Showing posts with label organization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organization. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Menu Planning

Here is my simple menu planning process-so simple I feel funny writing a post about it!

I have been doing this for more years than I can count and nothing, I repeat NOTHING, has saved me for hassle, money, stress, than this simple process.  It also prevents me from being eaten alive by hungry children. :)

All week long I have a piece of notebook paper hanging up on the inside of one of my kitchen cabinets.  As I notice we run out of something or someone needs something, I write it down.  I shop most of the time at a large grocery store once a week and I try to make this my one errand a week if at all possible, so this list holds just about everything I need from food to a school supplies or cleaning supplies or diapers.

My grocery shopping day changes depending on what works with my schedule at the time, but right now I usually go on Fridays.  On Thursday, I get my cute little pad of paper with the days of the week out (or I just use a piece of notebook paper), and think of dinners to make, along with maybe some desserts or snacks.

I own a few cook books, and also like AllRecipes to source meal ideas.

I try to mix it up with tried and true favorites and maybe one or two new things.  Friday is usually pizza night, Saturday I don't plan for, because we might go out, or stay in, or teenagers might have plans or not, and I just play it by ear.  I also look at the calendar to see what the week holds for me, and how much time I have for preparation that day.

I add to my grocery list the ingredients that I will need to make the dinners I have planned, checking my cabinets to see what we already have.

My days of the week chart is not set in stone of course, I change things around because I might forget to defrost the meat, or have a really busy day with a fussy little one, and go for the easy meal instead of one that requires time, but I always know I have six meal ingredients on hand.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Very Own Cookbook

I finally finished a little fun project I have been working on all year.  I made my own cookbook.  I decided, earlier this year, that I needed a little boost to get out of a cooking rut I was in.  I knew what I needed was a project that would help my organize and simplify my recipes.  I decided to collect my family favorite recipes and consolidate them into a cookbook that I would really use...not like those cookbooks that I buy that have one or two or three good recipes in them, but a cookbook where I would use ALL the recipes often.

How many times can I type the word cookbook?

Anyways, I knew that when it comes to me and projects and being the mother of five children, I have to break everything down into little steps.  First I organized my recipe binder nicely.  I took out recipes that I would never make and marked the one I knew already were going to make the cut into the book.

Then I slowly but surely started trying some new things. This is what really got me out of that rut...I was making the same things over and over and I knew I wanted a nice collection of 100+ recipes, and I only had a little more than half of that of die-hard favorites so far. I found recipes through friends, family, blogs, and books and recipe site. I experimented on my children and if the recipe was a majority-rules good one, I would make adjustments (more sauce, a little less spicy etc) to make it our own.  If one didn't work out, I pitched the recipe and tried something new.  We mixed things up and tried things again and again.  I have to say-it was fun! 

Once I felt like I was ready, I opened a Blurb account (I chose this company to make the cookbook just because I heard they did a very nice job with the photo aspect and made it all easy-there are probably many good choices out there I am sure) and watched one quick tutorial on how to make a book.  I looked at some samples of recipe books already made and decided, of course, I wanted it to be very simple with full page pictures.  I downloaded the software and went to work, slowly but surely, entering recipes a little at a time...remember I just finished this and I started it in the beginning of the year.  

They have easy recipe templates.  Lots of choices of course, but I don't like lots of choices so I kept my blinders on and just went with the easy and quick templates.  I did have some food photos, and I had planned to have one for each recipe, but I decided that was just too time-consuming so I used some of my favorite family pictures throughout.  For the cover and the divider pages, I made a quick collage in Picasa and used that as my image.   I proofread, hit send, and chose what type of cover I wanted before ordering.  I would have loved to have a jacket, but I think for a cookbook that I'd be using everyday, I would have just ended up removing it anyways.

I exchanged this sloppy mess:

For this:
Here is my baby.  I was so excited when I got the email that it shipped that I stood outside waiting for 2 days and nights till it was delivered.   Not really but I wanted to.   I love it. 

(get it?)
The one drawback is that it is not super cheap...the cost depends on how many pages and what sort of cover you choose.  My book was around $65 I think-I used a coupon I found online.  To me it is worth every penny because I have a scrapbook type of cookbook that will be a family treasure. 

P.S.  You can find some of the recipes right now on Cooking On Clover Lane.  I fixed up the blog somewhat to make it look prettier and I plan on posting new recipes weekly.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Cleaning Schedule

Here is my new plan I thought of out of my own head.  It is working well and I love it, which makes me think some of my brain cells lasted through the summer.

Sometimes when I post my housewifey sort of things like this, I feel (in a paranoid way) like there might be lots of people out there who are making fun of me.  It's OK if you do.  If you say, "That weird Clover Lane lady just has to find something better to do with her time then make cleaning charts for herself."   The thing is, I have made cleaning charts (and all other sorts of lists) for myself  since I was 5 and I just can't stop now.  It's a crazy weird addiction.

I wish I had a better picture for you, but I don't.  I spend a little bit of each morning (I will bore you more tomorrow with my daily schedule) doing basic cleaning and straightening.

The DC after each weekday stands for Deep Cleaning (how tricky!) and that means that once a week I have a room to work on where I do more than just the basics, but get down to the nitty gritty like baseboards, windows, cushions off the couch-that sort of nitty gritty.  So if I do what I am supposed to do I won't have to do a huge spring/fall/Christmas cleaning, because it's been done slowly but surely.  I have the whole week for each room, so I can get to it on a slow day, or little by little, instead of tearing it apart and spending hours.

I don't feel so overwhelmed when I break things down into small little areas for the day.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Laundry for Seven

I have a great laundry routine that saves me time.

I have a laundry of my favorite features of my "not new" house. (When we were figuring out how to put on an addition and one of the builders suggested running a heat duct through my laundry chute, I sent them back to the drawing board... no way am I hauling hampers up and down 2 flights of stairs!)

The chute ends up in my basements smack dab next to the table I have which is right next to the washer and dryer. I have 3 big baskets for Colors, Whites and Do Not Dry-Wash Cold Clothes (usually always mine...I do not need shrinkage!).

I usually always do at least one load a day even if it is tiny. I never let my laundry get out of control because it is not my favorite thing to do and ends up being an overwhelming job. So straight out of the dryer, I fold and put the clothes in smaller laundry baskets, each labeled with a every family member's name. (I found the smaller baskets at Dollar General.)

When these get full, usually by Saturday, each child has the weekly chore to bring up their basket and put away their clothes in their closet.

I have them hang EVERYTHING but socks, underwear, jeans and shorts.  This means, no stuffing folded clothes into drawers.  I have to teach the younger ones HOW to put everything away...but it's worth the time savings in the long run.

Jeff and I do our baskets, and the baby's, or sometimes (more than not) I assign that chore as a Saturday job for one or two of the children.

When they are done hanging and putting away their clothes, they throw (and I mean throw) their little basket back down the basement stairs. Laundry done!