That's the question that gets asked a lot in my house. I've been doing weekly menu planning for a while now but I find us getting into a rut and eating the same thing from week to week.
I came across a free e-book that laid out an annual meal planning system that was created by Sandra Cook. She's used this system with her family for over a decade.
I really loved how she simplified the meal planning process and got the family involved. In her system she allowed each family member to have a "choosing day". That's a day when they get to choose the meal they want to have. She gave her teenagers the opportunity to cook on their choosing day. And since I have 3 teenagers in my house, giving them a night to choose and cook a meal sounds great to me.
So tonight I sat down with the e-book, dinner ideas, calendar sheets & some free printables from the book and began creating my own menu plan.
After three hours of brainstorming, list making and adding meals to the calendar pages, I had created a menu plan for January through June. I figure we'll give it a try for the next few months to see how well it works for our family before completing the rest of the year. I put it in a clear report folder so it can go on the fridge where everyone can see "what's for dinner"!!!
If you'd like to read more about Sandra's menu planning you can find her book here http://www.amazon.com/Cooks-Winning-Annual-Planning-System-ebook/dp/B00HG6O6M4
I'll keep you posted on how things go around here. Next step for me is to make the grocery list for meals for the next two weeks.
Most of my days look about the same. They involve schoolwork with kids, household chores, making meals, watching TV and lots of time on the computer doing various things like email, blogging, social media and paying bills. At the end of each day, I usually feel like I could have accomplished so much more if I had just made a plan and stuck to it.
The other day I was reading a blog by the Money Saving Mom about time-management. I liked how she shared that she created a time budget for each new day. That's where I've failed in the past. I had created generic schedules for weekdays & weekends but no two days in my house are ever the same. So it was easy to get off-track and then just give up on the schedule all together. Many days would just turn into survival mode...just putting out fires as they pop up....and that is exhausting.
So yesterday I created a time budget for the day. I set aside specific time for phone calls & emails. I tried to limit my social media time and I incorporated my "to-do list" throughout the budget. And at the end of the day I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was able to accomplish in the first half of my day. The second half of the day didn't really go according to my plan but that's ok because I included lots of cushion and flexibility where possible.
So here's what my time budget looked like:
Nothing fancy. Just a handwritten list of how I plan to spend my day. A place to scribble notes and keep my brain from getting too distracted. I didn't get everything accomplished but I think it's a great start!! Today's budget has been made. We'll see how it goes!!!
So Day 4 brings us to the beginning of November and the start of another "Thankful Tree". Today I put up the leaves from the past years and it was realy fun to read all of the things we have been thankful for over the past 5 years.
Many things get repeated each year like food, friends, & football. Some of the leaves have stories behind them that immediately come to mind when you read the leaf.
One special one says "Our Home" because 2 years ago today we moved into this house after being homeless for 9 months. God has blessed us so much this year and I'm excited to see what gets remembered!!
I was very productive this afternoon and completed my organizational tasks from today and the ones I failed to do yesterday. I had a little help from Tyler because he was home from school today with a headache.
I spent a little time cleaning the bathroom and my bedroom. I'm amazed at how much I can accomplish in just 15 minutes of focused cleaning. I'm seeing a little progress each day and I'm looking forward to seeing more progress as I continue with the challenge.
I'm also loving the "30 Days to Prepare for Christmas" challenge. Today I worked on gift lists and inventorying what has already been purchased. I've got a great start on purchasing and know what I want to purchase for almost everyone on my list. I just have a couple people that I still need to decide what to buy for them.
Anyone else doing the daily assignments? Are you seeing any progress in your house?
So today I was not very productive on the "4 weeks to a more organized home" assignments! I'm using Halloween as my excuse!! That and the fact that I slept until noon in preparation for late night work assignments tonight. So I'll just have to be more productive on day 4 to get things done.
I did bring in the leaves & trunk for our Thankful Tree that we start tomorrow night. We have lots of leaves from the past few years that I'll go ahead and put up. Then each night throughout November we'll add 6 more leaves...1 for each of us. We will have a very full tree this year!!
My other major accomplishment for today was creating my Christmas budget for the "30 days to prepare for Christmas" challenge. Now that I have an actual budget written down, I just need to stick to it. This year since we celebrate Christmas with my family right after Thanksgiving, it will spread the expenses out a bit more.
I hope your day 3 was more porductive than mine. But if it wasn't don't give up. Just try again tomorrow!!
So day 2 got off to a late start but I was still able to get the challenge done. I spent my morning at Bible study and then made a quick trip to the grocery store. After lunch I sat down and began my assignments for the day.
I really like starting each day by taking time to create goals. It helps me focus and get specific things done. Otherwise I get to the end of the day having no clue what I accomplished!!
Today I spent a little time in the kitchen. I cleaned out the fridge and sorted through the wire rack full of kitchen utensils. I didn't find any gadgets to give away but I did throw out a few worn out potholders, some broken cookie cutters, and random plastic containers with no lids. So my 7 items to give away today were given to the trash can!!
I also made some progress in my 30 Days to Prepare for Christmas by making my list of gift recipients. This year we will be celebrating "Thanksgivingmas" with my family. We alternate holidays and this year we travel to Georgia for Thanksgiving and while we're together we'll celebrate Christmas as well.
On Thanksgiving Day, we'll have a great big family dinner full of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts & uncles. We'll catch up with family that we haven't seen since last Christmas and the boys will head outside for a game of football.
Then on Friday my 4 kids and my 5 nieces will help Grammy (my mom) decorate her Christmas tree. We'll get up Saturday morning and celebrate Christmas with my parents, siblings & their families. So getting a jump start on my gift list is a must this year.
I'm excited to keep making a little progress each day!!
So today was the start of my 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home. I'm also combining that with 30 Days to Prepare for Christmas from centsablemomma.com . I'm excited to see how things go each day.
Today I created a written morning routine. I haven't really had a set morning routine other than getting kids off to school and doing morning devotions. Beyond that my day was just whatever I chose to do. While the flexibility is nice, without a set routine I find myself doing lots of reading & blogging and slacking on the unfun stuff like doing laundry, vacuuming & cleaning out the fridge.
So my goal for this challenge is to get more of a balance so I have time to do the fun stuff and still have a clean, organized home. With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought it would be good to incorporate preparing for Christmas as part of my daily list. I found a great list with daily suggestions to help get me prepared now to reduce stress and chaos come December.
Today's assignments didn't take me very long and I'm hapy with the little bit of progress made. I decided since the sweats I slept in made me feel great, I'd just keep them on!! At least until time for me to go out for some errands!! So maybe I didn't follow the first assignment exactly, but whatver works, right??
I've been needing to sort through my stack of books, so I used that as my "Find 7 things to get rid of today". And actually I reduced my stack by 11 books!! So I see day 1 as a success for me.
How about you? How did your day go?
On Monday I will start "4 Weeks to a More Organized Home" . It's a simple way to do a few things a day, 5 days a week to get your home more organized. I think now is a great time to start because I'll be done just in time for the busy holiday season.
I would love for you to join me and help hold me accountable. You see I have this problem with starting challenges with excitement and momentum and then after a few days I lose motivation and skip a day, then another day. And before you know it, I've quit the challenge all together. My house becomes more of a mess because I've cleaned out all the closets & drawers but never distributed them. So the stuff either gets crammed back in the closet or piled in the garage.
Well, no more!! This time I will get control of the clutter and the junk and get my home more organized to help me with my new lifestyle choice of "living simply so others can simply live."
If you'd like to join me, click on the link above and download your checklist. Then follow my Joy in the Daily Life blog on facebook to share daily updates!!
My laundry room was in desperate need of help. It's not a large room but has ample space. It's also the mudroom and the main way we enter our house from the garage. It quickly gets cluttered with shoes, jackets, and backpacks along with all of the laundry. One of the biggest issues was the space next to the washer. No matter how many times I cleaned out that space it always went back to this.
So I began seaching Pinterest for laundry room ideas. I came across all these shelving units with baskets in the. Some were extremely huge and others were too complicated and expensive to make. So I came up with my own version that was easy and fairly inexpensive.
I purchased a wire shelving rack that went together very easily. I then purchased 6 clothes baskets...1 for each family member. I also put a basket on the top for towels. I created name labels for each family member using scrapbooking paper and laminated them. I attached them to the shelving unit with zip ties. There is no longer a hamper in the bathroom, so each person is now responsible for putting their dirty clothes in their basket. Here's what that side of the room looks like now.
Another inexpensive change that I made was on the countertop. It was this ugly 1970's yellow.
So I purchased a roll of contac shelf paper in a neutral color and covered the counter. It looks like it belongs in the room now.
One of the other trouble spots in the room was the shoe bench. It's this wooden bench that my mom gave me a long time ago. It has storage space in it and is great for storing shoes. It was also a great place for the kids to dump their stuff instead of putting it away.
I decided to move it around the corner to the dining room and free up some space in the mudroom. We'll still use it for shoe storage but hopefully it won't be so cluttered. In it's place I put a large basket for flip flops & slides. I also added a single chair that can be used if someone needs to sit down to take off shoes. It also keeps extra dining chairs close by for when we have company without cluttering up the dining room when they're not needed.
The final area of the mudroom/laundry room is for backpacks. I used this space for another extra dining chair as well.
So there is my laundry room/ mudroom make-over. The biggest expense was the shelving unit. It was $25. I also purchased 6 new laundry baskets for $3 each. The contac paper for the counter was $2. That brings the total cost to $45. I do want to add some artwork and sayings to the walls, but that will come later.
So after browsing Pinterest for some really good ideas on organizing, I decide to get busy and create a Command Central for the family. We currently have our cmputer armoire in the corner of the dining room but it wasn't big enough for what I wanted. So I decded to make use of another corner in the dining room that wasn't being used.
I moved in two desks from other parts of the house that weren't really being used. Then started gathering all of the office organization stuff that I had collected over the years. I then created a 4 month wall calendar using a poster frame, scrapbook paper and free printabl calendars.
It was another idea that I found on Pinterest. I of course put my own personal touch on it. And since I wasn't using the clear plastic from the poster frame on the calendar I decided to use it on the desk to put photos under.
The frame on the wall was a gift from my mom that I loved but just never had found a place for. It works great just above the desk displaying our family photos from Christmas.
While searching Pinterest I came across so many really neat signs and sayings about family. I decided to make my own. I found one that I really like and printed it out in poster format on my Kodak printer.I pieced it together and backed it with scrapbooking paper. I then purchased a frame on sale at Michael's and this is what I ended up with.
I grabbed my white board from the kitchen...which I had no idea was magnetic. Found some magnetic label holders that I had purchased at Goodwill for 69 cents. I used them to create daily, weekly and monthly areas of to do lists. I then added a cork board and the Command Center was done.
What I loved most about this project is that since I already had all of the supplies, it only cost me $10. I say that was money well spent.
I'm sure you've probably heard of the song from Grease called "Beauty School Dropout". Well I consider myself the "Organization School Dropout". I've tried every system out there that has guaranteed to clear the clutter, organize your stuff and streamline daily routines. Over the years I've tried baskets, folders, bins, shelves, labels, lists and charts. While each system worked for a while, they all ended the same way...with me giving up and looking for a new system.
So I've created my own system called "Organized Chaos".