying to find a workable system to keep track of appointments, school events, paperwork, things that are to keep at home, things to return to school, and so forth.  So…finally I have committed to doing this for 2014-2015 school year.  Go me…lol.  Better late than never!

This year I have started some new things in an effort to start getting my family more organized.  Here is my list of projects:

  1. Notebooks for each child.  Name, teacher’s name, grade, school year and school will go on the front page.  Name and year on the spine – if I can get that arranged.  In each:
    • Page with school address, telephone number, fax, school nurse name and contact information, and hours.  I will also put the teacher, her email address, contact number (phone extension) and hours I can reach her.
    • Copy of the school system calendar for the year, along with information on make-up day schedules
    • Section for correspondence with the teacher and with the nurse as needed
    • Section for IEPs, report cards, etc.
    • Section for notes from meetings and the like
    • Section for papers to save
  2. Create a place to save special artwork and larger documents.  Ideas include:
    • Files in a file cabinet
    • File specially designed for the purpose
    • Frame that allows you to easily rotate artwork out
  3. Put together a “study basket” with necessary materials (not all of these apply to my son, who is 9, but would be good for older kids):
    • Pens
    • Pencils/pencil sharpener
    • Eraser
    • Scratch paper
    • Calculator
    • Loose-leaf paper and clipboard
    • Crayons
  4. Organize school lunches.  One thing my husband and I have started doing is making up snack bag servings of sides and treats for lunch boxes for about a week at a time.  Sunday evening is when my husband usually gets these ready; we’ve broken down getting-ready-for-school activities – he gets lunches ready and I feed and dress the kids in the morning.
  5. For next year, I want to try following a checklist that I found here.  Mind you, the actual checklist is one on a list of organizational ideas linked from other locations.  Still, it breaks down all the different things you need to do to get ready ahead of time for the start of a new school year.  Great checklist to follow!
  6. Organize the calendar.  Put all of the appointments, school events (print out school system calendar as soon as its available), and family events – then color-code by individual.  It makes it so much easier to see at a glance who is doing what during the week.  Also, find out if there are any due dates known up front for applications to things, deadlines to have information in by, and the like – add those to the calendar and highlight in their own color!
  7. Designate a place in your house to store school supplies and store them there.  At the end of the year, place the unused supplies there as well – next year, you may not need to buy as much.
  8. Clean off the fridge and start the new school year fresh.  Put the new school calendar or class calendar for the month up, list of school supplies, and a plastic bag for box tops.
  9. Establish the daily routine early.  Kids do so much better with a regular schedule, especially a lot of special needs children.  Get them into the routine of doing homework first, relaxing, going outside and playing, dinner with the family (as much as possible with multiple schedules…sigh), and taking a bath.  Develop a bedtime routine for younger children and try to be consistent, even on the weekends.
  10. Establish a checklist near the door, if possible.  Ask some questions before leaving the house, or before breakfast:
    • Does anyone need lunch money?
    • Does anyone need money for a field trip?
    • Are lunches in backpacks?
    • Is homework where it is supposed to be?
  11. Establish good routines EARLY in the year.
    • Make sure everyone has enough time in the morning for everything that needs doing: getting dressed, eating, brushing teeth, and making sure everything is in backpacks.
    • Adjust after the first few days.  Get homework and supplies for the next day at night and put it in the backpack.
    • Lay out clothes, if necessary.
    • Get older children to help with younger ones, if possible – or to help with getting breakfast materials out and on the table.,
    • Keep bedtime at the same time as much as possible.
  12. A few extra tips:
    • Keep the school’s list of supplies that are needed each year.  If you maintain a file, it should help limit buying multiple items like calculators, rulers and so on that can carry over from one year to the next.
    • Make sure your child has a school planner.  Some schools are starting this process on their own; my son’s third grade class actually provided one.  If they don’t, start teaching your child to use one early.  There is a wide selection out there and many for different grade levels.
    • Some families use a checklist for each family member – morning checklist, homework or afternoon checklist, night checklist.
    • Consider using a hanging shoe organizer to keep scarves, gloves, water shoes, and other small things handy.
    • Organize your pantry and make sure you have supplies for easy meals.

School supplies

I will say that my circumstances – having a special needs child that gets into everything and pulls things off of the wall – changes the way I do things.  I have seen a LOT of ideas online for creating a communication center where put correspondence from the school that needs responses from parents or signatures, things that need to be paid, and the like.  I’ve seen suggestions for giant calenders on the wall, where you can put color-coded appointments for each family member.  All of those are great ideas, but unworkable for me, unfortunately.  At any rate, here are some suggested sites for good organizing ideas for families without the complications that our family faces:

Simplify101 – Back To School Organizing Tips

Babycenter – 12 Ideas for Back-To-School

 

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Commonplace Books – What They Are and Reasons to Keep One

Commonplace 1

What is a commonplace book?  Well, it seems that it is something that I’ve kept most of my life.  It isn’t a journal or diary or travel log; it is far different than those.  A journal or diary typically contain a daily record of events or business.  A travel log may contain details of various trips, purposes behind them and so on.  A commonplace book is very different in originally it would contain quotes, thoughts, proverbs and other “wisdom” that the keeper wanted to remember.  Some were copy books.  Others, like Carl Linnaeus’, organized something systematically; he  used commonplacing techniques to invent and arrange the nomenclature of his Systema Naturae.  Per Wikipedia, “Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator’s particular interests.”

I tended to make my early versions into notebooks full (or mostly full) of little tidbits. My earlier notebooks were mostly quotes that I liked, books I wanted to read or that others recommended to me, the occasional movie title and description, and so on.   I have found that I keep different types or combinations of things in my commonplace books, depending on how my life is going at the moment or what is going on in my life.  When I have tough times, I tend to include humorous stories, funny cartoons, jokes, upbeat and inspirational quotes and websites that I find helpful.  I also have noticed my mood changes or shifts by the books that I note in my commonplace book.  I think commonplace books offer a different way to note and track changes in our lives.  I have also kept these at work as well, with the topics mirroring work I was doing, concerns I had, or things I needed to remember or to do.  Of course, with work documents, caution is advised; proprietary information must be protected. Always, always, always follow corporate policy with regard to company information.  (I am definitely not advocating information theft!) Someone following behind me may have found my tips and ideas helpful – or they may have just shredded them.

What can a commonplace book be used for?  Well, practically anything.  It can be a useful note-taking tool  while writing a book; you can keep research notes, books to use, character name ideas, location descriptions and more.  It can be useful in defining an idea – keeping all of the details flowing but allowing you to notate everything in one location.  It can be used to create a reference of inspirational quotes that you found useful – quotes specifically helpful to YOU, not necessarily everyone else.  It can be used to help organize your thoughts, your day, your studies. A combination of quotes and commentary on books read can be helpful as well.  The ideas for usage are limitless – well, perhaps limited only by imagination!  I am thinking of keeping one for my blogs;  I think it would be helpful to keep research notes, topic ideas, scheduling, and more all in one place.  Of course, I might also make that one section of a commonplace book.

 

Benefits of Keeping a Commonplace Book

A commonplace book may be an old idea, but definitely not outdated.  Today’s commonplace book may even look different; now, rather than writing things down, you can keep them electronically.  This allows for storage of words, images, videos, and all sorts of medias, all in one place.  Other benefits include:

  • Reinforcing learning – many people remember things better if they write things down.
  • Accumulation of information in one readily accessible location
  • Increased creativity – it can help us see patterns in various pieces of information, and help us create or discover connections.
  • Filter information – a commonplace book can help you filter the overwhelming amount of information that bombards us daily.  This is a place to record only what is significant or seems significant.
  • Organizing thoughts – basically making order out of chaos.  If you organize your thoughts in the book, you can see development and change over time; you can also see flaws in logic and so forth when you go back to previous notations

Whether you keep an electronic or a paperback version depends on what your goals are, what your preferences are, and perhaps which one is more frequently available to you.  An electronic version may allow you to include kinds of media such as videos, music, and images.  It can also be accessed from anywhere with internet access if you keep it online.  On the other hand, in a power outage, you lose access.  In addition, a paper version requires personal writing, which can aid memory.

Steps for Keeping a Commonplace Book

  1. Electronic or paper?  Choose your medium.  Weigh the benefits of both and chose the best one for your circumstances and preferences.  Blogs can be used for this, as can Pinterest and other similar sites, at least to some extent. I have also seen suggestions for Evernote, Tumnblr, and OnSwipe, among others.  Frankly, I prefer pen and paper.  For me, actually physically writing something out helps me remember things better than typing them out.  In addition, I can doodle, draw, and sketch to my heart’s delight. Others find electronic versions more appropriate or desirable.  Some of the benefits of keeping it electronically are portability, ability to combine pictures, calendars, notes, and more; in addition, electronic versions are more readily divided into sections, arranged and re-arranged.
  2. Contents?  Well, some people record quotes that they find interesting or thought-provoking.  Others use them as almost a reading journal, listing books that they want to or do read, thoughts on what they’ve read, and reactions to the reading.  Other people record recipes, notes, ideas, life lessons, heroes, song lyrics, clippings from newspapers, and important pictures. There are people who create music commonplace books,
  3. Another thing to consider is organization.  If you don’t organize your book in some way, you will struggle to find any information when you want it.  One idea is a section for list of books to read, another for quotes from the book, and interpretations and other material.    Ways to create sections depend on the medium you are using; there are tabs (permanent and sticky-note type) that you can add to blank books, you can use tabs in 3-ring notebooks, and you can break up blogs into pages or use labels/tags as well.  Organize before you start writing; trust me, it is easier this way!  I didn’t do this with my early versions and I found them difficult to work with in the end.  Some people organize their books by project.  Others use their commonplace books as devotional work, research records, or work toward a book.

Well-known People Who Kept Commonplace Books

H. P. Lovecraft

John Locke

Francis Bacon

E. M. Forster –

  • Clarissa Harlowe. Have read 1/3 of. Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wants to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.”
    (E.M. Forster in 1926, excerpt from Commonplace Book, ed. by Philip Gardner. Stanford Univ. Press, 1988)

Victor Hugo

Washington Irving

John Hancock

Commonplace 2

 

My current commonplace book is a Miquelrius notebook with a soft leather cover.  At the moment it is rather similar to a day planner, with calendars added in by me and notes on weekly activities.  However, it is much more than that.  I have made note of sites that I’ve found helpful over approximately the last eight months (like PopClogs), as well as inspirational quotes and things that I need to remember.  I’ve noted my daughter’s height and weight changes between visits to her doctor, which has shown that she is steadily growing, not too fast and not too slow.  I’ve included lists of books that I’ve checked out and enjoyed, books that I want to buy eventually, and books that others have recommended to me.  All in all, it is a convenient bundle of information, readily accessible anytime it is needed.

 

Suggested reading and sources of information for this article:

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100 More Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Make lap afghans for a nursing home.
  2. Hug your loved ones.
  3. Offer someone your seat on the bus.
  4. Leave money in the vending machine.
  5. Say thank you.
  6. Give someone a compliment.
  7. Buy dessert for someone eating alone.
  8. Give an inspiring book to a struggling friend.
  9. Send someone a nice note.
  10. Say I love you.
  11. Let someone get in line in front of you.
  12. Don’t gossip.
  13. Hold the elevator.
  14. Donate your professional skills.
  15. Donate blood.
  16. Speak gently.
  17. Bake cookies for city workers.
  18. Take a special treat to co-workers.
  19. Tell your children why you love them.
  20. Volunteer at school.
  21. Adopt a shelter pet.
  22. Foster a pet.
  23. Plant flowers for someone.
  24. Forgive someone.
  25. Give your children stickers.
  26. Do a craft with a child.
  27. Write a letter to former teachers.
  28. Plant a tree.
  29. Buy a cold drink for someone at the park.
  30. Return a cart for someone at the grocery store.
  31. Crochet a blanket for the homeless.
  32. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
  33. Donate clothes.
  34. Donate toys.
  35. Donate books.
  36. Give care packs to the homeless (deodorant, tooth-brush, brush, snacks, etc.)
  37. Help someone for free.
  38. Use less plastic.
  39. Be a designated driver.
  40. Be kind to someone you dislike; you never know what problem they face.
  41. Donate $1 the next time you have an opportunity.
  42. Donate a haircut.
  43. Give out free popsicles.
  44. Be a role model.
  45. Give school bus driver a thank you.
  46. Praise a parent for how well-behaved or how well their child does something.
  47. Put gas in someone’s car.
  48. Pat someone on the back.
  49. Help someone move.
  50. Cheer someone on.
  51. Share a snack.
  52. Give a child a special treat.
  53. Be positive.
  54. Ask if you can help.
  55. Be polite online.
  56. Send a random person a gift on Amazon.
  57. Give a child a card with money.
  58. Arrange a neighborhood clean-up day.
  59. Pay for he person behind you at a toll booth.
  60. Leave your finished book or magazine on the plane.
  61. Leave a balloon on a friend’s porch.
  62. Let someone go in front of you at the store.
  63. Leave a pretty journal in a dorm or library.
  64. Sing Christmas carols at a nursing home.
  65. Don’t nag.
  66. Shovel a neighbor’s walk.
  67. Praise a child doing the right thing – and his/her parents.
  68. Don’t complain.
  69. Bake a cake for the birthday person.
  70. Say hello!
  71. Buy what the neighbor’s child is selling.
  72. Be understanding.
  73. Listen to someone’s life story.
  74. Give a glowing recommendation.
  75. Ask family members to do something nice for one other person in honor of your birthday.
  76. Hand out gift cards to people going into a coffee shop.
  77. Deliver old blankets/towels to animal shelters.
  78. Leave a wake-up surprise next to family member’s beds.
  79. Work at a food bank.
  80. Warm a blanket in the dryer for your child.
  81. Set up your child’s favorite game and play it with them.
  82. Hide a dollar in your child’s pocket.
  83. Leave diapers and wipes on a changing table.
  84. Let your child stay up a little.
  85. Send your spouse out when they need a break.
  86. Call your parents just to say you love them.
  87. Leave doggie treats at a dog park.
  88. Make someone laugh.
  89. Be nice to customer service.
  90. Leave reusable bags in a shopping cart.
  91. Teach someone how to do something.
  92. Put your change in Ronald McDonald box at a McDonald’s restaurant.
  93. Buy a few iTunes gift cards and give them to teens listening to iPods.
  94. Write a letter of appreciation to your parents.
  95. Take goodies to school office staff.
  96. Write a letter of appreciation to corporate when you receive really good service at a restaurant.
  97. Give directions.
  98. Stop and help someone who looks lost.
  99. Get water for a delivery driver on a hot day.
  100. Just hold someone’s hand when they are upset.

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