The Monster To-Do List

I like lists, therefore I really like the app called Evernote. I use it for everything. Like about a week and a half ago I was walking around my house, tripping over my junk, and I realized that I really REALLY needed to clean up. So I started making a list. And it just kept getting bigger.
Without further ado, introducing my big bad mack daddy to-do list:

    • Sell motherboard, and other computer component
    • Donate the rest/unsellable
    • Sell old phones (Samsung and Sony)
    • Sell ipad
    • Sell hammock (in warmer weather)
    • All the things
    • Boxes for organizing
    • Drawers for Finn’s clothing
    • Cover cardboard boxes
    • Research nicely designed documents and update: calender (monthly, weekly, daily), chore sheet, etc.
    • Make binders by ODA classes: schedules, supply lists, when to email, when to buy supplies, etc.
    • Small
      • Bar/kitchen counter
        • Flour, sugar, & coffee containers
        • Soap stand
      • Nick’s desk area
      • Entertainment center
        • Hide router in decorative box
      • Nick’s woodshop
      • Sofa table shelves
      • Entry
      • Medicine cabinet
        • Organized jars
      • Toilet/shower area
        • Hang towel shelf in shower area
        • Make magazine rack
        • Get grippy mats for under the rugs
      • Laundry area
        • Ironing board wall hooks OR stacked curtain rods for drying
        • Missing socks collection
        • Stain cheat sheet
      • Front porch/door
        • Coffee filter wreath/Some sort of wreath
        • New welcome mat
    • Medium
      • Fridge
        • Healthy snack grab-bags
        • Meal a day go-basket
      • Kitchen cabinets
        • Dishes are dirty/clean magnet
        • Baskets for Tupperware
        • Fruit baskets
        • Minimize dishes
        • Mason jar cupcake paper containers
      • Under/on sink
        • Cake stand soap holder
        • Curtain rod bottle hanger
      • Command Center
        • Menu clip board
        • Monthly meal plan
        • Mail in/out
        • Cleaning schedule
      • Pantry
        • Containers for cereal, noodles, etc.
        • Baskets for misc mixes and boxes
      • My desk area
      • Sitting area
        • Gallery wall
      • Bathroom counter
        • Old wine rack into hand towel holder
        • Guest basket tier supplies
        • Left wall shelves
      • Under bathroom counter
      • Back porch
        • More seating
        • Table
    • Large
      • Bookshelves
        • Go through books 
        • Stage
        • Fabric foam core board background
      • Coffee Nook
        • Shelf liners for wire rack
        • New sugar bowl
        • Artwork for wall
      • Bathroom cabinets
        • First Aid box
        • Medicines organized in boxes according to problem
        • Box or lazy Susan for chems.
      • Master Bedroom
        • Finish night tables
          • Baskets, handles, and contact paper
        • Hang monogram
        • Make voice wave paintings
        • Buy throw pillows, new quilt, throw blanket
        • Get wedding prints made and framed
      • Finn’s nursery
        • Gallery wall
        • Pack n’ play
      • Nick’s closet
        • Labeled drawers and plastic containers
        • Unbend door shelves and add backing
    • Super-massive: my closet
      • Art and school supplies
        • Boxes, drawers, cups, etc. organized
      • Storage
        • Labeled plastic boxes
        • Personal clothing
          • Space saving hangers
          • Underwear organizer
          • Jewelry organizer
          • Capsule/Mix&Match wardrobe
        • Possibly a small make up table??
      • Finn’s stuff
        • Drawers and boxes

Monthly Meal Planning DIY

Feel like you dread the evening because you just don’t know what to make? Don’t know what to shop for when you’re at the grocery store? Or are you just going to the store too many times a week? Well dread no more! Join me on a little adventure as I try out the monthly meal planning technique with your own meal plan!

Month of meal plans laid outbi-monthly grocery list

Here I have February all planned out with another document that has a list of what I need to shop for ONLY ONCE A MONTH!

My tutorial will take place in Google Drive, but feel free to use Word, or even go it by hand. All you need to start out with is a calendar of the month you’re in (or the coming month if you want).

I compiled a master list of recipes that I love, like, or want to try. Most of my recipes come from Pinterest, so I also provide a link to make life easy for myself. I categorized by meat type: chicken, beef and pork, fish, noodles and quinoa, slow cooker, side dishes, breakfast, and deserts. You can use whatever categories you prefer, those are what work for me.

Master List of Recipes

Start out with a blank by month calendar. You can download mine Here if you have Google Drive.

Blank monthly calendar

Next determine how much time to cook you have each night. For example:

  • Tuesday I work the longest and get home pretty late, so I make it a leftover night.
  • Mondays and Wednesdays I work until about 2pm, so I make those 30 minute cooking times.
  • However Monday is also a workout night, so he gets bumped up to a 15 minute cooking time, along with Thursday (another workout night).
  • Friday and Saturday I’m home all day so those become my long cooking nights.
  • Sunday the kitchen is closed and becomes what I call a swing day. As long as I don’t have to cook, anything goes. My husband is welcomed to cook, you’re welcome to leftovers, or soups, or sandwiches, or whatever.

Color code to suit. For some reason a traffic light came to mind while I was coloring mine.

Meal Plan Timing

Next, go back to your master recipe list and determine how long each one takes to make. Most will say, but if you run across one that doesn’t, I’d save those for your longest days to cook.

Take what you’ve found and apply it to your calendar now. I started from the smallest amount of time and worked up. So I have a small list of 15 minute or shorter meals that I can/like to make. At this point in time I really only have four meals that are 15 and under so to keep away redundancy, I rotated them:

15 Minute Meals

Next layer of time is 30 minutes or less for me, so looking at my master list, I found all of those. Now this one was far easier for me to rotate since most of my meals I’ve saved come in about 30 minutes of cooking time. I rotated the type of food (Mexican, Italian, etc.) and the meat base ingredient (beef, pork, etc.) if I could. I also kept in mind what I had listed the other nights as well so I didn’t make two types of chili in two days, for example.

30 Minute Meals

Finally is the meals with no, or more than 30 minute time limits. That list for me is smaller than the 30 minute range, so it made it a little easier. What makes it harder is making sure that I didn’t repeat similar meals or tastes. I try to not have too much of the same meat in the same week also, but that’s pretty impossible at some point.

Month of meal plans laid out

Done! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post below! Stay tuned to Part 2 of this tutorial: How to Populate a Shopping List from a Meal Plan!

God bless your week and happy planning!

Part 2: How to Populate a Shopping List from a Meal Plan!

The Dreaded Meal Plan

I. Hate. Meal. Planning. Hate it!

But I love cooking! I feel as though cooking is a tangible way to show my family love, so every time that I don’t to provide a great meal for them -a truly ground breaking fabulous meal- I feel as though I’ve failed in my role as mom. Now I know that’s bologna and cheese to set myself up that way, but I feel as though I can get close to perfection with a meal plan.

So the dreaded meal plan. There isn’t exactly a book on how to do this thing. No pamphlet on how to make your recipes into shopping lists, nor a novel on how to not cook the same three easy things over and over. I had a problem. I was going to the store at least four times a week, sometimes every day, and that’s just not gas efficient! I also missed out on opportunities to buy in bulk and to make meals that were not the same idea but in a different pot. (Too many Mexican dishes).

This was my solution after reading what other women have done: Monthly Meal Planning.

Month of meal plans laid out bi-monthly grocery list

Que the angels singing! I think I found a way that I can not think about meals for a month, but also have great meals every night!

Today is February 2nd and I’m about to leave for the grocery store to give it a try. I’ll let you know my progress on this! DIY coming soon!

Other related posts you may be interested in:

Monthly Meal Planning DIY

Confessions of a Clutter-holic: The Decluterathon

One week ago (a little more now) I joined a group called the Decluterathon, by I have stopped and started de-cluttering my life so many times now that I have half-baked organizational projects that I now just add to the clutter. I needed help, and fast. With baby on the way I’ve got to get my life in order! Well I stumbled across the Decluterathon by sheer luck on Pinterest and joined up right away. The ladies on there are a wonderful resource, the tasks to help us through each day are easy, and the support there is fantastic! If you guys are struggling with any amount of clutter in your lives, I would urge you to go and join the Facebook group!

One of the tasks we’re supposed to do is create an inspiration or vision board to envision what we want our homes to look like when we’re all done. Mine isn’t as pretty as everyone else’s, they have prettily decorated rooms and grown-up looking bookshelves and what have you and that’s wonderful! Don’t get me wrong, I want that myself! I took the task a little differently. I decided to focus on images that reflected the exact look of what my new organized life BEHIND the closet and cabinet doors would look like. SOO here it is, my organizational vision board:


Let’s get organized!

I’m double guilty of making New Year’s resolutions and never sticking to them. I think the key is to make achievable goals though; I would normally set unattainable, imprecise goals for myself. “I’ll be the talk of the town when they come into my house”, “By the end of this year I’ll be know for my cooking”, or “I’ll have so many followers that I’m famous!” You can see my mistake…So here is my attainable, precise goals for 2015:

  • Study the Bible every morning
  • Organize the apartment before the end of April
  • Make the apartment baby ready before the end of April
  • Read the parenting and “mom” books I’ve bought and have been recommended
  • Meal plan for the entire year (one month at a time)
  • & successfully cook dinner at least three times a week
  • Finish the furniture flipping I started
  • Complete the bedroom redo as much as the budget allows
  • Workout for 3 days a week until the baby comes (then we’ll talk)

Precise and attainable I do believe! I can’t wait to start crossing these things off one at a time!

I’d be interested in hearing if you had New Years resolutions! Post a comment below! Do you even believe in doing New Years resolutions?

Finally, the first post to my first blog…

First, to introduce my blog: There is something alluring about the way you feel after finishing a project. You step back to admire the work and realize, hey, I just did that. I completed something! I’ve also found a love of sharing that feeling with other people though documenting my DIYs and projects.

I’m ecstatic to finally start posting on this blog as a culmination of trying to starting and stopping several different blogs. Truly this is it! Here I’ll post my DIYs, projects, printables, organization, home reno (eventually), and my home school curriculum. I’ll also post the occasional thought, sometimes things that I’ve found useful for budgeting; however, I’ll mostly stick to my list above.

And now the players of this act: Me. I’m a young, brand new parent (Due early May ’15). I love to make art, DIYs, and I also teach art to home school kids three days a week. (If you’re home schooling in the Austin area, I’d love to hear from you!)

My husband. He’s a real trooper. All of the heavy lifting, the power tooling, and other manly manliness that you see is all done by Dreamy Mcdreamerson. He’s the absolute love of my life and the father of my to be born son. You may applaud.

My children. The first one is still cooking. I’m anxious to meet him. I often wonder what he’ll be like. Hopefully like his father.

I’m excited (I may have said this before) to start finding my voice, posting projects, and getting life in order while I show all of you the progress. I will be happy to answer any and all questions, comments, etc. as I get them and as I have the time. Please be patient if I take a little while! (I won’t, but I suppose it’s a good contingency)

Happy reading!
– Ashley