Posts Tagged ‘meal planning’

So I’ve been trying to get myself organized lately (which is really an ongoing effort), and have decided I need to crack down on my mess-making-procrastinating-daydreaming-disorganized-chaotic ways.  With two little rambunctious boys, a (dare I say) up-and-coming blog, a moderately busy photography business, and side decorating jobs as well as the normal household duties, church responsibilities, volunteer opportunities, relationship maintenance, physical upkeep, etc. I’ve become in a large sense OVERWHELMED.  I am not naturally a very organized person.  I LIKE order and I like things to “look pretty”, but I’m a completely right-brained, slightly crazy, artsy fartsy person who is more inclined to CREATE “mess” (or as I like to call it “PROJECTS”) than to organize it.  I tend to make a lot of To-Do lists, but it seems by the time I’m done writing the list, I’m bored already and get sidetracked to something that tickles my fancy (like Pinterest, or the ukulele).  I’ve got all kinds of great plans and intentions of being organized and sticking to a routine.  Typically I go to bed thinking, “Okay.  Tomorrow is the day.  I’m going to stick to it.”  Then I wake up, hit the snooze (or in other words tell Peyton to go watch PBS kids until I’m ready to get up), get out of bed late, don’t feel like working out (and who can with two kids under your feet anyway), and before I even get my day started my plan is completely out the window.  The only way I can think to combat this utter lack of self discipline is to publicize it!  Naturally.

Anyway, so here I am, and here are my plans.  Feel free to help yourself to any of my schedules, printables, etc. if you feel inclined to come with me on this organization journey.  Wish me luck that I might act like a grown up for once and actually stay on task!  I have SO many goals and dreams and I know if I could just stick with the plan(s) I could become much more productive and maybe reach a few of them someday.  🙂

The first thing I’ve decided I need is a Dinner Menu.  I HATE thinking of what to make every night for dinner.  HATE IT.  Staring into a pantry full of random items and trying to come up with a decent meal is like building a rocketship out of legos.  At least for me.  I actually liked cooking until I had to do it every night and I think I could possibly like it again if I didn’t have to go through the “what can I make out of THIS” part.  I need a menu.  And a grocery list that coincides.  A great site I found could really help with this if you’re facing this same issue.  Its called Eat At Home and has years (yes YEARS) of printable menus along with their recipes and grocery lists.  My only problem is I have picky eaters in my household so some of the menus wouldn’t work for us.  I LOVE the idea though and think the site could really help.  Along the same lines I came up with my own menu system.  It involves themed dinner nights (Italian night, Pizza night, Mexican night, etc.).  I assigned a different “theme” to every day of the week.  Then I just made a list of 13 dinner options under each nights theme that I can choose from on any given week.  This way, I can look at my theme night, choose the dish, and shop accordingly.  It should allow me for about 3 months of meals without having to make anything twice (unless I want to).  Also, I can shop carefully to make sure that I’m using up ingredients.  For example, on Mexican night I can make a dish that has rice and make double the amount to store in the fridge until Asian night, using up the leftovers as well as cutting out a step on Asian night.  Does that make sense?  It does to me and I think it will really help that brain block I have at dinner time.  You’ll notice that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are sort of whimp-out meals.  Thats because by Thursday frankly I’m sick of cooking.  I figure if I just acknowledge and work around this fact, it will save us money (and my sanity) from running out to “pick up dinner” or from me having to feel the pressure to summon up the will to make another fabulous meal.  I printed out on cardstock all the pages below, punched a hole in the top left corner of each page, and put them all on a ring to hang in my kitchen for easy access.

Weekly Menu

Menu Options

The next thing I’ve done is created a Daily Routine.  I am TERRIBLE at following routines.  I am very spontaneous and admittedly flaky.  These are traits that cost me precious hours of useable time every single day.  I realize that I need to get on a routine, not just for me, but for my kiddos as well.  I think that they would greatly benefit from the security that routines and schedules give.  I created a pretty full daily schedule but I feel like it is pretty realistic and something that is flexible enough to be manageable.  I am quite aware that I will never be one of those schedule driven moms that sticks to the plan with the veracity of a drill sergeant.  And I have no intention of becoming one.  I realize that I will probably NEVER have a day that goes exactly as planned.  But, I need to try my best to create some structure so my household will run smoother and nothing, and no one, gets neglected.  Sadly I’ve realized that I DO need to schedule in playtime with my kids.  If not, I tend to (in my perpetually overwhelmed state) use the phrase “in a minute” or “when I’m done with _____” until the kids are tucked into bed at night.  I’ve realized that there will ALWAYS be something else I can be, should be, could be, want to be doing.  I need to put parameters around how much time I allot to the different aspects of my life and when that time is up, its up, and I need to move on to the next thing on the schedule.  You can see my Daily Routine below.

Mom’s Daily Schedule

I also decided to make me a Weekly Chore Chart.  My mom is a professional homemaker.  Seriously.  She could teach lessons.  She has told me over and over again that the key to keeping a clean house (ours growing up was always immaculate, with the exception of my room of course) is to do a few chores everyday.  She has days of the week that she always does certain tasks and so nothing ever gets out of control.  So far my cleaning philosophy has been “If you can’t stand the mess, turn off the lights!”.  I hate cleaning for the most part but I think thats because whenever I get myself to finally DO IT, it is when I absolutely have to.  And by then, the mess seems so huge that I don’t even know where to begin.  I will do the basics to survive:  dishes once a day (most of the time), laundry once a week (most of the time), vacuuming when someones coming over…you get the idea.  My house is not atrocious, but it definitely wouldn’t pass mom’s cleaning inspection without due notice.  To remedy this I have created my Weekly Chore Chart that includes tasks like vacuuming twice a week as well as keeping up with my family blog and couponing on Sundays.  You are welcome to save mine to your computer and print it off as you’d like if it suits you.

Thats what I’ve done so far.  I think they are definitely steps in the right direction!  Soon I will be posting my exercise schedule as well as other tips I’m doing to get myself organized and regain my sanity!  What tips do you have for keeping yourself on track?  I’d love to hear them!

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