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My Sunday Night Prep Routine For A Busy Week

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I mentioned last week in my How to Simplify a Busy Life post a bit about my nightly routine. Today I thought I would share some about my Sunday night prep routine to prepare for the busy week. See those pictures up there? Those are the reason that I now have a Sunday night prep routine. Because I cannot live like that anymore. I try to get as much done on Sunday night as possible to make life easier during the week. It’s the only way to keep this household running smoothly.

1. Update planners and bullet journal. I check my paper planner, add reminders, and then transfer the info to my phone planner. I don’t like having to take my paper planner out of the house with me because if it gets lost of damaged my life is over. Dramatic? Yes. But also true. So I use an app on my phone called Picnic to keep track of appointments and schedules when I’m out of the house. Then I create my bullet journal page for the week. Do you use a bullet journal? Mine is a bit different than the artsy ones you see on Pinterest. Mine is basically a running to do list for the week. I’ll share more about how I do it in an upcoming post. 

2. Refill main pantry and fridge/freezer. I have 2 pantries- the main one in the kitchen and the second large one in the hallway. I keep all the extra snacks and food items in the second pantry. I have 3 fridge/freezers- the main one in the kitchen and 2 in the garage. On Sunday night I go through the main pantry first and refill any of the canisters, baskets, and drawers that need to be refilled for the week. For example- this week the fruit roll-ups were low, the Goldfish, White Cheddar Cheese crackers, and the yogurt covered raisins containers were empty. I pulled more from the second pantry and refilled them all. I also restocked the poptarts, refilled the cereal containers, and switched out the empty peanut butter jar. I do the same with the fridge and freezer. I refilled the fruit and snack drawer and made sure there were enough water and gatorade bottles in the outside fridge. It just makes life easier and it definitely makes lunch prep easier at night.

3. Check meal plan. I check my master list to see what dinners are on tap for the week and I fill them in on my paper planner. I like to schedule crockpot meals on the nights when I know I’ll be busy picking up Tyler from football weights in the afternoon.

4. Place Walmart pick up order. After I finalize my meal plan I can place my weekly Walmart order. I love this service so much. I place the order every Sunday night, pick it up for free on Monday morning, and never have to set foot inside the store. It’s Heaven. 

5. Finish the laundry. I always do the kids laundry on Saturday’s but I hang dry most of their tops and all of their uniform items. So Sunday evening is when I make sure everything is put away and ready for the week. I also make sure everyone has their uniform pieces ready for the week. 

Doing these simple things on Sunday night has made all the difference in my week. My stress levels have gone way down and I feel much lighter. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with everything we need to get done as moms so any kind of routine that lightens that load is fabulous!

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How To Simplify A Busy Life

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We are in a season of life that is extremely busy. There’s not a lot of free time and my to do list is longer than the hours in the day. A few months ago I found myself snapping at the kids all the time, scrambling to make dinner, forgetting appointments, and just feeling overwhelmed and miserable on a daily basis. I cannot live like that. So I made some changes to help simplify our busy life. 

1. Meal Planning. I’ve seriously simplified my meal planning over the last few months. I asked the kids to make me a list of their favorite dinners and I plugged them into a 2 week meal plan. That filled up 9 days since most of their favorite meals overlapped and I filled in the other 5 days with easy, fast dinners. Then I just repeat the same meal plan for the next 2 weeks. The change has been amazing. Everyone eats dinner, nobody whines, and life is easier. I also keep the staples on hand for a few easy dinner for those crazy nights. My go to dinners to keep on hand include homemade macaroni and cheese, BBQ chicken sandwiches, and loaded baked potato soup. 

2. Monthly Purge. I’m in the middle of my 40 bags in 40 days challenge but I don’t limit purging to big challenges. I do a smaller purge every month. I take a big garbage bag, walk through the entire house, and pick at least 30 things to get rid of. It might be as simple as a few pairs of outgrown shoes, or some old books, or outdated decor. The house is so much easier to keep picked up when there is less in it. The kids have gotten into the habit as well and often choose items from their own rooms to donate each month.

3. Family Calendar. I use the Plum Paper Planner that you see above in the picture. It stays open on the kitchen counter at all times and is color coded for each family member. Every single thing goes in this planner- all appointments, all school activities, all sports schedules, all reminders…our whole family operation runs out of this planner. Having everything in one place makes it easy to schedule stuff.

4. Lower Expectations. The hardest thing for me to learn was to just say no. I like to think that I can pack everything into my day but I can’t and I would be so stressed out. I was so stressed from everything I was trying to do outside of this house that I was short tempered with everything happening inside this house. I stopped volunteering for a lot of things, I trimmed my commitments back to a manageable level, and I declined opportunities that would take up a lot of time. It’s made all the difference to not be over-committed. 

5. Manageable Routine. One of the biggest things that has helped in our house is to do the morning prep at night. Our days start tragically early and I am not a morning person. So anything that can be done at night gets done including packing lunches, signing agendas, packing book bags, laying out clothes, gathering sports gear, etc. I also have started doing a 15 minute pick up before I go to bed. The kitchen is clean, the dining table is cleaned off, and anything lying around is put away. It has made such a difference for me. 

Doing these 5 things has made our household so much more peaceful and happy. There’s less arguing and nagging, there’s more laughter, and we’re all happier. We only get one life to live and the years of having our kids at home are very short. We should enjoy them!

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The 10 Commandments Of Sam’s Club Shopping

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We are dedicated Sam’s Club shoppers. With this many kids in one house plus all their friends, we go through a lot of food. We typically make a big Sam’s Club shopping trip every 2 weeks and it can either be a pleasant experience or it can be the Seventh Circle of Hell. There are just basic commandments that should be obeyed when shopping at a bulk warehouse store. It’s common sense, people. Follow them and nobody has to get hurt.

1. Always have a list. For the love of everything Holy, never ever enter without a well thought out list. Especially if you’re shopping on a budget like we always are. A $100 trip can easily turn into a $400 trip without a list.

2. Some things should not be bought in bulk. Do you really need a 30 gallon drum of deodorant? Are you actually going to use that 50 lb vat of crisco? Buy smart, people. 

3. Only take your kids on Free Sample Saturday. There is nothing worse than taking kids who are expecting samples on a non-sample day. Oh the horror. The horror.

4. Never ever go when you’re hungry. See #1. 

5. Avoid impulse purchases. Again, see #1. 

6. Make it worth the trip. I can’t count the number of people I see in line with a bag of oranges, a gallon of milk, and a big bag of chips. Really? That’s worth the $99 yearly membership fee? 

7. Follow the flow of traffic in the store. It’s like a road, people. Don’t drive on the wrong side of the road. It causes traffic jams and anger.

8. Bring your membership card. There is just no excuse. You can even pull it up on an app on your phone these days. And have it ready when you get to the front. Don’t hold up the entire line while you search through that suitcase you call a purse.

9. Do not leave your cart in the middle of the aisle. I mean, really people. Move to the side. The aisles are extra wide so there is no reason to block up the entire thing. You are not special. Move.

10. Get in, get your stuff, get out. This is not social hour. You don’t need to make friends or have a playdate at Sam’s Club. Go to Chick-Fil-A like everyone else if you want to catch up with your neighbor’s sister’s boyfriend’s daughter who you haven’t seen since they broke up 12 years ago. Really.

Consider Sam’s Club a privilege. It can be revoked. Obey the laws of common sense. Or you’ll be forever banished to WalMart. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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10 Rules For Being A Good Holiday House Guest

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We had a low key holiday this year. It was literally just us. We hosted nobody, we had no visitors, we had no parties. It was glorious. But I see a whole bunch of folks on my Facebook feed complaining about the behavior of holiday house guests so I figured I would write some guidelines for guests. Just for future reference, you understand.

1. Do not make yourself right at home. “Make yourself at home” is just a saying. Nobody means it. Do not wander into the master bathroom and start going through drawers and cabinets searching for Advil. Just ask.

2. Do not allow your kid to destroy the house. Control Little Chucky. And if your kid does destroy something, replace it.

3. Do not mess with the DVR. In fact, just don’t touch the TV at all.

4. Do not make insane dietary requests. If you are on an all-kale and wheat germ diet then bring your own supplies. Food allergies or sensitivities are one thing (and should always be respected), expecting your host to accommodate your latest fad diet is rude.

5. Do not ask to sleep in the master bedroom after moaning and groaning about your bad back. If you need alternate sleeping arrangements I’m sure the Holiday Inn down the road has a room.

6. Do not talk about politics or religion. And especially after drinking. Just don’t.

7. Do not touch the thermostat. If you’re cold, put on a sweatshirt. If you’re hot, take off the sweatshirt. If you’re not paying the electric bill then hands off the thermostat.

8. Do not make stupid decisions. If what you’re about to do in their house starts with the phrase “I’ve always wondered what would happen” do not continue.

9. Do not bring pets without asking. Not everybody is a fan of Fido and lots of people have allergies. Just because you consider Fido part of your family does not mean other people feel the same.

10. Do not bring other guests without asking. Showing up with your 4 kids and 5 of their closest friends is just rude. Don’t be Cousin Eddie.

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2016 Monthly Goals: November

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How is it already November? I don’t understand how this year is going by so quickly. I guess when life is busy it goes by faster. I understand it but I sure don’t like it. October was so very busy with football and basketball is starting so I didn’t do great with my goals. But I kept everyone alive and fed and the house did not fall down around us so I’m calling it a win. 

October Goals:

1. Finish organizing my kindle categories. I worked on this a lot but I’m not quite done. I’m getting there. It’s been a slow process but it will be worth it when I’m done.

2. Finish the master bedroom redo. Nope. I got nothing done in the master bedroom. At all. 

3. Finish up some small house projects. I got a few little ones done but not as many as I hoped to do. And I added twice as many to my list as I crossed off.

4. Start planning for the holidays. I actually did some of this. I figured out Thanksgiving- at least I figured out what time we’re going to eat. I made Christmas lists. That’s progress, right?

5. Organize the pictures on my phone. I got a decent start on this but I’m not done. It takes a long time to go through 3500 pictures. A long time.

November Goals:

1. Finish organizing my Kindle categories. Ha! It’s staying on the list until it gets done, y’all. I’d say I’m 70% done. And I have well over 4000 books on my Kindle. 70% of 4000 is….well, a lot. That’s math and I don’t like math.

2. Finish all the projects on my house list before Thanksgiving. We’re hosting a huge crowd for Thanksgiving and I need to get this house in order so I’m not stressing out the day before they arrive.

3. Finish Christmas shopping. I do not want to be doing last minute shopping this year. I want to be done. I’ve already gotten a good head start but there’s a lot left to do. 

4. Celebrate all the birthdays. Tyler turns 16 this month, Maia turns 12, and we have 3 other birthdays in November too. It’s a busy month.

5. Find some new dinner recipes. I need to add some new stuff. Preferably some stuff that all my kids will eat. I’m tired of them turning their noses up at dinner and eating PB&J sandwiches instead. I’m going to find some recipes that they all will enjoy.

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