Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Homemaking Notebook

This year in my quest to become more organized I’ve created a “Homemaking Notebook”. I originally saw one on someone else’s blog a couple of years ago but when I decided to finally make one I googled it and saw that this was not a new idea at all! There are many websites and blogs about this very thing. So I took an idea or two from different people as well as making something that would suit our household.

A homemaking notebook or binder is supposed to be an organizer for the entire household. But seeing as I am the only one using it, I added a lot of personal items to it as well. As the kids get older I’m sure there will be more in there in regards to school schedules, and extra curricular activities but for now it’s basically for me to keep the house fairly organized.

Here are a few of the items I put in my binder:

1. Cleaning List- I broke up all the rooms of my house and what all needs to be done in each room. I then broke it down into days and now I have a checklist for each day (Monday-Friday only).

2. Menu- I’ve printed out a calendar for the month and I’m planning our meals at least 1 week in advance. Since I’ve started doing that I’ve noticed that I’m much more organized when it comes to grocery shopping and keeping to my grocery budget. (A great website for calendars in excel format is www.vertex42.com) 

3. Food Diary- This isn’t a household matter but because I’ve created this binder to be used only for myself I have this in here as well. I’ve been tracking everything I eat or drink and tallying the calories and protein amounts. Since I’ve begun this I notice I really think twice about snacking or having a can of soda.

4. Bible Reading- I’ve committed myself to reading the Bible in 1 year. So I’ve created a spreadsheet that tracks my reading so that if I follow it, I will have read the entire Bible in chronological order by the end of December.

5. Prayer Journal- This section is a place to jot down anything that I feel God is speaking to me about or things I need to pray about.

6. Budget- In this section I’ve created a spreadsheet that shows every bill we have to pay on a monthly basis as well as a spot for each month of the year. As we pay our bills I will put an “x” in the spot and it helps to show us what has already been paid for the month and what still needs to be paid.

I’ve also printed out our budget that I’ve created that shows how much money is coming in and how much is allotted to go out. We keep ourselves on a very tight budget that is mostly cash based so we cannot overspend. When the cash runs out for the week, we can’t spend until the next week when I refill our envelopes. Since we’ve begun this budget we’ve been finally able to put a small bit of money away for the first time.

7. Birthdays & Anniversaries- This is the section where I’ve put down all the birthdays & anniversaries of family members and close friends. Mainly the people I intend on sending out cards to.

My mom recently told me that one of her aunts used to buy all the birthday cards for the year at the beginning of the year and fill them all out. She would address the envelopes and file them away so that every card just needed to be dropped in the mail as the birthday came near. I think this is a fabulous idea and I hope to try to start that this year.

8. Garbage Schedule- Where I live they’ve made our garbage & recycling a bit of a confusing matter, so I’ve printed up a calendar of our garbage  & recycling schedule to keep me organized on what goes out when.

9. Emergency #’s- I haven’t completed this yet, but this is a section to keep all phone numbers that may be necessary in an emergency. Poison Control, the local hospital, police station, family doctor, paediatrician, etc. This could also be great if you get a babysitter so you have every number she may need in one place.

10. Notes- In this section I’ve just put lined paper in so that if I need to jot something down or even write a quick note to my daughter’s teacher, the paper is right there and I don’t have to go hunting for it.

So these are the sections in my binder, but there may be more that would suit your family.

For many, a section to create a grocery list may be handy. I don’t use that because I have an app on my ipod that I enter my grocery list on which keeps track of prices and categories for me.

If your kids are older it may be beneficial to have a section for each child to keep track of extra curricular activities, assignments, or even just a place to keep their medical records.

I’m sure as the year progresses my notebook will evolve and will hopefully be even better next year, but for now I’m already finding it very helpful for both home and personal organization.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Meal Planning

January is the month of diets and health consciousness. Everyone makes resolutions to lose weight and get healthy and slowly it falls by the wayside as people forget or they give up because it’s too hard.

So far I’m doing all right. I had one bad day calorie wise as I mentioned in my previous post. Yesterday I was within in my range- just barely. For supper last night I made a Vegetarian Tofu Chilli. While I’m not vegetarian, I do like to try different thing. As much I’ve liked other vegetarian chilli’s, this really wasn’t one of them. Probably not one I’ll do again.

Today has already been a struggle. I’ve been taking my youngest Sophia to get a picture taken each month of her first year, and today was her 10 month picture. On the way home, Tim Hortons was calling out to me. I was craving a French Vanilla Cappuccino and a Bacon Breakfast Sandwich. I even switched lanes to go over there and then managed to talk myself out of it and go straight home. Although there may be allowances for it, I didn’t want to waste the majority of my daily calories on that when I could enjoy something more later on in the day. So for breakfast I had 2 slices of Ezekiel Bread with a tbsp of peanut butter and a black coffee from my Keurig. Way less calories!

Recently I discovered a website called SOS Cuisine. I believe it’s mostly for Ontario and Quebec residents but the recipes on there can be accessed by anyone. The thing I like about it is that it gives you a weekly supper menu using items that it knows are on sale that week in my local grocery stores. So it gives me the menu, the recipes, a shopping list, and a list of where the sales are to buy the cheapest food! I love it! I don’t always love all the recipes (the vegetarian chilli was from there), but I use it mainly and add a few of my own recipes to the week.

Now that I’m planning our meals on a weekly basis I find I’m much more organized and don’t need to run out to the store to quickly get that ingredient for supper. Although there are usually only 3 eaters at supper (Sophia eats from my plate- and Emily is only here every other weekend), I always cook 4 servings and use the leftover serving for my husbands’ lunch the next day. It’s very convenient!

Well I’m off to work on some housework and laundry while Sophia is napping. Hoping you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One of my resolutions for this year was to start writing on my blog again. I miss sharing the things I'm doing in my kitchen and sharing about things I'm learning concerning health & nutrition. And yes, I miss sharing about my kids.

Last time I wrote I was pregnant with my 2nd child- she is now 10 months old! Wow! She's growing so fast! She's started mimicking me by pretending to hold a phone and say, "allo?" and she tried combing her hair this morning after watching me comb her sisters hair.

Another thing I started doing this year was tracking my eating. I was never paying enough attention to my calorie intake and I never paid any attention whatsoever to my protein intake. Until recently, I didn't realize how important protein was in keeping me full, building muscle and burning calories. I've started writing down on a chart everything I was eating and drinking. Yesterday I was over my calories for the day- although i didn't think I had eaten that much. But my cup of chocolate milk, a can of pop and a cookie all added up. Today I am being much more careful about what I am eating!

This evening I will be eating at my church for supper. Every Wednesday they serve supper for only $4 before the Bible studies and kids church starts. We've only been taking advantage of it since the New Year and are enjoying meeting new people and eating great food that I didn't cook! I will have to try and figure out though how to calculate the calories. :)

Well that's it for today. But I'm looking forward to writing much more regularly now!

Have a great day!