Family Organizer

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I need a system that organizes all of our schedules, that I can take with me, doesn’t require the all my sticky notes, and can’t be wiped off at the end of the month.

I need a system that I can access from my phone and my home computer.

I need it to be easy for me to use, and doesn’t require a lot of thought.

I have tried apps in the past with no real luck…….

Opus Domini was maybe my most successful app. You could build your personal mission, visualize and set your course, define your goals, have a daily blueprint of your life, categorize into four area how important a task was, have multiple planning views, and  had a tasks, calendar & events, notes,  growth tools, and cloud back up & sync. But it is only available for Mac, iPod, and iPhones, I have an android and I am perfectly happy with it.

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Planner Plus is ok as it is the closest to Opus Domini. You can create tasks, events, notes, has different views, and is color coded.

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CalenMob is a Google Calendar app with intuitive design. I am trying this for my home business but not liking it. 

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Schedule Planner this actually has something I wish Opus Domini had “Planned” vs “Actual” day planning interface. But honestly the whole thing is a little confusing on how to do everything. Like an information OVERLOAD!

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Cozi and everyone raves about this one. Maybe I just haven’t given it a fair enough shot.  It has a family calendar, shopping lists, to-do lists, family journal, and meals. But honestly it looks overwhelming and like an overload of information. I do like that my husband and daughter can have it on their phones and we can all be connected. Not too sure after that.

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What are your thoughts and opinions? Do you have an app that you love and can’t live without?

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Now, I have Home Management Binders and I love them. But I am not lugging them all over! I made these back in 2013, after my mother-in-law died and I went through her paperwork for two days!

I had been looking for months for home management system that fit me. No luck! I mean what could possible fit a person as complex as myself. I could make the sheets but I knew there was blanks out there waiting for me to find. Than I started piecing one together…….. what a pain! I mean each had a different theme and I like everything to flow. Besides things started to mix and nothing was clear-cut.

I found most of my print of at Life Your Way , it is an awesome site and is worth you checking out. No, really go! I will wait right here, take as long as you need, I’ll wait……………

Oh, your back? Are you as impressed as me?

Anyways they have over 200 printables! Than there is the whole article about how to use a Home Management Notebook, which you can find here.

I made four of these FABULOUS binders! I thought of making one huge binder, but then I decided against it. Some things are laminated so that I don’t have to make a million copies and burn through ink. If it is something I need a record of I will scan it.  First, I went to Wal-Mart and bought some file folders for a $1 for three and found some old 3-ring binders downstairs that were in great condition. Next, I printed off all the copies I would need for the four binders. Then I laminated the ones that I needed to. If you don’t have a laminator I recommend you buy one, it is worth the investment of $20-30. Last, I three-hole punched everything and put them in the correct binders.

Binder #1 – Is my household vital information. This binder has a section for all five members of my house. Each person has a personal information sheet, basic medical information, and a medication information sheet. For the three of us over 16 years of age we each have a wallets contents sheet. The two younger kids also have a school information, medicine checklist (laminated two-sided), and a usual day in our home sheet. After all those tabs I have a cars tab and a car maintenance sheet for each of our cars. Next is our home inventory, home maintenance, dvd inventory, book inventory, and pet info tabs and sheet.

Binder #2 – Is my everyday binder that has everything an outsider or my husband would need to run my household if I was not around. This binder has the following sections in it: calendar, cleaning, menu planning, to do, contacts, and holidays/traditions. Most of these pages are laminated. I laminated pages like Our House: Week at a Glance, My weekly cleaning routine, cleaning checklists, 3 laminated monthly calendars for meal planning, weekly meal plan, pantry inventory, freezer inventory, daily action planner, weekly action planner, and my daily docket.

Binder #3 – Is my financial binder that has our budget, and account information. I have all our utilities information in one place. I also keep our current bills in the back, along with any coupon books for payments.

Binder #4 – Is all for my father-in-law and my sanity. After his wife died we needed to keep this information in a place that we knew where it was. This book has his personal information, medical information, and his finance information.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Let me know!

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Shannon

Smal Victories

Saturday I worked in the backyard for two hours. That is all my husband would allow. I don’t have much to show you because I was totally embarrassed with how it looked before.

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I did manage this, two pots buried for my tomatoes. I added the lattice-work for the tomatoes to go somewhere.

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We cleaned up the area where we put our trash cans. Years of kids not getting things into the trash cans and the raccoons getting into them had made a mark. Now the area is clean and free of debris.

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We even cleaned out the area under the steps. We are going to put a mini deck under there and put an outdoor dog bed there for our dogs to chill out.

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That is part of what we moved out. Oh and we found a family of mice. One child wanted to kill it and the other wanted to keep it. We named it “you don’t live in my backyard” and set it free in the woods. It was just my husband and I cleaning up, the kids didn’t offer to help.

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Sunday found us in this corner of the yard. it was a freaking mess. A raised garden bed that never took off. A garden bed around the deck that next amounted to more than weeds. We had all hands on deck, four of us, for this cleaning project. The hubby and I decided that they didn’t get a choice in the matter. They helped to mess it up, they can help to clean it up.

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This is what it looked like 3 hours later. Amazing what a little teamwork can do. Still want to take down the dish today.

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We moved the raised garden bed and it is almost ready for planting.

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I even let the 15-year-old girl work a drill! She is better at using a power tool than scissors. Where did I go wrong?

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We also moved some things around. We moved the shutters to behind the rose bushes I planted. We added two stumps to the top of the steps. We are going to get solar lights, drill holes in the tops and have lamp posts.

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I also took down my teacup bird feeders I made last year off the trees. I moved them to the stumps and filled them.

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Today they are empty, because that little guy told EVERYONE there is bird food in the backyard.

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Zen is coming to my garden and backyard!

I am this  point in my life when you realize you need a pain reliever to move from doing yard work the day before.

~Love, Peace, and Cupcakes~

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Busy Weekend …….

I had such a busy weekend. I am in this whole cleaning mode and it spilled out into my yard on Friday.

“We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our backyard Independence Day!

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We have more than a 1/4 of an acre but less than 1/2. The lot is narrow and has a creek on one side. My property was the neighborhood dumping ground for 30 + years. Habitat for Humanity NEVER did a final grade on the yard or planted grass seed.

Honestly, how hard can it be to use a tiller. Ok, the time has arrived, may the force be with me and may luck be on my side. I will be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist.

TODAY IS MY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Ok, not totally but I made a great start!

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I need no supervision, but my male dog (Winston Churchill) thinks he needs to supervise and help. If I am working he is there.

I got to work with the tiller on the hill. It is very hard to love my neighbors when I have to deal with stuff like this.

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It was all going fine until I ran into this. I buried steel cable.

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It broke the shovel! I didn’t like that shovel anyways.

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Finally after an hour of trying and making a 3 foot hole and getting nowhere, I buried the cable.

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I needed a border for the new garden area. Working with what I have and being creative. Just so you know, a chop saw was involved.

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Safety glasses were involved.

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Hammering those little sticks into the ground is not as easy as it seems.  Oh my god that may be the dumbest idea i ever had. I ran out of branches to finish the whole thing, Fart.

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I also had logs that were too big to use. They met a fiery death in the pit of death.

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Winston settled into his foreman role and watched from a comfortable spot on the deck. He is the only one helping me. And half the time he is taking my sticks.

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It one point I thought a toilet would be a good decorating idea. It was broken and it never took off. Time to smash it.

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It felt good. And look what I found… the Tupperware play cups right where the now 10 year boy flushed them!

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I added steps to help get up the hill. I still have to secure them better but they work. They are just pieces of old wood I put into the hill.

This was my Friday, all by myself my children never offered to help. Husband was at work. I did it and I was happy with my results.

It is not even close to being done.

~Love, Peace, and Cupcakes~

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And the Kitchen Sink

My no spend March had an emergency!

I have to say I was very upset about this. But then I realized that I am being a better steward of my money. I am doing this to improve myself and the Devil hates it! He hates it to the point that he keeps throwing obstacles in my way to lead me back to sin and wild spending.

I got Something thing to say to you Devil!

FEAR ME! I will not fear you any more, you have no power in my life. Every morning when I wake up, you better be SCARED! The thought that runs through your head better be “Crap! She is up!”

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And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~Joshua 24:15

I love this verse so much it is our family motto now!

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Last month I blew a hole in our 15-year-old garbage disposal.

Today, I found a tiny pin hole in my 15-year-old stainless steel sink. It was not holding water and dripping a steady stream.

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The stream in the picture looks like a fine thread hanging.

I went to Lowes and asked them what I could do.  I could putty it, but it would be a very temporary fix. No dishwasher and I can do up to 6 loads a day in the sink. That was not going to work.

They had a 6″ deep stainless steel sink for $59. They had a 7″ stainless steel sink for $99.85. They had a 8.5″ acrylic sink for $99.85.

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Say hello to my new BFF. He is acrylic, 8.5″ deep, chip resistant, scratch resistant, stain resistant, impact tough, and takes heat. I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine. He cost me $99.85, cheaper than the people on Craigslist wanting $150 for a used one.

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Except now we can’t get the facet to stop leaking!

Get Your Clean On

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Day 8 was Get Ready to Clean Day

Now I make a few homemade cleaners

Furniture Polish

3/4 cup olive oil
juice from 1/4  lemon
1 tablespoon vinegar
3-4 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

Dampen rag & squeeze out excess water.  Dip damp rag into furniture polish, the wipe on surface of furniture.  Buff off with an old dry towel.  Can also be used to polish stainless steel.

Floor Cleaner

1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup baking soda 
8-10 cups hot water
1 tablespoon borax
1 tablespoon washing soda
30 drops essential oil (optional)

Mix vinegar & baking soda together in bucket; add hot water, Borax, washing soda, & essential oil and mix until all powder is dissolved.  Use mop or sponge to wipe down floor; wipe dry with clean dry towel.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 bar Ivory soap
1 cup borax
1 cup washing powder

This homemade laundry detergent is so cheap and easy to make that you will kick yourself for not trying it until now.  Place Ivory soap in a large microwave safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, until soap turns to foam.  Quickly stir foam until it becomes small soap chips, then mix well with borax and washing powder.  Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight container.  Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.  (Tip:  This detergent works best in warm or hot water; for cold water washing you may want to first dissolve in 1/4 c. of hot water.)

Reflection Day

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Day 7! Go get your Week 1 Reflection here!

I made it a whole week without spending, nothing that wasn’t on my budget! Today (and every Saturday for the rest of the month) is going to be our day to pat ourselves on our back (or kick ourselves in the you-know-where) while we reflect on what we’ve accomplished this week, as well as what we’ve learned.

We had a hiccup! We had in our budget $100 for my daughter and her track gear. We thought we could not use it. She had to have two shirts for track, school made them get them. The school was offering a payment plan or assistance. The budget was so tight we were in the negative. I was hoping to get the assistance or payment plan. My daughter didn’t follow directions and I ended up paying $30. It was budgeted but I hoped to use it for something else. So, technically I didn’t spend anything that wasn’t in my budget.

We also took my daughter to the Ortho for a first visit. We don’t have insurance, waiting for the state and Obama-care to figure out who gets to cover the children. We took her anyways because she needs them. $5270 for 27-30 months of braces!! They want $500 down, which we don’t have. So, we are saving every bit of extra to put towards that. Then every month we pay $189. We are currently putting things we no longer use and need on eBay and Craigslist to sell. So, far we sold our Neat Scanner for $150! We are selling an old Keurig machine, antique hurricane lamps, and P90X box set.

Friday I got a call from my son’s teacher, he is in fourth grade. We are having an issue with a girl bullying him in class. We discussed that and then she mentions that she is moving B-Man to the front of the class. She has noticed he can’t see and is squinting and asking class mates what things are. Oh wonderful, he needs glasses. We are going to try to hold off until April to get them. We can get the eyeglasses and exam for $69 at America’s Contact and Eyeglasses.

I had to go to the store but I have a $200 grocery budget this month. I made a cake and sold a few DVDs that earned me $40, that will go into my gas tank.  Otherwise we are going strong, even my kids are starting to understand things. We are putting aside extra money for things they need and are now pitching in to help!

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Monthly Meal Planning

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Fear not I have not given up on my No-Spend Challenge and I am chugging along. Day three was not as inspiring as my kitchen purge. In fact day three at LWSP is something I do every month. This revolves around monthly meal planning.

Day three is Meal Ideas, I have a whole book full of tried and true budget friendly recipes my family loves. I keep them in a three-ring binder.

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Inside I have it divided into sections; this month’s recipes, breakfast recipes, lunch recipes, dinner recipes, and dessert recipes. I used file folders I got 3 for $1 and hole punch them. Inside the This month’s recipes file folder I have blank grocery lists that I found at Hello Cuteness. This way I can make out a shopping list of thing I need that I may have run out of.

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I spent an hour going through my inventory list and my recipes and finding recipes that I could do with the thing I had on hand.  I got this blank monthly menu template from Hello Cuteness and I laminated it. (I made two) I don’t see it anymore under their freebies. Any blank calendar template will do. I write all the dinner meals down and the recipes are there if I get sick/away they can continue on.

My friend Michelle was worried about how I would survive on eating out of my pantry and trying not to buy. She even commented a few days ago “I was worried about you when you couldn’t buy anything for a month – I feel better now that I see you have a stock pile like that. Good luck with your challenge! Let me know how it goes!”

I have a grocery budget for the month, but it is tight so the less I have to spend the better. I have a budget of $200, of which I have spent $28.11. Once that money is gone, it is gone. I will not dip into other parts to buy food.

I don’t think I will do day four as it is a meal swap and I don’t know anyone who wants to do this close by.

I asked the question to the Living Well Spending Less Facebook page on what everyone does with their inventory lists once they have them completed. I had a few responses and decided this would work best for us.

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I am hanging the clipboard with the list on it in the corresponding pantries.