“What’s for dinner?” “There’s nothing to eat” “I’m hungry!”

Sound familiar?
Planning meals is a great step to feeling organised and prepared. Knowing everything is in the pantry or refrigerator ready to go is definitely more calming than staring into the pantry at mealtime wondering what to cook and if you have enough ingredients. Meal planning also saves you money because every time you go into the supermarket you spend money an often it is way more than you intended.
I plan meals for 4 weeks. This gives us variety as we don’t eat the same meal in a month. First step is checking my diary for any events coming up like birthdays, school events, working trips etc and account for those. Take time to investigating what is still in the freezer/fridge and pantry and needs using up. I choose 4 beef dishes, 4 lamb, 4 pork, 4 chicken, 4 fish, 4 vegetarian. One of the children cooks dinner on Sunday night so I pick 4 recipes that are within their capabilities.  menuideas
Then I decide on lunches for Mon – Thu. We have one day per week where lunch is bought so there are only 16 slots for lunch. Weekend lunches may be leftovers, sandwiches or something very basic. Part of this prep is to also plan snacks over the week so I know what needs to be baked on the weekend. I add notes at the bottom like where I found a particular recipe etc.

These ideas are then divide these out over the 4 weeks.

menuplan
The plan isn’t set in concrete. Life gets in the way so flexibility is necessary. Sometimes due to work and/or school commitments Tue week 2 suddenly becomes the slow cooker meal from Thu week 4 so each person can eat and run. An additional friend who stays for dinner may mean not enough sausages that night so swap a menu for another night. Occasionally if we have takeaway for dinner that means there is a meal idea towards the next four-week plan.
This then helps me prepare my grocery list as I can clearly see what food is required. Other household members can easily see what is for dinner and if you are lucky may even start preparing if you are running late.

I have attached blank sheets to download for planning.  meal-ideas-template    and menuplan

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” Winston Churchill

 

 

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Purging Your Wardrobe

Confession time.         I have a lot of clothes.       More than I need.      And shoes……. we’ll talk about them another now. My habit of culling my closet had sadly been neglected and it was time to get some organisation back.
I have a large bedroom with a tinsy walk-in robe. Since I have to share with big Al I have less than optimal space for clothes. Usually I will go through my closet at the end of each season and throw out what I did not wear in the past 12 months. I will also check my up-coming season clothes for out of fashion items or where the gremlins have snuck in and sewn the seams tighter.
I used the 3 pile method, “Keep”, “Undecided” & “Dispose of”. Anything to “Keep” was kept on a hanger and put on the clothes airer. I had one pile for “Undecided” and another for “Dispose of”. Working through every article until everything has been moved out of the closet and assessed. This takes time as you need to be ruthless and unemotional.p1010516This is the perfect time to give your closet area a thorough clean. The amount of dust that can accumulate here always amazes me. Vacuum and wipe down walls, shelves, hanging rails and drawers. Now your closet is ready for every “keeper” to be put back.
Organise all similar articles together. All jeans together, next to other pants, then skirts. This way, all bottoms are found in one area when you need to co-ordinate an outfit. Do the same with tops, all sleeve-less together then t-shirts, button up shirts then others, separating Summer & Winter weight. At this stage you could even sort by colour, if you really wanted to make choosing outfits simple. Separate Summer & Winter dresses and hang, doing the same for coats and jackets. Now step back and check it out. Looks good huh?
Now the “Undecided“ pile. Go through each item. Look at what you have kept and ask “Will it match any ‘keepers’?” “Does it fit?” “Do I feel good when I wear this?” If you can answer yes to all of these then put it in your closet with similar items. This is a hard one but you need to be candid in your answers. How many grey t-shirts do you need? If you still can’t decide or are struggling, you may need a second opinion. Ask a friend you trust to be honest in their answer. Or put it in another room or store in a suitcase. If you don’t go looking for it within 3 months then let it go.
The “Dispose of” pile now needs to be sorted. Again use 3 piles, “Bin” “Sell” “Donate”. Any damaged, stained or torn items need to go in the bin. Anything that may be slightly out of fashion or shows signs of wear but are still good can be donated to charity, or given away. Anything still with a tag or only worn once (we all have them), try selling on eBay or other online site. You could have a swap party with your friends and trade any of their discarded items.
Take time to look at your work. You should feel accomplished. There is a liberating feeling that comes from minimising and sorting. Once you have organised things so they are neat tidy and orderly, it saves time and does give a sense of harmony.
The challenge now is to keep it that way. Each week spend 10 – 15 minutes tidying your closet so you can find everything easily.

“being organised isn’t about getting rid of everything you own or trying to become a different person; it’s about living the way you want to live, but better.” Andrew Mellen

Practical Stocking Fillers

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We give our girls useful items in their Christmas stockings. After years of struggling to find cheap items to add to their stocking only finding that they broke, got lost or were not used at all, we decided that practical was the way to go. They were aged between 15 and 25 at the time and were warned that they would be receiving practical things that they would use not exciting gifts. They each received an expensive larger gift or 2. This was just treats. The only traditional item we continued on with was a box of chocolates which they have always received in their stockings. I try to purchase one thing for their stockings each month.  This adds up to around 12 items.

Each item is individually wrapped in a variety of wrapping paper, usually from offcuts. I wrap them because it adds to the excitement of gift giving. Each of the girls receive the same thing, just the colour or flavour differed. The items cost between 50c and $3 each excluding the chocolates. Many items I found were from the “I need …” range of goodies that cost 99c.
It has become one of the most entertaining times of Christmas Day and the girls have so much fun. They take turns choosing a gift while the other 2 quickly find their similar shaped wrapped item. They have a quick guess at what it could be. Then the race was on to see who can unwrap theirs the quickest. The room is filled with so much energy and laughter.

Ideas for what I have put in their stocking:
a box of chocolates
2 Ulta3 nail enamels
I need… Nail-polish remover wipes
I need… Face wipes
Novelty shaped emery board from IS gifts
I need… a Pedicure set
Novelty shaped lip gloss from Miki. (It came in a 3 pack that I split up.)
Bobby Pins
Hair bands
Flipflops
Lipsticks
Scented candles
Hand cream
Socks
Face mask sachets
Pens
Note pads
Christmas Tree Ornament

I throw in a couple of odd gifts also to change the mix a bit.  It add to the fun when they try to guess what it is.
I need… Hand sanitiser (25ml).
I need… Lint roller (Handbag sized).
I know these are unusual but each of the girls said, “yes I do need one”.
If the budget permits I will find each of the girls a motivational or inspirational book and a small fragrance for their stocking
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Have you any ideas for stocking fillers?