Sunday, October 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It has been awhile since I have done Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Org Junkie so I figure that its time to join in again. Following is the week's plan for our dinners.

Monday Homemade pizza
Tuesday Grilled chicken and steamed summer veggies
Wednesday Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
Thursday Hubby's super yummy chili
Friday Burritos
Saturday Leftovers I think...

The big kids eat breakfast at school and the days that I have obligations outside of the home, my mother-in-law feeds the Littles breakfast at her house. This is a busy week so I don't think I'll have any breakfast prep at all.

Same thing with lunches. The Bigs will have lunch at school, the Littles will have lunch at my mother-in-law's house, so it's just myself and Hubby to plan lunches for. And honestly, we will probably either have leftovers from the previous night or else a quick salad.

That's our super simple plan for this week's meals. Head on over to Org Junkie's blog to join in for Menu Plan Monday.

Organize Your Work Area: The Homework Edition

Next up is my kids' homework area. They originally had their desks in their room, but we were having a few issues with that. The biggest ones being that the boys generally do their homework in the family room anyhow, they were hoarding supplies which their sister would end up getting into and they just collected miscellaneous items in and on their desks.

So after moving the deep freeze from one area of the room to another (which you can read about here) we had a sizable open area that I had to fill up that I knew would work perfectly for their desks.

I talked to the boys about it and they agreed that moving the desks to the family room would work the best so that was our next step.

Once the desks were in place, I decided to also organize their workspace. They each have three deeper drawers on the left side of their desks and one long shallow drawer over their lap. The long shallow drawer holds their pencil, eraser, pencil sharpener, ruler, pair of safety scissors, glue stick or bottle, package of crayons and a highlighter. The top drawer on the side holds lined paper, the second drawer holds blank printer paper that they use to color on an the bottom drawer holds their finished art projects. On the wall over their desks is their daily chore list and expectation sheet.

When they come home from school, they are to hang their backpacks on the back of their chairs, take their homework out and begin working on it. When they are done, they are to put their homework in their folders, put it in their bags and check their list for what to do next.

This process allows them the opportunity to take responsibility for their own homework assignments. If they use the process that has been set up, they won't have to scramble looking for lost or forgotten assignments or try to find their backpack at the last moment in the morning, which we have faced in the past. We have even allowed them to go on to school without their backpacks and/or homework and allowed the natural consequence of that to take place (while at the same time, having explained to the teacher what was going on - a lesson in person responsibility).

So anyhow, that is our homework set-up. Hope that it may help someone else or spawn other ideas. Share the set-up you have for your kids below. Remember to link to your individual post and not to the main page of your blog to make it easier to find.

Organize Your Work Area: The Newspaper Edition

There are a number of ways to organize different work areas. Today the focus is on my newspaper prep area.

A short while ago, I decided to take on an early morning paper route. I am an early riser or a night owl, depending on the day so this works really well for me.

It also forces me to get some exercise as well. Since it is done in the middle of the night, no one can see me, dripping sweat and looking rather scuzzy.

So anyhow, the papers are dropped off at my door (how convenient is that?!) and I bring them inside to insert the ads, count them up and then either bag or band the papers. It took me about a week to find a workable solution that did not involve straining my muscles and making them cramp up.

There is also a fair amount of paperwork involved in the process, which also needs to be kept well organized.

So this is what I did:

I took an area that was being mis-utilized in our family room, near the door where the papers are dropped off. I had Hubby move two van seats and a huge amount of clutter that had stacked up on top of the seats and dealt with it, leaving me an empty floor area.

I then moved our deep freeze into that spot. The freezer was already in the room, but in a different location and having it in this spot now is much more functional and aesthetically pleasing. It is also the perfect work height for me to do what I need to do.

On the wall above the freezer, I hung an unused over-the-door-organizer that I got at Target a few years ago. There is a basket above and seven (coat) hooks below. There are also seven (hat or scarf) hook type things as well, but I don't use those individual hooks.

In my basket, I store my paperwork in file folders: my route list, my contracts, my financial information, any paperwork that has to do with this job.

I also use six of the seven (coat) hooks for needed supplies. The first hook has the bags that I use for one publication. I deliver five, so it's very important that I keep the things that belong to each publication straight. The next hook is used to store the HUGE rubber bands that my papers come in. My hauler has to pay for these and while they don't cost much, I still try to save them for him so that it will save him a little bit of money as well. Plus, its reusing the bands which I also like. The next hook holds my bag of daily rubber bands. I can use these on all but one of the publications. The next hook is the bags for the main paper that I deliver. The hook that follows is for my Sunday rubber bands. Then there is an unused hook and then last, a third set of bags that I use for three publications. These bags are primarily for use for the one publication that is not to be banded, but I can (and do) also use these bags for two other publications that I deliver.

In the morning, when I get my papers, I bring them inside, look through the paperwork. I count up my papers, taking note of any changes to the delivery list for that day. I flip my papers over (inserting ads and folding/rolling the papers are so much easier from the "wrong" side) then I either bag or band the papers, drop it in my tote and move on to the next paper.

It has saved me so much time and has also saved my muscles an incredible amount. I can get through my stack of 40 papers in about 10-20 minutes and be on my way.

I love my set-up! It just makes it all so easy! How do you have your own work area set up? It may be your out-of-home office, your home office, whatever. Share with us. Click below to add your post to the list. And remember to link to your individual post and not to the main page of your blog so that it's easier for others to find it.

So anyhow, that is our homework set-up. Hope that it may help someone else or spawn other ideas. Share the set-up you have for your kids below. Remember to link to your individual post and not to the main page of your blog to make it easier to find.