7 Apps for Staying Organized

7 Apps for Staying Organized | rainerlife.com

Finding the right tool to help keep you organized is a wonderful thing. There are so many online resources available today to help keep people organized, that it can be difficult to narrow down the best app for you. I’ve tried numerous apps, but have a few favorites that I’ve used for years. Odds are, if you’re interested in something, so are other people… and someone probably created an app for that topic. I use some apps for tracking one specific thing (e.g., Goodreads), while other apps are more general and can be tailored in a variety of ways (e.g., OneNote).

My favorites apps for staying organized:

1. OneNote – I know Evernote gets lots of talk, but I’ve found OneNote to have everything I need to stay organized. I use OneNote to keep track of recipes, travel ideas, and home projects. Michael and I have shared Notebooks to keep track of things too, like home projects.

2. LastPass – This is a great app to keep passwords organized. It seems everything requires a password, and every website has different criteria, so you end up with dozens of different passwords. I’m always forgetting passwords, so it’s great to have an easy way to look them up.

3. Pinterest – This is possibly the most popular way to keep track of things found on the internet. I have “boards” for recipes, home projects, crafts, and other things I’m interested in. I tend to go back and clean up my “pins” after a while. For instance, if I have pins for a home project we’re working on, and we finish that project, I delete the pins when we’re finished.

4. Feedly – This app is how I keep track of blogs I enjoy reading. I divided the blogs into different “feeds”, so I simply click on whichever topic I am interested in catching up on. It’s a great way to read the blogs I want to keep up with.

5. Goodreads – I read a lot of books, but I have a hard time remembering which ones I’ve read and which ones I want to read. I used to keep a spreadsheet of books I had read, and tried to keep a list of books to read. When I started using Goodreads, I got rid of my spreadsheet system because Goodreads makes it so easy to look up a book when I’m out and about. I use Goodreads to record which books I’ve read and which books I want to read. I’ve found new authors and books to read by searching around Goodreads and reading other people’s suggestions and reviews. It’s a must have app for avid readers!

6. Discogs – I use this app to keep track of which vinyl records I own. This app isn’t only for vinyl, you can use it to track CDs and cassettes too. It’s also a place to buy music. I’ve never bought anything on Discogs, but there are lots of records for sale. There is a wishlist feature too, which is nice if you’ve been trying to find something specific. If you have something on your wishlist, and someone lists it for sell, you get a notification… if you have notifications turned on.

7. Untappd – This is an app that I use to keep track of the different beers I’ve tasted. Since we enjoy trying new beers, and I have poor memory, I can look up a beer and see if I’ve rated it. Beyond that, I can see when I had it and even where I had it. There is a great sort feature also, so I can sort by brewery, beer style, highest rated, etc. Before I started using Untappd, I used a spreadsheet to keep track of which beers I had tasted. There are other apps similar to Untappd, and I’ve tried a few, but so far I’m sticking with Untappd. This app has a social media side too. You can add friends and see who’s drinking what and what they like or don’t like. You can also have a wishlist of beers.

These are the main apps I use to stay organized. Some of them, like Goodreads and Untappd, have social features that help you share info and find new things that interest you. There are so many apps available to help people stay organized. What are your favorite apps?

5 of Our Favorite Bedtime Books

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Every night at bedtime, Gavin picks a book (or three) and settles in my lap while we read books together. We’ve read a lot of books, but we do have a few favorites that we read over and over… and over! Gavin has a nice collection of books to choose from, and we’re always adding more books. The books listed below are ones we own and have read numerous times. We do check books out at the library a lot, and we usually read those at night too. I’m not including any of those on this list, but I definitely recommend using your local library to find new books to read together.

5 of Our Favorite Bedtime Books:

1. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

2. The Goodnight Train

3. Steam Train, Dream Train

4. The Going-To-Bed Book

5. Goodnight Moon

Books Read in May 2017

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Books in a local used bookstore | rainerlife.com

In May, for my 2017 reading goals I tried to focus more on the reading challenges. I finished the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading for Fun challenge. I also made a lot of headway on the Popsugar reading challenge. I am hoping to finish the Nancy Drew books this summer, so I’m going through them pretty quickly to finish up that reading goal. Below are the books I read in May. For more info on what I’m reading, click over to my Goodreads account.


Gilmore Girls Season 3 books
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Marathon Man William Goldman
Deenie by Judy Blume
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
The Clue of the Dancing Puppet by Carolyn Keene
The Moonstone Castle Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes by Carolyn Keene
The Phantom of Pine Hill by Carolyn Keene
The Mystery of the 99 Steps by Carolyn Keene
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher by Carolyn Keene
The Spider Sapphire Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The Invisible Intruder by Carolyn Keene
The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene
The Crooked Banister by Carolyn Keene
The Secret of Mirror Bay by Carolyn Keene

Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge + Advanced List
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – a book that is a story within a story. This book is also on Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Books about Monsters.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré – An espionage thriller.
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux – A book involving travel.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile.
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger – A steampunk novel.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London – A book set in the wilderness.
The Vegetarian by Kang Han – A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – A book that’s more than 800 pages.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – a book about a difficult topic.

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenges for Fun and for Growth
Divergent by Veronica Roth – A book you’ve already read.
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy – A book in a genre you usually avoid.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson – A book of any genre that addresses current events.

Other books read (not toward a specific goal):
Fortune by Erica Spindler
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

May 2017

Happy Summer!

Michael, Gavin, and I started the month off with the quick family trip to Houston. You can read about our trip here. We had a great time, and it was nice to get away on a short vacation.

Gavin at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

Gavin at the Houston Zoo | rainerlife.com

Gavin and I went to a Mother and Son bowling outing with some other mothers and sons from our church. It was Gavin’s first time bowling, and he wasn’t too interested in it. At first, he was excited and wanted to roll the ball. Of course, the ball didn’t go very far, so I had to help him with rolling the ball. It was fun, and it was nice to get out with other moms and kids.

Gavin picking a bowling ball | rainerlife.com

Darinda & Gavin at Mother / Son bowling | rainerlife.com

We celebrated Mother’s Day with a nice lunch out. It was a relaxing day, where we didn’t do much, but spent the day together. Those are great days.

Darinda & Gavin on Mother's Day | rainerlife.com

Gavin’s most recent soccer classes ended. He’s pretty good when he’s paying attention… it’s keeping the attention of a two-year-old that’s tricky. It’s been a good way for him to learn teamwork, while having fun with other kids his age. Since he’s not too interested in the classes, we’re taking a break from soccer for a while.

Gavin at soccer | rainerlife.com

Gavin with his Certificate of Completion for soccer classes | rainerlife.com

Gavin and I have continued to work in the flower beds around the house. We’ve made a lot of progress, even though it seems to be a never-ending job. Good thing I enjoy working in the yard!

Flower bed and pool | rainerlife.com

Hydrangeas | rainerlife.com

Daylilies | rainerlife.com

We had a quiet Memorial Day weekend around the house. We had Gavin’s Honey and Pappaw (my mom and stepdad) over on Monday. Michael grilled burgers and brats, and we all had a nice time visiting and enjoying some food and drinks. It was a cloudy and rainy weekend, but we did manage to get in a little pool time.

Pool time | rainerlife.com

Michael and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on May 19th! We went out to eat at a local Italian restaurant to celebrate. It was a pretty low-key anniversary celebration, but it’s been a wonderful 5 years. Below is a photo from our wedding day.

Our wedding day | rainerlife.com
Photo by Elizabeth McClung

10 of Our Favorite Board Books

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Gavin reading his books | rainerlife.com

Books! Gavin and I love looking at books! During the day, sometimes we look at books together and sometimes he likes to look at books by himself. In his room, he has a shelf of board books, plus a few of his favorite paperback books. I keep all the other children’s books in the living room and office/play room. We usually read one or two books together during the day, and another one or two books in the evening. He has been known to pull all the books off a shelf and sit and look at book after book. It’s so fun to watch him! He’ll even grab one of his favorite paperbacks and take it to “read” on the sofa… he definitely takes after his mama. We have several favorites, and below are ten board books that we’ve read many times. We are starting to read more paperbacks than board books, but we still have our favorite board books that we go back to again and again. I usually let Gavin pick out which books to read, so the ones listed below are the board books he most often chooses to read together.


1. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle – We also have Little Blue Truck Leads the Way. Gavin picks them to read about the same amount of time. There are others also, but we only own two Little Blue Truck books. Definitely favorites for my little boy.

2. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle – We love Eric Carle books! This one is a favorite because we do all the motions together, and Gavin thinks it’s hilarious!

3. Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw – There are other “Sheep” books, but this is the only one we own. Can’t speak for the other books, but this one is fun to read.

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – There’s a reason this book has been so popular for over 45 years! It’s a classic, and a good one for your child’s library.

5. Robots, Robots Everywhere by Sue Fliess – Gavin loves robots, so this is a favorite because he likes to talk about all the different robots.

6. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen – Another classic I recommend for a child’s library. Gavin was on a kick a while back where he picked this book out every time I asked him what he wanted to read.

7. Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan Berenstain – We got this one for free at a library event, and Gavin loves it! This is our only Berenstain Bears books, and it’s a short fun read.

8. Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi – This is part of a series on behavior – other books include biting, kicking, and yelling. I got this book when Gavin was starting to hit us or others when he was playing, and I didn’t want him to think it was okay to keep hitting. It’s a great book, and one he ends up picking to read a lot. Which surprised me, but I guess that means it works.

9. Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton – We have this one, plus six other Sandra Boynton books. Gavin goes through phases where different ones are favorite, but lately he’s been picking this one. Two others that he reads a lot are Moo Baa La La La and Blue Hat, Green Hat.

10. Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church – This is another interactive book, and it’s so fun to read together!