So, as I've said, one of my new blog loves is Simple Mom. One of the things I LOVE LOVE LOVE about her is that she's totally inspired me to get organized...in so many areas...menu planning, cleaning, paperwork, etc.
So, two weeks ago, I started menu planning. I decided to go with a generic weekly plan, as she did. So, our generic weekly plan looks like this:
Mondays - Salad
Tuesdays - Mexican
Wednesdays - Italian
Thursdays - Stir-fry or Leftovers
Fridays - Homemade Pizza
Saturdays - Something New or an Old Favorite
Sundays - Grill night
This made it SO much easier for me to plug in meal plans, having a basic framework - otherwise I found myself getting overwhelmed with just too many recipes to choose from. Anyway, I started by looking at what meat and fish we had in the freezer (which, we happened to have just about everything, due to some major good buys recently), and started plugging in meals based around that. I started off by planning 2 weeks worth of dinners, and used her printable grocery list to check off everything I needed for the recipes.
Then, also at her suggestion, I set up Google Calendar and plugged in my meals for each day. One great thing about Google Calendar is that you can set up many different calendars in one - so I have a "menu" calendar, an "events" calendar (for events/appointments), a calendar for Darrell's days off, etc. Each of those uses a different color for the text, and I can turn them on/off as I please - so I can see them all together, or each separately, as I wish. Then, I set up reminders for each meal - one email reminder, to be sent 12 hours before dinner, and one pop-up reminder, to be given one hour before dinner. That way, when I get online in the morning, there is an email in my inbox, reminding me what's for dinner - this is my reminder to get the meat/fish out of the freezer so it is thawed by dinner time. Then, the pop-up reminder kicks me into gear if I get distracted online - which I tend to do!! Also, I print out my menu calendar and keep it with my household organization binder to have a handy paper reference as well.
And I have to say, it really does alleviate a lot of stress not having to worry about what's for dinner. It's great to not have to worry about it, or get to 5:00 p.m. and be standing in front of the refrigerator trying to figure out what to fix, like I used to. The worst part, of course, is the clean-up. I love cooking; I hate clean-up. But hopefully I will get past that!! :)
The other tool from Simple Mom that I've been using is her Daily Docket. Oh, my, this is a wonderful tool!!! The way I've been using it is to print off enough for the whole week on Sunday. I fill in the meals then, as well as any appointments I already know about. I also developed, this week, a weekly cleaning plan, and I write in my cleaning tasks for each day on the daily dockets. I am a person who LOVES checking things off a list - so this works great for me!! Then, each night before bed, I look at my daily docket for the next day. I determine my 3 MIT's (Most Important Tasks) - these are not just another "to do" list - but TRULY, if I ONLY got those three things done, my day would be a success. Things like...spending quality time with Anthony, or making Darrell feel special on his birthday, or spending time with a new friend. Or following up with the incompetent medical equipment company who has left us without a working apnea monitor for Makayla for THREE weeks now!!! (Don't get me started or my blood pressure may spike a new high!!) I've found that the daily docket really does help me keep on track during the day!
So...my cleaning plan. You know I HATE cleaning. It is definitely my weak point as a wife and mom!!! But I am determined to turn over a new leaf in our new home. I feel so much better when our house is clean and organized, and I know Darrell does too. So, here's what I came up with, so that I don't end up spending huge chunks of time at any one point during the week.
Monday - grocery shopping, clean out frig, clothes laundry, swiffer kitchen
Tuesday - vacuum upstairs, dust upstairs, launder bedding
Wednesday - clean bathrooms, launder towels, vacuum stairs
Thursday - vacuum rugs downstairs, mop downstairs, dust downstairs
Friday - file paperwork, pay bills, tidy up, clothes laundry
Saturday - Darrell does the lawn work
Sunday - menu planning, print daily dockets, grocery list
This means that by the end of Thursday, the entire house is clean for the weekend, which is nice, and leaves more time to spend as a family on the weekend. This was the first week doing this, and it seemed to work out okay. I mean, yes, I'm tired, and yes, when the kids go down for a nap, I'd much rather take a nap too! But intead, I take some B-12 and drink some Emergen-C, and get busy cleaning so I can try to have my chores done before they wake up. I tried to get most everything done during the twins' morning nap, so that I wasn't dreading my chores all day. Certainly it's harder when we have play dates or outings to go on - then I'll have to do my chores during the afternoon nap. And I'm praying too, that God will help change my heart so that I don't dread it so much anyway!!
So...this morning I've been able to sit with my laptop and linger over my cup of coffee (after I got the kiddos fed and the girls put down for their morning nap, anyway). It's been nice, not feeling like I SHOULD be up cleaning! (I mean, there are, of course PLENTY of things for me to do - still many boxes in the garage - but you know what I mean!)
I'll keep you updated on how it all continues to work!!