October was a super busy month, and although I feel like I got a lot of things accomplished, such as making costumes for the kids and myself, attending Blissdom, and lots and lots of cooking, there are plenty of things nagging at me on my to-do lists. Tasks for my websites, tasks for the house, personal projects… and perhaps some still-packed moving boxes (shh, don’t tell my mother). I occasionally get overwhelmed with all we have on the go and it can be hard to prioritize. I often feel like “where did the day go?” and wondering if I got enough done. It’s easy to lose a day in meal preparation, diapers, vacuuming, stories, bed time routines, and feel like nothing tangible got done. So this month I’m picking ten things that are nagging at me, and am going to focus my energy on #GettingItDone (more…)
This article on having kids pack their own lunches is filed under the “Tween and Teen” category, but in my house having kids pack their own school lunches started day one.
I started my two school age kids with a chart that included columns for each of the food groups, including a “sometimes foods” section, and they had to include at least one food from each of the categories. In our house lunches include at least one fruit, one vegetable, one protein, one whole grain and one ‘fun’ food or packaged snack (apple sauce, fruit leather, flavoured rice cakes). I also bake, individually wrap and freeze snacks such as whole wheat muffins and scones. With a little organization and guidance, the kids participated in making their own lunches since the first grade, and by grade three did it all themselves. They’re learning life skills and it’s one less thing I have to do; I love it!
Do your kids pack their own lunches? What systems or guidelines do you have in place?
This week I’m taking part in Sarah‘s Tidy Up Tuesday series; I’ve been inspired by the other posts I’ve seen although I’ve been hesitant to show off any “before” pictures (but I’ll tell y’all how much weight I need to lose, no problem). I like the idea of crossing one small project off the “to do” list every week, and this week I chose our coffee and tea area,which has slowly spiraled out of control. We love coffee and tea in our house – yes, I do own four coffee makers – and I drink a lot of both on a daily basis. I have tons of herbal teas, coffee beans, coffee pods, and each time I add a new flavour my cupboard gets a little messier.
Today while my little friends napped, Haden and I gave that area of our kitchen a make over. Gotta love that flexible home school curriculum! (more…)
In light of my recent post on a link between pesticides and ADHD, I thought I’d share with you my recipe for cleaning produce. Super simple and much less expensive to make than the store bought stuff, plus it’s all natural. I use on all my fruit and vegetables to remove dirt, wax and pesticides. Don’t use on mushrooms, and they are particularly porous and will soak up too much solution.
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
20 drops grapefruit seed extract or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and put in a spray bottle. Spray produce, let stand 5-10 minutes, rinse.
Last week-end I decided to tackle the one bad spot for clutter in my house – I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this – the kitchen counter. We have this one little corner that just accumulates stuff, no matter what I do. This time, instead of just putting everything away, I took everything off, laid it all out on the kitchen table and took a good look at what kind of stuff keeps landing there. The overwhelming offender is bills and mail, despite the fact that I have a system for dealing with them. After two years in this house, and two years of dealing with the same stuff in the clutter-corner, it’s time to admit that this current system does not work for us and move on to another solution.
I decided to go with the same super simple binder system that I use for my small business. It’s quick, easy and cheap. Here’s how I do it.
Supplies: binder, page protectors (open top), dividers, optional file dots
Cost: About $15
Time Required: 10-30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Your kids could do it
Choose dividers to either separate your bills by month or by payee. I enter all my bills on a monthly spreadsheet anyway, so I chose by payee with an extra section for receipts I want to keep for warranty purposes. I use the same system for my small business but that binder is monthly, which works better for bookkeeping. Choose what makes the most sense to you.
Next fill each section with page protectors. Just take a guess at how many you need, you can always add or remove later.
Then simply drop your bills into the page protectors. Use one page protector for each bill. The great thing about this system is you can easily file and flip through bills of different sizes.
And that’s it, you’re done! Wasn’t that easy?
Optional: If you want to mark your bills as paid, you can use file dots on the outside of the page protectors. When you sit down to pay your bills, simply pop a dot on them as you go.
I love this system, because it is quick and easy. My old accordian file seemed like a lot more work, since I had to bring it out and put it away after. The binders take up so little space, I can store both my home and business binders on my cookbook shelf in my kitchen with room to spare. Now when I bring in the mail, I can immediately slip the bills into the binder. No more counter clutter!
You could easily modify this system to store kids report cards and school work or any other ongoing paper problem. Have a great use for this project? Let me know or post a comment!
Since I meal plan every two weeks anyway, I decided to join up with http://orgjunkie.com/ this week and share my menu. If you’re new to meal planning, you can check out Meal Planning 101. In short, with four kids and a full time job, it’s the only way we’d ever eat!
In general, my menu is based on what’s in season, what’s on sale, what we have on hand (it’s time to eat up all that pasta sauce in the freezer) and the weather. It’s supposed to be beautiful out, so we’ll be BBQ-ing a lot! Chicken is on sale, including the pre-seasoned BBQ flavoured stuff my kids like, so we’ll have that a few times.
I actually do my planning on the week-end, so mine starts Sunday. I usually leave one meal as “whatever”, which is when we eat up leftovers or have something simple like sandwiches and salad. I usually plan a few meals with rice close together, so I only have to make it once, plus I can keep some extra for a night we’re having potatoes since two of my kids don’t eat potatoes [I now, weird eh?].
Two Week Menu:
Sunday: BBQed burgers (beef and soy), mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, asparagus, salad
Monday: Black bean soup, olive bread, salad
Tuesday: BBQed chicken tournedos, asparagus, peppers, basmatti rice
Wednesday: Butter chicken, samosas (I buy these at the indian grocer), basmatti rice, naan
Thursday: Freezer meal (chicken parmesan), salad
Friday: Pizza night/Friday Fun Night
Saturday: BBQed chicken pieces, asparagus, peppers, rice, potatoes, salad
Sunday: Pasta Primavera with chicken and vegetables
Monday: Vegetable lasagna
Tuesday: Mediterranean pasta with roasted vegetables and olives
Wednesday: Macaronni and cheese with hidden veggies and salad (recipe coming soon!)
Thursday: Creamy chicken noodle soup (slow cooker)
Friday: Pizza night/Friday Fun Night
Saturday: Leftovers/whatever we have on hand