SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

These days I live for Fridays.  Each day is a day closer to Friday and a weekend in the peace of my home.

A group of my girlfriends headed to the Big Easy this morning for a getaway weekend.  CrazyMathLady and I were both invited, but feel too tied to our jobs.  I don’t feel comfortable taking the blue lemon outside the city limits, and as much as I’ve always loved New Orleans, I’m really not feeling it.  I love love love my Bunco Babes, but I can’t see being away from home.  My cheaptitude might get misplaced.

I probably need the break, though.  Every weekend, I’m consumed by school tasks and household chores and things that I need/want to do and a to-do list that spills over each weekend.  Really, I know what needs doing.  I just need to do it.  This weekend, I have no to-do list.  I’m just going to do whatever I do. I want to be home.

But I’m not feeling completely hermitish this weekend.  For some crazy reason, I have a strong desire to go to the flea market.  I went so far as to call Grizzly at lunch time to see if he has to work this weekend.  Honestly, as I’m decluttering the house bit by bit, there really is no rhyme or reason but it sounded like a fun morning with the kids.  And maybe I’ll find that lamp for my bedroom.  Or a meat grinder like my Great-Grandma had.  Or some other goodie waiting for repurposing in the House of Cheaptitude.

Maybe I’m missing Jeepnmom and her bunch.

I feel certain that by lunch tomorrow, I’ll have a list going on my refrigerator and some project or another started.  But right now, on a Friday night with the idiot box on Discovery, it feels good to pretend I have nothing to do.  I’m ignoring Mt. Washmore and the clean dishes in the dishwasher.  The piles in the garage awaiting transport to Goodwill are escaping my notice for a minute.  Monkey 2 can name the dust bunnies for now (she’s been asking for more pets, anyway) and my lesson plans are already outlined in my head.  My management binder is progressing nicely on my laptop, but it can wait a while longer for more revisions.

Of course, now that I’ve said I’m focused on nothingness tonight, that ugly stool is calling my name.  Maybe I will tackle a project tonight, after all.

What are you up to this weekend?

~ Katie




Section 4 in my binder is Family.  Family is the center of my world (even when it seems like school is!) and it is the heart of my binder.  This is where all the miscellaneous hodge podge about Grizzly and the Monkeys needs to be found.

I need to keep a master list of special occasions.  Birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  Seems like a duplicate of a page from my planner but this will be a permanent list, instead of yearly.  This will ensure I don’t ask MaMaw and PaPaw to monkey-sit on their anniversary.

I need a personal information page for each member of the House of Cheaptitude, including the four-legged furball.  Birthdays, allergies, basic likes/dislikes, etc.  As well as I think I know my family, they do surprise me occasionally.  I will also create a page for tracking everyone’s clothing sizes.  That way, when Super Nana calls me from a retail therapy appointment because she’s found a great deal on shoes for Monkey 1 or swimsuits for Monkey 2, I can tell her what size to buy.  Not that she always listens to me….

Next, I plan to include a gift suggestion list.  I’m thinking a spreadsheet with the family member’s name, item, occasion, and where to buy it.  The Monkeys are constantly asking for something they’ve seen on tv (pillow pet, anyone?) and this way I could keep up with it.  But I plan to add all of the people we have to give gifts to.  Maybe Grizzly can do some of the shopping if he has a reference list.

Some other things that can go in the family section include birthday party ideas, good websites for the Monkeys, movie and book lists (for school or fun), and other things we might want to do as a family.  Again, I think this will encourage Grizzly’s involvement in planning events around the house.

If you don’t feel up to the task of making your own forms, Jen at IHeart Organizing has some really adorable stuff for sale in her Etsy shop. Of course, Organized Home is one of my favorite places to visit still. There are a lot of home management binders with freebies floating around the web, also.

What do you think?  Did I miss something?

~ Katie


Office Calendar

Office Calendar (Photo credit: glindsay65)

This section has been my planner. It is, without a doubt, the thickest and most complicated section.  Ugh.  But it is necessary for the House of Cheaptitude to run smoothly.

What goes in this section?  Honestly, it would be easier to ask what doesn’t.

  • Monthly calendars
  • Any long and short term to-do lists.  I’ve mentioned before mine reproduce themselves exponentially (there’s that word CrazyMathLady would love!) with startling speed.
  • Reminder notes.  The guidance counselors at my school are amazing about putting little conference sheets in my box at work.  I wish they did it less frequently…..
  • Birthday calendars.  Since I don’t get on FaceBook often anymore, this would be helpful.  There are very few birthdates I remember off the top of my tinsel-covered head.
  • Work schedules.  This would be the school year calendar for my district, meeting dates, reporting dates, etc. For Grizzly?  His is all in his head, which makes me insane!
  • School schedules.  The district school calendar for the Monkeys (they attend in a different district than I teach), Monkey 1’s class schedule, and important dates for Monkey 2’s school.
  • Activity schedules.  This would be karate, church, PSR, pool/softball/whatever Grizzly is up to,  Bunco, etc.
  • Any piece of paper with a date on it.

Most of these items are “handouts” from work, school, church, and other activities.  I can hole-punch and add these easily.  They could go in page protectors, but I don’t see the need as the longest most are useful is a year.

I have a calendar on my kitchen wall with everyone’s “stuff” listed.  To do this, though, I have to track down every crumbled scrap of paper with a date on it.  In the planning section of my binder, I can just open it up and transfer dates each month.  The kitchen calendar then acts as my daily reminder of who needs to be where at what time.

I would not include my cleaning lists nor my menu plan because I keep those in other sections of the binder.  My bill-paying calendar may go in this section, as I am planning to set up a separate finance binder and don’t care to access that one every day.

I have not created any forms for the planner section, yet.  There are too many cute templates available for download that work just fine for me.  At some point, I may make some forms, but I doubt it.

I’d also like to color code everyone’s activities on the main calendar, even though it’s less than necessary.  Grizzly is a visual guy, though, so maybe it would be helpful for him.

What would you include in the planner section of a home management binder?

~ Katie

A woman’s home management binder should be like her purse: organized in the way that works best for her.  Because I have a specific purpose behind my binder, I also have an idea of how it will be set up.  As much as I’d like to focus on making it pretty, it first needs to be functional.

Section One will be Emergency Information.  Those numbers must be front and center, easily accessible to whomever is running the House of Cheaptitude at that time (babysitter, Grizzly, PaPaw, Nana, etc.) I only need one page in the emergency section at this point – Emergency phone numbers, our address and directions to our house.

These are the emergency numbers I think need to be included:

  • Police/Fire/Ambulance – I’m lucky enough to be in an area with 911 service, but not everyone is.
  • Our home phone/address/directions from the main road – This is good to have for a 911 operator.
  • Poison Control Center – According to the CDC, over 2,000 people are treated in the Emergency Room and 87 people die daily in the U.S. from accidental poisoning.  Those numbers terrify an overprotective mama like me.
  • Family doctors/after-hours numbers – Our pediatrician is AWESOME and if we call her office after hours, we’ll be put in touch with a doc on call.  My doctor, however, does not take call, so I have to use a different number after about 4 in the afternoon and on weekends.
  • Dad’s name/work number/cell number – The monkeys know their daddy’s name, but I may someday have to quit relying on the kindness of parental units for child care (shudder) and hire a sitter.
  • Mom’s name/work number/cell number – See above!
  • Grandparents‘ names and phone numbers where they can be reached – We are so blessed that our parental units live so close by!  Even Granny-at-the-Farm could be here within a half an hour, if necessary.
  • Close friend’s name & number – One of my BFF’s lives right around the corner and she’s super-dependable, which makes her a great emergency contact.
  • Neighbor’s name/number – This one is more problematic, as we’re not very close with most of our neighbors.

In the past, I’ve used a cute form from Delight in Real Life, but I have it in my head that my binder will be more uniform this go-round, so I’ll make my own, based on what worked from those I’ve used in the past.  Organized Home offers a good one, too, if you’re not feeling very creative.

*UPDATE* I’ve added a printable at the end of this post.  Let me know what you think!

Are you working on a home management binder?  What will you include in yours?

~ Katie

Emergency Information

et cetera
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