On Balance, Blogging, and Turning Two

By Kate Riley February 15, 2011

me and boy

Today is just an ordinary Tuesday for most of you, but for me it marks the two year anniversary of my blog!  Yay!

What a year! I never imagined so many opportunities would come my way and I am so grateful to all of you who visit now and then, thank you SO much!

I’m one of those many multitasking moms, but lucky enough to be able to work from home, blessed with good health, great kids, a supportive husband, and a plethora of power tools.  Life is pretty good, and I’m thankful everyday. 

I often get these questions: How do you balance it all and get so much done? How do you manage your time?  How Do You Do It All?

My friends, let’s face the truth.  No one can ever “do it all”.  Not unless you’re Martha Omnimedia with unlimited resources and highly paid staff to cater to your every whim.  Then yes you probably can do it all, I suppose. 

There are plenty of things I don’t do, and for me, that’s the key to the ‘balance’ question.  I’ve decided what I can accomplish in any given day or week, what I have to sacrifice to get it done, and the power of saying ‘No’ to the things that won’t work for me and my family. 

Life (and blogging) is an ongoing treadmill, and Year Two taught me a few things.  But like a runner who’s been running for awhile, most importantly it taught me to find my stride.  The last two months have been extremely challenging.  I flew to the east coast three times in six weeks, all the while doing all the other things I ordinarily do.  I can’t believe I haven’t fallen down or gotten sick, which is nearly impossible when you’re on so many airplanes and picking up all those germs on every hotel doorknob and elevator button. 

I absolutely could not have stayed afloat this past year without my eternally patient husband, daily devotions, the support of some ‘got your back’ moms in my community watching over my munchkins, and Dori’s ‘just keep swimming’ attitude!  


I’m pretty disciplined with my time, but I’ve also learned to be forgiving of myself.  My house is never perfectly straightened, dust free, and it is rarely ready for company.  So what?  Perfection is not my goal, contentment is my goal.  Dishes and laundry and kid toys pile up, clutter creeps in, and to tackle it all I just keep swimming. 


Here are a few of the rules I’ve made for myself to successfully manage my time.

Budget Office Hours.  I’m rather disciplined and I recognize I’m most productive between 9 and 2 p.m.  9  to 11 a.m.  I make the rounds, email, comments, favorite blogs, and a little time on Facebook and Twitter.  From 11 to 2 p.m., I run errands, keep appointments, gather supplies, start new projects, then at 2:30 I pick up my kids and take an afternoon break to do homework and clean up around the house.  That afternoon break to focus on family is extremely important to me.  I budget a few hours after bedtime to write, and I spend most weekends working on new projects. 

Avoid time hogs.  There is so much on the internet, and on television I could be online or in front of the tube all stinkin’ day.  If that was the case, nothing would get done.  I love social media, but for now I stick to only Facebook and Twitter and have a ‘login, logout’ philosophy.   Just a few minutes here and there over the course of the day.  My television is never on during the day, unless I have two sick kids at home like yesterday, then I make an exception.  I record every show I like, then I catch up every few days after the kids’ bedtime or on the weekend when I have time. 

Try to Prepare Posts in Advance.   Long ago, I used to scramble to finish a project and photograph it ‘today before daylight ends’ to post ‘tomorrow’.  Ack, that’s just too stressful!  Sometimes this still happens to me, but for the most part I try to stay a few days ahead, and write down a schedule of posts for the upcoming week.  I find that if I start early on a project and pace myself, allowing time to finish or deal with an ‘oops’, then I stress a lot less. 

Kid Swap.  My kids are at an age where they are all about the play date.  Great!  I have a fab community of moms and we often kid swap for two reasons:  clean laundry room1) kids love playing at their friend’s houses for a few hours and 2) it’s a heck of a lot easier to run errands alone.   A trip to the grocery store alone is that priceless opportunity to read labels and plan menus without distraction.  The art of the kid swap is a major time saver for me. 

Finish Cleaning Late in the Day.  One thing that helps me a lot is saving the home chores for when I’m home with the kids in the afternoon.  Yes, I actually leave my morning dishes in the sink if it’s during ‘Office Hours’ !  I finish them in the afternoon when the kids are doing homework at the kitchen island, that way I can help with homework and clean at the same time.  I fold laundry upstairs in the evenings when they’re also upstairs in the bath.  Etc.

Dedicate Time for Family.   All blog and no play makes me a cranky Mom.  The choice to work from home to be closer to my family has to actually mean something.  When I hear those words, “Momma, are you done with your computer?  Will you play with me?”  I heed them.  To me, no amount of pageviews is worth that chance to play, even if it’s to reenact for the hundredth time that first scene in my boy’s favorite movie. 

star wars battle

They’re only little once, I’m not going to miss it. 

Let Go.  I’ve learned to resist the pressure to post every day, as much as I’d like to, if my home life gets too busy, I can’t do it.  I don’t think anyone should ever feel the pressure to post just to post because they haven’t posted in awhile.  I’ve found a good pace that works for me, 3 to 4 posts a week, but if I ever need to take a step back, I certainly will.  

Take Care of Yourself.  Rest is best!  It bears repeating how important it is to make time for exercise, for play, and for eating well.  And when life falls completely out of balance which it often does, take a day or two to rejuvenate with some junk TV and ice cream or whatever it is that makes you feel better.  Then pick yourself up and go for it again.  Just keep swimming.

Thanks again to those of you who stop by to visit and say the kindest things.  Words cannot express how much I appreciate you.  I read every comment with a smile on my face, and I’m so grateful for your thoughtfulness, your humor, and overwhelming support. 

So, now that I’ve rambled, I’ll take a big breath and blow out my candles. 

Cupcake with Two Candles

Happy Two Year Anniversary to you Centsational Girl !


Anyone else out there have a great time management tip you’d love to share?  I’d love to hear it!




  1. Congrats on your 2 year anniversary! I just wanted to say THANKS and YES! to leaving home cleaning chores to the afternoon. I feel like such an oddball doing that – everyone seems to say not to, but it works best for me too :) Love your blog!

  2. Happy Birthday!!! or is it Happy Anniversary!!! either way… congratulations Kate! You are a true inspiration. Keep up the hard work.

    As far as time saving tips. I try my best to follow this one. Don’t check your email process it…Read an email once and answer it right away. I find this saves a lot of time and helps to not let a question or email fall through the cracks.

  3. Great advice! As a relatively new blogger, I love finding posts like this with great tips. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that some of my favorite bloggers have been at this for quite a while. Patience is not my strong point. I have to keep reminding myself that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. What would your one piece of advice be to a new blogger hoping to develop a quality blog like you have? I’d love to hear from you!

  4. Congrats on your 2 years! I am so glad I found your blog – It’s so inspirational to know there are so “many of us” trying for the same “Centsational” home & family goal while (sometimes desperately!) working on achieving balance and harnessing the beauty around us! You’re sensational, Centsational Girl! Thank you for blogging!

  5. happy annibirthsary girl!
    i look forward to whats next.
    and perfect or not you inspire!

    god bless

  6. Congratulations! You are one of the best bloggers out there and I always enjoy what your projects and recipes. Thanks for all you share and do!

  7. Happy Blogday!!!! I just recently discovered your blog, and I absolutely love it! It’s a beautiful and very interesting blog. =)

  8. congrats on your two year anniversary. My productive time is 5am until 8:30. Trust me, nobody bothers you during that time, and sleep? Well, you can get that later!

  9. Kate, congrats on two years! I can’t tell you how fabulous and timely this post is!

    Not that you could use any hints on balance, but 2 things that we do to maintain balance in our home:
    1. Pretty Handsome Guy & I fold laundry together while watching a show together in the evening.
    2. My neighbor comes once a week to sit for us for an hour after the kids go to bed so we can take an evening walk together.

    And, I do have a friend who blogs and told me she sets a timer daily for herself while catching up on blogs and email. I sooo need to do this.


  10. Happy “Blogiversary,” Kate! Funny, b/c my “blogiversary” is in 2 days. Our blogs are pretty much the same age, but I really do consider your work to be something I’d love to emulate. You have fabulous style, humorous writing, and you keep your life in balance. It must be something about year 2 b/c I’ve learned a lot about balance myself over the past year or so. Thank you for continuing to post thoughtful, original material that makes me smile! Here’s to another fab 2 years. :)

  11. Happy Blog anniversary! I have so enjoyed reading your blog and getting inspiration for the last few months – yeah I never READ a blog until I started blogging myself in August. Keep up the amazing work and thanks for the reminder on balancing life and not being able to do it all!

  12. Happy 2 year! I just celebrated my one year! I am not a mom “yet” {hopefully working that out this year} so I will keep your mom + blogging tips on a bookmark… I am sure I will need to reference it. So far, since I am a full time blogger/ interior designer my some of my days look like this… http://adesignstory.com/blogiversary-i-a-day-in-the-life-of-an-interior-design-blogger/
    and some look like me going to the beach or enjoying a great day with the family. I too want to keep this blogging thing into perspective.
    Thanks for your fabulous post Kate! Keep up the great work… here’s to a great year 3 for you!

  13. Congratulations on your blogiversary! Thanks for a great blog and thanks also for this excellent post. I really love these tips and your attitude to life!

    Best wishes,

  14. Congrats Kate! I’m amazed how much you are able to balance. Your blog is an inspiration and its success is certainly well deserved. I look forward to seeing it grow and inspire. Thanks for all the tips this past year. I especially loved your Christmas post and your Valentine post. Cheers to your next year and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the next 12 months.

  15. Happy Anniversary Kate! That is something to celebrate! :) And of course it is nice to see how you plan and orchestrate your days to keep all the plates spinning. One often wonders how those who “have it all together” keep it all together! :) Congratulations!

  16. WOW, I wish I was so disciplined! I blog first thing in the morning and before I got to bed. Unless I stop in to see what’s going on… like right now! It sure sounds like you have your time scheduled perfectly! Enjoy your evening, HUGS!

  17. This was great. Moms are pulled in many directions and it’s nice to see how others balance their time!
    I’m a loyal follower, and wish you the best as you continue on to your next blog birthday!

  18. Happy Anniversary! I’m so glad I found your blog. I really enjoy it! Keep on doing what you’re doing because it’s obviously working. I loved this post today – thanks!

  19. Congrats to 2 years! This was just the post I needed to read! I love blogging like no else, but I also work full time and have 3 kiddos. My husband just recently started working nights, and I am working on the balance that works for me! So THANK YOU for the inspiration, and the drive to “keep swimming”

    -Jenn @ Adventure of 18th Place

  20. Congratulations! I hope my blog is half of what you have made your blog in two years!! You are an inspiration! Thanks!!

  21. Congratulations! This is good advice. I don’t have any children yet and i find I can read blogs all day long. Now I make a to do list and only read blogs after I have finished my to dos. That’s good advice about having office hours. I will keep that in mind.

  22. Wow! Really great advice and it certainly helps me. I almost quit blogging, but I love it so much. I see that all I need to do is find balance. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Happy “Birthday” doll!

  23. Happy 2 years, Kate!!! My two year blogiversary is March 20th! It’s been an amazing 2 years that I am so thankful for.
    I am so happy for all the success your blog has received. It has been so much fun to watch and root for you in the sidelines. :)
    You definitely have a gift and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you the next 2 years.
    So glad to be your blog friend.

  24. Congrats on 2 years and all your successes during that short time! LOVE these tips, and I certainly try to heed them as well. My husband is a therapist and he’s been encouraging me to set boundries for myself…that means saying ‘no’ to a lot. It may make me feel guilty, but in the long run it benefits our family more.

    You’re right, they are growing up so fast…have to hang on tight to them while we can.
    Can’t wait for year 3 of CG!!

  25. Happy 2 years! I had no idea your blog was so young…I always assumed it was older – because it’s so polished and AWESOME!

    The tips on balance are great. I’ve been struggling with this lately as my blog traffic has grown (And with it the self-imposed pressure to provide more content, and more regularly) while keeping an office job and starting my own business. So it’s great to see these tips right now.

  26. Happy Birthday! Thanks for all the great inspiration. Just keep on swimming, you make the pond a lot nicer!

  27. Hey Kate! I agree totally with your balancing techniques! Congrats on your anniversary!

    I don’t think there is a woman alive who doesn’t ask themselves “How does SHE balance it all?” “What is wrong with ME that I can’t?” That is SO normal to wonder those questions, we wouldn’t be women if we didn’t feel that way sometimes! And as you pointed out, NO ONE balances IT ALL without a staff or extremely large budget :-).

    I know blog readers suffer from the “woe is me, I can’t do it all” feeling when they see lovely homes and projects being done all the time, and they just don’t stop to consider that bloggers are just like everyone else. They are not super heroes. Sacrifices are made, time management skills are necessary, and support systems need to be in place to be a blogger. If you don’t have those options, then you make DIFFERENT choices, but no less admirable ones. We all have to make unique choices every day for how our own homes are run and what sacrifices we make.

    For me, I watch next to no TV except for with my husband or family in the evening. My husband does most of our dishes, laundry and cooking. By his choice ;-). My youngest is 10, I have no little ones running around to take care of! I don’t blog as much as some, I don’t do as many projects due to lack of time and funds, but what I do works for me and my family. I don’t do anything perfectly, but I just do the best I can!

    Great post, dear. Always ;-)

  28. Congrats on your two year anniversary! Finding balance is definitely my primary focus this year. You reach a point where you realize that you can’t do it all and you need to figure out where to really focus your energy. Thanks for the reminder and all the good tips!

  29. Congratulations, Kate! I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and hardly miss a post! Blessings!

  30. Wow, I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear that! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on blogging schedules and balance with the family. I love to blog, but have found I worry about posting . . . which is crazy, because I love blogging for the creative outlet, fantastic people, and the wealth of knowledge . . . not deadlines and numbers. Contentment over perfection any day.
    Happy Anniversary and look forward to celebrating many more!
    PS: Yay for Star Wars as your little boy’s favorite movie!

  31. So glad I found your blog. I enjoy it so much! Happy anniversary and here’s to many more!

  32. Happy, happy 2nd bloggy birthday to you! I recently celebrated my 1st birthday and I am still fine tuning the process and balance, I’m pretty sure it’s just an ongoing thing. I just try to stay focused on the reasons I started blogging, when things get overwhelming I try to just take a step back. I think you hit the nail on the head with these rules. So great to hear how other bloggers manage. Great post, great blog! xoxo

  33. Happy Blog Anniversary! Yours was one of the first blogs that I stumbled upon while looking for an upholstered headboard tutorial, and I’ve been a follower ever since. Thanks for all that you do – your blog is such a resource for so many!

  34. I totally quote Dori all the time and to all my friends that need to hear it! “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, what do we do? we swiiiiiiiim!” Yes, I do it in my best opera voice.
    Congratulations on two years! Here’s to many, many more.

  35. Happy Blog Birthday! I just want you to know what a blessing it was to read your post today… I have been struggluing with the “balance” thing in my life lately, it was nice to see how someone I admire so much makes it work. Our situation is a little different bc my little ones aren’t quite old enough for preschool yet and my hubby is home sleeping during the day, but it helps to know that precious time with the kids trumps a perfect house (or blog) anyday.

  36. What a fabulous approach to life you have. Congratulations on your two year blogiversary. I love reading this blog so much. It has inspired me to declutter and reorganise my house and I’m loving it so much more now. I think you’ve got serious talents, so keep doing what you’re doing (for as long as you love it!).

  37. Happy anniversary! Love your blog. And such a wonderful post! I always wonder what the schedule is for a popular blogger…how much time is spent is blogging and on the computer. It looks like you have it worked out great!


  38. Congratulations! I’ve been reading you from the beginning and introduced ‘you’ to my best friend. It cracks me up that now our hubbies know who ‘Centsational Girl’ is. :) I follow a bunch of blogs, but only five on a daily basis and you’re the one I click on first. Thank you for all of your inspiration!

  39. I have to say, these are always my favorite posts. The ones where we see the “real you” with laundry and dishes and sick kids etc… As much as I like to know I’m not the only one having had my house in boxes for weeks preparing to move has me itching for some serious ogranization! I’m ready to find my “groove” again.
    Congrats on two years, I’m slowly creeping up on my 1st. And I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks for all you do for us out here, I totally enjoy every post you create!

  40. happy 2 years! I like to bust out a few post’s on Sunday – I can bake a few things then take it easy over the weekdays when I only have a few hours every evening.

  41. Happy Anniversary! I didn’t know I loved the blogging world until Centsational Girl. Your blog is the first blog that caught my attention and inspired me to start blogging myself. Thank you for inspiring me.

    Here’s to Centsational Girl turning 2!

  42. Glad to know your house is a REAL home with real dirty dishes and laundry waiting to be done. I love your blog and have gleaned so much from following it. Thank you!

  43. Happy Blog Anniversary! Thanks so much for this post. It’s been a pleasure to read and very – as all your posts are – inspiring!

    Here’s the the next 2 years. And the 2 after that, and the 2 after that…

  44. I love the time management pointers here. I have a small vinyl business that I run from home along with being a nurse, mom, and wife. Just this year, I’ve started making my week long list of chores, meals for each day of the week and revamp a little when things get crazy. I think if I also planned out my blog post for the week and add these to the list I’d feel better about my blog. I think I’d be happy at this point for 2 posts a week from myself and maybe a highlight of other’s awesome work I find.
    Happy Bloggaversary!!

  45. Congrats to you on your two year anniversary. You are an inspiration to me everyday. You are the main reason I started this blog (which I know I have told you before, but it bears reiteration) and you continue to inspire me. I feel like we have so much in common in so many ways. Great post on finding balance.

  46. I agree with Vanessa, your blog is really inspirational. You obviously take it seriously and have a great sense of professionalism, but you are always real at the same time. Mostly, your blog inspires me to be creative every day and to make good use of what I’m given, which is more important than numbers. Thanks for everything you do and congratulations!

  47. Congrats on your two blogging years! I just recently found your blog and I love it! We just bought our house about 9 months ago and since then time management has become much more of a necessity with all of the projects we’d like to do on top of work, bills, etc.
    My tip is to use a wipe off board or bulletin board. I used to make lists in random notebooks around the house and then even my lists became disorganized :) The wipe off board really helps consolidate everything, and it lets my husband in on the plotting/planning/organizing that is constantly stirring around in my head.

  48. Kate…a brilliant read…and so so very true.
    You have pretty much put it all into perspective..and I totally agree with you and adopt your views on ” Balance” being the key.
    I too feel so terrible should my little guy be pulling me away from my pc…thats when I know…Ok…logout …whatever it is can wait. I would never want to trade or compromise my quality time with him…which is every moment he is by my side…as he to me is far more engaging and entertaining than anything that is going on in the cyber world..truly.

    Your a fantastic Mum…and an inspiration to all other mothers out there in the blogsphere!
    Thanks for keeping it real :) x

  49. What a fantastic post! Happy Anniversary!! It seems you’ve nailed time management. I thought your blog had been around much longer. It’s absolutely amazing the success you’ve had in such a short amount of time! Congratulations on that success! Any advice on succeeding in the blog world would be much appreciated.

    Jenny K.

  50. What an accomplishment! You are a fabulous multi-tasking Mom- and lord knows its hard! But its great to hear that it can be done- while remaining family-focused and staying happy with what you are doing- keep up the great work!

  51. Kate, you simply rock! I want to be like you when I grow up (even through I’m older than you) he…he…you are just a little dynamo.

    Thanks for all the great ideas, I have learned SO MUCH from your blog. Keep up the great work!!!

  52. It’s all about the illusion that you can “do it all”. :) Congrats on the two year anniversary and I’m looking forward to many more. You are a constant source for inspiration and an attitude boost.

  53. Congratulations on 2 years!! I truly enjoy following your blog. You are an excellent writer and you lay everything out so it’s pleasing to the eye and easy to follow. Thank you! Oh…my little guy has the same exact set up as yours! xo

  54. Happy two years Kate!! I look forward to seeing what you put up every day. You give me inspirAtion to be creative- even when I don’t think I am!
    Thanks and keep up the great work!!!

  55. Great post and many congrats on your two years! You said it perfectly, and it’s funny, the “just keep swimming” motto is a big one for me as well! LOVE IT!


  56. Happy 2 year blogging Birthday! I look forward to each new post and am inspired by many of the things you do.. right now I’ve been creating a Playroom for my little tyke.. Many ideas came from you and have been a lot of fun to try my own hand at!

  57. Dear Kate, what a sweet post. Congratulations! I would like to thank YOU for all of the wonderful posts, ideas, thoughts and inspiration. I look forward to your posts as part as my morning routine, i have to admit I held my breath a little reading this thinking you might be signing off :)
    So glad to know there is more to come and I will be able to enjoy many more morning coffees with you!
    ps. i included my blog although I’m using it more like a website- I just published it so it’s a work in progress

  58. Congratulations on your two year anniversary. Hopefully there will be many more to come. Great tips on organizing your time!

  59. I am most shocked that your huge blog is only two years old! What an inspiration. I really appreciate this post and it’s a good reminder to do what counts and forget the rest. I’m learning day by day, for sure. I’m so glad you took the time to share this.


  60. Congratulations! I love your tips on balancing everything– I manage to maintain a decent balance MOST of the time, but still have those days or weeks where I get out of whack. I’ll file some of your ideas away for those times so I can get back on track. YOu’re wise to seize your moments with your kids– those times are precious and fleeting. My daughter heads off to college next year so I’m a little wistful and sentimental. :) Continued blessings, Kate!

  61. happy 2 yrs CG!! I hope you really did celebrate with some cake! Thanks for the balance in life reminder and your honesty about how you do it all. Love the “office hours” concept!

  62. I have taken your advice and found the last room in the house to turn into an office. I am loving having a space to go to that isn’t in the kitchen and in front of the tv. I am getting a lot more done now.

  63. Oh, sweet Kate! Thank you for your honesty! :) Deep breath at the Graber house tonight, knowing that even Centsational Girl has to work at it, and can’t have it all together all the time! I knew I loved you! I’m a Chicago girl, and only first found your blog a few weeks ago, but since then have -oh lord, am I really about to say this? – fallen in love with spray paint. Yes, me – who swore it off years ago when my husband made a few spray paint boo-boos in our house. Just today the lady that works at Ace greeted me by name! :) (Yes, hello to you too, Julie!) I swear, you’d be so proud of how far I’ve come in a few short weeks, Kate. I’m like a little Centsational girl protege! Anyway, all the best to you and your dear family. Congrats on the anniversary!

  64. Hip-Hip-Hooray for TWO! I celebrate my 2 yr bloggy birthday coming up in April.

    Loved your post today – I can really relate and appreciate it when I see a successful blogger with striving for balance and setting her priorities straight. Thanks for sharing. :)

  65. Congrats on 2!
    It’s sort of a cheat, but a couple of years ago, preparing for a week off spent at a conference, I was reflecting on how many phone messages I get, how much time checking messages takes, and how I will for WEEKS avoid checking my voicemail if I know there are 20 messages on it (my personal best is 43.) I figured that maybe a lot of people are like me and only leave a phone message because they’ve called and waited too long until the end of the voicemail and feel less silly leaving a message than leaving an audible “click” and hang up on someone else’s answering machine. So I recorded my voicemail “away” message and left a good 10-15 seconds of total silence at the end of it. Bam! Messages halved or better! Not only that, but you’ve instantly prioritized – people who are willing to wait through 10 seconds of silence usually have something important to say, everyone else will call you back later :) This really works!

  66. Great post! Very informative. A strategy that I find helpful with avoiding time hogs is using a timer. I literally set my phone for x minutes and when time is up I move on to the next task. Sometimes I surprise myself with how much I can get done in just 5 or 10 minutes.

  67. you are awsome!! im not subscribed to the blog, or anything of that NATURE….but i saved the link to ‘favorite blogs’ in my ‘favorites’ tab :) and i click on it everyday!! i still remember a question that i asked you in a comment ( a long time ago) AND YOU ANSWERED ME!! i was really suprised because there were about 100 million comments!! anyways…im always telling people about your blog and how great you work is!!! i love it!! you are very inspiring and talented and congratulations on you two year!! and for being so disciplined with your time management!! AND i think that it is awsome that you read your comments and take the time to respond and make us (me) feel important!!! CONGRATS!

  68. Kate, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog – not only your fabulous projects, but how you share the joy you have for life and your sense of humor! Congrats on your anniversary and all the best for the future…wherever it takes you! And you are so right to enjoy those littles while they’re still little! Good for you for finding and focusing on balance.

  69. Congratulations, CG! I just discovered your blog about a month ago and am so encouraged by your projects. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration, ideas and how-to’s. I wish you many more wonderful anniversaries!

  70. Kate,

    I love this post! So helpful to hear how you manage to balance it all out. It is not easy for any of us to find the right formula. Happy Anniversary! Congrats on your 2 years of blogging. I am excited to see where it takes you in the future.


  71. Happy anniversary! As the mother of 5 grown children, I encourage you to spend as much mom time with your kids now as you can. They really do grow up super fast. I love your blog!!!

  72. Happy anniversary, Kate! You feel like a close friend to each one of us, I’m sure! You are very wise and talented for your young age. I rarely surf the web, but for some odd reason was doing just that a year and a half ago when I “found” you! You have become an important part of my life because you are so inspirational and an incredible writer. I am not even a DIYer! And I’m awful at home decorating. I keep the house clean and uncluttered, and that was it. I am slowly applying some of what I learn on your site, and my “house” is looking more like a “home.” My husband, who is very anti-clutter, really enjoys the beautification and concrete tips we learn from you! I’m so glad you don’t sacrifice your marriage or your kids for your blog and all of us followers. Keep up the good work! Love you lots, Tammy

  73. Wow, it seems you and the Nester are all about keepin’ it real today. I love your post and time management tips. I have a girlfriend who tells me all the time “why are you cleaning your house when your kids aren’t home? Don’t you have better things to do?”. I laughed but now I heed that comment whenever I’m home alone. Not that I don’t love when my kids are home – I cherish it but I also cherish my time for me when I’m alone.

    Happy Bday!

  74. Happy 2 year anniversary! I had no idea your blog was so young, I love it. It is such an inspiration. Thank you for the time management tips. I just started blogging in January and have been fighting with time management. I have started to feel like I am neglecting my diy projects (the whole purpose of the blog). Thank you, I am saving this post for reference!

  75. Thanks for this wonderful post! I really need to come up with a good schedule. My motto is a lot like yours – mine’s from Disney’s Meet the Robinsons – “Keep Moving Forward”. Cheers to two years!

  76. Dear Kate,
    I sent you an email asking you how you do what you do, and you said you would write a post on it. And here it is! I didn’t think it would be so soon. Again, you amaze.

    I said I wanted to cross the chasm between how I lead my days and how I think you must lead yours. And now I have a little insight to use as a tool to traverse that chasm. Most poignant was your relating your son’s request: “Momma, are you done with your computer? Will you play with me?” And your response to those words: “I heed them.” Thanks for helping me to remember how I used to be, and where I need to get back to.

    Thank you for this post. Happy two-year blog birthday!


  77. Kate: Happy Two Years! Congrats, Lady! I’ve only just discovered your blog, but I love it already. Thank you for the inspiration. :)

  78. Congratulations on your 2 year anniversary! Great post. You are amazing with all that you do and do it so well. You are an inspiration to me and I am so happy to have found your blog!

  79. I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely for over a year and a half (when I first found it)! You amaze me with all the things you accomplish, Kate. Blog on!!!

  80. I have learned a lot about this, too. I am a tiny little blog and I am only doing it for pure enjoyment – no money or giveaways, no daily blogging. I have a set schedule of topics on certain days. I plan for when I’m going to work on my posts and then I have posts done weeks ahead of time. When my hard drive crashed, I was so relieved that by the time my husband was able to repair it {a week later}, it had no affect on the blog as everything was already scheduled. Thanks for the extra tip, congrats on two years, and all the wonderful inspiration you have!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  81. Hi there. Thanks for posting this today. I needed some reminders in my life and yours were just the thing and just in time. I think you’re pretty great and thanks for brightening blogland. :)

  82. Congrats on two years of great blogging! I am also a SAHM of two, and I work part-time from home, so I can relate to trying to find the balance in life. I used to feel badly if I didn’t have a perfectly clean house, and everything always in perfect order. I’ve learned to let that go, because it really is silly and unecessary. Family life is about experiences together, not household perfection.

    In my house, the dishwasher gets run at night before bed, and I do make myself empty it in the morning while my coffee is brewing, so that I can just load dishes back in throughout the day. I try to run all my errands in the morning after I drop my oldest off at school, and I try to work for two hours in the AM and two in the afternoon while my youngest naps and before school pickup, but it sometimes spills over to the evening when the hubs is home. I clean certain areas of my house everyday (kitchen, family room, play room, main bath), and the rest of the house is cleaned in sections throughout the week. Menu planning for the entire week is done on Sunday afternoon and a shopping list is generated at that time.

    Finding balance in our lives is not easy, and rarely is it fun. We make mistakes, but hopefully we learn from them and become better wives/moms/daughters/friends/household COO- you name it. :)

  83. Happy Blog Birthday! Thanks so much for sharing this behind the scenes look at how you do it. As a new blogger with 2 blogs (my home/DIY related one and one for my interstate family to keep up on what our baby is up to) and a first time mum with a very clingy but wonderous 6 month old baby girl, it’s a great motivator to see that a little organisation and structure can produce some fabulous results. Thanks for being so generous with this info and for each and every post. I look forward to any time I can sit down and catch up on reading your blog and it always provides me with a little push to do the next thing that leads towards being able to work at home and not have to go back to my corporate job in August.

  84. Congrats on two years! My sister and I discovered your blog a few months ago and I’ve been stalking…er, reading it religiously ever since. :)

    This is such an inspirational post. I particularly identified with this line: “My house is never perfectly straightened, dust free, and it is rarely ready for company. So what? Perfection is not my goal, contentment is my goal.” I love that. Contentment IS the goal and I appreciate the reminder.

    You listed some really great time-management tips in here that I hope to be able to utilize myself. Thank you for your blog and keep up the good work!

  85. Happy 2nd Blogiversary! Love your blog.
    Today’s post are great words to live by – TFS all you do!

  86. Hi Kate,
    Congratulations on your 2 year celebration!
    Love your blog, your projects and probably would love you in person too..
    I’m from Brazil and come here every single day to know what you’re doing and wich is your next project..
    I feel very connected by tha things you write and the feeling you put in your words…
    God keep blessing you, your beautiful family and your blog too…

  87. Horay! happy blog birthday. Thank you so much Kate for a wonderful blog & thanks you for being honest to say that your house is not always perfect. I live in Sydney, Aus and am a colour & Interior designer mum of 3 and also spend many of my weekends painting and reinventing furniture and i am truly astounded at the number of projects that you do. Just a few days ago i was thinking while reading your latest post…how does she do it? it seems as if you heard my questions and answered it here in this post!

    Thanks for the great content of your posts, your photography is fab and your one of the only bloggers that actually makes me laugh.

  88. Let me add my congratulations to the myriad of others. I found your blog recently and have been VERY inspired. At long last I can see some changes in my home and I feel much more content for it! Thank you for the precious time you give us and I’m glad you have such a fantastic method for keeping your sanity. Well done!

  89. This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a while, great tips on balancing family life and blogging, thank you for sharing them, Happy 2nd Blogday

  90. Great post! You and I share many of the same philosophies and tendencies…I don’t want to wake up to an empty house one day and regret times lost because of all the stuff in our busy lives. Happy Anniversary!

  91. I love the tips about doing dishes and cleaning up at homework time. I had just started doing that as well…its a nice way to be in the mix and available but still getting something done too! (I have 4 kids 6-16)
    Happy Anniversary!! Congrats~Chris Ann

  92. Thanks for sharing! I agree that a little dust and dishes in the sink are not as important as spending time with our kids (they grow up so fast; my youngest turned 17 yesterday) and doing what makes us happy! Love reading your posts; you are such an inspiration!

  93. Happy Blogiversary! This blog is amazing and obviously you are too! Thanks for sharing this – I will look at it often, I am a new blogger. Please stop over and visit; and I’ll take any advice offered to make my blog better! LOL



  94. Congrats Kate! You have a lot of great tips! One thing that works good for me is the timer. I set it for 30 min- 1 hr (depending on my mood) and I work/play (sometimes hard to differentiate between the two) So my house doesn’t fall apart (though it’s certainly not perfect) and supper probably still gets made ;)

  95. Congratulations! You did not mention exercise in your post. I so hope that you manage to fit some in so that you will live a long and healthy life too! I love your blog. Thanks!

  96. Happy Birthday to the blog! What a wonderful post!!! It really made me think about the way I allot my time in blogging, creating & everyday life. Balance seems to be the hardest thing for me to deal with since starting my business, most especially since I still work full time. My trouble is lack of dicipline. I never allow myself enough time to actually create, since most of my business relies on me actually sitting down & making something to list in my Etsy shop. I usually busy myself with other household chores & before I know it, it’s time to turn in for the night & I haven’t gotten anything I wanted to accomplish done on my blog or in my shop. I’ll be bookmarking this post for future reference! Thanks & again Happy Bloggy Birthday! ~Nadir

  97. Congrats on your 2-year anniversary, Kate! Your blog has been a fave of mine for a long time. I was just talking to a neighbor who said, “I found a new blog that I’m obsessed with. It’s called Centsational Girl.” When I told her I know you and actually met you in person, you would have thought I said I knew a movie star. :)

    Love all this advice about balance. I need to take some of it myself. I always feel about 1 day away from burn-out! I used to have a “computer off by 10:00” rule that somehow fell by the wayside. Time to bring that back, I think.

    Here’s to many more years of blogging success!!

  98. Congratulations Kate! Your blog deserves it’s #1 status, you work so hard!
    Thanks for this great post on how you manage it all, I’ve often wondered the same thing as I feel like I’m standing still compared to you :)

  99. I love this post! Thank you so much for reminding me to stay on track during “work hours” so I can fully cherish those moments with my family.

  100. Congratulations on year number two! I greatly enjoy and appreciate your blog, and have learned a great deal from you and have been inspired to try projects I never would have considered. Thank you for that!

    Your post today was very inspirational for me. As of late, I’ve been overwhelmed a bit at home (five children, one with autism, two homeschooled, new weight loss endeavor) and have been trying to figure out how to balance it all so no one is dropped in left field. I’m no blogger, but your strategies for scheduling daily life are excellent. I love your idea of blocking time to do things so nothing gets overdone or undone. I’m going to try this myself – thanks for sharing with us! Blessings to you and yours.

  101. Congratulations, Kate! I just love your blog, your style! Your blog is the first one I read every morning! Even after reading how you balancing your time and family, I still cannot believe you can get that many projects done with two little ones. I barely get anytime even with just one toddler. You are absolutely supermom in my book.

    I have one tip for you. But I think it’s not really about time management, more like a tip for lazy person. =) The rule in my house is you don’t run up and down the stairs just to put one thing away. You leave it at the top or bottom of the stairs. Then next time someone need to go up or down, they have to carry as much as they can with them. This saves us some trips, but at the mean time, robs us the chance to lose some calories. I call this method (directly translated from Chinese) “Thieves never go empty handed!” It works most of the times, but once a while, DH just refuse to be the “thief”. =)

    Congrats again! You are absolutely amazing! Keep up the great work, and teach me more!

  102. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months, and just thought I’d tell you how much I enjoy reading it. I have many of the same demands on my life that you do and share your passion for design. I guess I just find comfort/company in seeing somebody going about it so gracefully.

  103. Congratulations! What a nice post!! It’s so helpful to read how other moms “do it all” and schedule their time. Most days there just isn’t time enough to get things done. But yes time with your family and rest is the most important!!

  104. HAPPY 2nd YEAR & here’s to many more!

    Althought I just recently discovered your blog, I am LOVING it! Thank you for finding the balance & still fitting it in. Congrats.

  105. Congratulations! I am a recent subscriber but you have captured my spirit with you do it yourself home projects.
    I recently was given two things that have helped me a lot with time management:
    Remember 888: 8 hours family; 8 hours work; 8 hours rest. Keep it balanced. I, too, work from home but don’t have little ones except the occassional granddaughter visit but I found I was working 50 hours a week since no one else needed me at the moment. My husband works wierd hours with all the past snow we received. I just kept working… but then I grew cranky for not taking time for myself and I ran across this on one of my days off.
    The second thing was from Diane Sawyer – Criticism is a very bad way to express you are unhappy with the present situation. My goal for 2011 is to catch myself before I criticize someone and do what it takes to resolve the unhappiness. Usually – I just need to rest and see it for what it is. I am usually the skewed one.
    Again, congratulations and keep up the good work.

  106. Happy 2nd birthday! It’s great how much you’ve accomplished through this blog. No one can get everything done – it’s all about getting SOMETHING done, which you seem to definitely achieve.

  107. Gongrats! Gongrats! Thank you for this needed and interesting post! Don´t forget only you have that kind of skills and creativity that allows you to create and redesign for all those great projects in your beautiful home and be a great Mom.

  108. Congrats! I’ve been stalking and following almost from the very beginning, and it’s only getting better! Love your stuff. Thanks for sharing, and you have some great advice here. Sounds like you’re in a great rhythm. :)


  109. I just found this blog a few days ago and I just have to say, I used to be a HUGE Martha Stewart fan, but I have dumped her and you are my new inspiration! You’ve really inspired me – so much that my dining room is already your tranquility tweaked color (That’s how I stumbled on the blog, I was looking for a gray blue but have a horrible time picking the colors myself).

    Thank you so much for being such an inspiration to me! I’m excited to attempt to redo a dresser this weekend using some of your techniques.

  110. Happy Anniversary! I just wanted to let you know how much I look forward to reading this blog and how much your projects (which always turn out so great!) have motivated me to change things in my home where we’ve lived for 10 years now and for which I just ran out of ideas. Thank you, thank you!

  111. Lessons learned! Thanks for sharing…we all struggle to find balance especially with children and really trying to be true to ourselves as creative women! Cheers to your 2 year anniversary!!


  112. Happy 2nd! I love your blog. I just took a break from re-enacting the Battle of Naboo for the 10th time with my 4 year old. Your picture had me in stitches. That could be my son in the same position.

  113. Congratulations on your #2 Blogday! I am on month 2 and totally excited to hit month 3, 4, 5 and hopefully be celebrating year 1 come December! Your blog is a big inspiration to me and many young and old bloggers alike. Thank you for all of your tutorials, advice, and kind words. Many more Blogday’s to come!!

  114. Yeah on your Blogday!!! Whoo-hoo – I’ve been reading every post for at least the last 18 months! I love it. You are so on point with setting time aside for yourself. I’ve been blogging for close to two years myself and I just came to the conclusion that I can’t keep up with all the other bloggers. I have to do what works best for me. Eventually, my little children’s party blog will find a face of it’s own amongst the hundreds of others out there. I got the flu recently and I’ve not had the flu since the 10th grade!!! That is almost 20 years ago. I’m convinced I only got it because the week that I stayed up hours on end to put out a post a day, wore my body down and I could not fight off anything. So, I learned a lesson, do keep swimming, but sometimes, it’s cool to just flip on over to your back and just float!

  115. Happy 2 years!!! I’ve been reading for almost as long as you’ve been posting and I’ve learned so much for you. I can’t tell you have many projects I’ve tackled that I never would have had the confidence to do without your simple instructions. Thanks for putting in all the effort to create such a quality and fun to read blog! I hope you have many more blog birthdays to come!

  116. DUDE. the pic of little man with his awesome star wars reenactment just hit home for me, and kind of made me tear up a little. There’s nothing sweeter. I’ve really been trying to refocus and regroup lately, and, well, it just meant a lot to hear it from you.

    And just remember, when worse comes to worse, you can always sport a bumpit to fluff up your tired day.

    ;) Love ya + happy birthday, friend!

  117. Congratulations on a lovely blog! You must be very proud!

    I’ve been reading for a little over a year and really enjoyed this post. My advice? That it’s okay to say “No.” – and to put yourself first sometimes. I have to do this to schedule my gym time – it is important to nobody but me, and makes me happy.

  118. Congratulations on your 2 year mark!You are such a bright spot in my day, and of course…. bring multiple smiles through each post. We can all use the wonderful points you make on balance and the importance of time with family… planning ahead insures that you will have those times to catch that gleam in your little guys eyes that are meant “just for mom”!
    A special former pastor of ours often used the phrases….. “Keep on Keeping on”, and “Make the Main thing- the Main Thing!”
    Personally I believe you are doing a great job at both… and in so doing you have “Contentment”….. a far better state than constantly striving for the elusive “perfection”
    Again,Congrats, and many thanks for the inspiration you are, and that you bring to us each week!

  119. Congrats on your two yr anniversary! Thank you for the wonderful advice and peek into your daily life!

  120. Happy two year anniversary to your fabulous blog!! Great post, it really is about balance, finding what works for you and knowing no one can have it all, at least at the same time! Janell

  121. Oh girl, Happy Blogiversary, and thanks so much for the timely post! I’ve been missing posting so much and have contemplated returning, but had so many worries. You’re advice is fabulous and I’m jumping back in!! :)

  122. Congratulations on your anniversary!!! I love your blog, and appreciate your sense of humor! Thanks for reminding us that life flies by too quickly – my baby isn’t even 1 1/2, but those 1/2 yrs have FLOWN by!!! Happy 2 years to you!

  123. Congratulations on your 2 year anniversary! What an accomplishment. You information was extremely helpful and perfect timing. I am new to blogging and was feeling alot of what you talked about so thank you for those words of wisdom.

  124. Happy blog birthday and great tips on keeping everything balanced and staying true to yourself and your family.

  125. Happy Birthday Centsational Girl! Thanks for finding the balance and creating a great blog that I love reading :)

  126. My days were pretty much like yours when I was working from home and all I can say is, “What a great gig!” We get to take care of our kids and all of the wonderful things that go along with that and yet have a career at the same time. As you said, something has to give and housework and being organized were my back burner issues. However, it’s been three years since I stopped working, this year my youngest went off to college, and I am busier now than I ever was before. Go figure! I like to tell people I’m working my way through my twenty-five year long “To Do” list.

  127. Congratulations on your two year anniversary. I recently stumbled upon this blog from Life in Grace. Once I starting viewing your DIY project list I was hooked. Your blog is lovely and I enjoy reading it daily and look forward to starting some new projects of my own that have been inspired by you. Thanks and God bless.

  128. Looks like you’ve got a great time management plan that works for you. One just cannot miss valuable time with their kids & spouse. It seems sometimes that in the blink of an eye your child has grown, met some milestone, etc. & you just can’t get these moments back so enjoy it now before they’re off to college.

  129. Kate, Congrats on your two year anniversary! Love reading your blog and seeing all the amazing renovations you take on! I think balance is a tricky, tricky thing…even when folks work outside the home. Enjoy those little ones. You will never say, I wish I had spent more time on cleaning or blogging or (fill in the blank) when they are grown and gone. You’re doing an awesome job and really sound like you have your priorites in the right place. Can’t wait to see what you bring us in your 3rd year of blogging. :)

  130. Congratulations on all of your success in the past two years. I’ve been a proud follower of your blog since it was still fairly new and the quality has remained consistent. Yours is one of the first blogs I read.

    Best of luck on your continued success and happy anniversary!

  131. Happy Anniversary! I just recently found your blog and I love it! Your projects are inspiring. I am a SAHM who is constantly trying to find balance. Thank you for this post!

  132. Thanks so much for this post. My blog turns one in just a few days and I enjoyed seeing that someone else has to stop and reboot once in a while. I have been trying to put out a post every weekday while still working a full time job. It’s brutal, but I love it!

  133. Congratulations on your two year anniversary! I have been following you for a little over a year and I love your blog.

  134. Congrats!! Love your blog, your projects and your words. Balance is key – university starts for me next Monday so I will be back on that treadmill. Your way of looking at life is great! Well done!

  135. Hiya Kate! Congrats on your 2 year anniversary! I just want to say that I love this post! It is so real and I feel like I got to know you more! You have always been such a nice blogger (emailing and commenting) and I just want you to know that I appreciate it! Big hugs to you! Cathy

  136. I just discovered your blog via Ohdeedoh. Happy 2nd birthday!! I love your thoughts and ideas. I’m a new mom an always looking for good advice and resources from experienced moms. Thanks!!!

  137. I saw your recent appearance on Nate a couple of weeks ago. How exciting was that! I am also using your post as an example in my current post. Balance — I like how you broke it down. It seems to be a constant juggle however you seem to be pretty level headed + open minded about it which is great! Love your blog. Happy Birthday to you and keep up the good work. BTW — I am also a No Ca girl blogger ;)

  138. happy birthday!!!!!!! and keep swimming, we will still be here although you take some days off!!! love your blog.

  139. Well, I’m just now reading this brilliance and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thanks for being real…totally refreshing and uplifting. Gonna keep swimming through this busy season of my life (with many dishes in the sink).

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