Family · Food · Home · Organization

Weekend prep for the week ahead?

Do you prep for the week ahead?  The last few weeks at work were crazy.  My schedule’s been packed from morning to night with little chance to breathe in between.  I know that’s the status quo for many.  Trying to balance work and family and a tiny bit of me time is often a challenge.  Wasn’t there an old advertisement where the Mom worked all day and came home to “fry it up in a pan”?  We could have it all – right?  My Pollyanna alter-ego says yes we can!  The part of me who is flat on the sofa says maybe not.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that if I’m going to have a shot at doing it all, prep is my only hope.  I’ve gotten into the habit of cooking for the week ahead.  That way I have homemade and healthy dinners already done when I get home on a week night.

I tried two new recipes last weekend.  Both new recipes are instagram inspired – chicken chili and stuffed peppers.  Best yet, both freeze.  This gives me dinner for the week and variety for another week.

Chicken chili-

  • One block low fat cream cheese
  • two chicken breasts
  • 1 carton chicken stock
  • one can black beans
  • one can rotes tomatoes
  • one package frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot with beans, corn, tomatoes, stock, and spices next and cream cheese on top.

Stuffed peppers –

  • one pound sausage (chicken)
  • one can rotes tomatoes
  • one block low fat cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 bell peppers cut in half

Cut peppers in half, clean out and place on baking sheet.  Fry sausage out till done.  Add to sausage tomatoes and cream cheese.  Stuff pepper halves.  Bake for thirty minutes in oven.

 

Organization · Travel

The art of packing; the packing cube and the pouch

How do you pack?  That seems like such an easy question.  You throw clothes and toiletries into a bag and go.  It’s not that easy, especially if you are flying and have to contend with TSA.  Enter the packing cube.

 

I’ve become obsessed with the packing cube and the pouch.  It lets me organize, especially small things like cords and chargers for easy access.  I’ve got one cube for glasses, contacts, lens solution and the like.  Another I use for a small dryer, hair towel, flat iron, and brushes.

For cords and chargers, I opt for a small pouch that zips.  Intimates go in a bridal satin pouch.  I have a set of three monogrammed that I purchased from Leontine linens.  The large one is for workout clothes, the medium for intimates, and the small one for belts and scarves.

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The best thing about this system is that with everything in a cube or pouch it all stacks neatly into my carry on bag.

Ready, set, GO!

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Family · Home · Organization · Uncategorized

Mom’s Rules

 

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Last weekend I happened across one of those tv shows on organization.  I was intrigued.  I am always looking for tips to better organize my life; so I thought, why not?  I confess this particular show merely stressed me out.  In fairness there were good tips but I couldn’t get past the basic disaster of the house.  More than anything it made me think of my Mom.  I know there is the old saying that as you grow up you become your parent.  In this case, I think I’m proud of that.  My Mom had a beautiful home always perfectly maintained, her own business that she impeccably ran, as well as filling the role of mother and wife of fifty plus years.  In the days where women are supposed to have it all and do it all, she did and made it seem effortless.  It’s made me ask the question of how did she do it all?  It’s not like she was exhausted or gave up her own life.  She did do it all.  So how?  I think the secret is in the rules she imposed as I grew up.  So Mom’s rules –

  • Make your bed when you get out of it in the morning.  It only takes a second and it is done for the day.
  • Where is the item’s home?  It is easier to put [name whatever it is – laundry, dishes, books, paper] it in its proper place the first time rather than moving it multiple times.  Another variation on this rule is where does it live?  Everything should have its proper place and be put in it before you go to bed at night.
  • Hang up your towels.
  • Dirty laundry in the hamper.
  • Hang up your clothes when you take them off.
  • Fold the laundry as you take it out of the dryer.  It has less wrinkles that way.  For those things that you only partially dry, alter this rule to fold the laundry when dry.
  • Leave the room straight when you are finished for the day.  That means everything back where it came from with dishes in the dishwasher, blankets folded and put away, remotes in their proper place.
  • Deal with mail when you take it out of the mailbox.
  • Have a clean sink when you go up to bed or no dirty dishes in the sink.
  • If it does not fit or you never wear it, donate it to someone who can use it.

 

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These are the rules Mom imposed on our daily life.  It worked for her and it seems to work for me. Are there rules that you live by that permit you to organize your life?

Business · Home · Organization

Routine?

Do you have a routine?  I recently realized that I do.  On the pro side of the equation, it helps.  I’m busy.  I have a job, a house, a family to care for and time is scarce.  On the con side, sometimes I feel constricted by my routine.  I’ve also found that I’m a creature of habit so the routine helps.  Amazon prime is a lifesaver and I can’t wait for the day when I can order my groceries online and have them appear at my house within a specified hour.  The reminder list app on my Iphone is my savior.  I keep a running grocery list, a life “to do” list with reminder dates and times and other lists for work, professional, and volunteer organizations.  The best suggestion I’ve ever received is to create a reminder with a date and time when I read an email.

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My routine tends to go something like:

Sunday:  church, cook a pot of something either for the freezer or to eat for the rest of the week, yoga class, or track, or hike with the fur children depending upon the time of year and the weather,  pay bills and answer any correspondence that came during the week, gather laundry for the cleaners, iron, class prep for Monday.  Much to the pup’s dismay, this also tends to be bath day.  Continuing a tradition from childhood, this is also the day I reach out to family and friends for a chat and catch up.  I like talking, so brunch with friends or a mid afternoon chat over the phone, is a delight.   If I’m very lucky, I can squeeze in a nap or a movie or something fun for an hour or two.  I always end the day with a long hot bath where I can relax and start the week off on a good note.

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Monday – Thursday:  work from 8 to ???, exercise class two nights a week, write my blog posts for the next week, catch up on life maintenance that can’t wait for the weekend and catch up on work maintenance that didn’t get done during the day. Update my “to do” lists for the next day, the week, and weekend and answer all emails received before 11PM.

Friday:  work, dinner with friends or tennis, Netflix evening.

Saturday:  check on Mom, tennis, laundry, grocery shopping and errands, house maintenance.    Fresh flowers are a Saturday thing for me.  I love the brightness that a vase of flowers brings to the house so I usually pick up flowers at the grocery store and arrange them for the kitchen table.  Glass of wine at night and time to relax with a good book.

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What is your routine?

Business

Back to school equals time to organize!

I have not been a student for decades but I love back to school.  There is something sad about the end of long lazy summer days and a sense of an anticipation of a new beginning with the start of a new school year.  With the start of a new school year there is the sense of learning something new, meeting new people, reuniting with friends you’ve not seen over the summer,  and anticipation of fall with the changing of the leaves, tailgates and football season.  Yet what I love most about back to school is the school supplies, or in my case, the chance to organize my life!

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I clean up my office.  Shred all the papers that I no longer need.  File away the finished projects, review to do lists, and figure out what still remains relevant.  The clean out takes the longest amount of time and then I get to organize what is left over.

Have you heard of Levenger?  If not, check out their webpage at levenger.com.    I am addicted to that company and their Circa system in particular.    The circa system uses a series of discs and covers to create notebooks where you can easily move pages in and out to where you need them.  This is one of my favorite travel tips. When I travel I create a notebook with my flight and hotel information as well as information and recommendations on any local places I might want to visit.  That way, if wifi fails me, I have everything in one place in print!  The circa system also lets you add features like a zip pouch for receipts or a sleeve for brochures or other things you might collect.  I use the circa notebooks for business as well as personal.  I have a notebook for each major project so that everything related to that project is in one place and at my fingertips.  That makes it easy when someone calls or pops in with a question.

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Next I’m off to Amazon, or Staples, or Target for folders, clips, and pencils and, well you get the picture.  When September comes along I have everything in place, at least for a few months!

In addition to the circa notebooks, I also use three Ulysses notebooks and a Neely and Chloe/Inslee planner to organize my life.  I have one small Ulysses notebook, a PM, that I use for nothing but life critical information.  A larger Ulysses notebook, the GM,  goes with me to every meeting for notes which I can then transfer into the topic specific notebooks with the rest of the information relating to that project.

I also use my mac calendar and the reminder feature on the iPhone to organize my life.  The reminder app is great as it carries across all my devices and permits me to schedule tasks.  I’ve learned to add a reminder or make a calendar entry when I respond to any email or as I work on a project.  That way I get the satisfaction of clicking completed when the task is done!

So what are your tips on how you organize your life?