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

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements


Ten Sections??  REALLY?  This is why my binder is being separated – manageability.  I will keep similar sections together, but looking at my binder in its most recent form sends me into sensory overload.  It worked before, but not so much now.

Back to the task at hand.

The next section is Church/Activities/Hobbies.  This is where I keep a lot of contact information, membership information, and schedules.  The things in this section at my house should be:

Church

  • Altar Server Schedule:  Monkey #1 serves (scheduled) about once each month but fills in a lot.  Looking at the schedule, I can actually kind of tell when he’ll show up for Mass only to be thrown in a robe at the last minute.
  • Altar Server Contact List:  If he can’t serve on a scheduled day, it’s up to me to make a trade.
  • PSR Schedules:  PSR is our church’s Sunday School.  Monkey #2 meets on Sundays before Mass, but Monkey #1, since starting Middle School, attends on Wednesday – I guess this is staffing and space.
  • Youth Group Schedule:  Usually on Sunday nights, the Middle School Youth Group sometimes has Saturday activities, week night projects, etc.
  • Youth Group Contact Info:  I have yet to use this, but I’m sure it will be handy at some point.

Activities

  • Karate:  I try to keep a copy of the class schedule, phone number, address, etc.  I have to call the school pretty regularly because things slip my mind.
  • Bunco:  I play Bunco once a month.  At our anniversary bunco, we were given manuals for our particular group.  This includes member names and addresses, guidelines, sub list, etc.  I’m a teacher and a disorganized one, so my folder goes missing for weeks at a time.  I believe my binder is a safer place for it.
  • Pool:  It would be lovely to have Grizzly’s pool schedules and team info in my binder so I would know ahead of time where he’s playing, when he has an off week, etc.  This is something I’m still working on.
  • Running Club:  Monkey #2 loves the running club at school.  I’d love to have an accurate schedule.  She’s missed 2 weeks due to misinformation from a sponsor.

Hobbies

  • Hunting stuff:  Yeah, this one might be a binder in itself.  I’d like to have an inventory of what hunting stuff Grizzly and the monkeys have, maybe a price book for ammo, lease information so I know what/when/how much to plan for fees.

If I have the schedules in place, I can transfer easily to a calendar and keep up with things more handily.  We have a lot more activities during the summer, like library days, Kids Bowl Free, and play dates.  Grizzly usually gets suckered in to “one more season of softball.”  It’s easier to keep track when everything is in one place.

Other things that might be included in this section:

  • Weight Watchers meeting info
  • Camps
  • Tutoring info and schedules
  • Community Ed Classes
  • Vacation Bible School info
  • Craft classes – I know Michael’s and Home Depot offer classes and workshops, and a local fabric store offers sewing classes, which interests me!

So what else do you think could go in this section?

~ Katie

 



My to-do lists seem excessive and redundant to many people.  However, listing is my way of functioning.  (Is there a learning style for that?)  Repetition develops habits.  After I’ve used the same checklist for a while, it just becomes a habit and I don’t really need my list.

One area that needed addressing in The House of Cheaptitude was morning routines.  We have two adults, two monkeys, and a four-legged monkey buddy to get moving each day.  Often I find myself already in my classroom and my phone rings because “Monkey #2 says her coat is in your car.” Or “Monkey #1 left his gym clothes on the kitchen table.  How are we handling this?”

Of course, one-half of we is across the bridge and preparing for a day of educating eighth graders.

This is one of those problem areas where checklists and routines come in to save the day.

Many of those tasks that we complete in the morning can either be done the night before or at least set up to be done.  Here are some of the things on my night-time list:

  • Finish kitchen chores:  Nothing is ickier than waking to a full counter and dirty sink.  I like to take care of everything before bed, when possible, running the dishwasher at night.  If I have spare time in the morning, I can put things away.  Otherwise, Monkey #1 can do it after school.
  • Prepare any sack lunches:  I pack my lunch every day for work.  I’m a creature of habit: peanut butter or cheese sandwich, a handful of tortilla chips, and something semi-sweet, like a granola bar or applesauce cup.  The monkeys only want to pack a lunch when there are cookies around.
  • Prepare for breakfast: I make sure the cereal containers have cereal in them because I hate the way the monkeys open boxes.  I also make sure we have bowls and spoons clean (don’t ask!)  Some organizing gurus suggest setting the table, but the monkeys eat at different times (one leaves a full hour ahead of the other) and Grizzly and I don’t have a sit-down breakfast.  Besides, if I take the time to lay out bowls and spoons, that will be the day the monkeys want toast or waffles.
  • Set the coffee pot:  My coffee pot has a timer, thank goodness, and when I get up most mornings that black gold is waiting for me.  If yours doesn’t have a timer, set it up anyway so that all you have to do is turn it on in the morning.  It saves a full 3-5 minutes.
  • Lay out clothes for the morning:  The monkeys always put them in the same spot, the coffee table.  My monkeys are in uniform schools, which should make it easier, but really doesn’t.  Their closets are arranged by function (school or home) and color, which makes grabbing an outfit simple.  However, if I lay out a red shirt, that’s the day we wanted to wear navy.  When the forecast says it will be 32 degrees in the morning, Monkey #1 lays out shorts. We do check the weather forecast, and clothes need to be laid out right down to shoes, belts, and coats, if needed, so that parental units aren’t receiving those “I can’t find my sneakers and the bus will be here in two minutes” calls.  My work clothes are always on my dresser before I go to bed, and I very rarely change anything up the next morning.
  • Set your launchpad:  I do not have a “launchpad” right now, but the monkeys have to have their school bags packed and sitting by the coffee table before they go to bed.  My school bag is always either by my bed or in my comfy chair in the living room.  Everything is situated for “pick up and hit the door” in the mornings.
  • Check your to-do lists and calendar:  The night before, I check my calendar to see if we have anything major going on the next day, such as activities or meetings.  I double check my running to-do list and add anything to my daily list that I need to.  For example, on faculty meeting days, the monkeys hang out with PaPaw after school.  I don’t have to hurry home and can stop by the drugstore or the grocery if I need to. This also lets me know if I need to defrost anything for dinner or if I can just chunk a Crockpot meal in the Crockpot on my way out the door in the morning (more usually the case)
  • Make sure everyone has their alarms set to the correct time and actually turned on. Yes, there are some stories to go along with this.

My alarm jolts me out of bed between 4 and 4:30 every morning and I have to be out the door by 6:15.  By planning ahead and having consistent routines, I actually have leisure time in the mornings – to fold clothes, start the crockpot, or watch the news.  Instead of being rushed in the morning, my nighttime routines have squashed the chaos, allowing me to relax.

Do you have nightly routines?  Are your mornings a muddled mess?

~ Katie

Nightly To-Do List



Credit CardThis was the Money & Finance Divider.  I’m doing things differently this go-round, setting up a separate binder, but I’m glad to share how it was set up in the past.

 

One of the most important things in the Money & Finance section is that ugly B-word that so many people my age no longer believe in: BUDGET.  I used to keep both weekly and monthly budgets, along with a spending record.  Was it overkill?  A little.  Was it overwhelming?  Absolutely.  Now I keep a monthly budget and it is much easier to keep these days.  My snowball plan goes with the budget – I love love love watching bills shrink!

 

I also kept up with bills to pay in the binder.  I used pocket dividers labeled Week 1, Week 2, etc., and that is where the bills would live till they were paid.  Now I pay most bills electronically, and the pocket dividers are not as necessary as they were years ago.  I now envision a calendar to track bill paying.

 

Credit Card List:  OMG.  When Grizzly and I were early marrieds, I probably couldn’t have told you what credit cards we had.  We were living on credit, I think.  Years and a Dave Ramsey class later, we’re near the other end of the spectrum.  Thank goodness!  But we do still tote a little plastic.  A list of credit cards, the payment information, and maybe even photo copies (in case of a stolen or lost wallet) would be helpful.

 

I also kept a directory of utilities and subscriptions. I listed the service, our account number, and any relevant contact information for said service.  When we lived in NoBo, our electricity went out at least three times a month, and I was so happy to have a ready reference to call and report an outage!  While we don’t have that issue anymore, I don’t know that Grizzly would be able to change anything on our satellite account or water billing without asking me.  Which is part of why this list is a good idea.

 

Insurance information, a home inventory, and warranty information can be kept here.  Over the years, we’ve added life insurance and home owner’s insurance to top our vehicle insurance.  I also have a small policy through my workplace. So many times, when a spouse or parent passes away, people don’t know what insurances are out there on their loved one.   Having everything in one location aid the big guy in settling things should something ever happen to me.

 

Other things for this section might include:

 

  • Vehicle information: financing, insurance, maintenance.  The blue lemon has its own binder, due to excessive maintenance since it joined our family.
  • Safety Deposit/Fire Box inventories:  This one is necessary because nobody knows where I keep anything important.
  • Banking information:  I’ve always used multiple financial institutions, and keep a list of accounts, as well as statements, with the rest of my financial foo fa.

 

I like everything in one place, easily accessible.  What else should go in a money binder?

 

~ Katie

 

 

 

 



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: