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Home Management Notebooks

19 April, 2010

Image by jkfid

I love notebooks. I keep notebooks for lists, notebooks for thoughts, notebooks for memories. Name something, and I probably have a notebook devoted just to that. There’s one always in the car, my purse, my nightstand, on my desk, and notecards in the bathroom.

But, probably my most important one is on my counter, next to the coffeemaker.

This is a binder filled with everything that makes running my family and home easier.

Whether you call it a Home Management Notebook or a Control Journal (if you have Flylady leanings), this is something that every Mom/Home Manager needs to maintain some level of order and sanity.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I do recommend personalizing it because if you are like me, it can get lost in your stack of notebooks.

I recommend using a binder. It makes it so much easier to add and remove things as situations arise and change.

I’ve also found that dividing the notebook into sections makes finding things so much easier. I just use tabbed dividers and put the pages in clear, plastic sleeves. This is so I can reuse lists and not waste so many trees.

Here’s how I divide mine:

1. Before my divided sections, I keep my daily to-do list and the current monthly calendar. I love Simple Mom’s Daily Docket. There are spaces on the docket for meal plans, your to-do list (and MIT’s) and appointments.

2.My first real section houses my daily routines and cleaning routines. I also keep cleaning tips and recipes for natural cleaning products in this section.

3. The second section has my meal plans for the current month, as well as my grocery lists and any recipes I need for the current week.

4. The third section houses my finances/budget for the current month, as well as progress made in our current Baby Step. We follow Dave Ramsey’s plan for financial freedom. Also, I have included our financial goals and relevant account information. I also keep all of our monthly bills in a plastic sleeve. The newest addition to this section is our IRA and 401k information. Can I get a YAY for retirement?

5. I keep a list of ongoing projects/long-term goals, organization ideas, and decorating ideas in the next section.

6. My newest section is devoted to this blog. I have a current calendar for all posts for the month, an ongoing list of ideas, and any research that needs to be done for upcoming posts.

7. The last section has emergency contact information for babysitters, as well as information about all of our doctors, immunization records, reminders of when doctor appointments need to be scheduled, and policy information for all insurance that we have (life, auto, medical, dental, etc.).

Basically, that’s all that is currently in the binder, but remember, as situations and life changes, make sure that your notebook adapts and grows with you. You won’t use it unless it works for you.

What do you have in your home management notebook?

Editor’s Note: My plan is to have downloads available soon to help you put together your own home management binder. Cross your fingers!!!

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Link Love | Earth Day

17 April, 2010

Photo by Duncanh1

Earth Day is on April 22. Check out these links for inspiration.

Simple Kids :: Simple Fun for Young Green Thumbs: Egg Carton Gardening with Your Kids

Babycenter :: Recycled Earth Day Crayons

Earth Day Network :: 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

Organizing Your Way :: Easy, Natural Bathroom Cleaners and Tips

Simple Mom :: How to Create a Paperless Kitchen and 19 Tips for Making Your Home Paperless

Real Simple :: How to Recycle Anything

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Digital Tools For a Simpler Life

16 April, 2010

Photo by Johan Larsson

Can you imagine life before the advent of computers or cell phones?

Don’t worry- I can’t either. Before there were calendars and to-do lists on every device that you own, how did you ever remember things? Yeah, yeah, yeah- good old paper and pencil (I have those too!), but how did they survive without alarms going off on computers and cell phones. While all these gadgets are amazingly helpful, does it ever make you feel completely overscheduled? It’s never good when you have to schedule time to unplug and relax.

Here are a few of my favorite digital tools that I just can’t live without.

1. My Mac

My entire life is on my Mac: all my photos, my music, my calendars, my e-mail, the blogs I read instead of subscribing to magazines, my to-do list. It’s the gateway to all things that keep me sane. Plus, I just really love my Mac…I never have to do anything to it to make it run “better.” It’s worth the price tag.

2. My Blackberry

It is synced to my computer and therefore has by lists and calendars. I also don’t have an mp3 player at the moment, so I have a TON of music on it. I also wouldn’t be able to keep up with all of the feeds I have flooding my inbox. When I have a spare moment, I can whip out my phone and catch up on some reading.

3. Evernote

I love Evernote. Not sure why not everyone uses it. This is where I keep all of my recipes, notes to myself, articles from the Internet, ideas…I love it. Plus, there’s an app for my Blackberry.

4. Pear Budget

I use Pear Budget for (duh!) my budget. I love how simple it is, and that it is run by real people (not a massive company) and not expensive. Thanks Tsh at Simple Mom for singing its praises and giving all of us this tool.

5. iPhoto/Picasa

I know- it’s ridiculous to use two. But I love that Picasa is free and that it does so much. Actually, I only really use it for the collage feature, and iPhoto is for everything else.

6. iCal and Mail for Mac

Gmail is my e-mail client, but I use Mail and iCal on my computer. I love how everything syncs to my Gmail account. I’m never without anything, not matter where I am. Isn’t technology fabulous? I have separate calendars on iCal for my kids, my husband and I, menu planning, and blog stuff. Not only is it

7. Pandora Radio

This is for background noise. I have discovered a lot of new music through this site that I absolutely love. All you have to do is enter a song or an artist, and the site customizes a radio station based upon the song or band. I’m listening now.

8. Daily Lit

Every morning, another installment of a book is delivered to my inbox. AND IT’S FREE. Right now I’m reading D.H. Lawrence, who knows what I’ll be reading next. It’s a great way to read, especially the classics. You can read as much or as little as you want.

What digital tools do you use that makes your life easier/better?

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The Daily Grind

14 April, 2010

Photo by laffy4k

It’s 7:00 a.m. The children are crawling into the cereal boxes, the dog piddled on the floor and your husband is yelling at you from the shower to get him a towel. You just rolled out of bed and slammed your foot down on a Lego fort, there is someone yelling up the stairs about missing homework, and a little one is crying at your feet about a purple shirt that disappeared from the laundry pile.

Sound familiar?

For many Moms’, this is just the start of another day, but every day doesn’t have to be like this.


Mornings, and days for that matter, don’t have to be a mad dash to get the next thing done. With the proper preparation, and a little organization, every day can be a little less chaotic.

Imagine this:

It’s 7:00 a.m. The children are dressed because they laid out their clothes the night before, and they are eating a yummy breakfast of pancakes and eggs. The dog is lying next to his food bowl with a full tummy, and your husband is pulling on a shirt that has been ironed. You are completely dressed and ready (no more walking to the bus stop with kiddos in a robe and slippers and feeling ashamed because the other moms’ have lipstick on). Backpacks and lunches are packed and ready to go by the door, and you are sitting at the kitchen table, with a cup of coffee, and laughing with your children.

Isn’t that image much more appealing than the first?

Now, I do not guarantee that if you implement a daily routine you will magically become organized and stress-free, but you might feel like you are actually getting things done if you have down on paper what you need to do every day.

Here are five simple ways to find your basic daily routine.

  1. Isolate the daily chores that you want to do every day and figure out when you would like them to be completed. This is as simple as making your bed, taking a shower, wiping down the bathroom, cleaning up the kitchen.
  2. Don’t set specific times to get things done. You will be setting yourself up for failure, and always be behind. Don’t write down that you want to have your bed made at 6:30 am, a shower finished by 7:00 am, and all the floors mopped by 7:15 am. Instead, just list what you want to get done every morning. After doing this for about a week, you will notice that you will do the same things around the same time every day. This also allows for some flexibility and spontaneity in your day. If your daughter wants to start an elaborate craft project at the kitchen table right after breakfast, but that’s when you normally sweep the kitchen floor, you can move onto something else knowing that you’ll do it later, and not feel like your whole schedule is shot.
  3. Break your day into three groups: Morning, Afternoon and Evening. On separate pieces of paper, write down each task you want to do every morning, afternoon and evening.
  4. Take your family’s schedule into account. If your son has tutoring every afternoon, followed by baseball practice, you obviously can’t dust the entire house in the afternoon. Also, if your evenings are hectic, do your daily planning in the morning…ideally when your kids are still sleeping.
  5. Keep it simple and flexible. You are more likely to actually follow something if it isn’t overly complicated. As your routine becomes second nature to you, you can start adding things or taking things out that aren’t working for you.

Here’s my routine broken up into morning, afternoon and evening.

View this document on Scribd

Because I work full-time, I try to maximize my evening and morning routines, and focus on dinner in the afternoons.

The main thing to remember is that your routine has to work for you AND your family. Just because your neighbor has more done before 7 am than the rest of the neighborhood has done within the week, does not mean that you are a failure. If you feel good about what you have accomplished and your home is running smoothly…or better than it was before you implemented your routines, then that is all that matter. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses.

What advice do you have for someone who has just begun implementing routines?

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Introduction to Routines

12 April, 2010

Photo by onkel_wart

Isn’t it funny how your children are better scheduled than you are? Breakfast, lunch, play dates, baseball practice, violin lessons, ballet, dinner, homework, bath and bed happen the same time every day, yet, and you can’t find time to shower or grab a bite to eat. When you have a baby, you spend hours agonizing over how they will spend their time awake. You make sure that they eat every three hours, they nap in between that, and then when they’re not sleeping or eating, you try to fill the hours with meaningful activities and experiences.

Why don’t you have a set routine?

Having a routine is extremely important. Time is precious, and if you know what you are supposed to be doing next, you aren’t wasting it. This, in the end, will give you more time to devote to your children, and, dare I say it, personal interests. This will teach your children important lessons about productivity. And, if they see you doing it, there might be less of a fight when they have to complete their routine. It’s hard to motivate a kid to take a shower, brush their teeth and get dressed when you haven’t done it yet.

Maybe you are one of those people who think that not knowing what comes next makes life more interesting. Maybe you make fun of the Mom in your circle of mom friends that schedules her family down to the last second. I’m not proposing that you become fanatical about keeping to a schedule. After all, having a set routine actually increases your flexibility to adapt to the daily meltdowns and life bumps.

Over the next week, I will post entries about setting up your own routines and the tools I use that keep my home running smoothly.

What are your routines like? What is the hardest thing about sticking to your routines?

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Link Love | Gardening

10 April, 2010

Photo by left-hand

Spring is here, and many of you have begun planting, or are planning to begin planting your gardens soon. Here are a few links all about gardening.

Simple Bites :: Gardening 101– Several posts all about gardening- from composting to planting companion plants.

The Pioneer Woman :: All About Dirt

Down to Earth :: Growing Vegetables From Seeds

The Simple Green Frugal Co-op :: Garden Journaling

Little Homestead in the City :: Bucket Brigade: Compost Tea

Vegetable Gardener :: How to Build a Kitchen Garden From Scratch

Simple Mom :: 3 Easy Ways to Garden With Your Kids

Keeper of the Home :: Getting Organized in the Garden: Seed Starting and Planting Schedule

Enjoy and Happy Digging!

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9 April, 2010

Photo by DeaPeaJay


And welcome to Simple Day. Simple Life.

My hope for this blog is to provide inspiration, ideas, and encouragement to all Mommies.

Sounds like every blog in your reader and inbox, right?

Hopefully, I can provide some insight into the topics that are really lighting up the Mommy blog scene right now (and aren’t on the blog radar yet), without endlessly talking about my own kids. Well…maybe I’ll talk about them a little. They’re just so darn cute, and did you know, the smartest kids on the planet?

Granted, it’s a big theme, and God knows, there are plenty of Mom Blogs out there. But, it’s my hope that I can bring a new perspective, not only to raising babies, but also to having a happy, natural and simple home.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.

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