SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











English: pool party decoration

English: pool party decoration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s not as overwhelming if I refrain from numbering the sections.

 

This is the section with all of the information I need for being a hostess. It will include storage locations for specific decor, menus with the necessary recipes or location of said recipes, theme ideas, shopping lists, etc.

 

Apart from Bunco and the occasional birthday party, I don’t host much of anything anymore that requires much of any kind of thought. But I have always loved to entertain and would like to get back to that.

 

Entertaining

 

  • ideas for theme parties/get-together:  I have lot of magazine clippings for this.  In Family Fun Magazine a few years ago, I found an awesome “Pool Party” birthday theme that would work for any summertime kids’ party.  It has ideas for decorations, food, and the coolest cake.
  • guest list with contact info and notes: I will do this because Grizz & I don’t always communicate when we’re inviting folks over to cook out and I never need to invite Real Chick over when Peter Pan is going to be here.
  • recipes/menus, sorted by event:  while Magical Mystery Beans are an ideal side dish when we’re grilling steaks with our friends, they’re not ideal for an Italian-themed meal with business associates.

 

Holidays

 

  • decor: where to find whatever is needed for whatever holiday, along with a list of items to purchase.
  • gifts:  ideas for the different people I have to purchase gifts, along with clothing sizes (particularly for the monkeys)
  • schedule:  where we are expected to be and when.  There is often a lot of confusion with this, although my grandmother always hosts Christmas Eve mid-to-late afternoon and my in-laws have Christmas Day, but it will be easier if we see it on paper.  The monkeys have a variety of church commitments during the various holidays, so I have to consider that when scheduling things.
  • menus/recipes:  if we’re hosting a holiday at the House of Cheaptitude, I want to handle it.  I want to make the casseroles, the desserts, and so on.  It bugs me to be expected to do the potluck stuff that happens most holidays.  I like to host and part of that includes feeding my guests.  If you don’t like my cooking, there’s a Taco Bell up the street, Jack!

 

Events

 

  • Baptism/First Communion/Churchy Stuff:  I need a list of things I need and things I need to do.  I like to have a small party at my house for these milestones, including favorite meals for whoever it is and maybe a cake from my girl, Cake Lady.
  • Birthdays:  ideas for cakes, decor, themes, gifts, etc.
  • Graduations
  • Baby/Bridal Showers
  • Barbecue
  • Bunco
  • Poker Night

 

I wasn’t joking when I said this is the section to make any kind of entertaining at the house come off without a hitch.  Mine is full of magazine clippings!  I’m sure there are other lists to include in this section.

 

Do you do a lot of “formal” entertaining?  Are you a list maker when you host an event?

 

~ Katie

 

 

 

 

 

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{February 2, 2013}   Organizing: Table Linens

Years ago, my darling husband mentioned to me that he would like us to have cloth napkins once we moved to a nicer house.  Well, we moved to a nicer house, and when my mom came to visit for Christmas , we went to Anna’s Linens and bought table cloths and cloth napkins.  Love love love the pieces we purchased – solid brown, solid cream, sateen stripes to pull them together.  I think there are placemats, too.  (I also have a tablecloth that belonged to my Great-grandmother, but we never use it because I’m terrified it will get messed up!  Isn’t that the point of  tablecloth?  How silly am I?)

 

Fast-forward 5 years.

 

I have a tablecloth on the table currently, left over from Bunco night.  It’s one of those flannel-backed, plastic ones from Dollar General.  The linens Mom bought are in a few different places because I haven’t come up with a storage solution that makes me happy.

 

Till now.

 

It will require some minor purchasing, which goes against my frugal nature, but I think the dollar store will have what I need.  I think I’ll fold the tablecloths and hang them on pants hangers!  You know, the ones with the flip out arms that hold 5 pairs of slacks?  Then I can just hang them in the front closet.  I’ve even thought of putting the placemats and napkins in gallon zipper bags, hole punching the tops of the bags, and hanging those, too.  I think I have four nice tablecloths these days, so everything could be in one place.  And I’m considering making some more table linens.  (I have an aversion to paper towels, paper napkins, and disposable dishes!)

 

English: Tablecloth Česky: Ubrus

 

What is your trick for storing table linens?

 

~ Katie

 

 



{February 2, 2013}   Oh, My! (Garage)

ga·rage  (g-räzh, -räj) n.

1. A building or indoor space in which to park or keep a motor vehicle.
2. A commercial establishment where cars are repaired, serviced, or parked.
tr.v. ga·raged, ga·rag·ing, ga·rag·es

To put or store in a garage. (source:  http://www.dictionary.com)
My garage defies dictionary.com’s definitions.  In fact, I do not believe a vehicle has been housed in my garage since my in-laws lived here, many moons ago.  When we moved in, our garage was an obstacle course of clothes, boxes, books, and other forgotten/left behind scraps, souvenirs, and stuff.  Over the years, those things have been containerized and relocated, either to the attic, various houses, or Goodwill,  replaced by my little family’s own junk belongings.  None of which include a vehicle.
In the bursting metropolis of SoBo, few of our friends actually use their garages for parking cars.  Most of our circle consider a garage a three-season party room, an extension of the home, a true entertaining space.  When we invite friends and family for cook outs or other social occasions, everyone does gravitate to our garage.  Maybe it’s because Grizzly has moved the grill from the back porch to the driveway (yes, we are redneck like that) or because it’s open enough to smoke, but our garage has become party central.
The part that bugs me about it is that my garage is a mess.  It is not a room.  It is not the man-cave I envision.  It is not the stockpile storage I crave.  It’s a cluttered wreck.
I had such high hopes, thank you Garage Majal.
My next major project is to organize the garage.  A few years back, I moved a tv, stand, and vcr out there for the kids.  I had no purpose for that stuff in the house anymore and as much time as we spend in the garage, it keeps them entertained on rainy days.  Grizzly inherited a kegerator from a friend who transferred to Hawaii, and it still needs a little bit of work, but it will eventually save a fortune in beer.  There is a set of shelves  I made him for Christmas over ten years ago to display his NASCAR die-cast collection.  The die-cast have disappeared over the years, but there are things on those shelves.  They’re too shallow for stockpiles, but will be great – eventually – for grilling gadgets.  I also have two school desks the monkeys have outgrown that I can’t bear to get rid of (they’ll be useful for something) and 2 old dressers where I store some of my stockpile items.
If I can only get it organized!
Grizzly wants it transformed into a magical man cave with the kegerator in operation and a pool table at the ready.  I’m cool with that.  I could even see running satellite to that old tv.  But I need a little space and request the far wall.  I’d like some of the heavy duty wire shelving like they use in the hospital.  Then I could see parting with those dressers.
Valuable real estate, currently going to waste at the Queen of Cheaptitude’s house.
Any ideas?
What’s your next major improvement project?
~ Katie

 



{January 6, 2013}   Monkeying Around with Crafts

 

Today was my last day off before heading back to work.  Usually, I’m totally bored and ready to return to work, but this year has been different.  Maybe because I hate my car right now.  Maybe because I was sick the full first week and a half of the break.  Or maybe it’s because I didn’t get everything done I would have liked.

 

The Grizzly and Monkey 1 planned to hunt this morning, so I was up before 5.  Feeling industrious, I put all of the totes and the Christmas tree up in the attic before 6 AM.  I did locate those missing stockings while putting other crap away!  I folded and put up two loads of laundry, ran the dishwasher, and cleaned behind the washer and dryer before being distracted by Monkey 2’s iWaste-Time.

 

Monkey 2 was out of bed by 7 and realized she had me all to herself.  We played Dream Heights on the iWaste-Time, learned how several states got their shapes, and watched celebrities shop for over-priced properties before she said, “Let’s do crafts today, Mama.”

I had the perfect thing in mind!

 

Monkey 2 has long hair.  When it is wet, it falls a few inches below her shoulder blades.  She loves bows and hair bobs of all sorts.  I made a bow holder for her a few years ago to match her bathroom (frogs), which she’s diligent about using.  Ponytail holders and headbands?  All over the floor, in drawers, in my room, even in the kitchen sometimes.  But Pinterest has a solution for that.

 

We turned an oatmeal container into a hair bob (that’s a technical term, by the way) holder.  I’m not a hoarder.  I’m a creative repurposer.

 

Project Supplies

 

  • Oatmeal container with the label removed and inside cleaned outimage
  • Scrapbook paper of the monkey’s choice
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • Glue
  • Scotch tape
  • Clothespins

 

Easy peasy, and I had everything on hand!  She picked out a pink, Valentine’s pattern for the paper and red ribbon.  We marked on the wrong side of the paper where the top and bottom of the container would be and cut away the excess.  Because our container was 14 inches around, we used part of the extra, also.  Then we wrapped and glued the paper to the container.  It wasn’t perfectly straight, but I told Monkey that was where the ribbon came in – to cover the uneven edge!  We scotch taped the seams in case the glue didn’t hold perfectly.  It was going to be covered up, anyway.  We glued ribbon around the top, near the edge, and clipped in place with clothespins until it dries.  We also added a little label, again covering the funky seams.  Then we glued a circle of scrapbook paper to the lid and added a ribbon bow from the red ribbon.

 

imageThe most time-consuming part was waiting for Monkey 2 to pick out her colors and patterns and such!

After setting that project aside to dry, she wanted a baking lesson.  Have I mentioned my oven is kind of messed up?  Thank goodness for Martha White Muffin Mix.  I showed her how to measure the milk and stir the batter.  Her stirring was so awkward!  I guess from watching me, she tried to stir with her right hand.  She did a great job after we straightened that out and the muffins turned out really well.

 

Baking done, Monkey 2 wanted to move back to crafting.  Santa Claus, that brilliant fat man, gave theEnglish: Photo of Jonathan G. Meath portraying... monkey a headband making kit for Christmas.  It came with three plain white headbands, a few pieces of ribbon, and a tube of crappy glue.  Not the jolly old soul’s finest hour.  But the Monkey had a solution!

 

“Mama, you have good glue and a whole box of ribbon we can use.  I think that would be prettier.”

 

Pretty time-consuming because she had choices again!

 

By the time we wrapped and glued 2 ½ headbands, started a hash brown casserole for dinner, and listened to every song Taylor Sift ever thought of recording, the Y chromosomes returned from a fruitless day of hunting (but they did finally pick up the last deer from the processor!) Monkey was excited to share her day’s accomplishments with her daddy and brother.  But it seemed she was done with me.

 

Until a few minutes ago.  She came up, wrapped her arms around me in one of those hugs only little kids ever give, and said, “I wish you didn’t have to go back to work tomorrow, Mama.  I liked having you to myself to do grown-up lady stuff today.”

 

And that’s exactly why I’m not ready to go to work tomorrow.

 

What crafting experiences have you had with little kids?

Mamá

~ Katie

Posted from WordPress for Android

 



{December 29, 2012}   Stretching My Grocery Buck

My favorite gift for Christmas this year is a gift card to the grocery store.

Gift Card Holders

Gift Card Holders (Photo credit: campbelj45ca)

Cuckoo crazy?  Maybe.  But Visa Giftcards and cash can pay bills – and often do.  A Brookshire’s gift card is only good for my belly or my gas tank. I’ve written before about my grocery budget (this card will take care of a week) and couponing. I feel the challenge all the way to my toes now.

How am I going to stretch this money and get serious bang for my holiday buck?  I want to see if I can get two week’s worth of goodies for $50.  Here is my game plan:

  1. Match my ad to my coupons (duh).  35 cents and under will triple, 50 cents to 36 will double.
  2. Plan a 2-week menu.
  3. Bring my re-usable bags – they’ll get me 5 cents off per bag.  Right now, I have 14 bags, which is a discount of 70 cents.  I think I can come up with even more by using some of my 31 gifts totes.
  4. Use my rewards points to take 5% off my total bill.

Now, I won’t be buying meat with this gift card, unless I find an amazing deal, because we have a deer at the processor right now.  I also won’t be buying paper/plastic/cleaning foo fah because I get that at CVS (my Double Extra Bucks are coming in about 3 days!).  This will be straight food.

The hurdle I may face is that we are still on Christmas Break, meaning my monkeys are home for another week.  Those extra days when I’m back at work, they’ll be eating pb&j corndogs at PawPaw’s, but for the next 9 days, they are my little pantry raiders.  I’ll plan some fiberlicious snacks to cover that.

Do you think I can cover 2 weeks’ groceries with $50?  Any tips you want to share?  I’ll let you know how it goes.

~ Katie



{December 27, 2012}   Cleaning Up Christmas

I woke with a terrible sore throat Saturday with tons left to do!  Some projects were left incomplete until late Christmas Eve.  Some gift were thrown in recycled gift bags on the way out the door Christmas Day.  The North Pole vomited in my kitchen and living room Christmas morning this year.  And when we finally arrived home after celebrating with the in-laws, I settled in for a thirteen-hour nap.

Yesterday, I went to pick up the blue lemon from the Toyota dealership.  While there, I test-drove another, newer one, with many fewer miles on it.  Unfortunately, that purchase would have caused my monthly note to jump about $100, which is unacceptable during my quest for cheaptitude.  I walked away with few regrets.

Thankfully, it was an awkward shade of green, making it easier to squeeze lemonade from my vehicular situation.

Today, I took the monkeys to use their pizza gift cards at a local restaurant before (surprise, surprise) taking Monkey 2 to practice being a tree in a play (ok, I’m not exactly sure WHAT her role is, just that she doesn’t talk much, obviously cast against type.)  After dropping her at the playhouse, I took Monkey 1 to register for martial arts instruction at a school close by our house.  I took a call from the GSM at the Toyota place, trying to talk me into LEASING a Camry and increase my note $60/month – not happening.  Then it was time to pick up my tree, I mean, little monkey.

So Christmas is not yet put away.

On top of my house still being decked with boughs of holly, it could stand a thorough cleaning.  I love a good list, so that is what I’m doing today and tomorrow I’ll start checking it twice.

Kitchen Checklist

  • Wash and put up dishes
  • Clean the countertops
  • Straighten/sort cabinets
  • Clean top and outside fridge
  • Clean inside fridge and freezer – update inventory!
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Put holiday dishes/linens away

Living Room Checklist

  • Dust furniture, fan, fixtures, and frames
  • Put kids’ crap belongings away
  • Return holiday decor to storage totes – attic
  • Deal with paper monster on my desk – i.e. pay bills
  • Fold blankets and put away
  • Straighten built-in
  • Sweep/Mop floor
  • Replace Wii remote

Kids’ Bath Checklist

  • Dust surfaces
  • Clean mirror & fixtures
  • Clean countertops
  • Straighten cabinets
  • Clean tub/shower
  • Clean toilet – make Monkeys take that on?
  • Sweep/mop floor

Hall(s) Checklist

  • Dust shelves & decorative items
  • Wipe down walls/door frames
  • Straighten closets
  • Sweep/mop floors

I think that covers it all.  I really think I can break these lists down and involve the monkeys – except Monkey 1 is too attached to his new electronics and Monkey 2 has more tree practicing tomorrow.  It’s not like I have anything tough on the lists, like the bedrooms (mine is bad now, too.)  I just have to figure out how to get family buy-in. Hide the iWasteTimes under some dirty clothes, maybe? Disconnect the WiFi till the house is clean?

Suggestions are welcome if they’re positively stated!

~Katie

 

 

 



{December 16, 2012}   Making Christmas Merry and Bright

Money has been tighter than ever this year.  On the news, I’ve heard the economy is recovering.  Well, I can’t believe it until I see evidence in my bank accounts.  Construction is not the ideal field work right now. Unless you have a rich in-law subsidizing your business or something….just sayin’.

So, like I posted before, I’m trying to get a little more creative this Christmas.  Our gifting will consist of our children, little kid cousins, and our parental units.  We’ve not even discussed buying for each other this year.  So that is pretty much it.  And if I can figure out things that I can make, that people will appreciate and use, even better.

I can’t post pics yet, just in case any of the parental units actually reads my blog posts.

My picture frame venture has turned out super cute, but I cannot locate my Mod Podge.  I need it to seal some of the foo foo I’ve added.   As a crafter, my Mod Podge is on the same level  as my Soft Scrub Spray for cleaning.  I love it and use it for every project possible (Mod Podge, not Soft Scrub).  So where is it?  Probably hiding in the misplaced  holiday tote with my stockings.  I found a recipe, but it’s not worked out the way I like.  Thank goodness it’s easy to find at Michael’s or *shudder* Wal-Mart.

For the little kid cousins, I’d love to start ornament collections.  By the time I married, I technically should have had enough ornaments to decorate a good-sized tree.  I didn’t, due to storage issues beyond my control, but should have.  Even now, every year, my mother goes to Bronner’s and buys each of us an ornament that either reminds her of us or she thinks we’ll love.  Most of my ornaments are handmade and have a lot of memories attached.  The exceptions include Mother’s finds from Bronner’s, Hallmark ornaments from Grizzly’s mom, and of course, Aunt Pat, the angel on top of my tree.  I want my own kids to have a respectable start on their Christmas ornaments, and I think it would be a neat tradition to start for the little kid cousins.

That might not be the kind of thing the in-laws appreciate, so I probably will go out and buy them some kind of toy or book.

As for the monkeys, they wrote down their 4 things, but were pretty silly about it (really, I’m going to buy a 12-year-old an iPad???) We always try to do something “big,” and after some tense discussions (I called Grizzly materialistic at one point), we’ve agreed on some electronic devices – that I can get on sale.

Monkey 2 needs bedding since she’s moved to a queen-sized bed.  I’ve taken a crack at locating a plain old pink comforter, to no avail.  I considered sewing a comforter cover, but have had the most unfortunate time crunch this year.  Grizzly found some pink camo bedding at the sporting goods store, so that is the direction we’ll go with that.  I’m will design her some “hair bobs” (Rhonda Belle’s term) and maybe some little beady jewelry.  She’s also begun to express an interest in her fashion dolls, so maybe I can make some doll clothes.  Pinterest, here I come.

Monkey 1’s room is terribly crowded since I took his bunk bed apart, but it’s a  small amount more difficult for him to make such a nasty mess. So he could use some kind of organizers.  And he loves art.  Santa always manages to bring some kind of art supplies, and I’ve seen the coolest handmade caddies on Pinterest.  I imagine he’ll also be getting some video games, if I have enough room on my handy-dandy gift card and I can find them for a good price.  Honestly, he’s not asked me for much.  Except the iPad.  Tweenagers are a little difficult to Christmas shop.  We’ll see.

On top of doing Grizzly’s and my shopping, Rhonda Belle sends money for me to do her shopping.  Every year, I fuss that I don’t have enough ideas.  Every year, I get a lot of bang for her buck.  I think she and PaPa Mac get tickled at my shopping adventures – and I give them details, from the minute I cash the check. Monkey 1 will be going to martial arts classes and Monkey 2 needs a bigger bicycle. To quote Phil Robertson, they’ll be “happy, happy, happy.”

I also do MY grandma’s shopping.  In her Christmas note every year, she thanks me for lending her a hand with the shopping.  She’s funny.  The kids get new jammies or sneakers or some other clothing items from their great-grands.  The monkeys always love what they receive.  I’ve learned to make it easier on myself than I used to!

The one thing I’m really excited about for the monkeys this year is a journal.  I found the idea in a blog or on Pinterest or something and have seen several variations.  It’s a “Mom and Me” journal.  As kids get older, it’s kind of embarrassing to discuss certain things with parents and sometimes writing helps.  I hope so.  I’m interested to see how this project works out.  I’ll probably cover that one in a separate post, with pics and all.

Note: Last night, Grizzly and I went back to Wal-Mart.  In case you’re counting, this means I’ve been to that awful place FIVE times in one year now.  Ugh.  We did get Monkey 2’s bike and a new helmet to match from Granny and PaPa Mac.  It is safely stashed at my dad’s house for now, because both monkeys are horribly nosey.  From the Great-Grands, Monkey 2 is getting 2 new pairs of sparkly jeans, a pair of sweat pants, and three shirts.  I’ll still have to shop for Monkey 1, because all I found for him was a pair of PJ pants.

At least I’m finally making progress.

How are your holidays looking?

~Katie

 



{December 12, 2012}   Sew What? (reprint)

image

My great-grandmother was a beautiful seamstress.  Her daughter cranks out quilts like a machine. My mom can whip up suits, formal gowns, and quilts like a pro. Me? I’m doing something special to sew a seam.

My grandmother taught me to backstitch, sew a button, and make minor repairs.  I never did learn to use a pattern or make a button hole.

My husband bought me a sewing machine one newly married Christmas.  I hemmed curtains,  made a few pillows, sewed a Christmas stocking. And I was done.

My sewing machine died on me a while back.  My stepmom, unable to thread a needle any longer, has passed hers on to me.

With the piles of fabric I’ve accumulated over the years, my little girl wanted a yellow skirt. I googled for easy patterns and found a 15 minute skirt. Of course, I pressed everything first to give myself guides, and it took longer than 15 minutes.

The seams aren’t all straight and it’s a little too big but I’m proud of my project. I’d love to take lessons. Who has the time?

*****

So this was a project from last summer.  And I think it may have been that long since the sewing machine has been out.  However, I found the cutest pattern for reusable shopping totes and I thought that may be a good use of some scrap fabric – and maybe a cheap Christmas project since my new alternator ate my holiday bonus.

I’d love to focus on a different project each day.  I think to schedule it would be the only way I’d ever find time to craft at all.  And making things yourself saves a bunch of money!

~ Katie



{December 12, 2012}   Getting Sauced (Reprint)

Last summer,  I discovered the Shreveport Farmers’ Market.  There is nothing like sampling blueberries and local wines by the river at 7 on a Saturday morning.

My major investment last summer was bag after bag of tomatoes.  I had seen @Teresa_Giudice’s family making red sauce on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I knew I couldn’t do anything on that scale, but didn’t see why I couldn’t make sauce from scratch.

I googled for a basic recipe.  The kids and I blanched, peeled, cored, and seeded a bazillion tomatoes. Yield: 2 gallons of sauce in my freezer.

For Christmas this year, my stepmom got me a boiling water canning kit. So as soon as the market opened,  I was there with my reusable shopping tote!

My first batch took all day and produced 4 quart jars of sauce. I spent $13 on tomatoes,  not to mention whatever else went in there, so it probably wasn’t too cost effective.

Since then, I’ve begged everyone with a garden for tomatoes! I have 12 quarts canned in the pantry and would like to do a bunch more. The actual canning is under an hour. I’m getting really good at peeling tomatoes and it’s pretty much a morning project.

Apples are really expensive still, so I may try my hand at jelly next. Who knew getting sauced would be such fun?

*****

I was browsing some old posts I’d made on a blog I’d started about organizing and came across this one.  I can’t help but think how far I’ve come since that first canning attempt (Thank you for your invaluable knowledge and guidance, Mother Earth!)  my pantry is full of jellies, long emptied of apple sauce, and I (Stingily) have only one jar of red sauce left.  And I’m still willing to share the recipe.

I really think that canning kit and trip to the Farmer’s Market helped start me on my search for ultimate cheaptitude.  I figured out that I could make things instead of buying them.  I won’t lie, sometimes the up front cost has been higher than just purchasing a can of Hy-Top 4-cheese pasta sauce.  But when you really start crunching the numbers and consider the peace of mind, knowing what went into those jars in the pantry?  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

When I share my stories with Rhonda-Belle (because I talk to her pretty much at least once a day without fail!), she tells me what valuable lessons I’m teaching my kids.  Of course, hearing the eight year old monkey say, “No, The Dora cereal is not on sale and we don’t have a coupon so we are not buying it” just makes me laugh.  But maybe the monkeys will be better with money earlier than Grizzly and I were.  Maybe they’d prefer to make their own jelly and sauce than spend ridiculous money for chemicals at the grocery.  Time will tell.

~ Katie



According to the local radio station, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. 8 days left until a two-week break and I’m kind of inclined to agree.

Today I finished my last week of 2012 lesson plans and submitted to my AP.  That’s always such a weight off my mind.  Today was made easier by showing a Sherlock Holmes movie.  Every block.  And making the kids answer questions.  The complicated, common-core kind.

What does this have to do with organizing? Ha!  You only ask that if you aren’t a teacher.  Developing my lesson plans takes nearly as much time as teaching them, if only because I almost never do the same thing twice anymore.  It’s a freeing feeling when I can get through that part of my week.  I can then work on other things.

Like the Christmas gifts I’ve been avoiding.

Knowing I won’t have time off school until the afternoon of the 21st.

And I can’t bring myself to take an urgent personal day to Christmas shop.

How do you organize your week?  My work week is easy, because it’s guided by my handy-dandy lesson plan binder.  My weekly meals are guided by my handy-dandy meal plan (though I’m still not religious about it – last week, I mixed up spaghetti night with chicken taco night).  But what about all of those appointments, school functions, and day-to-day chaos?

I love a dry erase board and used to think a dry-erase calendar would be the way to go for my family.  However, they tend to be pricey (I’m talking about the B I G ones, like hang up in construction offices) and don’t go with my decor, hodge-podge as it may be.

I’ve tried the Mom’s Plan It.  The small, spiral, weekly version is a great little planner.  It even has tear-outs for weekly menus and shopping lists.  I realized, however, that I only used it to make sure I remembered to pay all of my bills.

I like the calendars in the Household Notebook on Organized Home, but those go in a binder, and I tote enough binders (which gives me a blog idea!)  around without adding a big planner that I might not check.  And I need to have an in-my-face reminder.

Last year, at my school’s book fair, I found a calendar that looked really appealing.  It isn’t laid out like a traditional calendar.  Instead, the dates are laid out in columns.  And there were 5 columns!  One for each of us plus the canine kid.  And I actually used it.  Religiously.

I don’t have to color-code things and remember who/what is what color anymore.

Grizzly can figure out, at a glance, which monkey needs to be where each day.

And it came with stickers!

I am a little disappointed.  I’ve gotten spoiled with 15-month calendars, and this awesome one that I use only has a few weeks left.  Our book fair was last week, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy a $14 calendar when I knew I’d be pouring money into my car later that day.  I could probably figure out how to make one, and have thought about doing so for my computer, but this one is 1)cute and 2) big enough.  So I may have to bust out the Barnes & Noble discount card and go purchase one…..

So what do you do to organize your time?  Are you a purse calendar person, a binder person, or do you have another method?

~ Katie



et cetera
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