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

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Smiley360

I belong to Smiley360! My first mission was NesCafe with Coffeemate I was going to receive the following in the mail …..

  • One canister of NESCAFÉ® with Coffee-mate® – choice of flavor (French Vanilla, Hazelnut and Sweet & Creamy Original)
    • Three VIP coupons
    • Link to a $0.75 digital coupon

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My box finally came!

I got my Smiley360 Nescafe Hazelnut creamer pack today! Super excited to have my coffee in the morning!

I was super excited to get this and told my husband about this. Then I read the ingredients and my heart sank, coconut oil. I am highly allergic and couldn’t try this new product! My husband said he would try it and tell me what he thought. He said the flavor was great, he had to add a bit more the bottle suggested. Later in the day he said he felt as though the coffee was wearing off, compared to his normal cup of coffee. He said he would drink it again on the weekend or a day off work. My oldest son took one to work and loves it!

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Creamy coffee made easy!

Peace, Love, & Cupcakes

Shannon

Break is over

We took a break for Thanksgiving, yes we took the whole week off.  Today we started back with fractions, commas, pre civil war, more chemistry, and Pocahontas.

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I have a small baking business I do for family and friends out of my house.  I needed that week to get out all of my pies I had promised to people. It took me a whole day to prep, make, and bake 9 pies.

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Did you know that you need two different types of pie dough? One for the top and one for the bottom!

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This is a mealy pie crust bottom. You need a pie crust bottom that absorbs the juices of a fruit pie so you don’t get a pie with a soggy bottom.

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Your top crust needs to be more flaky.

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That way you get a pie that is perfectly balanced.

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Pumpkin pies are a bit different but I still use a mealy bottom crust to avoid soggy bottom. I like that phrase………. “soggy bottom”.

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I used fresh eggs from our chickens for the pie and it was amazing!

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We went to my mom’ house for dinner, she has a much bigger house to fit all 8 of us.

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We had ham, not turkey. My husband has a gallbladder issue and turkey triggers it.  Yes, that was my plate and the deviled eggs were mine too.

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We played Monopoly Star wars edition. It was good money counting practice for Monster Child.

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I was Princess Leia and spent 90% of the game in jail. But that didn’t stop me from winning the game.

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The game ended over a debate on if the gourds were real or not. I finished that debate when I put my thumb through the bottom of one. It was real! We took them home and fed them to the chickens. That was their Thanksgiving Day feast.

Peace, Love, & Cupcakes

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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Continuing to learn for free

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Day 5 finds us learning for free over at LWSP.

 Today your assignment is going to be to learn something new, a new useful skill or hobby or insight…..without spending a dime.
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I happen to be in love with Khan Academy. I happen to have a 15-year-old daughter who cries through math everyday. I never did well with math until I went to culinary school and had to learn these formulas and conversions. I find that doing this help me help them.
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Here is my current progress. Not to shabby.
Personally, I would love to learn how to knit. Here is a link to do just that! I think I have knitting needles in my room…… somewhere. I am starting a purge on Sunday of the bedroom, maybe I find them. While I am on the purge I know I have a book which I used to make a wreath. I also want to make this.
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Spring is coming and I have a beautiful flower garden I want Herbs and Vegetables.
This website will teach you how to start a simple garden. I also want to give this a try.
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Did you know you can take a free class online through the University of Washington? Yep you can, go here!
I am on a mission to get two chickens at my house, layers. I want to learn everything I need to know to raise them and make them thrive.
I will name them Bacon and Eggs!
My daughter is shocked by my choices of names. I told her at least I was not naming them Breakfast and Dinner!
What do you want to learn?

 

The Kitchen Purge

We have lived in our house for 14 years!That little girl I am holding is now a 15 year girl full of life and she keeps surprising me everyday.

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It is not a big house with only 816 square feet up and 816 square feet down. It has 4 bedroom, two baths, an open living room/dining room/kitchen area, and utility room. We have the basics in the kitchen; a sink, stove, fridge/freezer, microwave oven, and cabinets. The original plan never had a pantry included, we took the coat closet and made it into the pantry.

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My kitchen counters have always been filled to the max with clutter and kitchen tools. The kitchen has come a long way from that!

I have a culinary arts degree, I NEED MY TOOLS! But what I realized while doing this is that I don’t need them all at once and I hardly use some of them.

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While I wish this was my kitchen, sadly I only get it one week a year in the summer. I make do with what I have.

I started this challenge Monday from Clean Mama and thought no way I can’t do it …….. I NEED THESE THINGS!  I had my mixer, knives, kitchen utensil container, mug tree, coffee k cup holder, coffee maker, toaster, can opener, numerous bowls, cookie jar, cutting boards, and tea maker on the counters and island. (I call it an island but it is my self-made workstation.)

I completely cleared my counters off. I removed everything and placed most of it on the kitchen table with some ending up on the couch.

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I cleaned them all with my OnGuard cleaner and I soaked my sink with bleach. If you have never filed your sinks with hot water and bleach, do it you will be shocked at how dirty your sink really is. I do this once a week and then take an SOS pad to my stainless steel sink to make it shine. Flylady taught me this.

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I took a very hard long look at the items I had on the table. I moved them into groups; everyday use, every week use, every once in a while, and what the heck am I doing with this. I thought there are some things I can put up in a cabinet because I don’t use them everyday, but then I realized that I needed to purge my cabinets and condense and rearrange. We (my daughter and I, it was a snow day yesterday) did this, keeping like things together.

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This is my baking cabinet. it has all my baking and cooking needs in it. Last year, I put up the wood and hooks to help store things. Here is the post that I did that a year ago.

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I had also done this but the squares fell down, I Gorilla glued them this time.

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This is now my dishes, glasses, and mug cabinet. I got rid of the mug tree. Yes those are sticky notes on the inside of my cabinet door. They are tid-bits for certain things.

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I moved all my coffee and tea into a cabinet. This is right above my coffee maker in the corner. This makes it easier to see what coffee we are running out of instead of grabbing into a box to fill a spinner that only holds 4.

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This is the tools cabinet that holds a few cups and tools and the can opener.

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We discovered we had more than enough mugs then we could ever use. Half of the ones pictured here are making their way to new homes.

I started by moving the things I knew I had to have out back to the counters and where I knew I wanted them. This was based on what was in the cabinets above them.

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I have only one hiccup to my peaceful flow of my kitchen. That is this thing, a necessity I am afraid since we have no dishwasher.

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We store it under the sink when it is not in use. We wash in the right side, rinse in the left and dry in the red drainer on the far left. It is too big to put in the sink. We just deal with it.  By the way I did the back splash by myself.

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I even cleaned the fridge inside and out. I found that rearranging the shelves a bit fits our family better.

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This is what my workstation looks like now. I am storing my mixer, toaster, tea maker, and cake plate on the bottom shelf.  I will have to post how I made this island.

Here is the finished panoramic view of the kitchen.

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One last thing: You might notice something on one of my cabinets in the kitchen and wonder what that is. It is a note card holder that was made by a wonderful woman I know. I use this to hold recipes (most of mine are on index cards) and I have mounted it on the  outside of the cupboard. She is the wife of a preacher and she home schools her children. If you are interested in purchasing one of these this is her Facebook page. She can make the in all sorts of colors and designs.

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Budget Day 2

I love snow! I am that crazy person praying for snow and rejoicing this winter in all the snow we are having. So, while many of you have a beach as your happy place, this is my happy place and it has snow!

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I spent most of day yesterday online figuring out where our money goes. Our bank has all these helpful tools that I NEVER use! It will help you make a budget, show you where your money goes, and set goals. It even shows me in a nice pie graph, a pie graph that almost left me in a huddled pile in a corner of my living room. I was also watching Call the Midwife, so I am not totally sure if the crying was from the show or the budget.

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I got as far as entering all expenses in their categories. Today I will attempt to find out where we can cut money and make a livable budget. This might spiral me into a deeper hole, but I have avoided it all my adult life. Change hurts!

In February, we spent over $700 in car payments, over $550 in cell phone service, $300 dining out, over $275 in entertainment, over $650 in groceries, and $800 in utilities.

We spent $300 in fast food and dining out!! WTH!  $650 in groceries? I need to find budget friendlier recipes., I plan out meals a month in advance. We cut our cell phone bill when AT&T came out with new plans and we switched. We can’t change the car payments or the insurance for the cars. But we can cut in other areas of our spending.

Today is first day of the month and we are on No-Spend Challenge Month. We are resetting our spending and kick-starting our budget. The rules are pretty simple:  no spending on anything outside of your absolute necessities, and eat from your pantry & freezer as much as possible. No spending on anything that wasn’t absolutely essential.

This might be harder for my husband who I noticed spends $6.57 at QT every few day.