Monday, August 5, 2013

Our Home Schedule

After working on my schedule for a long time now, I have realized how little changes in strategizing a plan to control housework can bring more time for all the other important things. Schedules are what keep me going without stressing over housework.
The first thing that I did was to get my laundry under control. The dreaded laundry monster was tamed down to a pet beast as soon as I started working on a load a day. You can read all about it here.

This is the structure that works for me and my home.

This one works for me. I printed it out and put in up in a frame with a dry erase marker close to it. I check them out as and when I finish doing them. If for some reason I couldn't end up finishing something, my DH has a quick reference to what is pending for the day and helps me out with it after dinner, usually its the vacuum.

You can go ahead and print this out or if you need you can find a blank one customize it as per your needs. Here is the blank one for you to print for yourself.

Schedule your week and make it easier to control housework.
Enjoy.. :-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 basics to a Smooth Running Home

The need for a smooth running home keeps the sanity in our lives. The more I try to keep myself on track with these few basics and my home feels much calmer.
Follow a few basic rules to maintain a system in your home.

1) Maintain a budget and Set bill pay day
I can't emphasis enough on maintaining a budget. Keep a watch on what's coming in and how much is going out. Track your expenses for few months and this will give you a clear idea of where you stand financially. Then set your financial goals and targets.
Work on achieving your goals by analyzing your past expenses and future goals on a budget sheet. Cut down on wasteful expense and record all financial activity. I know it can be frustrating at first, but hang in there  and trust me you will soon be proud of yourself.
Pay your bills on time. Schedule a day once a week to check any pending bills and go ahead and pay them. Better still do it electronically, it saves time and postage. Auto pay if you please.

2) Home maintenance and schedules and repairs
Keep a regular home maintenance schedule. Regularly get your major appliances serviced like washer dryer, fridge, AC, water heater, pool equipment, etc.
Make sure to address a problem at the earliest, especially plumbing, gas, roofing, structure and foundation kind of issues. They are not only safety hazard but save big money when addressed at the earliest.

3) Creating a Command Centre.
When it comes to a well coordinated and communicated household, the Command Center is the thing for you. Doesn't have to be something really fancy, could be anything like a wall or inside of a cabinet door, outside wall of a cabinet, outside of the fridge wall. Basically just a centralized place where the whole family can look up for the families schedules and maintain a well structured household.

4) Menu Planning
Best way to avoid unhealthy fast food and also save money. Plan menus for at least 2 to 3 weeks at a time. This make grocery shopping much productive and helps every picky eater in the house to know what to expect. You can rotate the same things once every 3 weeks so no one is bored of 1 thing too soon.

5) Make bed every morning 
The bed is usually the focal point of the bedroom. So this is the first thing that sets the tone for the day. Start by making your bed every morning right as you wake up. Do not slack on this one.
6) A load of laundry a day
To keep the dreaded laundry in control, this has turned out to be by far the best routine. Some people believe in laundry day, but for me I think differently. I do not want to be stuck with a week's laundry if for some reason the 'laundry day' ends up been taken away by an emergency or by an urgent change of planned day. I have tried that but realized very soon that it was not the best thing for me.
7) Shine sink every night
Thanks to FLyLady, I have been sticking to this ritual. This help make sure the dishes are done every night and ready for the next day. It gives the fresh start for the day. Nothing brightens up the day than starting off with a clean shiny sink.
8) Creating a cleaning schedule for the week.
Maintain a cleaning schedule. keep it where you can look at it regularly so as to stay on track with it. Involve the whole family in it by designating chores by keeping a chore chart for all.
9) Purge, purge, purge, try following OIOO (One In One Out) rule.
Major mantra for smooth running of a household. Don't love, like or need then let it go. Clutter brings chaos and soon the finding of stuff, having to clean more things, organizing all of it adds to wasting energy and taking more from your family time.
10) 'ME TIME' 
Take the "ME TIME" - you've earned it. Treat it like one of the perks of a successful Home Resource Manager- HR Manager.

 Enjoy your family and make sure everybody is a part of making life simple and smooth running.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Laundry Life

The laundry day is here. I  know I know its that part that we all have said a lot about all over Blogland, and well well its never going to end. The dirty loads will keep coming in every day and the clean will wait their turn to be put away. Lets try to make things a little more structured.

Over the years I have learned a few tips that I have been following. The most important one for me is that, if we use towels, use bedding, wear clothes everyday and they get dirty everyday, so washing them everyday is the best solution that fits my lifestyle.

'A load a day keeps the laundry stress away'... oh and yes ... 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away as well' .. :o)

Main Tips-
-Do a load everyday.
-The other important tip that I follow, is that I have assigned each day of the week for each kind of laundry. This helps putting them away much easier. One stop to put away one kind of laundry and not having to go all over house to put away mix of washed load. Like on bedding day, just one stop to linen closet, much easy.   
-The system that I go with is that I  load my washer as soon as I wake every morning. Then switch to dryer by noon.
-Kids and hubby fold and put away their own clothes. Kids care least for wrinkles so let them do it. 

Laundry schedule

Monday- Kids
Tuesday- Dad and Mom
Wednesday- Towels, cloth placemats, kitchen towels, table runners, napkins
Thursday- All family (mid week is a mix of kids, hubby and me)
Friday- Alternate fridays between Beddings and Bath/floor mats including small washable rugs, mopping pads. I hand wash the mops after each use and throw them in washers once a week.
Saturday- Whites only 
Sunday- NO LOAD

I am pretty flexible. If I don't have a full load I mix a little and skip a day of laundry.

I have put up the laundry schedule by the washer so as to be on check. It was a little hard at first to remember, but not anymore. I already know now what is the next days load and I try to put it together the night before so I just load and go the next morning.

As for in these hot summer days I try to switch my pattern a little so as to save energy during the hot days. I load my washer the night before and add them to the dryer the next morning before 8am.
This helps me save energy and also be done with half the laundry before the day starts and be done with a chore before 9am of that day.

Share me your tips and tricks on your laundry day. We all could use some more ways to make laundry day easy and fun.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Back to school - Closing off with last year (Part 1)


Back to School - Closing off with last year (Part 1)

Yeah.. its summer and we all are having tons of fun. School is out for nearly 4 weeks now. It is just beginning of July and my kids school are to reopen by the 13th August this year. Well.. but for me the 'homework' has started. 'Homework' I mean, my task scheduled to get them ready for the new year. Honestly, even as  a kid I always loved the beginning of the new school year.
The smell of new books, the pretty backpacks and lunch boxes, new stack of pencils, colorful new boxes of crayons, unused erasers.

Its just the new year gets me into realizing that my little ones are getting older and getting to bigger classes to move towards high school and college to soon start their own lives.  
Anyways... I just got a little emotional there... back to the topic... hmm

I will help you to get into working on this. The only think I have realized over the years is that we do not need to wait until the last week to get things ready for the school year. The key behind the peace is to START EARLY.

I will move you through the process in 3 parts.

 1st Part- Closing off with last year.
 2nd Part- Preparation                                                                 
 3rd Part- Ready to Fly!!

Lets get started with the 1st part.

Follow these steps -
1) Start early
Start at least a month before the school reopens. Soon the back to school deals will start hitting the stores. You want to be ready with your 'Need List' before these deals.  

2) Check inventory
Next, go on to checking out the supplies that your kids already have. All the unusable stuff from last year needs to go out. The broken crayons, old erasers, especially look for the pencils that break too often. Get rid off them even if they have been rarely used, they just build frustration during homework time.

3) Discard unusable backpacks and lunch boxes
As for the backpacks and lunch bags, unless they are reusable, don't save them. They just add to clutter over the years. Check the broken lunch boxes, cracked thermos, water bottles. They need to go.

4) Try out clothes
Get the kids to try out their clothes. Its just so surprising how in 2 months clothes that fit them before summer suddenly don't fit them anymore. Goodwill here I come!! look out for those socks that have lost their 'buddy', they need to go in trash.

5) Clear out last years papers
Get rid of all the last years paper work. Only save those cute 'How I help my mommy' stories.. I still get teary reading them after so many years. Save their work that you love into folders.

Get a list ready of all the things that need to be replaced. 

Lets get done with this much for the start. Its a lot of work, but trust me every thing else will be easy from here on.

Next I will walk you through the 2nd step of the Preparation process. 

Love Els                                         

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Car .... My mini home

Organizing my car.

Martha is here again. She is out with her Special Spring issue magazine of The Best of Martha Stewart Living - ORGANIZING. I love her organizing ideas. She has the solutions for everybody and for all kinds of lifestyles. The book is available on stands until 4/30/2012 (that is what the print on the cover page reads), so if you need one get it before its too late. I got mine at Vons for $10. (It says $10.95 CAN). It's available on as well.


This issue has some of the most wonderful ideas. The ideas are on her website as well, but I like to have them handy for inspiration.

Today I would like to share a few of her car organization ideas that I have incorporated or am  in the process of doing them.
I love my car. It's a van and it is a little home as my husband calls it. He calls it our second home.  So I like to keep my car organized and manageable too.
Here are a few things I found very interesting:

I am currently using this system for our important car documents. I have had it for the last whole year, and I am adding it up here to share as I find it very helpful and Martha suggests it too.

Important documents folder: Jokingly we sometimes call it the 'Cop folder'.. as  here are all the documents we might need when getting pulled over or in case of an accident.


This image is from Martha's site, I will upload mine soon.
       Things I have in my folder-
  1. My contact information with phone number in case the folder gets lost.
  2. Registration
  3. Insurance details
  4. Copies of driver license of me and my husband. Remember it does NOT replace the actual driver license card, but we just leave a copy in there for emergency. Just in case if we have to leave without our wallet in an emergency. For identity security reasons you may choose not to if you think is unsafe.
  5. A few, that is 4/5 small notes with insurance details and contact information that you might need to exchange in case of an accident. In a hurry you can hand over one and on the other one you can quickly write down the other person's necessary details.
  6. Emergency contact numbers. (I didn't keep this until I read Martha's book, now I will add this too.)
  7. A few dollars in smaller bills in a small envelope.
  8. Leave a pen in there too.
  • Personal storage : The next idea I like was the use of a hanging shoe organizers one for each kid. 

I don't have this one yet, but I like the idea so much that I plan to get one in my car too. I will upload my picture when I set mine up.
My 8 year old is learning how to make paper airplanes, so I have millions (exaggerating mom ;) ) of them all over my car, as he carries them to fly them in the park. I have tried giving him a bag, but he doesn't want that as they get scrunched in there. This way he can neatly fold them and store a few in his organizer.

How do you organize your car? Share your lovely ideas with us.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Medication Log

Hi all,

It's that time of the year again. Flu season out there. We all know how bad it feels when the kid is in bed with fever and cough. When the kids or any adult fall sick they totally depend on us as caregivers.
With every medicine I give my kids I  make sure I keep a record of it.

Here is what I do when its time for taking care of a sick child or an adult. I don't wish to keep things in my head trying to remember what time I gave which medicine, I prefer to keep records and logs out of my head and on the paper.. :).  
It helps me be more accurate and less stressed.

Medication Log  -  download here

How do I use it, you ask?

I keep a copy of this in my Household Binder and also a laminated sheet that I use with a marker each time, so later I just erase and reuse.

 In the comments section I usually write down the temperature at the time of the medication. You may jot down any special note that you may feel necessary to have as reference to for the next dosage time.

This sheet specially comes in very handy when you need to leave a child with a babysitter or any other caregiver. You prepare the sheet with the medicine name and the time it has to be given, stick it on the refrigerator or anywhere you like to have it handy. This way your loved one is taken care of with on time medicines.

This is not just a fever or flu log, you can use it to log any other medications too.

Feel free and get the printable here and start using. If you think you need more columns, leave me a comment and I could customize it for you.

Let me know how it helped you.

Love Els.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Field Trip Checklist

 Today I was on a field trip with my kids.


 They both are in different grades, but both these classes go together on field trips.
As I was getting ready setting up things for them last evening I realized that I needed a checklist for these days. 
Even after being on a couple of field trips I am still a nervous parent.   Being a responsible parent that I am, I want to be sure I know all the basics of the field trip day.

After some of my personal experiences and a little research this is what I came up with.

Before the field trip day:
  1. Check if the field trip permission slip has been turned in with all the necessary information and documents.
  2. Be sure if there is money required to be paid for the trip.
  3. Remember to find out what is the mode of transportation. Are the kids walking to the destination, going on a bus, going by private auto driven by another parent/adult, or are they expected to be driven by you.
  4. Inform the teacher about allergies if any, peanut and/or others.
  5. The route to the destination.
  6. How many stops are there in the whole trip, basically an itinerary.
  7. Weather forecast expected for the day.
  8. Know for sure whether the child needs to buy lunch or bring packed lunch. Arrange for as needed.
  9. Teacher's cell phone number.
  10. Clothing advice, like wearing school spirit shirts/jackets, or the preferred color, etc.
  11. Departure and arrival times.
  12. If you are the designated driver, get correct parking information and its charges.
Field trip day:

    This is how I prepare for the field trip day.

  1. Review with the child the SAFETY RULES. No talking to strangers, stay with the group at all times, explain the 'buddy system', no running, inform your chaperon/teacher if you need to use the restroom or have any other concerns.
  2. Wear school spirit shirts/jackets or any preferred color etc.
  3. Clothes according to the weather forecast like jacket, hat and others.
  4. Name tag and a slip with phone numbers (home, parent cell), a few dollars in $1 bills in case of an emergency (God Forbid) in a zip bag/wallet for them to keep in their pockets.
  5. Lunch- If buying, give cash mostly in smaller denominations. For pack lunch with healthy foods like granola bars, grapes, crackers, sandwiches, trail mixes, water bottle, juice box  (if you prefer, as I usually prefer water over juice, I sometimes pack juice fro them as I know they are super excited about the trip and one juice box would not do much harm.)
  6. Don't forget a LOVE note in the lunch bag.. I love you, Enjoy your day, You are the best.
  7. Forks, spoons and napkins in the lunch bag.
  8. Hand sanitizer/sanitizing wipes, wet wipes.
  9. Check for if the child needs any medications and prepare accordingly. Inform the teacher too.
  10. A few band aids in a zip bag, either in their pant pockets (if it can stay there.. that is) or in their lunch bag.
  11. Camera only if the child is old enough and is permitted .
  12. Car seats if needed.
  13. Comfortable shoes.
  14. NO extra and unnecessary things like toys, that can distract the child from the group or instructions.
  15. A little note pad to take notes, only if the child is old enough to manage without getting distracted and left behind from the group.
  16. If you are driving make sure to carry cash in case fro parking or other needs, they don't accept debit or credit card everywhere.
  17. If you will be there at lunch time, pack a lunch for yourself too.

Most of all lots of love and hugs for all the hours they are going to be out there.  

These are the things I do when it’s field trip time. Leave a comment on what you thing about it. Did I miss something? Let me know.

How do you prepare for field trips?  Share your thoughts with all of us.

Love Els