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

Cleaning Day

Cleaning-Day

Day 9 at LWSP is Cleaning Day

I like cleaning on Mondays, makes it feel like the rest of my week is set and I can do other projects. Now my house did not get dirty overnight so it will not get clean over night.

Now a few weeks ago I start with this list and I did a room each day. I have worked up to the point where I can knock out all the rooms in one day.

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I have two of these caddys, one for the upstairs and one for the downstairs. It has most everything I need to clean with. I am ready to clean!

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I start with the kitchen and dining room, since they are both the same thing. I then move to the bathroom and spray down the shower and sinks and I walk away. I clean my tubs with  a home-made mix of vinegar and Dawn” IT WORKS GREAT…1/2 cup vinegar bring to boil in microwave, add 1/2 cup dawn, put on spray bottle and spray tub and sink, let soak 30 mins, wipe clean. You need to make sure you have your vent going, the fumes are strong!

I go back and do my living room, I consider my upstairs hall and entry way part of the living room. I have mostly hardwood floors and get the vacuum out at the end and leave it in the kid’s rooms so they get the hint!

I go back to the bathroom and I finish up. I have found a trick that works for keeping toothpaste off the sink. Car Wax!! Polish faucets, sinks, tile, even shower doors with Turtle Wax, which leaves behind a protective barrier against water and soap buildup, so your hard-earned sparkle will last past the next tooth-brushing.

I tackle the deep cleaning things like wash the rugs and I fluff the pillows (or wash them). I am actually allergic to my dogs and I do this once a week to keep the dander down.

Now for the things like. Dust Ceiling Fans and Clean Baseboards, I have commissionable jobs I pay the kids for and those are on that list. This is something we started today. We are doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University and he says kids need to paid for doing things above their normal chores. I decided to pick the things that are time-consuming and easy enough for them to do.

I had this board just doing nothing on the inside of the closet. I remounted it on the outside of the door. It sits in between the younger two kid’s bedroom.

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I made the sign on WordPress, printed it off and laminated it. This has the basic rules on it. You have to do your “Everyday” chores first. Mom and Dad are the “Bosses”. You must get your work checked before you can get your cash!

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I found the help wanted tags here. I printed them off, wrote them out, and laminated them.

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I hung them up with paperclips and the amount each is worth behind it.

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I made the rules and posted them.

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There are additional rules, like you can only do 5 until Thursday. Give both parties and chance to earn extra money. After Thursdays any left money is free game.

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I also found out that since staying home I have had more people trying to sell me things at my door. I found this and laminated it and posted it in my window by the front door.

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My day is done! Have a blessed day everyone!

~Peace, Love, & Cupcakes!

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.)

Working the paperwork

I have found over the years that if I piece together different parts of different people’s cleaning musts, it will work for me. I always adjust to fit me and sometime I ditch one system all together. One thing has stayed true, I follow a few things from FlyLady. While I don’t visit her site daily anymore I know the system. I make sure my sink is empty and shiny (almost) every night. I get dressed down to my shoes (almost) everyday. I bleach my sink once a week. And I do a 15 minute boogie every day.

I have found a website I like recently that helps with the paperwork clutter. Home Storage Solutions 101, she has a monthly challenge going right now and it  deals De-cluttering in March. Now I will admit her site is a bit difficult to get around and is not very user friendly, but she does have good resources. Here is the March Calendar.

Tuesday was Day 4 – Fill out address book information (either on paper or electronic version).

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Now I have Home Management Binders and I already had this in there. But it was not filled out, just like several other papers in the binder.

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Tuesday I also purged my living room space. It was not a lot to tackle and purge, mostly movies, but there was a bit of paperwork.

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It was not a lot to tackle and purge, mostly movies, but there was a bit of paperwork.

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I found a stack of bills that needed to be recorded as paid and 3-holed punched and put in the binder.

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I went and did my CONTACTS section of my binder. Why did I ever put it off, it wasn’t highly difficult.

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Quite simple actually, it only took about 30 minutes all said and done.

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There is my after shot. Yep that is a LOVE bookcase we made. I’ll post that in a few days.

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I even came away with some items to sell. I know the DVDs will get larger as I hit my bedroom this weekend.

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.

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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Pantry Organization

After my fall yesterday I was still determined to continue on my No-Spend March challenges and not miss a day. If I miss a day I tend not to go back and catch up and then I tend to forget the whole thing. If you need a link here it is.

The whole purpose of doing this inventory is to use what you have, instead of going out and buying more. For days before I got to this point I would get freaked out when I thought about trying to cook with only the food in my pantry & freezer for a whole month, I start to panic.  I honestly had a mild panic attack!

I went through and organized my many pantries and freezers. I started downstairs with my chest freezer.

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I found a whole cake in there that I had forgotten about. I also found 9 loaves of banana bread, 3 loaves of Nutella Bread, and more meat than I thought we had!

I moved on to my over-flow pantry, ok ok it is my stock pile!

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This took three sheets of paper to inventory.

I moved upstairs and tackled my main pantry.

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This was not so bad, this is my everyday use items and baking stuff! I also have two cabinets in my kitchen with baking items and spices.

In the end I ended up with 7 pages of inventory. I plan on keeping the two pantry lists on clipboards in that pantry. I am going to post the chest freezer list on the freezer and post the upstairs freezer on the side of it.

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Today I am working in the kitchen. I am clearing the clutter off my counters. I guess this also means tidying up my cabinets.