I have been homeschooling my children for six years. I have tried various methods of keeping track of our days (as Pennsylvania law requires us to keep a running log of our accomplishments). I am a planner and always love a great organizer to keep our info in. I have tried the computer-run planning sites before but I prefer to write each day out (as tedious as it is for three children). I also prefer something pre-made, as printables don't work well for me (I end up spending a fortune on paper and ink with my less-than-awesome printer).
In previous years, I had used an already-dated calendar planner to write in our school day plans. I ran into problems with this when I already had things planned for a week and we needed to take a day off due to sickness or unexpected field trip. I would then have to erase and change all our plans. I really wanted something that I could track number of days and then write the date in as we did the work.
After much looking, I was excited to find something I really liked and thought would work well for us....
I found the planner I loved at URtheMom. The worst part about them is that they were a bit pricey...especially when ordering one for each child. They have everything set up just as I wanted it...plus places to keep track of grades, goals and a folder in the back of the planner.
On each day we do our schoolwork, I write the date on the side...
This way, I can plan ahead as much as I want to without worrying about having to make changes due to missing a day or something changing along the way. In the *notes* section, I write in the dates of our homeschool co-op and what the children participate in on those days. I will add those to our required 180 days at the end of the year.
As you can see here, as we accomplish something from each subject, each day, I mark it with a little X...
I hope to maybe make my own planners for next year. I will have to crunch the numbers and figure out what is most cost-effective for us! For this year though, I am happy with how these planners work for us. If you want to purchase one too...you can find them HERE.
This post was in no way sponsored by URtheMom.com. They are just my personal opinions of what works for us! :)
A fun project to do with children (older children are best...as the folding should be careful and neatly done) is making window stars! They add a bit of color/fun to your windows!
You can make simple designs to very intricate ones! You can find some fun tutorials on them HERE. When I first saw window stars I thought they were made from tissue paper. I tried it and it ripped constantly and did *not* work well for me at all. I found out that what I actually needed was kite paper! :)
You can find kite paper HERE. In addition to that, you will want to have a pair of scissors, glue stick and some willing hands to fold them! It's a nice project that isn't difficult and is fun to do either by yourself or in groups!
Look at how much that dresses my windows! It looks especially nice in the winter when the outside is covered in snow and drab colors. :)
After some time (a year or so) the colors will fade from the sun...when that happens, I take them down and make new ones! :)
Give it a try! You will be so glad you did! Happy folding! :)
I use baskets all throughout my home. One place that they really come in handy is in the bathroom! In my opinion, baskets look much nicer and cozier than plastic bins. (I also love mason jars to decorate and keep things in!).
I use baskets to coral hand towels, wash cloths, soap, make up, hair products and more (and that's just in the bathroom)!
I don't know about you, but anytime I find a good basket at a great price...I buy it! There are *so* many uses for well-made, great-sized baskets that I just can't resist...although again I say: only if they are a *great price*! ;)
You don't have to have a lot of money to organize and stay tidy. You don't have to have the perfect home and use only expensive things to decorate/organize! Anyone *of any income* can choose to be tidy! You just have to work on it and keep up with it.
When folding, do it neatly (it will give you such a sense of satisfaction when you do!). When you get something out, be sure to put it away. Keep the floors swept and things dusted from time to time. Organize things with other *like* objects....this is where the baskets come in handy!
You can find baskets at your local thrift store or craft store (I found the ones pictured in the top photo at JoAnn Fabrics at 50% off!). If you can't afford to buy any right now, use what you have at home.
Homemaking can be so much fun when you see it as a challenge to keep your home neat, functional, cozy and enjoyable! I love trying to figure out better ways to organize areas. When things are tidy, it is so much easier to clean them too. :)
I have always kept a planner...at least since high school. I always had to have things written down so I didn't forget to do it. I must be a visual learner! ;)
When you are the manager of your household (as I am) or maybe a business...sometimes one planner just isn't enough!
I have my *main* planner (which can be purchased HERE). I like the room it gives to write and there are lots of boxes to record other things on the opposite page. This planner keeps track of chores I want to accomplish each day, reminders of things to do in the week, appointments, errands to run, supper plans etc. This planner is large so it mostly stays at home...
In my personal sized filofax, I keep track of bill paying and my monthly schedule. This little baby travels with me to appointments, errands and anywhere I take my pocketbook. This way I can keep track of appointments without lugging my bigger planner around with me. (Yes, this means I have to double-write down appointments and things...but I don't mind.)...
As I had written in THIS post, I keep track of my bill paying by writing when bills are due in my planner (along with their amount). Days outlined in blue are things that are taken out of our account via direct deposit. Days highlighted in yellow are paydays. Here is November dates...but I don't have all of our bills written in yet (although it would be quite lovely if we only had this many, wouldn't it?)...
Here is our schedule in a *nutshell* for October. Notice it's just vague with times...just so when I need to make appointments at the dr or for something else, I have an idea of when we are free...
The top planner holds my checkbook, insurance cards, debit card etc (the bottom one does not have a function yet...but should soon!)...
Are you a planner? Or are you more like a free spirit? I am most definitely a *planner*...however, I am learning, by the grace of God, to ease up a bit. Being rigid is *not* an endearing quality. Being punctual, reliable and organized *are* good qualities....so I am trying to hold onto those while attempting to not be rigid.
If you are a planner, I would LOVE to hear how you plan! If you blog about it...share the link!
I have found the best way to store medicine is to keep them in labeled bins. I really love this type of container...
They have a clasp that goes over the lid which secures it (I dislike having lids fall off easily). The green clasps go right up over the top and fit snugly against the lid. These containers can be found at dollar stores and probably any homekeeping/organizing section of a store!
I find labeling to be essential to keep things in their proper place. I love using my brother P-touch labeler...
Make sure you go through your medicines periodically. You want to make sure you get rid of anything expired or not being used anymore.
Keep your labeled bins somewhere easily accessible to you (but not to little ones). We keep ours on top of our fridge. That way we always know right where they are. I would love to have a cupboard to keep them in...but our home does not have enough storage space to accommodate that.
So here they are...kept neatly tucked away until needed...
These labels are genius! I love them and use them often. Often, leftovers can go bad in your refrigerator when you forget how long they have actually been in there. Now, you can make sure you never waste those leftovers again!
Erasable food labels (found HERE) can be placed on your containers and used over and over again! The special marker goes on easily...labeling the contents of your container and the date they were prepared. When that gets used and it's time to use this container again, simply use the eraser they supply and then use the marker to write the newest contents!
I love these and use them all the time! I am not an affiliate with this company nor am I making any money by sharing this with you...I just find them wonderfully helpful in the kitchen and wanted to tell you about them! They can help you save food and money!
I cleaned out our cleaning supply cupboard the other day. It felt wonderful to get rid of things that were never used or just didn't belong in there. It made room for the things that *do* go in there! I'm not sure what it is about them...but I must admit that I love cleaning products. I love them all. I like to use homemade products the most...but I do keep a few other products that do a really great job at cleaning certain areas.
I keep extra dish soap in this cupboard as well (right now I am using Mrs. Meyer's lavender dish soap....glorious!). I also *love* and put to great use my swiffer duster. It has a handle that extends so I can dust walls and ceiling fans as well as things on ground level...all without standing on a chair!
The pot and ingredients on the top shelf are for making my homemade laundry soap. I will buy laundry soap when it is on sale for a great price at the store...otherwise, I make and use my own!
Keeping your cleaning products together and neat makes it a joy to open the cupboard to use something! We keep a small basket with a few cleaning supplies in our upstairs half bath so we don't have to lug things from the downstairs to the upstairs. I used to have a cleaning caddy that I would tote my supplies around in while cleaning...but it proved cumbersome and not helpful to me. I prefer to take one thing out of my cleaning cupboard, use it and then return it back to its spot!
It's nothing super-fancy...but it works and stores my supplies well. When we complete our home addition project and I have a new laundry room, I will have a different way to house all my items. For now though, I use what I have and do my best with it!
The difference between a tidy bathroom and an untidy one can be something as simple as how your towels are folded (if they are not behind closed doors). I do not own fancy towels. I would love to get new matching ones for Christmas or something...but if not, that is okay...these towels work just fine for us (even if they don't match). I like my towels to be folded neatly though. I figure, why fold them at all if you are going to do it in a messy way? Plus, having your towels stacked neatly makes you want to make sure the *rest* of the bathroom is tidy as well!
So after making sure those towels are neat...move onto scrubbing the sink, toilet and shower. Dust the walls and other surfaces and sweep the floors. Use baskets or bins to corral "like" items. Remember, you don't have to have a picture-perfect, expensive bathroom. Whatever your bathroom looks like, keep it clean and tidy. It's easy to think, "well, if my floors were nicer or my bathroom was fancier..then I could keep it clean."...the truth is you can keep your bathroom clean no matter what it is. An ugly bathroom can still be a delight to walk into when it is kept clean!
Fruit flies. They are a homemaker's annoyance, seemingly coming out of nowhere to terrorize you and your food. In my home, we set aside all food scraps for either compost or to give to our chickens. We have lids for these containers and they should be taken out daily...but it doesn't always happen right away and all of a sudden, fruit flies invade our kitchen! One or two would be bad enough...but it seems like they keep multiplying!
If you have this problem...never fear! I have the perfect solution! My children think I am amazing for it (but to be honest, it's a trick I read about online years ago!). I have every intention though of *letting* them continue to think I am amazing! ;)
All you need to do is put a piece of fruit (starting to over-ripen is best) into a jar or container. Cover this with plastic wrap, tightly. Then punch a few tiny holes in the top of the plastic...
Thankfully for us, fruit flies are not very intelligent. They can get *in* to the jar but they can't seem to find their way out again. Once you have noticed a good number are stuck in the jar, carry it outside and lift up the plastic and let them go free!
If you still have more fruit flies to catch...simply reattach the plastic and place the jar back on your counter and repeat! :)
Can you see them in there? All along the top of the plastic.
So there you have it! A tried and true method of getting rid of those pesky fruit flies using no chemicals or difficult procedures! I hope this helps you!
I love to label things. I have a label machine that I haven't truly studied to find out all its wonderful functions yet because I began using it immediately when I got it!
Some of my favorite labels are chalkboard labels. They are more decorative and *pretty* than the normal computer-printed labels. I love using them in the kitchen...
You can purchase these labels on amazon or etsy. They come in all kinds of fabulous designs, sizes and shapes!
Rather than using actual chalk to write on them, though, I prefer to use a liquid chalk marker. It makes the words stand out more and just look neat and crisp. (It washes off with water and can be reapplied too!)...
I love the look of chalkboard so much that I encouraged my inlove's to use it as their menu board in their meat market. My mom is doing the lettering....doesn't it look fantastic?
Labeling helps you keep things in their proper places. Just remember you don't have to stick with any sort of boring labels...experiment with labels that are fun, pretty, and suit your style. My home is not set up to look nice with plain labels. The chalkboard labels fit much better into my decor! :)
I have this beautiful wooden caddy. I have been using it as a bill paying station. It's mobile and keeps all I need in it for bill paying (as well as some extras!). The basket caddy in the left rear of the photo is where I keep stickers, pens, markers and pencils for updating my personal planner or doing homeschooling with my children. (See...you can organize with so many beautiful things...it doesn't have to only be restricted to plastic bins and totes!).
It is really nice that it is mobile. At the moment, it sits on my desk in the schoolroom. In the winter however, that room gets terribly cold. It will be nice to have the option to just grab the caddy and bring it into the dining room so I can pay bills.
Inside of the caddy I keep my bill payment binder (more on that below), bills to be paid, some stickers and pens, scissors and tabs and a return address stamp.
Then I have my folders...one for Bills to Pay (if I don't want them directly placed in the caddy), the second one is for bill stubs and other things that need to be filed...and the last folder is for things I need to shred.
Now into my bill paying binder....I am using November's pages so as not to reveal all our bills to be paid that I have filled in on previous months (normally many more dates would be filled in)! I use the month-on-two-pages refills only. You can find these planners inexpensively HERE. I added tabs and then wrote down all the dates of our bills on the date they are due and their amounts (once paid, I check it off). Where it is highlighted in yellow ~ that is a pay day. Where it is highlighted in blue ~ those are days that we have bills taken directly out of our account. This way I never forget anything and I can easily keep everything paid...on time and in our budget. **I also keep stamps and address labels in this binder so I have everything I need to pay bills!**
Although I tweaked this planner to work for me, I cannot claim to have thought it up. I read about it HERE and found it to be a great idea to keep bills paid. Many of us don't have a lot of extra money to buy expensive planners as she has (but some of us do...and if you can, that is wonderful). For me, I make use of what I can and what is affordable for our family. She uses hers as a wallet as well as a payment binder. I do not....I keep this at home with my bill paying items.
Everyone has to do things the way that works best for them. My way may not work for you...or maybe it will...you just have to tweak things to make them your own. That is what I am constantly doing ~ always tweaking to make things more beneficial for my family and me. Who knows...maybe I will tweak my system again at some point...if I do, I'll share all about it!
Having a messy, disorganized purse can cost you time and money. I really can't stand my purse being messy. I like everything having its own place. With that in mind....I thought maybe you would enjoy seeing a little of my purse organization!
Here is a quick look into my bag...
And now I will break down what is actually in there! In one of the side pockets of my bag I have my latest scent in a body spray and lotion. I also have some chapstick and a roll-on peppermint essential oil container (great for headaches and muscle aches while on the go)...
In the other side pocket of my bag I have a pen, lip gloss and some chewing gum...
The main part of my bag holds one of my wallets. This one was a gift from a friend for my birthday a few years back (it's from Donna Sharp)...
On the inside of this I keep some basic essentials, a little cash, my phone, my driver's license and some chapstick. (This way when I go to workout at the gym in the morning, I don't have to take my whole purse. I just take this wallet in my gym bag and have all my needed items!)...
In this I keep my checkbook, insurance cards, debit card and the like...
I keep a separate little pouch for change...
Pictured below is my "just in case" bag. It has (more) chapstick, hand lotion, post its, ibuprofen, and band-aids in it ~ *just in case* I may need it...
This is my sunglasses/glasses case. I like hard cases for eye classes (as they keep them so much safer from being damaged). I wear contacts so sometimes I take my glasses with me in case my contacts would mess up/fall out. I also will keep my sunglasses in here from time to time...
This is a (very old) Vera Bradley bag that I have had forever (I truly can't remember when I got it!). It holds feminine products. I always keep them with me...even if it's not the time of my cycle. That way, when someone else has forgotten these necessities (which has happened to friends of mine before), I am always prepared...
And finally...the last item in my bag is my coupon holder. It was a purchase from Etsy a couple years ago, I believe. I am not an avid coupon-er (as many items I buy don't seem to have coupons) but for the few I do have, I like them to be in an organized place!
And there you have it!
Questions...? Comments...? I would love to hear them! :)