Planning: keeping the home fires burning

Let’s think about the kinds of things we need to plan.

What needs to go on in the background? Meals, laundry, keeping the dust bunnies at bay?
(I admit I’m usually pretty good at getting food on the table and having clean clothes, but those dust bunnies… I am a reforming clutterer. *sigh* “Reforming” means “getting better,” doesn’t it?)

Help!!!

There’s a lot of help available for the domestically challenged. Just do a search on “meal planning” or “cleaning schedule” or even “laundry”.

For starters, you might try:
unclutterer.com
http://www.organizedhome.com
rocksinmydryer.typepad.com
orgjunkie.com
myblessedhome.blogspot.com
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com

(Disclaimer: These sites have been in my bookmarks for a while. I clicked on them to make sure they still exist. I didn’t *see* anything offensive when I looked through them, but my online time is limited and I don’t have time to click on every single page or link. Also, different people find different things offensive. /disclaimer)

Warning: Stone of Stumbling Ahead

Here now seems a good place for a warning: It can be very satisfying for those of us who struggle with organization, to *read* about organizing and planning… so satisfying, in fact, that we never seldom get around to actual organizing and planning. Don’t fall into the trap!

Starting Out

Start simply and build from there. For example, with meal planning, can you write down seven different dinner meals that your family enjoys? (Fourteen would be even better. I find myself re-doing this when I’ve gotten out of the habit of planning meals ahead of time, and notice I’m serving spaghetti for the second time in less than a week.) Just write the dinner meals down and tape the list to the inside door of your cupboard.

Um. It helps if you have the ingredients on hand! (If you don’t, do this the day before your shopping day and add the necessary ingredients to your shopping list! Did you know that having a plan and shopping from a list can save you money?)

For those with character flaws (like mine)

I am a rebel at heart, I’m sorry to confess. I put a menu plan together and put it on a calendar, and I come to the day that I assigned “tacos” and think, “I *don’t* want to make tacos!”

I do better if I write down seven meals for the week in list form, and then I choose from the list, cook it, and cross it off the list.

However, now that we’re getting back into a formal fall schedule, I’m going to have to change my ways and go with a calendar plan. This way my assistant cook can know ahead of time what’s cooking, and I can plan a regular crockpot meal on co-op day. I’ll have to stifle my rebellious ways. It’s probably a good thing for my character.

(A real help in this struggle has been a menu planner I got at this summer’s curriculum extravaganza. It allows you to post your menus for two weeks, but they’re attached with velcro and you can move them around!!! See http://www.10minutemenu.com)

This has been a lengthy post, and mostly about meal planning! Here it is, Labor Day weekend, and you haven’t got your school plans done!

Getting started, Take 2

…take a deep breath. Breathe out slowly. Another deep breath. Good.

If your house is in chaos, how well do you think you’ll manage academics?

If you’re disorganized, take this weekend to set a few systems in order. Food. Clothes. A basic cleaning plan.

Oh, and go to the library and get the stacks of non-fiction easy readers I mentioned earlier, and a good read-aloud book to read together next week while you’re getting your academics lined up. We’ll be talking about that soon, as the Lord allows!

(If you’re antsy about your children’s education and need a plan just for the peace of mind, a couple of sites that have booklists, links to free e-books, and schedules you can use are http://www.amblesideonline.org and http://www.oldfashionededucation.com)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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