What’s for Dinner? Day 27 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

What’s For Dinner?

Do those words fill you with dread? What about when it’s 5 o’clock and you still have no idea what the answer is as you’re standing in front of the refrigerator just hoping something will assemble itself and jump out at you? Now do you feel stressed out?

At this point, many of us would feel tempted to pick up a phone and order in. Or tell the kids to hop in the car for a “treat”. These choices will cost LOTS more money and give you much less nutrition, and much more chemicals and fat. Which you know you don’t want to do.

3 Reasons to Make a Menu Plan

1. Save Your Brain

I don’t know about you, but my brain is……hibernating. It started with my first pregnancy. You know: Pregnancy Brain. And then it was New Mommy Brain. And then it was Living With Little Children Brain, then more Pregnancy Brain, and so on. So while I used to consider myself an intelligent, thinking person, that person has been sliiiiippppiiing away, and I want to conserve whatever intelligence I have left so that I might be able to write coherent blog posts. In other words, the fewer decisions I must make on a daily basis, the better! It’s much easier to decide in one sitting what we will be having for dinner each night than to have to do it every day. And in doing so, I can plan to actually have the ingredients when I go to make the meal. Who would’ve thunk it?

2. Save Your Money

    We’d all like to save money and use it for more important things. When you eat out, you spend MUCH more money than you do when you eat home. When you buy last minute items at the corner convenience store, you also spend much more money than you would for those same items at the supermarket, if you’d known you would want them. And when you buy random things at the grocery store, things spoil because you don’t have a plan to use them. What a waste!

    3. Eat More Healthfully

      When you make your own food at home, you are (hopefully) not going to fill it with MSG and other poisonous preservatives. You can be sure that convenience foods are toxic to your bodies, and with a little bit of planning, you can avoid these and know you are helping your family to be healthier. And it’s really easy!

      So Here’s What You Need To Do.

      1. Pick an amount of time you’d like to plan. I usually do 1 or 2 weeks at a time, but if you’re new to this and it seems too much, try 3 days.
      2. Write down a dinner meal for each of the days you are planning for. Dinner is the most important meal to plan, so focus on that meal first. Remember to include side dishes.
      3. On your shopping list, write down each of the ingredients you’ll need to make your meal. $5dinner.com has some nice printable planning sheets for menus and grocery lists.
      4. Go shopping and save money because you’re not buying things you don’t need or won’t use.

      It really is that simple.

      And if you really don’t want to do all of this, you can go to SavingDinner.com and buy their menus, complete with grocery lists. They’re very inexpensive and will still save you lots of time and money.

      What’s For Dinner is the theme of Day 27 of the Flylady’s babysteps. I’m so glad I’ve made this a habit because it’s really helped me. I even aspire to plan a whole month at a time and get into more freezer cooking….but I’m not there yet. One step at a time!

      I usually post my weekly menu on Mondays. Doing this has helped me be accountable for getting it done. I love linking up to others’ menus; if you post one, let me know!

      Do you menu plan? Why or why not? How long? I want to know what works for you.

      Swish ‘n Swipe. Day 24 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      Day 24 of the Flylady’s babysteps is when we meet the Swish ‘n Swipe, which is a fabulous tool for my bag of tricks in my quest for a peaceful home. Ya want another tool? Check this out.

      The “swish” means you take a toilet brush which you keep upright in a container next to your toilet and do a quick once around your toilet bowl. No need to get out the cleaner–just keep some old shampoo or liquid soap in the bottom of the brush holder. It takes about 10 seconds.

      The “swipe” means you take a rag of some kind and rub the spots off of the mirror (not “clean the mirror; just the spots!), wipe the counter off (after putting away whatever you’ve left out there), and wipe out the sink. It takes about 10 seconds.

      Because I have little boys, I also take another 10 seconds and use a baby wipe to wipe down the toilet seat, top & rim, and base and floor around the toilet. When needed, I’ll spray this area with a bleach spray and wipe with a paper towel.

      The whole thing leaves your bathroom nice and fresh (the shampoo makes the whole thing smell good), ready for company, in 30 seconds. It’s simple and part of my morning routine. Yes, that means I do it every day, and don’t wait until it gets stinky. I do my bathroom when I use it first thing in the morning, the boys’ bathroom when I do the laundry (it’s also the laundry room), and the downstairs the first time I use it later on.

      If you have any tips for easily keeping your bathroom nice, please share!

      Making My Bed. Day 15 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      Babystep 15 is to make your bed.

      I have had this habit (regularly) for more than a year now. I love the way it makes my room look; even if other things are out, the bed being made sets the tone.

      When I bought my first down comforter for the winter here (I’m from Miami; I never had one before), I was introduced to the concept of having a duvet cover for the comforter, and not using a top sheet. Using one of these makes making the bed so much easier. I used to pull the top sheet up under the bedspread, and then fold both over, exposing the top sheet. Yes, it looked very pretty, but it made making the bed take much longer than it should and therefore I didn’t do it so much.

      Now I use the duvet cover even in the summertime (with a lightweight blanket, or even empty if it’s hot enough) and all I have to do is pull it up to the top of the bed before putting the pillows on.

      That first duvet cover was white with eyelet. Very pretty and elegant. But, after a while, I realized that I was very bored with the lack of color and was not motivated to keep it nice.

      So, I went and bought this pretty happy one. It makes me smile and that’s the best motivation to keeping your room neat. If you don’t like your bedclothes, go buy new ones! They really do not cost much and are so worth it. I have one set for the spring and fall and a different one for the summer and winter. That way I don’t get bored.

      If you don’t have the habit of making your bed, keep this in mind: you have to do it IMMEDIATELY when you get up. If you wait, it doesn’t get done. That was the most important thing to learn.

      Enjoy your beautiful bedroom!

      I Can’t Catch Up. Day 14 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      You Can’t Catch Up. It’s impossible.

      This is a very important concept in life. Things keep moving, and it’s almost certain that you won’t keep up with everything. But what you do when you realize you’re “behind”, and more importantly how you feel about it will make all the difference in what you do next.

      I’m struggling with these flylady babysteps. I’m falling back into the same habits I had before I began them again: I haven’t done the 15 minutes of decluttering every day. In fact, I haven’t done 15 minutes since I posted my success with it. That was days ago. Two minute hotspot, yes. Room rescue, yes, sort of(if you count me delegating it, but not if I do one myself). Daily mission, not so much.

      I think my very favorite concept of Flylady’s is “You are not behind. Don’t try to catch up. Just jump in where you are.”

      I’m never going to catch up. I really need to just do what I can today. It’s a new day, a fairly new week (we have Sunday as a work day here, so Monday is the second day for me). I’m going to ditch the guilt I feel and jump in where I am.

      I’m also going to prioritize those things I seem to have a very difficult time getting done. I’m going to call my 15 minutes today my frog and eat it as soon as I can. I’d say “first”, but with other household things that must happen in the morning, it’s not possible. If you aren’t familiar with the “eat the frog” concept, enjoy this short (1 minute) video. I wanted to embed the player but it won’t let me. Very worthwhile.

      I’m glad that today’s babystep is to read an essay about calendars and how/why to use them properly. I can handle doing that while still focusing on my frog.

      What’s your frog today? What are you procrastinating on?

      Your Mission For Today: Day 13 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      On Day 13 of Flylady’s babysteps, we are to choose one of Kelly’s missions and do it.

      I love the way this is done. Each day, Kelly sends out one “mission” to accomplish. It’s something in the current zone, and usually will take less than 15 minutes. By dividing the house up into 5 zones and focusing a little extra time in it each day for the week, our houses can stay reasonably clean without much effort.

      I need help with this. Just like regularly doing the 15 minutes of decluttering, I struggle to get it done, even though it really only takes a few minutes.

      But they really do work.

      This is a link to Kelly’s missions; they are posted daily and remain for the week.

      This past week we were in the Kitchen zone. My favorite mission from that zone is the deep wipedown of the counter. I have a large countertop and need to spend most of that time putting things away that seem to collect there (beyond regular putting away kind of stuff), so I’ll usually do 15 mins + a little. And it might not all get done, but that’s ok.

      I won’t get blown up if I don’t get it done!

      Push Delete. Day 12 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home Day 8

      On Day 12 of the Flylady’s babysteps, we are instructed to delete all of the emails that have been piling up. I really like this.

      I’ve been on the mailing list for a couple of years. The reminders are good. The testimonials really are helpful and inspiring, and it’s good to realize that it’s ok to not read them all. In fact, lately, I haven’t been reading much of them at all. And that’s ok, since I’ve been exposed to this system for a while already. But if you are really just starting out, read a few each day. Then delete the rest.

      Just like decluttering, just like taking out the trash, deleting emails and blog posts in my reader I haven’t read and don’t really need to helps me to get rid of guilt. I have so many things I’d like to do, I want to do, but just don’t seem to have time for. I don’t want to be reminded of what I am not doing.

      So go ahead, push that button. It feels good.

      More emails will come along.

      Declutter. Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home Day 9

      This is where the challenge heats up for me. Where it becomes….a challenge. Where I have fallen short in the past.

      I’ve done these things before, but I’ve not made it a habit to do it every day. And it NEEDS to be done every day.

      Flylady’s babystep #9 says to declutter a few minutes at a time. I have a few minutes. I’m sure I do. I just don’t know where I left them. Have you seen my few minutes? Maybe they’re hiding under all this stuff

      A 5 minute room rescue is the assignment. I can do that. I’m going to take 5 minutes before I go to bed and see what I can do with all those clothes that get piled up. You know the pile. It’s the not quite dirty but not clean…..unless it’s the clean laundry that didn’t get put away.

      I’m tired. I want to go to bed. But, how can I say I don’t have five minutes? I can’t. Because I do. And afterward, I’ll be glad I did it.

      Here’s Flylady’s explanation on how to declutter.

      What have you decluttered today?

      3 Ring Binder-Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home Day 8

      And we are on day #8 of the Babystep Challenge to a Peaceful Home, following Flylady’s recommendations.

      This is easy. Get a 3 ring binder and put paper in it. Of course, we all have office supplies hanging around the house. I love office supplies! I LOVE to go to Office Depot and walk around looking at all the things….weird. But I bet lots of you are the same way.

      This is where I write down my morning and evening routines; one on each page. I’ve already been practicing them all week. Now I have them written down so that I can check them off and make sure I don’t forget anything.

      I’m still cheating a little because most of these have already been habits of mine, and I already had them written in my Control Journal. But, I look forward to re-doing whatever needs to be fixed as I go through these babysteps again.

      Pick Out Your Clothes For Tomorrow–Babystep #7

      I love this one. But mostly for the children.

      In the morning, it’s chaotic enough to get everybody ready for the day without all of us still needing to pick out our clothes. Inevitably a child will tell me that he can’t find socks, or a shirt. (This is because I really need help getting the stuff folded & put away; but I’m working on that. ) Here’s one of the ways I help myself to get the laundry put away.

      So, I figured, since it’s so helpful for me to pick out my clothes the night before, just think what a help it is for my kids to do it! And it is. It gives me time to find the missing piece while we’re not hurrying.

      As for me….yes, it’s a good habit. But, honestly, I don’t have a huge wardrobe. I usually rotate between the 3 or 4 things that are my favorite for the time of the year. Since I stay home most days, nobody sees me. So, I don’t really mind that my clothes are repeated frequently. I don’t change my jewelry, so this is a simple one.

      It takes me about 1 minute to grab a comfortable dress, my underclothes, socks, & lace up shoes. If I worked outside the home or wore more complicated outfits, I’m sure this habit would make even more of a difference!

      And in the morning, it’s one less thing I need to do. I like that.

      How about you?

      Hotspots–Babystep Challenge Day #6

      Time for Flylady’s Babystep #6: spend 2 minutes putting out a HotSpot. What is a Hot Spot, you ask? Well, it’s a cluttered area that tends to attract more clutter. It’s your dumping ground. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into a room that makes the room look messy and makes you feel…YUCK. Here’s where Flylady explains what a Hot Spot is on her website.

      This is my biggest and most frequent Hot Spot: our dining table. Here is a picture of what it looked like before 2 minutes of clearing it.

      You can see that my “desk” area is so cluttered that I’d have to clear a spot just to be able to work. And even if I did that, it would hardly be peaceful enough to promote productivity.

      But, after just TWO MINUTES, now look. Pretty, peaceful. And I even changed my location to have a better view, lit a scented candle, have the flowers in sight, and a cup of herbal tea. MUCH better.
      And it only took 2 minutes.

      Well, 2 minutes plus the time to move & light the candle & make my tea. Still. 😉

      In our homes, hotspots can take over. But deal with it regularly, when it is small, and it changes everything.

      It’s a good babystep for me; I need to do it regularly.

      “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

      How are your babysteps coming?

      Wanna join in? C’mon, it’s fun!

      In case you missed it, here’s why I’m doing this.
      And my posts on Babysteps #1, #2, #3, #4.

      If you’ve posted your hotspot babystep, Leave a link with your comment so that we can all share in each other’s progress.