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31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 4 (Cleaning Schedule)

If you have been following along with me the last few days, you probably have noticed that my focus of this week is using documents to organize different areas in our home. I have found overall that spreadsheets, checklists and schedules work best for my family and I.

Today I want to focus on how to keep your home clean and tidy without stressing about it one day a week. I find myself to be much happier when my home is organized and clean. This gets a little difficult with a little one at home.

I decided to make a list of everything that needs to be cleaned around the home. I started making the list at my kitchen table but then realized that I needed to walk around the house to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I created a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually list based on what I came up with. I also came up with a few items that should be done 2 or more times a week.

To help me on a weekly basis, I created another document by day. I love checking off accomplishments so this is great to have on the fridge for easy updating. 
I can’t wait to put this list in action and see if it helps keep our home a little cleaner and my stress a little lower!


31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 3 (Meal Planning)

In our home, meal planning is essential to an organized week. If we don’t do the prep work, we often find ourselves eating quick fast food meals that deplete our wallets and increases our belt loops.

I will admit that I am kind of cheating here because I hosted a month challenge in September called, Meal Planning On A Budget. I never got around to doing a month wrap up so I am gonna sneak that into today’s post. Not to mention it is WW Wednesday so you are getting 3 posts in the viewing pleasure of one!

It is amazing to me how counter intuitive organizing can be sometimes. Specifically with meal planning, if you have a busy week in store, just eat out was always my thought! My main reason for starting to plan our meals was financial. I realized after the first week however, the benefits were so much more than that!

In the month of September, we spent each Sunday morning planning our meals for the week, looking through the coupons in our paper and going out to shop. We spent maybe 30 minutes preparing and about two hours out. We stayed within budget of $50 each week, tried a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ate 100% better than we had been.

In order to make it easy each week I created a few documents to help. They were extremely helpful over the last 4 weeks and I am going to continue to use them each week. It was amazing how much food we had in our two freezers and pantry. Some of it was going to expire soon so we used that which felt great because it didn’t go to waste. I loved mapping out everything on the month calendar so we could see ahead days we would be eating out, when we would be home for a few days to make a large meal for leftovers, etc… The meal plan and grocery list were essential to keeping to our budget. It kept us away from buying extra ingredients or more snacks than we would need that week.

I also went through our cookbook shelves and dwindled it down to 1 shelf of our favorite books and a binder divided up by category. I took pictures of recipes from my favorite cookbooks and tore out pages from the magazines we had to add to the binder. Unfortunately  I forgot it at home and am visiting my parents for the week. I will make sure to share a picture when I get home.

Planning ahead also allowed me to maximize my WW point allowance each week. This has been really important to keep my supply up for P. Eating a few quick junk food items a day was horrible on my supply, energy and self esteem  I was able to eat more than twice the amount of food and stay within my points. Rob and I also had more “family” meals together that were quite tasty. This month is a little crazy with me visiting my parents for a week, vacationing in OBX for a week and now possibly moving the end of October but we will push through and plan ahead 🙂


That wraps up day #3 for me! Check back tomorrow where I will be talking 
about making it a little easier to keep the house clean!  


31 Days

I am always looking for new link ups to participate in to not only get my blog out there but also give me topics to write about. Through a fellow blogger, I discovered a new challenge called, 31 Days. This is completely up my alley and couldn’t have come at a better time. 

At almost 23 weeks PP, although loosing 30+ lbs, I am still 16 away from my pre pregnancy weight and about 62 lbs overweight. I keep trying to get motivated and focused but about 3 days into my week I lose it. Partly because being a Mom doesn’t allow for conventional meal times or the ability to get a good workout in. But it’s mostly because of me, no excuses. I only have a few pictures of me and my baby boy which makes my heart break. 
The purpose of this challenge is to find a topic to blog about for the 31 days of October. I have decided to focus on myself and the focus of my 31 days will be 31 days to a happier & healthier me – mentally, physically and emotionally. To help me stay focused, I am going to brainstorm topics and choose 31 of them to write on Popsicle sticks. Every morning I will choose one and focus on that for the day and write about it that night. 
Some of the topics I have started to think about are:
– Write a list of veggies that I do like and find recipes to incorporate them into my lunches, snacks and dinners
– Put on make up, do my hair and take a few snap shots of myself
– Get a massage and spend the time relaxing and “finding my inner Zen”
– Track my liquids for the day and reflect on how I feel (any changes?)
– Take an hour walk with Parker and tell him stories of his Daddy and me
– Research exercises I can do with Parker
– Find a Mommy and Me yoga class and try it out
– Go through my closet and pick some of my favorite outfits I use to wear and will again someday
– Design a week menu that includes ALL of WW healthy guidelines and stick to it
– Color my hair
– No TV for a day, instead listen to iTunes and make a playlist that makes me feel good
– Unplug for a day (no TV, phone, computer) and sit outside with P and read a book
– Spend the 4 Friday’s making a dessert that is healthy but a fun treat that curbs my chocolate craving
– Research different organic vitamins and start a new regiment
– Research cleaning checklists and develop a realistic one to follow 
– Dinner date night with the hubs
– Watch my wedding video, look at scrapbooks and pictures
Okay, more topics to come. For now, it’s time to get some beauty sleep while P is sleeping. My next step is creating my button for it and finishing my topics! 

Monthly Challenge ~ Meals On A Budget

This months challenge is meal planning on a budget.

Rob and I are still trying to adjust our spending on a single income. I have to admit, it’s a little harder than I  originally thought it would be. One of the areas that can really put a dent in our checkbook is grocery shopping and eating out. Our goal is to get away from eating out and making more meals at home. We also want to get into a routine of only buying what we need for the week at the store to ensure we are not wasting food.

Goals of this challenge:

1. Stay on a budget with grocery shopping.
2. Plan our weekly meals and do the grocery shopping on Sunday’s to start the week out right.
2. Plan well balanced meals that include all of my WW requirements. 

As with any of my challenges/projects, I first started making a list of everything I needed to organize to set myself up for success. This was what I came up with:

Create a…
Monthly Calendar (9/1/12)
Weekly Menu (9/1/12)
Shopping List (9/1/12)
Food Inventory Checklist (9/1/12)

Organize a…
Binder compiled of our favorite recipes from cookbooks and magazines
Envelope for all of our coupons (9/1/12)

Purchase a… 
White Board (9/1/12)
iPhone App that is a shared grocery list so I can upload items and Rob can get them on his way home (9/1/12)

Decorate a… 
Clipboard to keep everything together in one place (9/1/12)

Here is what I have come up with so far! 

I created a food inventory document so we could see what we already had in the house to use for meals and snacks. I will do an inventory at the beginning of each month and take special note to expiration dates. There is nothing I hate more than throwing away food because it is past expiration. 

At the beginning of every month I want to go through the calendar and see what we have going on. When will we be away, when company will be staying over, outings planned etc…  

At the beginning of each week, I want to take a look at our inventory in addition to what we have going on that week and plan out our meals for the week. Once we know what our tentative plans are, we can take a look at our recipe binder and choose our meals. Once P get’s older, I want to incorporate theme nights to add some excitement! 

I find that having a specific list helps keep the cost down at the store. I know what items I need for the meals we plan to make that week. I decided to include a favorites section for things we are constantly eating such as granola bars, crackers and string cheese. 

I love our white board area in our kitchen! That’s right, call me a nerd 🙂 Even though we share a Google Calendar, it is nice to have everything written out for the month. The white board below the calendar has three columns; notes, to do and the week broken up by day. This is where we jot down pantry items we need, Rob’s “honey do list”, and a break down of the week (appointments, meetings, outings, etc…). The third white board is our recent purchase to help achieve this monthly challenge.  What I love about this white board is not only can I jot down our meal plan by day, but I can pin any recipes we plan to use for easy access! 

While I am no where close to holding the title of extreme couponer, I do like a good bargain. We get the Sunday paper for the weekly coupons and monthly P&G. I have also found a few websites, such as Grocery Coupon Network where I can go online to find printable coupons. Between the two, we save quite a bit during our shopping trips.

This month however, I want to challenge myself a little more. For example, last week we had a coupon for $1 off two boxes of Jimmy Deans breakfast sandwiches. While having a coupon was great, and prepacked sandwiches are convenient, the total cost was more expensive than if we had purchased the ingredients to make our own sandwiches. This month I want to try and find the most cost effective way to get some of the same items we love to eat.

While I made a handy dandy grocery shopping list, I know there will be times when Rob will need to pick something up from the store. Fortunately, I found an app for the iPhone that I love! It is called, Buy Me A Pie. My favorite feature and the reason I chose this app is because I can add items and Rob can see them on his phone. This will eliminate the need to text him a list or for him to try and remember everything from a voice mail I leave.

This is probably my biggest project for this month. As you can see, we have quite a collection of cookbooks, magazines and printouts of online recipes. My goal is to take these three shelves and combine it down to one shelf with a few of our favorite cookbooks and a binder that has all of our favorite recipes organized into categories.

That’s all I have for now! I look forward to reading all of your ideas, best practices and goals for the month! 

This months challenge is meal planning on a budget! Share your tips for success or how you plan to change your ways for a more cost effective grocery bill at the end of the month. Please make sure to upload a direct link to a new and relevant post. At the end of the month, provide us with an update on how you did, what worked and what didn’t work!