Back to Basics: Our Basic Weekly Plan



It has happened again – I have gotten a little slack on some of my household routines.  Our routines regarding meal planning and bill paying never falter, but the ones regarding cleaning and de-cluttering get neglected at times.   So it is back to basics for me!   After a little motivation from seeing my daughter-in-law’s weekly plan on her fridge, I decided I need to get back on track.  The best plan to start for me is my weekly plan!

  I last reveiwed my routine in August 2011, as you can see from reading that post,  I have tweaked my routines to meet my current needs.   So what once worked, may not work today!   I find it helpful to relook at my rountines each year. 

What better time to get back on track….summer time ….before the big wedding!  


Daily Tasks:

1. Laundry

2. Sort Mail

3. Dishes/Counter/Sweep

4. 15 Minutes Zone/Declutter

5.  Lunches/ Prep Dinner

6.  Tidy Main Areas of House


Monday: – Free Day (Usually Work Late)

Tuesday Living Room/Dining/Entry/Hallway

Wednesday Kitchen/Fridge

Thursday – Downstairs (Rotate)/Menu

Friday – Family Time

Saturday – Bedrooms/Bedding/Bills/Filing/Library

Sunday – Project/Grocery Shopping/Bathroom (Upstairs )

 A weekly plan helps to keep you on track while making sure weekly tasks get done around your house. If I happen to miss the cleaning of the bathroom this Monday, I know I plan on cleaning it again the following Monday. This is my secret to keeping our house looking presentable throughout the week,  though I work full time outside of the home. What are you secrets to a smooth running household??

I am also occassionally participating in the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home Weekly Challenge at the Home Storage Soluntions 101 website.  The site also have a daily missions for Decluttering your Home that start July 1st.  Reminds me of Flylady…but I prefer having the calendar for the month of missions to do!

Check out this free chart that helps you to follow The Flylady Routines!


Jen C

” She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. ” Proverbs 31:27


My Calendar Craziness



Calendar Central – How to you keep track of your work and personal commitments?  Where is the soccer schedule or school menu?  How in the world is Mom suppose keep this all organized?  I find it is hard to manage all my schedules on one calendar, therefore I utilize a number of different systems to keep my family organized. 

I wear so many hats in life, mother, wife, school volunteer, social worker (my only paid hat) and caregiver of others. So as you may imagine, being organized is very important for me. I use a couple of different calendar systems, but would be utterly lost without them.   I hope you are able to walk away from this blog post with at least one new tip to help you organize you many schedules, etc.  Even the smallest of organizing will improve how smoothly your household runs.


IMG_2253At home I have Coyan Calendar Central (AKA side of fridge) which is used by the family on a daily basis.  This is the central place in our home for information.  We use the white board to jot down quick notes, reminders or shopping lists.  Hubby has fixed my never ending problem of being unable to find my car keys by having hooks on the side of the fridge.  It still drives him nuts when I forget to hang them up.  We aren’t going to talk about how often that still happens.

  Last year I  posted about what makes up my Calendar Central at home. All Items are very important to maintaining the smooth running of our home. I use Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Organizer  as my calendar at home. I am going on my 2nd year of using this one and LOVE IT. The previous 5 years or so I always used the Flylady Calendar , both calendars feature large grids, which is a must in this household!


calendar_ cal2012

IMG_2254At home I also have one place that is where all school/ Tommy related info goes. For easy access to the monthly school lunch menu and the classroom schedule for Tommy, I have them hanging on the closet door by the front door so we can review it each day on our way out of the house. We also use this closet door to showcase Tommy’s art work and school papers. If Tommy has a weekly bible verse to memorize we also keep that on the door so we remember to practice it each time we go by the door. I am a very visual person, if I don’t see it, I forget about it!

The other thing that is good about having this info on the closet door, is I am teaching Tommy to use it as well. When he asks what is for lunch at school, I send him to go look on his calendars. I have learned by being a mother of three boys, it is in my best interest to teach them organizational skills from the very beginning. Skills that they have been able to use in other environments, such as school.


I work fulltime outside of the family home. I work as a social worker so my schedule is varied depending on the needs of those I work with. I have the kind of job in which you have to be very organized, if you are not, you are in big trouble. The higher your caseload gets the more you need organizational skills to cope.

At work, I use my outlook calendar as well as a paper calendar. I still use a paper calendar so that I can make appointments with clients when I am on a home visit. I need to be able to make work appointments on the spot. I do keep personal commitments on my paper calendar as well so I don’t double book myself. I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost my paper calendar. That would be very disastrous.  I keep a small 5×7 calendar so that it easily fits into my purse.  Oh and the answer is “yes”….I *do color code my calendar. 


I am very excited to share with you a new, free way to organize your family,Cozi Family Calendar. “ Cozi is a FREE online calendar that helps you manage the family schedule, organize your grocery shopping lists and to do lists, and capture favorite memories in a family journal—all in one place.” This calendar can be shared with other family members. It helps to keep us all on the same page and informed. One feature I love about Cozi, besides that it is free, is the weekly update email it will send to all my family members. Every week each family member receives a weekly agenda for the upcoming week. You can color code the calendar for each member of the family as well. There is even a Fly Lady Version of the calendar.


Another feature I like about Cozi is that I am able to log onto it on my phone, so I am never without my calendar or lists. If I am wondering if I need to purchase anything for supper that evening, I can quickly log onto Cozi to see what I was planning on making for supper. I am a huge fan of the list feature as well. If you don’t know by now, I am a huge list maker. I find that writing a list helps me to organize my thoughts.

 Here are a few of the lists I have on my Cozi Calendar so far:

· Jen’s Must DO this Week List

· Hubby’s To Do List

· Daily Routines List (morning, afternoon, bedtime routine as well as weekly cleaning schedule)

· Seasonal To Do List for each month of the year

· Deep Cleaning List for each room of the house.

· Projects List

lists  daily list

I love that you can cross off items on your lists.   I also like to have all my lists in one place for easy reference.  I have a terrible habit of making lists on stick notes, various notebooks or index cards.  It is hard to locate a list after I have made it.

School in our state will be starting after Labor Day, so I still have a few weeks to get ready for school.   I hope you were able to find a tip or two that might help you get more organized this year.   It seems every year I tweak my organization systems a bit.  My system gets better and better each year.  

Homework:  Go find a calendar that will meet your needs and start filling in important dates for the upcoming school year. The best way to start using a calendar is to have one!! 

Happy Organizing!!

Routines…….Love or Hate Them????

 Routines, Routines, Routines……Love or Hate Them??  

Over the summer all of our household routines go out the window.   Every year I promise myself that I will keep up with things over the summer and I never do.   But quite honestly, who cares!   That is the great things about routines, you just jump right back into them where you are, when you are ready.  For me that usually means the month of August.   As soon as I start seeing school supplies in the stores….I feel the need to get organized.   Of course, buying office supplies make me renew my desire to be more organized.   

I have posted over and over again about routines and how important they are.     But trust me once you start following a routine consistently, you will be singing their praises as well!  I have a real love/ hate relationship with routines.  I love to make them and feel so motivated thinking about them, but hate having to do them week after week.   But generally the wonderful feeling of being organized, out weighs my hate of doing the task.  

Being organized saves me time and money!  Have you ever been looking for something that you need right now, but end up buying another one because you can’t find the one you *know you have somewhere in your house.  That has happened to me too many times.  Actually right now, I know I purchased a paint scrapper, but can’t find it.  ARGH!!   My routines help me to stay more organized, which in turns helps me to locate things by putting things in their place. 

Every year, I adjust my routines a bit to meet my current needs and the things going on in my life.    I have actually spent the last few days working through my routines on paper for this coming school year.   

Two weeks ago, I started my new daily routine, which is going very well.  

If you are interested in what it includes, here is my revised daily routine:


MORNING (remember I am not a morning person)
Make My Bed
Make Tommy Breakfast
Switch Laundry

Reboot Laundry
Make Supper
Clean Off Tables
Check Backpack/Homework

Wash Dishes
Wipe counters
Sweep Floor
Fold and Put Away Laundry

 By doing theses simple routines each day this week I have seen great improvements in the condition of our home by the time the weekend is here.  I am caught up on my laundry – no more Mt Washmore!   I can’t remember the last time I was caught up on laundry.   Tommy and I have been out the door each morning with no arguments.    I know my attitude sets the tone for the morning with Tommy.  If I am frazzled, I don’t have the patience with him that I should.    And honestly, a bad start to my day at home taints my entire day!  

This week, I focused on continuing to do my daily routine as well as adding the weekly cleaning schedule into my routine.


Monday – Dust House
Tuesday – Clean Bathrooms
Wednesday – Wash Floors 
Thursday – Vacuum House
Friday – Menu plan/ Prepare Shopping List or Clean Bedrooms
Saturday – Wash Sheets and Towels – Pay Bills/Budget Meeting
Sunday – RELAX

I used to clean my house every weekend.  I started to feel like I had too few hours off and that I didn’t want to spend my weekend cleaning.   So this week I tried doing a bit of my weekly cleaning each day.  LOVED IT.  By the time the weekend came, the house was still clean.  So on Saturday I stripped all the beds and washed bedding, towels and rugs, something I rarely get to.   

I really liked having a more relaxed weekend, so I think for me, spreading my chores out over the week is the way to go.   I ended up not being able to get to any of my routines on Thursday, but that didn’t matter as things were pretty clean anyways.  My house just wasn’t vacuumed until Saturday morning.   

As always, I am finding I need to adjust my routines to compliment what is going on in my life.   I hope you have been thinking about your routines and how to get back to the basics before school starts!!  I have been told by others, I just don’t have time to do a routine like this every night.   My routine and weekly cleaning takes me about an hour each night and I don’t have a dishwasher.  If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher in your home your time spent will be even less.  I look forward to hearing how you are getting back into the swing of things before school starts.   

Hope you have a wonderful week!!!

Be Well –

Back to School Series……

 I have beeing working on easing back into my household routines before school starts.   I wrote a blog post about balancing it all….which is so hard to do!  I continue to struggle with the balance, but feel like I am making progress.  This last week, I feel like I have done better overall with completing my routines.  I did my daily routine a couple of times and did complete my weekly cleaning schedule.  Unfortunately, insteading of cleaning a bit each day, I again spent my weekend doing my cleaning schedule.  My goal for this week is to work on trying to do more during the week to have my weekends free. 

As I do each year, I am getting ready to start my back to school series.    Next week I will be sharing some posts on getting prepared for the new school year.  Below you will find some ideas of items to complete “Three Weeks” before school starts.  


Get a family calendar the whole family can share  – set it up
Make Back to School Appointments – Dr, Eyes, Dentist
Find out school orientation times and other school meetings – enter into calendar
Go through clothing closets and drawers – check uniforms
Get the school supplies list from school or classroom teacher
Finish Back to School Shopping 
Create a family binder
Make a plan about what to do with school papers and artwork (address paper control issues)

Stop by later this week and next week as I share blog posts about the following topics:

  • Creating calendar central –
  • Creating a Family Binder – I have been meaning to complete this task for over a year.  Let’s do it together and all our families will be more organized this school year. 
  • Conquer the Paper Pile Up – This is an area I struggle with.  I don’t think I have completely dealt with last years papers.   I need to get a system set up before this years papers start coming in or once again I will be bured alive in papers!

I am looking forward to preparing for the new school year with you!   Here is a a wonderful, organized school year!!

Happy Summer!!

How to balance it all………….


As a working mom, I find it hard to keep things as tidy as I want around my house and still relax on the weekend after a busy work week.   How do you balance it all??  

 I am counting the days down until school starts and we are back into that busy routine.   I am starting to get ready by trying to get my routines in place again.  They have all flown out the window with summer.  Who wants to scrub a floor when you would be outside?   But this weekend I am going to get things caught up around the house and start following my routines again.  

Every year I try to tweak my routines to keep them fresh and hopefully keep me following them.  This week I discovered “Clean Mama’s” blog and I will be adapting her cleaning schedule to meet my needs.  I am starting simple!   I spent today getting my living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom in order.  I had not scrubbed floors or cleaned in a month!    Now that these rooms are back in good order, I will implement my routines to hopefully keep them like that with little effort.  

Hopefully tomorrow I will dig out the bedrooms and get caught up on laundry! 

My infamous hot spot……………a constant struggle for me.



Do you have an area in your home that by the end of the week it is a mess???   A hot spot that burns uncontrollably??   Mine used to be the coffee table, until we got rid of it.  Now, my hot spot each week is the kitchen table, which we use as our computer/office area. 


These tasks will be completed each day.

1.   Make Beds

2.   Do at least one load of laundry and put away/

3.   Take care of clutter on Kitchen Table, etc

4.   Wash Dishes Nightly

5.   Wipe down the Counters  

6.    Sweep Floors


Weekly Cleaning Schedule

I normally would just do all the cleaning in one evening, but I am going to try spreading my weekly cleaning over the week and see if that works better.  

Monday – Dust House

Tuesday – Clean Bathrooms

Wednesday – Wash Floors

Thursday –  Vacuum House

Friday – Menu plan/ Prepare Shopping List or Clean Bedrooms

Saturday – Wash Sheets and Towels  – Pay Bills/Budget Meeting

Sunday – RELAX

I hope to start implementing these new routines next week.  I am looking forward to having more order to our home again.   I enjoy having my house ready for guests at a moments notice.   These new routines may need some tweaking, but it is a start in the right direction. 

Do you have a daily and weekly routine??   I would love to hear all about them!!   How do you balance it all?


Back To School: Give Away


Back to School Giveaway!!


LAST CHANCE TO ENTER:  Give Away closes at 11:59pm on September 6th, 2010.  Winner will be posted on Wednesday, the 7th.  Don’t forget to stop back to check if you have won! 


I am excited about “Back to School”.  I love looking at all the school supplies and I think that would be great for this or that.  Yes, I get excited over office supplies.  I always tell people the simple things in life make me happy!


So I want to share my happiness with you!! 


I will be giving away a “Back to School” organizing pack!   This will get you started on developing your own Control Central!  It will include a great new calendar that I am previewing, Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Organizer. 


IMG_2241 IMG_2242

Don’t get me started on how much I love a new calendar.  So fresh and ready to conquer my demanding schedule.  I will also include a few other organizing treats to help you make your own Control Center!    What is control central??  It is a must have for all busy households.  I will be posting a entry about how to set one up and their importance in two weeks! 




Also included in this “Back To School” organizing give away is a Magnetic dry erase board, magnetic pencil holder, and spiral idea book.  All essential items to complete your Control Center. 




To enter this drawing simply leave a comment below, that will count as one entry into the drawing.  If you post about this drawing on your blog and leave me a second comment on this post with the link to that post, you will have a second entry into the drawing.  You may only have two entries in this give away.


I will be closing the giveaway at 11:59pm on September 6th.   I will randomly draw a winner and will post the name of the winner on Wednesday, September 7th to celebrate the day my little guy heads back to school. 


Good Luck!!


Back To School: Morning Routine


Has the countdown to school started in your home??  How did you do with starting your bedtime routine last week??   I didn’t do as well as I would have liked….I was out more evenings than I would like.  I actually completed my bedtime rountine only 3 times last week.   I guess that is better than the week before!   I am hoping this week goes better. 

monster This week also try to add your morning routine to your day!  Anyone that knows me can attest to this, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. Trust me, I have really tried to become a morning person.  I have struggled greatly to find a morning routine that would work for me.  I need to have cushion built into my morning routine as I might not get out of bed in time (probably wont!).  If my morning goes better, my whole day goes better.  I know this… I arrive at work more awake and productive.  I am less stressed because I am not rushing the children to get ready saying we are late, AGAIN!!   Towards the end of the school year, Tommy would ask me each morning “Are we late?”  I think that is how he gauged what mood I would be in.  Needless to say my best moments were not in the morning.  I know this comes easy to many people, but for me it is a real struggle.

My morning routine has changed over the years due to the different seasons of my life.  But my morning routine sets the mood for my day and I want that mood to be peaceful and energized.  I set my morning routine by envisioning what I wanted to accomplish each morning.  I work full-time outside of the home, so I do have to include some additional tasks into my morning.  So everyone’s routine will be different.  Maybe you home school and want to have uninterrupted time to work on lessons with your children.  Once I had a list of the tasks I wanted to accomplish each morning, I decided what time I need to leave the house.  I have to drop Tommy off at school each morning so I need to leave the house at 9:00.


So from 9:00AM, I go backwards in time and add my tasks and how long each task will take.  I overestimate greatly the amount of time it will take me to complete a task to build in my cushion for the morning.  By going backwards I will come to the time I have to get up to be able to accomplish everything I want to do each morning.  



My Morning Routine

*Alarm Clock goes off at 6:25


6:45 – Out of Bed/Dogs outside and fed – honestly I roll out of bed around 6:50 or so.  But my goal is 6:45!  (this is going to  be a struggle for a bit, I have been lucky if I get out of bed by 7:30 all summer)


7:00 – Switch and Fold Laundry/ Empty Trash Cans – I give myself a ½ hour for this, but I can usually get it done in about 20.  That is my built in cushion in case I didn’t get up in time, which happens most days.


7:30 – Shower/Wipe Down Bathroom/ Spray Shower with Cleaner – I take a very quick shower.  I keep Lysol wipes in the bathroom and wipe the toilet and counter down every morning, which cuts down on cleaning for me.  Remember, I am mom to three boys!   I also spray the shower with a cleaner if I am the last shower of the morning.


7:50 – Wake Tommy – I start waking Tommy at 7:50 – he is a lot like his mommy and not easy to wake up!  So it could take 30 minutes to get him out of bed.  This year we have started setting an alarm clock for Tommy.  He doesn’t get up with it yet, but it starts waking him up at least.


2008-09-03-chores8:00 – Daily Chore  – last year I included a daily chore each morning.  I am going to play that by ear this year.  I most likely will be doing my daily chore as part of my bedtime routine as that is more realistic for me. 


 My Chore Schedule

Sunday – Change Bedding, Clean Desk, Fill Med Box

Monday – Feather Dust

Tuesday – Vacuum Living & Dining Room

Wednesday – Sweep/ Mop Kitchen and Bath

Thursday – Clean Bathrooms

Friday – Pay Bills/Order Scrips/Clean Picture Window & Doors


9:00 – Leave for School/Work – Off to work!!




Alarm Clocks – have your older children get themselves up with an alarms clock.  We started this with Tommy this year.


Start Out Small – Have one or two things in your morning routine and add items as you can.


Write It Down – This might sound funny, but write down your morning routine!   I need this to keep on task.  I need a guide as I really struggle in the morning.



Ok…what do you think?  Do you have a morning routine to write down or would one be helpful to you?  I have two things I would like you to do this week.

  1. Use the process above and develop your morning routine. To add an element of accountability, post your morning routine in the comments of this post!


Thank you again for joining me in this challenge!  I am excited and am working hard to get myself back on track as well.  Together we will all have a wonderful start to our school year!!


Stop back on Sunday when we will be discussing our next topic:  Calendars/Command Centeral.   I will be doing a question and answer day next week so post your questions and I will respond to all of them next week!


Don’t forget to enter to win the “Back To School” giveaway.  I am holding a Back to School organizing giveaway, so make sure to enter to win.  To enter leave a comment on the give away post.   I will be giving away a “Back to School” organizing pack!   This will get you started on developing your own Control Central!  It will include a great new calendar that I am previewing, Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Organizer. 


Good Luck!!!


Back to School Series: Bedtime Routine



Maybe it is the smell of crayons or the hustling to buy school supplies, but my thoughts are turning to “Back to School”.  I need to get back on track after a summer of less structure in our home.I have slacked off on some of my routines this summer.  I have to get in shape for the balancing act of juggling, working fulltime, volunteering and having kids in school.  Therefore, it is “Back to School” boot camp time for this mom!  The success of the morning at our house really is up to me.  I set the tone and attitude for the morning with my children.  Towards the end of last year, the success of our mornings really deteriorated.  I end up feeling so bad if I happen to become inpatient with Tommy in the morning, which happened more often then I liked.I want to start the school year off on the right foot.

I know I need to get back to following my bedtime and morning routines again.I also need to get Tommy back on a school schedule.Hubby and I have agreed on a bedtime for Tommy and will start implementing this on the 23rd.  That will give him 2 weeks back on schedule before school starts.

That means I have one week to get back on track with my bedtime routine, before I focus on the morning routine for Tommy and I.

So I want to chat a bit about our bedtime routines.  Do you have one???   I struggle to do mine each night as I rather do a million other things, but life goes much better if “ I just do it!”   Story of my life, quit complaining and just do it!

 Jen’s Bed Time Routine:
1.  Wash Dishes/Clean Counters (usually some member of my family does this)
2.  Sweep Kitchen
3.  Make Lunches/ Prep for Dinner
4.  Switch Laundry/ Lay out Clothes
5.  Take Dogs Out – 9:00
6.  Go To Bed – 10:00

Do I do each of these items each night??  Nope, life happens, but I try to.  But just doing these few things each night, keeps the house presentable enough for us. 

I like to start my bedtime routine at 8:00 or 8;30, once Tommy has started his bedtime routine with Daddy. The bedtime routine really helps to make my mornings run more smoothly.  If my morning goes more smoothly, then I am a better mommy and wife in the morning.  I remind myself of this each time I procrastinate and tell myself, “just do it!”.  I want to be the best Mommy and Wife I can be.

What is your bedtime routine?  If you don’t have one, tell us three things that you would like to do each evening to make your morning go more smoothly!   Now write them down and start implementing your plan!

I look forward to hearing from you next week about how you have done with your bedtime routine.  We can do this!!

Happy Organizing!

Are you ready for school to start????

Fourteen more days until my children return to school, but who is counting??Things get faster paced once school starts, but the structure is so good for them.


Kid Organization-


My children, like me were NOT born organized.  We all have to work at it, some more than others.The most important thing in our house is for our children to know where things should go so they can find them in the morning.Everyone needs a launch pad….even the adults in the house!


Honestly, Tommy’s launch pad for the morning is really built around the closet door in the living room.It is the place we will be walking by every morning.I post on the door the school menu and calendar for our reference each day.I have Tommy look to see what needs to be done to hopefully start setting these habits in his mind.We also post his memory work on the door.That way each time we walk by we can review his bible verse or spelling words for the week.


I have Tommy hang his backpack on the door handle of the closet each evening once we have packed it.He hangs his jacket in his room on his hooks.  Everything always goes in the same place so it is easy to find in the morning. 


Erik is older and I am really trying to get him to get himself ready each morning.I set up his meds in a weekly container so they are ready for him to take in the morning.At the beginning of the year, we might have to make a list for the mornings, but he is very routine based in his thinking so once he gets it…he is good.I have trained him that any papers he has from school he sets on my laptop after school.This has worked well and he always sets anything I need to see on my laptop.


Hat/ Gloves Trick:  How many pairs of gloves do you go through in a year??  A little trick that has helped me a bit, is that I buy 4 pairs of the same gloves at the beginning of the school year.  This way he is loses once glove we have a chance of still having a complete pair.  Last year he got me on this as he lost he same glove from two different pairs.   But sometimes it works out in my favor. 


Uniforms:  I buy enough uniforms to make it through the week.  Maybe when Tommy gets older he will be able to wear a shirt more than once, but now he comes home with food on his shirt everyday.  Wish he would remember to use a napkin instead of his shirt.  So I buy 5 long sleeve and 5 short sleeve uniform shirts.  If I was better an keeping the laundry caught up I wouldn’t have to buy some many.    My trick that works well for Tommy and hubby is that the drawers on Tommy’s captain’s bed are where his uniforms are kept.  They are separate from his regular clothes and every weekend I wash all uniforms and put them in the drawers for the week.  He is never digging through his dresser trying to find his uniforms. 


This is what works for us.What works in your house??What are your tricks to keep your kids and their stuff organized??



lunch Lunches/Breakfast


I am not very creative with bag lunches.During the summer, Tommy takes a lunch to daycare at the college each day.This is easy to pack as I just send leftovers as his lunch bag is stored in the fridge and he can use the microwave there.School is a bit more tricky.His lunch will be un-fridgerated until lunch time and he doesn’t have the use of a microwave.


Tommy eats the school lunch a couple times a week as well.When the school menu comes each month, we sit down and read through the options and he decides what days he will bring a lunch.I pay for lunches by the month and we pack a lunch on Tommy’s chosen days.He generally will not eat at school if they are having pizza.He really doesn’t care for pizza that much.


Lunch ideas in our house are pretty boring.Tommy likes to either have a sandwich (must have lettuce), wraps or mac and cheese.I have found that mac and cheese stays warm until lunch when I pack it in an insulated food jar.I also generally add a fruit cup, a juice or Gatorade and a small treat like a cookie or something.My pantry is generally stocked with items to make a quick lunch. 



The pantry is looking a little bare.   I will be buying a months worth of food after we move the pantry to it’s new location.  But you can see I have a plastic container that contains an assortment of granola bars.  We have easy mac for those mornings he wants Mac and Cheese and I don’t have any made.  We also keep chips and drinks on hand.  My BIL also takes a lunch to work each day. 


This year to make lunch packing a bit easier, I purchased a small food jar made by Laptop Lunches.  I also bought a plastic drink bottle so I can just fill him some juice vs buying juice boxes and gatorade.  Of course I will keep a few juice boxes on hand for those rushed mornings.  It would just be cheaper to fill our own juice. 


I would like to be a bit more creative with packing lunches this year, since I also take the same thing to work with me.  Here are some recipes I have been collecting in planning for making lunches.


Turkey Wrap

Lunch Box Taco Salad – might be too messy for Tommy, but I would like it!

Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

Bologna Slaw Wraps

Top Five Freezeable Lunch Sandwiches: such as – Ham Salad Wraps, Tex Mex Pitas, Chicken Pesto Sandwich, Freeze Ahead Tuna Sandwich


For in the Food Jar:  I want to be able to send hot food or soup with him!

Frank and Bean Soup

Chicken Chowder


Snacks or Treats to add to Lunchbox:

Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Cereal Bars

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Homemade Cracker Jack

Numerous Snack Mixes

Healthy Snack Ideas
Zucchini Brownies


Drink Recipe : Sunny Orange Delight


Sarahdusenberry shared in comments that Hillbilly Housewife had some lunch ideas on her site.   I found this great list of lunch ideas there!!


So those are my ideas for lunchbox options.  I am in desparate need of more ideas!  What do you send to school with your children??  Please share!!



After reading what others are doing to organize for school, I came across a great idea I plan on implementing this year.Breakfast can be an issue at our home.Tommy will not eat cereal, he wants a hot breakfast every morning.This isn’t the problem.The problem is that he takes FOREVER to decide what he wants for breakfast.So this year we have a set breakfast menu and we are sticking to that.Now I can get breakfast ready and have it  waiting for him when he gets up, because I know what we will be having.I am thinking of a way to do this with his lunches too, but haven’t came up with a good plan yet.



Monday – Boiled Egg/Toast

Tuesday – Oatmeal

Wednesday – Pancakes

Thursday – Muffin/Yogurt

Friday – Cheesy Eggs/Toast


How are your back to school preparations coming??  Check in with us!!  


I’m Back…… Did ya Miss Me???

Sorry to bail on you during our Back to School series, but life happens.   I came home sick on Friday and just went downhill from there.  I was in bed all weekend.  I was at the Dr on Monday and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and exacerbation of asthma.   I am on antibiotics and starting to feel human again!

But being sick has given a great opportunity to see how doing my morning and evening routine has kept my house somewhat presentable.   If you knocked on my door, I would left you in.  But truthfully, if I knew you were coming I would probably clean up some.  But that is what I think of as lived in!   Life happens and sometimes you let things slide for a few days while you rest.  If you have a system in place your family can keep things running pretty well without you. 

  So I want to chat a bit about our bedtime routines.  Do you have one???   I struggle to do mine each night as I rather do a million other things, but life goes much better if I just do it!   Story of my life, quit complaining and just do it!

Jen’ Bed Time Routine:
1.  Wash Dishes/Clean Counters
2.  Sweep Kitchen
3.  Make Lunches/ Prep for Dinner
4.  Switch Laundry/ Lay out Clothes
5.  Take Dogs Out
6.  Go To Bed

Do I do each of these items each night??  Nope, life happens, but I try to.  Whatever I don’t get done that night I will do in the morning.   But just doing these few things each night, keep the house presentable enough for us.  The bedtime routine really helps to make my mornings run more smoothly.  I remind myself of this each time I procrastinate and tell myself, “just do it!”.  Tonight is a good night….all items of the routine are done.   I keep my bedtime routine on my yahoo calendar and receive text message reminders as well. 

What is your bedtime routine?  If you don’t have one, tell us three things that you would like to do each evening to make your morning go more smoothly!   Now write them down and start implementing your plan!

Household Cleaning.. – the question I always hear is what is the best plan to clean on a regular basis??   We have handled this a number of different ways in our home.  I have practiced the Home Blessing Hour as suggested by the Fly Lady.  You can see examples of Flylady’s routines on her site. 

Weekly Home Blessing Hour from

  1. Cull/toss old magazines.
  2. Change sheets.
  3. Empty all the trash.
  4. Vacuum all rooms.
  5. Mop kitchen and bath.
  6. Clean mirrors and doors.
  7. Feather Dust furniture.

I used to do the Weekly Blessing of my home on Fridays as I only worked 1/2 of the day.  Last year I started volunteering at Tommy’s school so I wasn’t able to have the time to do this on Fridays.   

The year before that we did the weekly cleaning as a family on Thursday evenings after supper.  It was very quickly done with all of us helping.  We had individual chores that we rotated each week.  You can see the break down of the chores we did on Thursdays on my website.  This worked very well for about 6 months.  Once my hubby started saying he would do his chores the next day, my older boys no longer were cooperative.  If Dad didn’t need to do his chore, why should they.   So to save my own sanity I gave up on this options for weekly cleaning.  But it did work very well while it lasted!

Currently, with working full time and having many evening meetings for church or Tommy’s school, I divide my cleaning up through out the week.   I do my cleaning in the morning before going to work.   If I run out of time in the morning to finish my chore I will finish it in the evening. 

Jen’s Cleaning Schedule:
Sunday – Wash Bedding/ Clean Up my Desk/ Fill Med Boxes
Monday – Mop Floors – Kitchen and bathrooms
Tuesday – Feather Dust
Wednesday – Vacuum/ Sweep
Thursday – Clean Bathrooms
Friday – Clean Mirrors, Picture Window and Doors
Saturday – Change Cat Litter/ Errands

The best things about dividing the cleaning throughout the week is that if I miss mopping the floors this Monday as I was just too busy, the rest of the cleaning will still get done and next week I will make sure I mop the floors.  When we were doing cleaning on Thursdays, if we missed a Thursday, we missed doing all the chores for the week, not just one chore. 


My cleaning schedule is on the side of my fridge and I add items as I need to.  I am a very visual person so I need things out where I will see them. to remember to do them. 


The side of the fridge is the place where I keep most of the information to keep me organized.  The pink sheet is the list of frequently called numbers.  Our family calendar, car keys and pens can all be found here as well. 


So as you can see, there is no right way to do your cleaning.  It is simply what works for your life at this time and that can change from time to time, so our routines need to change as well.  



HOMEWORK:   Decide on a bedtime routine, write it down and start implementing it this week.  Hopefully it will be running smoothly for you by the time school starts!   Decide how you would like to do your cleaning.  What will work in your life as it is today?   The best way to get started to is write down your plans!   Grab a piece of paper and write down your bedtime routine and your plan for weekly cleaning. 

I look forward to hearing how all of you are doing, so please check in with the group!!

I frequently get comments that my house must be so clean.  Like I said I wouldn’t die if you stopped by, but it isn’t perfect and never will be.  It took me a while to get to a place in my life where I realized that good enough….is good enough.  This from a recovering perfectionist!  


I try to keep the coffee table cleaned off.  It drives me nuts to have it covered with things.  But to keep it clean I have to put everyone elses things away each morning and evening. 


My dishes are washed and drying on the counter.  No dishwasher here, but my two hands.  When I get up in the morning I will put the dishes away.  I wouldn’t be embarassed if you came over and saw my dishes drying, at least they are clean. 


Laundry….I always have clothes waiting to be washed.  All clothes are picked up off the floors of the bedrooms each night and put down the laundry chute.  Each morning when I start a load of laundry I sort the few items that came down the night before.  I sort my clothes by person or room.  Each basket is for a different person.  This makes it easier for me to wash and put away the clothes in the right room when washing for so many people.  It also allows me to give the basket to the owner and ask them to take it to their room and put them away!   Mom doesn’t have to do it all….delegate! 

Hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse into my home.