Saturday, October 22, 2011

Possible Dinner Menu...

Monday... Fend For Yourself?
Tuesday... Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
Wednesday... Date Night
Friday... Chicken/Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Plum ReductionPear Salad
Saturday... Curried Cashew Pear Salad

Bountiful Baskets

Recently I heard about, which is operated out of Utah. Basically, it is a food coop. It kind of reminds me of a CSA and Azure combination. Today was my first time picking up a "basket." The baskets are available for purchase every other week and contain both fruits and vegetables. I also volunteered this morning, since it is a completely volunteer run organization, which was kind of fun! Here's what I brought home from my basket...
From Instant Upload
It includes... 

5 apples
2 bags celery
2 avocados
5 heads garlic
6 bananas
4 tomatoes
8 oz. mushrooms
1 head romaine
2 bags grapes
11 plums
6 pears
9 sweet potatoes

Not bad for $15! I'm getting excited about planning meals for this week and figuring out what I'm going to do with the produce! 

I very rarely buy plums, so I was kind of at a loss for what to do with them. Then I went searching around online for some recipes and came up with a couple that I am excited about! One is for pork tenderloin with a balsamic-plum reduction. Yummy! That's on the menu for this week. The other is for an Asian plum sauce that I will make and (hopefully) can for the future. The plum sauce calls for applesauce, which we don't have right now, so I'm making some with a few of the apples from the basket. 

The pears are also something I'm trying to figure out what to do with, since I'm not much of a pear person. I'm confident, though, that I will find an amazing recipe, or that Leif will eat them before I get the chance to find a suitable way to serve them. =D If all else fails, I think they will be good with some cheese, smoked salt, nuts, and wine. A good, easy picnic for movie night?? We'll see. 

I am unsure of what to do with the avocado so far, but will be searching for recipes on that next. If nothing comes to mind, I will either make guacamole (yum!) or puree it for future use. 

The sweet potatoes will probably get cooked and pureed for Thanksgiving yambake (that's what Leif wants me to do with them), though I would like to use them for a sweet potato curry, so we'll see who wins out this week. ;)

I have some other ingredients I'd like to use this week, too, including potatoes, onions, 2 limes, cilantro, basil, and dill. So... seems like we'll have some good flavor to dinner this week!! Woohoo!

Friday, October 14, 2011


The personal planner is coming together. In fact, I am really liking it. Here's how it started....
From Instant Upload
3 Ring Binder with half size sheets in it and my own dividers...
From Instant Upload
Notepad in the back for extra notes...
From Instant Upload
Monthly Tabs including birthday calendars. This is how it easily becomes a 90 day planner.
From Instant Upload
30 Day Focus sheet for each month...
From Instant Upload
Tabs for each of the major areas in my life... Time Management, Money Management, God, Family, Career, and Personal Development including Health and Nutrition.
From Instant Upload
Special things for Eliana, like her schedule for the week and important phone numbers.
From Instant Upload
A place for notes for the teacher, should I need them.
From Instant Upload
Daily schedule sheet...
From Instant Upload
Cute fitness and nutrition tracking sheets...
From Instant Upload
90 Day reading list... What I'm currently reading.
From Instant Upload
Book recommendation sheets for when others recommend books to me.
From Instant Upload
And added pockets for the miscellaneous!

That's how it STARTED. I used it for a month or so and then the system I was waiting for came out with their punch so I could customize my own pages to fit into a disk system. I LOVE IT!!

The thing I probably love the best is that my personal planner now fits in this:
From Instant Upload

Here's what the cover of the actual notebook looks like:
From Instant Upload
A lot of the printable pages I found that I like and use came from these guys:
From Instant Upload
In this version of the planner, I have time management focused pages in the front, and then the tabs start.
From Instant Upload
God, Family, Career, followed by a pocket, and then my personal and financial tabs. It's kind of nice to separate the sections that way. I start with my daily list of things to do... 5 most important things, routines, meals, exercise, water, shopping list, appointments... all on one sheet. I found this sheet from and I love it. I fill it out at night before bed and it allows me to think out and plan my next day. This is my work-from sheet. If I didn't look at the rest of the planner, but just worked off of this sheet each day, I'd be doing pretty good. I also have some sticky tabs so that I can use if I need to remember where I left off, what didn't get done, or just want to mark something. Then I have my Weekly Plan Sheet that I put together on Sunday night for the week. It's an ideal, but gives me something to work from each day as I plan the next day. Notice, too, that my monthly tabs are here in this section, too, before the God, Family, Career tabs.
From Instant Upload
Then I have my Daily To-Do List. This is where I track what I want to do and what I'm actually doing, and how I'm balancing my personal/family and business time.
From Instant Upload
LOOK!!! I can punch coupons and put them in my planner to use that day!
From Instant Upload
This is my weekly meal planner with tear-off grocery list. Leif does the grocery shopping, but this lets me think through next week's meals while I'm out and about and make notes for ingredients we will need.
From Instant Upload
GOD tab:
From Instant Upload
From Instant Upload
This lets me make notes, read scripture and journal it, and journal prayers while I'm out and about, too. I find this much better than using a dedicated journal, since I often don't have the journal with me. FAMILY tab:
From Instant Upload
Ellie's "I-didn't-get-any-checkmarks-at-kindergarten-today" punchcard and perforated "Let's have a playdate" sheets that make planning playdates easier.
From Instant Upload
From Instant Upload
From Instant Upload
Current promotion and place to jot down notes as I make phone calls while I'm out and about...
From Instant Upload
From Instant Upload
Blank note pages. PERSONAL tab:
From Instant Upload
Current reading list for the 90 days...
From Instant Upload
Book recommendation sheets:
From Instant Upload
IOU Coupons:
From Instant Upload
From Instant Upload
A place to make notes about who paid what and what I paid, etc. Not an actual ledger, but a place for me to make notes. And, of course, my receipt pocket:
From Instant Upload
My shopping list...
From Instant Upload
Tiny notes...
From Instant Upload
And my important pocket!
From Instant Upload
(and, of course, the notepad)

It's a ton of pictures, but I really love my new personal planner and disk binding system! All of the pages are easily rearrangable, without having to open up the rings and risk losing all of the sheets. I have done that on more than one occasion! Also, the disk spacing makes it easier to include smaller pieces of paper, like coupons! I'm pretty pleased.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's coming together!!

One of Leif's pet peeves when I was using a Control Journal back in the day is that it was out on the kitchen counter all the time. So when I considered going back to using a Household Notebook, I knew that I would have to find someplace OTHER than the kitchen to house the Organization Station. =D

So, on a trial basis (though I think it will be the permanent home), the Organization Station is in the mud hall, in its own little corner. There's the File System and the Household Notebook, and hanging just above them, in all it's (unintentional) color-coordinated glory, the House-to-Car bag. That's where I put things that need to go with us and things that need to come inside. Here's a look!

From Instant Upload

It's coming together!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The land of Printables

I have gone a little Printable crazy the last few days. Like, seriously printable crazy. I just sorted through my printables folder and categorized them into sub-folders in hopes of being able to navigate the murky waters of printability. Insane, I say. Now I have the delightful task of sorting through the folders and deciding which I *really* want to keep and use, and which I will probably never really use. Because, really, they are only as great as their usefulness goes.

So as I flip through the images, I thought perhaps I'd make some notes about what I might like to do with these marvelous little printables. Assuming, of course, that I get a working printer in the near future. =D

IOU Coupon - I have a few of these. I need to figure out which will be best for my Personal Organizer. Also, if I use these, do I keep the IOU or do I give it to the person to whom I owe something? And if I give it away, will I remember to write the IOU on something so that I actually remember to get it to them? Things to ponder.

Playdate Invites - These would be nice to have on hand for those spontaneous playdate plans. I'd add the playdate to my calendar and give the invite to the other party.

Cute Polka Dot Notes - Smaller than regular half-sheet notes, these would be good for a little message to someone.

Happy Birthday Cards - Would it be nice to have a couple of these printed on cardstock on hand just in case? Or is that going overboard? Should I look for generic cards instead?

Gift Certificates - These would be kind of fun to have to give to potential customers. I like the idea.

Whew... then I got sucked into the stuff that is going to be more difficult to wade through... and suddenly this blog post is over because my brain is full. I'll have to continue this later. Off to see if my brain can stop humming...

Thoughts on the File System

Well, since I've posted about my thoughts on the Personal Organizer and Household Notebook, I might as well share my thoughts on the File System.

I get excited about reorganizing in September. Perhaps it's the start of the school year, perhaps it's the month of my birthday, but it always feels like the perfect time for a fresh start. This year is no different, and is maybe even has more focus on the organizational front since Eliana started kindergarten and we are back into the swing of a school calendar.

My thought behind the File System is that if I want to keep up my Personal Organizer without buying pages and  new organizers every 90 days or so, I need to have things pre-printed and ready to go so that I don't let my every day fall apart. The same for my Household Notebook. I don't want to store a year's worth of papers in either system, so I need a place to keep all those pertinent papers until the time comes for me to use them.

Of course, I am still in the experimental stages of my Personal Organizer and Household Notebook, so the File System is also in flux until I get all that figured out. Here's what I do have so far, though...

The File System:

  • Loose Files
    • Extra Journal Pages for Personal Organizer (PO)
  • Monthly Hanging File Folders
    • Blank PO Notepad
    • 4-5 Weekly Folders (labeled Week 1-Week 5)
      • Week 1
        • PO - Monthly Divider
        • PO - 30 Day Focus Sheet
        • PO - Projects Sheet
        • PO - Monthly / Weekly Meal Planner
        • HN - Monthly / Weekly Meal Planner
      • Subsequent Weeks
        • Weekly Goal Planning Sheets
        • Weekly Meal Planners
        • Weekly Productivity Sheets
        • Weekly To Do Lists
        • Etc. (You get the idea... )
    • Holiday / Special Planning Folders
      • Anything for planning holiday events, birthday parties, etc. Filed under the appropriate month. 
  • Extra Hanging File Folders
    • Blank File Folders
    • Blank Holiday Folders
Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns with this system so far. I'm assuming that will become easier as I narrow it down to exactly which printables I want to use each week, etc. Since I am looking for an all-encompassing system, it will undoubtedly take some time to work out all the kinks and find a solution that simplifies our life and is maintainable long term. So far, though, I am liking the progress. I feel hope!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thoughts on the Household Notebook

What do I do with this household notebook? It seems to be giving me the most trouble. I have a large 3 ring notebook that has...

  • Pencil Pouch
  • 5 Pocket Tabs
  • 6 Pocket Tabs (for Eliana)
  • A-Z Tabs
  • Jan - Dec Tabs with Page Protectors
I am thinking that I will need tabs for... 
  • Routines
    • Morning
    • Evening
    • Daily / Zones?
  • Menu Planning
  • Emergency
  • Babysitter / Eliana
  • Family Information
What is the purpose of this notebook? Is it something I want to use every day, reference occasionally, or use in emergencies? Will I be the only one using it, or will other people be using it too? Do I want extra reference information in it, or will I only be using it to make sure that my household runs smoothly? I guess these are questions I should answer if I want to make sure that my notebook ends up like I want it. 

I would like the notebook to be useful for me and for Leif and for babysitters. Leif is in charge of grocery shopping, so I want the menu planning section to be a place where he can get the grocery list, add to it, take it with him, etc. Babysitters need to know the basic information about Eliana, such as her milk allergy, what she is and isn't allowed to do, bedtime, etc. 

I want to have my morning, afternoon, and evening routines clearly laid out so I can follow them and check them off the list. I will have copies of these in my personal planner, but I think I will need to work out of both to keep myself on track. For now, I will forego the cleaning zones, because that is a habit I am not yet ready to build up to. If I add in too much at once, I am afraid I will burn out and not want to do any of it. 

I don't want to keep too much extra information in this notebook, lest it become a repository for random papers. If anything, extra information will go in the appropriate folder of the file system, so that I look at it when I need to and not when I get distracted by it. =D 

So... Here are my Household Notebook thoughts... 

  • Household
    • Morning Routine
    • Evening Routine
  • Meal Planning
    • Shopping List
    • Monthly / Weekly Menu Plan
    • Favorite Meals
    • Recipes to Try
  • Family Information / Reference
  • Emergency
  • Eliana / Babysitter Information
It's starting to come together. Now to keep it moving in that direction... 

Personal Planner Progress

I am steadily making progress on my life reorganization project. My file bucket is coming along, my household notebook is coming along, and my personal planner is making significant progress. So far here's where I am...

Personal Planner:


  • Time Management
    • Weekly Plan Sheet
      • To Do List
      • Weekly Menu
      • Shopping List
  • Monthly 
    • 3 at a time, to make it a 90 day planner
    • Currently October, November, December
    • Birthday Calendar on each tab
      • 30 Day Focus Sheet
      • Projects Sheet
      • Monthly Menu Planner
      • Holiday / Seasonal Notes Sheets
  • Money Management
    • Debt Load Worksheet
    • Receipts Folder
  • God
    • Current Memory Passage
    • Bible Study / Journal Pages
  • Family
    • The Good Deed Card (also known as the I-Didn't-Get-Any-Checkmarks-In-Kindergarten-Today punchcard)
    • Eliana's schedule
    • Eliana's monthly chart
    • Important Phone Numbers
    • Notes for Teacher
  • Career
    • Current MK Promotion
    • Lead Card Sheets
    • To Do List
    • Daily Schedule Sheets
  • Personal
    • Health and Nutrition
      • Cute Exercise/Sleep/Water/Food Reminder Sheet
      • Weekly Fitness Sheet
    • Personal Development
      • Reading List
      • Book Review Sheets
      • Book Recommendation Sheets
      • Blank Pages
  • Notepad
I am currently keeping everything in a 3 ring binder, but I think that when I get it pretty well figured out I will probably move to a disk system like the M by Staples Arc system. I hear they are coming out with a slot punch in October, so that will make the transition over much more appealing. I'm hoping then my planner will also fit into my Padfolio cover for MK, which I really do like. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Organizing my life... again.

Now that Eliana has started school and I am trying to ramp up my business, it seems like I really do need to reorganize my life. Again. Yesterday was my birthday, and that's kind of like the start of a new year, so I spent a good deal of time thinking over what would be a good system for me to use. And yes, that is what I chose to do on my birthday. I love stuff like that. It makes me happy. So here are my thought so far...

I need some sort of personal organizer that goes everywhere with me. 

I need some sort of home organizer that helps me keep our home in check, including things for Eliana.

I need some sort of file system to help me keep the papers organized so that they're not all just laying about. 

If it's not broken, don't fix it. 

Those are my thoughts. I have several areas of my life to juggle right now... Home, Business, Eliana. Those are what I'm currently juggling. I have other areas I'd love to be working on, but don't seem to know how to go about it. Food and Exercise, Bible Reading, and Social Time are a few of those areas. BUT... right now I'm going to start with what I know.

The File System.

I like the file system idea I found on a random blog, and I think I'd like to try to implement it. It seems like a great way to deal with papers and things one week/month at a time. I could use this as a way to organize and store items for both my personal organizer and my home organizer until I need them.

To  make the file system, I am going to need to get 52+ file folders and a hanging file organizer to put them in. I already have the hanging file folders, so that won't be a problem.

I need to store it in a central location where we have the information at hand and I can easily file things away as they come home, but not in a location that is in the way. I am thinking on top the shoe bin in the family hallway.

The Personal Organizer.

I need to carry a personal organizer with me. I'm not entirely sure what sort of organizer it needs to be, but so far I've not found a good one I like. I think this is going to be a trial and error process as I work to come up with the right solution. For now I'm working on putting one together using a small 3-ring binder. I'll update on that later.

The Household Organizer.

This is akin to Flylady's Control Journal. I used a control journal for a few years, and there were things about it that worked really well. Since I've fallen out of the habit of using one and have added a personal organizer that takes the place of some of the items in it, I am looking for a good way to revamp it for our household. It needs to include things for the household, meal planning, grocery shopping, and Eliana's schedules. That is also a work in progress, and probably the last one I will get to. We'll see.

There are a few things that are actually working really well, so I don't need to mess with those systems. One is how I track mileage for my business. It's a good system. Another is getting Eliana out the door in the morning. When I am doing that, it seems to run smoothly, so I won't change up her routine.

As for the rest, well, it's a work in progress...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I want to reorganize my life

... but what if I can't stick to the system I pick? I am seriously in the market for a system that actually works for me. I like the 90 day planner by Pam Shaw, but I feel like it needs to be tweaked just a bit more for me. I like the idea of a control journal by Flylady, but I don't seem to keep up with it. I love the idea of a weekly file bin, but I'm pretty sure I would skip weeks and that wouldn't really be helpful. How do I get organized? I'm at a loss.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Before and After... part 2

The kitchen...
From Instant Upload

and AFTER...
From Instant Upload
There are still dishes in the sink, but that was remedied after the dishwasher ran a load. =D

Monday, September 19, 2011

Before and After

From Instant Upload

From Instant Upload
This is my dining room before. I'm sad to say that it's looked more or less like this for a week. Last night, though, I got off my booty and got down to work and now it looks like this:

From Instant Upload

Ahhhhh! A breath of fresh air! The pink plate is from Eliana's breakfast this morning, lest you just think I missed it. =D Yay for starting the week with a clean house!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's been a while...

Wow. The last time I blogged, we were packing up to move out of our old house into a condo while the new house got finished. Now we've been living in the new house for 6 months! Crazy!

When we designed the new house, we took to heart some of the things from "The House that Cleans Itself" and that has made a HUGE difference in how clean our house stays. HUGE!

That being said, this last week was Eliana's first full week of school and my first week of getting her up, ready, and out the door by 8am. My house started to fall apart. Here's what I saw happen:

  • The dining room table became a collection spot for all things. 
  • The kitchen became cluttered with dirty dishes that didn't get cleaned, lunch making supplies that took over the counter, and random stuff that I moved from the dining room table to the kitchen. 
  • The master bedroom became another catch-all as I tried to get caught up on Eliana's school clothes laundry and brought in new things to leave in our room. 
Not cool. Those are the 3 areas that we live in. The areas my husband likes to have neat and clean. The areas that I apparently stink at keeping clean when life is going on. 

So my goals for today are to tackle those 3 rooms. And if I have time, I'd like to clean up the craft room, too, and maybe even tackle the pantry. 

I'd love to plan meals for this week and make them today and get them in the fridge / freezer, all ready to go, but I doubt that's going to happen. 

I'm pretty much feeling like I need to reorganize my life again, which isn't good. Not sure what that's about, but I'm thinking I probably need to take my pill today and that will help set me straight. =D

So... perhaps I'll take a couple before and after pictures of my progress today. That would be good. Perhaps I'd make some progress, then.

Either way, I'd like to start out the week with a nice, clean home.