Monday, December 31, 2012

Reorganized Home Challenge Week One: Refrigerator

Starting today and continuing through the end of 2013, I will be posting a weekly Reorganized Home Challenge on Mondays. One of my top 6 priorities in 2013 is Home Management. A big part of that is making sure that I simplify my life by purging and reorganizing.

I would like to begin the challenge in the kitchen. For the next few weeks, the challenge will revolve around tasks to get your kitchen in tip top shape. I have a small kitchen with minimal counter and cabinet space, so it is essential that I keep it as neat and tidy as possible. Let's begin with the refrigerator. I must admit that I hate cleaning the refrigerator, but when preparing snacks and meals, it is great to have a clean refrigerator with fresh food.

Challenge Steps:
  1. Start by pulling all of the food out of your refrigerator. Toss anything that is past the expiration date. You may want to place your foods into a cooler so that they don't spoil while you clean.
  2. Pull out the shelves and drawers. Fill the bathtub with soapy water and throw all of the shelves and drawers in (make sure that the water isn't too warm, you don't want the glass to crack). I have found this is much easier than washing them one by one in the sink.
  3. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of water. Moisten towel with solution and wipe down the inside.
  4. Finish scrubbing shelves and drawers and dry on large towel.
  5. Replace shelves and drawers.
  6. Reorganize food as you put it back into the fridge
Optional Steps:
  1. Create fridge mats like these found on U Create to make cleaning spills easier.
  2. Organize your food in labeled bins, like these Interdesign Fridge Binz Deep Bin, 8 x 4, Clear (or take a trip to the dollar store and purchase bins to use)
  3. Start off the New Year by creating a healthy snack station for you and your family members. Fit Sugar has some great healthy snack ideas.
*Follow me on Pinterest for more great Organizing and Household Ideas

Next Monday, I will share with you my own completed refrigerator challenge with pictures.

If you are looking for more ideas about how to Simplify your life. Check out the ebook Simple Living - 30 days to less stuff and more life by Lorilee Lippincott. 

What other tips do you have for cleaning your refrigerator?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Preschool Plan: Week of 12/31

One of my top 6 priorities for 2013, is my relationship with my children. One of my roles as their mother is educator. As an educator, it is important to set aside time each week to teach my children. I made the decision to not send my daughters to preschool at this time, but I still understand the importance of scheduled learning time. This will be beneficial in preparing them for Kindergarten.

I have a two year old daughter and a three year old daughter. Each week I am going to share with you my "lesson plans" for our preschool time. When I created my 2013 daily schedule, I set aside an hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for preschool. During this time, I will have planned activities to accomplish. I found a planner from Homeschool Creations, that I think is very helpful in creating a weekly preschool schedule. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will have a planned outing. I believe that it is important for my children to not only have structured learning time inside the home, but to also have learning experiences outside of the home. For our outings, we may make a trip to the zoo, the Children's Museum or we may have a play date with a friend.

I found a great Calendar at the Dollar Tree. The Calendar, Dates, and Months each cost a $1 so my total cost was $3.00. I also found a U.S. Map and Pledge of Allegiance poster for $1. Most of my other resources I find online for free.

Two Year Old Ongoing Focus: Letter Recognition, Word Recognition, Shapes, Colors

Three Year Old Ongoing Focus: Pre-Reading (Sight Words, Word Families), Days of the Week, Months of the Year, Geography, Beginning Math

Two Year Old Lesson Plans

  1. Letter Flashcards (purchased from the $1 Spot at Target)
  2. Letter C Magazine Activity (find pictures in magazines of things that start with letter C and paste onto Construction paper)
  3. Read Cat in the Hat
  1. Letter Flashcards (purchased from the $1 Spot at Target)
  2. Cat in the Hat Coloring Page (we practice colors as she picks crayons to color with)
  3. Number Flashcards 1-5 (purchased from the $1 Spot at Target)

  1. Letter Flashcards (purchased from the $1 Spot at Target)
  2. Shapes worksheet (color shapes different colors)
  3. Create Hat for Cat in the Hat

Three Year Old Lesson Plans

This week's theme: Cat in the Hat

  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Days of the Week and Month Review
  3. Sight Word Flashcards (purchased from the $1 Spot at Target)
  4. "at" Family Word Week
  5. 1-2-1-2 Pattern Worksheet
  6. Map Time (using $1 U.S. Map purchased at Dollar Tree)
  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Days of the Week and Month Review
  3. Sight Word Flashcards (purchased from the $1 Spot at Target)
  4. "at" Family Word Week
  5. Circle the Matching Number Worksheet
  6. Map Time (using $1 U.S. Map purchased at Dollar Tree)
  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Days of the Week and Month Review
  3. Sight Word Flashcards (purchased from the $1 Spot at Target)
  4. "at" Family Word Week
  5. Trace and Match Numbers Worksheet
  6. Map Time (using $1 U.S. Map purchased at Dollar Tree)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meal Plan: Week of 12/31

One of my 6 priorities for 2013 is Household Management. A big part of this is making sure that I have a menu planned for each week. I tend to fall into the "oh no, it is 5:00 and I have no clue what to make for dinner" trap. By being more prepared each week, I hope to serve our family more nutritious meals and eliminate a lot of the dinnertime stress. Each week, I will post my weekly menu here. I would love for you to share your menu! I usually use Pinterest as my "recipe" book" (follow me on Pinterest).


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes (from freezer), Oatmeal, Cereal, and/or Waffles (from freezer) and fruit
*More breakfast ideas here on Pinterest


Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches w/ fruit and yogurt (Pretty much our go to lunch)
Cheese, Crackers, and Fruit
Macaroni and Cheese w/ fruit

White Chicken Chili (for Chili cook off at church on New Year's Eve)
Pasta w/ meatballs, salad, and garlic bread
Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings (I always add carrots and celery to the recipe)
Tacos w/ Refried Beans
Crockpot Pulled Pork served on buns with corn and fruit
*More crockpot ideas here on Pinterest

Freezer Cooking
Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Brown Bag Burritos (for husband's lunches)
Homemade English Muffin Bread
*More Freezer cooking ideas here on Pinterest

Since my husband usually gets the girls breakfast in the morning, I like to provide him with easy options. My favorites are pancakes, waffles, or muffins that can be frozen and reheated for 30 seconds in the microwave. At this time, I find it easier to just take dinner one day at a time, but hopefully I will find time this year to complete a couple freezer cooking sessions.

What does your meal plan look like this week? What are your go to meals?

My 2013 Schedule and Activities

As I discussed yesterday, I am in the process of establishing my Household Management Binder and schedule so that I can focus on my top 6 priorities for 2013. I just finished reading Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Andrews, which proved to be an invaluable resource for my basic day to day schedule. In the book, Amy discusses developing a schedule based on activities that help your to reach your goals. If you are in the process of making a schedule for 2013 or if you too need to reevaluate your priorities, I would highly recommend reading this book (and at this very moment the ebook is FREE). Amy also provides several printable resources to assist you in making your schedule at

Based on the principles in the book and the priorities that I established, I put the following activities into my schedule:

1. Relationship with God:
  • Church
  • Daily Bible Reading/Prayer Time
2. Relationship with Husband:
  • Daily One-on-one Time
  • Monthly Date Night or Weekly in Home Date Night
3. Relationship with Children:
  • Daily One-on-one Time (30 min per child)
  • Family Time
  • Family Outings
  • "Preschool" Time
4. Relationship with Others:
  • Bi-weekly Friend/Ministry Time (will include catching up with friends, delivering meals, volunteering, etc)
5. Self Development:
  • Rest/Nap Time
  • Exercise Time
  • TV/Reading Time
  • Work (Blogging) Time
6. Household Management:
  • Morning Routine (Make Bed, Eat Breakfast, Load of Laundry, etc)
  • Chores
  • Meal Planning
  • Grocery Shopping
  • After Dinner Clean-up
Here is what my completed schedule looks like:

Although I love a good schedule, it is important to remember that you need to leave some white space or "cushion" as Amy Andrews calls it. This allows you to insert any other activities in that you need to complete. I also believe that you need to still have some flexibility when it comes to your schedule.

Do you have a daily schedule? If so, how do you schedule activities that keep your priorities in order?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Books to Read in January 2013

One of my top 6 priorities for 2013 is to focus on self development. One goal in this area is to read at least one book per week or 4 per month. I love to read, but it is something I haven't had much time to do in the last few years. Each month, I will be selecting books to read during the month and will post them here on the blog.

Since I have the Kindle app on my iPhone (which is free if you don't use it already), it is easy for me to read when I have a few minutes downtime. I am also going to plan ahead, and reserve copies of the books I want to read at the library to save on the cost of books.

Here are the books I plan to read in January:

The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World


The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking


Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions
In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

I love to read fiction, so I am going to go out on a limb this year and focus on reading more non-fiction books. I feel like these books will give me a good variety of fiction and non-fiction and will also help me to grow spiritually.

What books are you planning to read in January?

Household Management Binder and Creating a Schedule

To accomplish my 6 Top Priorities, I am creating a new schedule and Household Management Binder for 2013. By creating a schedule, I will be able to make sure that I accomplish the things that I need to do first to keep my priorities in order. For those of you that haven't ever used a Household Management Binder, it is a great tool to organize all of your day to day information. I have used a Household Management Binder in the past, but I have to admit that I haven't used it as consistently as I should.

There are some great free printables available to help you create your own Household Management Binder. I like to pick and choose the printables that best suit my needs.

Organizing Home Life has a great set of free Home Management Printables to get your binder started.


Life Your Way also has a fantastic set of free printables that includes Menu Planners, Emergency Information, Babysitter Notes and more.

Amy Bayliss offers free printables for your Home Management Binder that include planning sections for church, Bible study, and ministry.

To begin with, I am keeping my binder very simple and I will add on to it as the year goes on. I printed a cover sheet, daily and weekly chore sheet,  monthly calendar, Birthdays and Anniversaries tracker, and Read Through the Bible in One Year printable.

I am excited to use the Read Through the Bible in One Year printable to keep me in line with my number one priority to focus on my relationship with God. The Birthdays and Anniversaries tracker is perfect to focus on my priority to serve others, the chore sheet will help me to work on my priority of household management, and planning out my weeks will allow me to focus on ALL of my priorities more effectively.

Do you use a Household Management Binder? If so, how does it help you to keep your priorities in line?

Prioritizing Life the Way God Intended

In March of 2008, I married the most amazing man. Ever since that day, my life has become a whirlwind. My first daughter was born in March of 2009 (a day after our first wedding anniversary), my second daughter was born in August of 2010 and my son was born in July of 2012. Having three children under the age of four has been challenging.

Before my eldest daughter was born, my husband and I made the decision that I would be a stay-at-home mom. At the beginning, I worked from home for a family member's business and I created a money saving blog. After the birth of my second daughter, I knew that I had to make some changes. I was constantly stressed and anxious trying to keep up with my self imposed work load. I quit my part time job and discontinued blogging. Despite these changes, I still felt like I couldn't keep up with my day to day workload.

During the last few weeks, I have been praying about how to cope with my anxiety and stress. God has revealed to me that my priorities have been severely out of whack. It is now abundantly clear to me, that it is necessary for me to make some drastic changes in my life. First and foremost, my relationship with God has to be my number one priority. Without a focus on this relationship, I know that I will not be able to accomplish any of the things that I would like to. Secondly, I must focus on my relationship with my husband. Although my husband and I have a good relationship, I know that I fall short of the things that I should do as a Godly wife. My children need to be my third priority. Too many times, I allow outside things to take precedence over my children. My vice is technology...Facebook, Pinterest, reading blogs, etc.  After God, my husband, and my children, I need to focus on serving others. In order to accomplish these first four goals, I know that there are many things that I need to do to simplify my life.

2013 Priorities

  1. Relationship with God
  2. Relationship with Husband
  3. Relationship with Children
  4. Service to Others
  5. Self Development
  6. Household Management

I created this blog as a means to hold myself accountable for a reorganized, simple lifestyle. I will be focusing on the things that I do to focus on my top 6 priorities. I hope that some of the things that I learn along the way will also be beneficial for you as well.

What ways are you planning to simplify your life in 2013? Do you need to make any changes to your priorities?