essential oils

Free Printable ~ March Personal Planner Pages

Last month I shared a few pages from my yearly personal planner with you all, and I would love to share more this month too. If you want to have a central place to keep track of your goings-on in March, feel free to share and download the March planning pages below.

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for March. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

My personal planner has been such a huge help for me and a central place to keep all of our appointments, notes, to-do’s, and so on. I hope it will be a blessing to many of you as well!

How I’m Using My Daily Planner

If you’d like to take a look at how I’ve set up my yearly planner, I’ve explained it more in this post here, as well as given links to my favorite binder and colorful tabs (because pretty makes life fun too, right?).

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

Download the March Personal Planner Pages

March 2015 Personal Planner pages

You can download the March 2016 Personal Planner Pages by clicking here. Each month I’ll be offering a free download for that month’s planning pages, so you can check back and download them as they become available.

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

Add to Cart

If you like the layout and want to start planning out the rest of your year now (and next year too), purchase the full 2015 Daily Planner for $3.99. The calendar runs from January 2015 thru June 2016. It includes 15 month-at-a-glance pages and dated weekly pages through June 2016.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sponsor Thanks

We really appreciate the following companies. Many of these have been long time sponsors of Homeschool Creations and we are SO thankful for them – be sure to stop by their sites and check them out!

Teach Them Diligently Conventions are now open for registration! Speakers for 2015 include James Dobson, Barbara Rainey, and many others. Locations include Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA; Sandusky, OH; and Dallas, TX. Hope to see you at one of them!

Red Wagon Tutorials offers upper level science help for homeschool families worldwide. They specialize in downloadable, online live-feed, and online recorded science classes as well as digital e-Notebooks and Flash Drive presentations. Learn more about their 2014-2015 programs. Does your child have a need to fidget or chew?

Norm’s Farm features a line of farm-fresh elderberry products to help energize and support a healthy immune system. They are your one-stop shop for all things elderberry!

Apologia offers a Christian worldview curriculum that kids will love. Featuring engaging stories, creative notebooking, and fun activities, this four-part series is presented in a conversational style that makes the study of God’s Word exciting and memorable.

Pipsticks provides sticker club subscriptions for kids, teachers, crafters, gift givers and kids at heart. Subscribe or give our gift sticker packs today.

School Supply Organizer

school supply carousel

School supplies seem to multiply like rabbits at our house. Although our kids each have their own set of colored pencils (and yes, I color code my kids), we have a community set of supplies that stay in the middle of our school table. These are the pencils, crayons, and supplies that we use when working on history and other group subjects.

Our school supply organizer has been in our school room for almost five years and only required a little time and a few supplies: a lazy Susan, mini metal buckets or pails, magnets, and hot glue. The original idea for this came years ago from See Jamie Blog and is really super simple to make! Be sure to see her quick tutorial.

homeschool history time together

Every now and then I change out the buckets when I find some cute ones at Target…or the kids smush one of them (yes, it happens). The small buckets are handy to grab and carry around the house and my organizing heart loves that the kids know exactly where things need to be put away.

Before you wonder how the buckets stay in place – magnets. Rather handy, especially when one kiddo decides to give the Lazy Susan a fun spin. The buckets usually stay in place (notice I didn’t say always). And in case you were wondering, if you children attempt to use the Lazy Susan as a miniature sit-and-spin, they will crack (ask me how I know).

Homeschool Room

This is just one of the ways that we keep things organized in our schoolroom and it really has been such a huge help over the years. Take a tour of our entire homeschool classroom (video and pictures!) and see a how our schoolroom is laid out.

Color Coding Markers Homeschool Sanity Tip

Learn more about the simple color coding dot trick too – it’s a sanity saver for mom!

February Daily Planning Pages – Free Printable

Last year I started working on something for myself, and because I loved it so much, it turned into something that I wanted to share with you all!

Enter my daily planner.

Life gets busy and truthfully my brain just can’t remember it all. I’m a paper and pen kind of girl, and seeing my week laid out in front of me is so helpful in keeping things straight. Appointments in one place. Goals and reminders of ‘to-do’ stuff. I can pull it out, open it up to the week on hand, and get a great picture of what is happening.

Each week has its own two-page spread that lays flat. There is room to keep track of our daily appointments, weekly (or overall goals), make a weekly to-do list, list things I want to remember (maybe funny things the kids have said or done), and write down a short shopping list.

February Daily Planning Pages

The Month-at-a-Glance

The daily planning pages also includes a two page month-at-a-glance spread. These are the pages that I use to write down any major stuff first (trips, big events, etc…) and then do a rough meal plan (before I plug meals into my monthly meal planner).

Just for fun, I added quotes that I love to the month-at-a-glance pages too. It’s something little, but I love reading them!

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

The pages are all 8.5” x 11” in size, so they fit great in any standard binder. Personally I’m in love with this Martha Stewart binder and dividers – which is why you’ll notice the rainbow colors along the bottom of the calendar. Those are the primary colors in her collection. (Originally I made this into a half-sized binder, but really wanted more space to write and add to).

How I’m Using My Daily Planner

Here’s a peek at my planner so you can see how I’m using it.

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

The above is part of my January week – which is still missing a few things. I’ll admit that a huge lack of sleep (hello, puppy) is contributing to some fuzzy thoughts. Especially the time I need this as my ‘brain’.

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

My weekly to do list is just the running list of overall things that need to get done (I keep a longer list on a sheet of notebook paper in another section – until I finish up a cute printable for that!). My goals are broken down from my yearly overall goals. During January I’m trying to finish up a few books (need to get some of that book list knocked out).

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

There is always a list of things to do (I also have a list of projects that can be finished in 20 minutes or less). Every day I try to focus on THREE main things that need to be done and then work on other things. Those three are the ones that really need to be worked on at that point.

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

And pretty always helps out too. The (pretty) tabbed dividers are great for sectioning out different things that I want to keep handy: my cleaning schedule, meal planning, essential oil info, recipes, finances, and other important information.

Do you like it? I’m loving all the space and already have the entire year printed and ready to go – no excuses! I’m excited to have lots of planning space and the dividers give me room to add in some other areas later: finances, overall goals, recipes, essential oil learning, and more.

Download the February Daily Planning Pages

You can download the February Daily Planning Pages by clicking here. Each month I’ll be offering a free download for that month’s planning pages, so you can check back and download them as they become available.

Daily Planning Pages printable - free download for February. Also link to the FULL 2015 Daily Planner - get organized this year.

Add to Cart

 

If you like them and want to start planning out the rest of your year now, purchase the full 2015 Daily Planner for $3.99. The calendar runs from  January 2015 thru February 2016. It includes 14 month-at-a-glance pages and dated weekly pages through February 2016.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sponsor Thanks

We really appreciate the following companies. Many of these have been long time sponsors of Homeschool Creations and we are SO thankful for them – be sure to stop by their sites and check them out!

Teach Them Diligently Conventions are now open for registration! Speakers for 2015 include James Dobson, Barbara Rainey, and many others. Locations include Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA; Sandusky, OH; and Dallas, TX. Hope to see you at one of them!

Red Wagon Tutorials offers upper level science help for homeschool families worldwide. They specialize in downloadable, online live-feed, and online recorded science classes as well as digital e-Notebooks and Flash Drive presentations. Learn more about their 2014-2015 programs.

Does your child have a need to fidget or chew?  Chewigem has the discreet, FUNky solution to soothe these needs. Use code ‘gem10’ to save 10% during checkout!

Apologia offers a Christian worldview curriculum that kids will love. Featuring engaging stories, creative notebooking, and fun activities, this four-part series is presented in a conversational style that makes the study of God’s Word exciting and memorable.

Pipsticks provides sticker club subscriptions for kids, teachers, crafters, gift givers and kids at heart. Subscribe or give our gift sticker packs today.

Norm’s Farm features a line of farm-fresh elderberry products to help energize and support a healthy immune system. They are your one-stop shop for all things elderberry!

Freezer Cooking Labels Printable – Round 2 of Freezer Cooking (22 Meals!)

Over the last few months, our family has taken serious advantage of our first round of freezer meals. On busy days and nights, it has been such a HUGE help to be able to throw something into the crock pot and return home to a meal that is ready to go! Maybe you are wondering how this applies to homeschooling?  Some days we are home all day, but other days our lives can be just as hectic as every other mom on the planet – co-op time, sports practices, etc.  If it makes life easier, I’m game for trying it!

Since we are dwindling down to our last few freezer meals, it was time for another round of freezer cooking – our goal was twenty-one meals, and we each finished with twenty-two (a total of 44 meals between the both of us!) – not too shabby!

The freezer is now well stocked and super happy to have job security. (grins)

FREE Freezer Cooking Labels

FREE freezer cooking labels | homeschoolcreations.net


 

Before I share all of the meals that we worked on (a few were repeats from our last freezer cooking session), you might be interested in the freezer cooking labels that we used. To make life a little easier for myself, I put together some simple labels to stick on the front of each of our freezer bags and containers, and you can download them for FREE!

Freezer cooking label example

The freezer cooking labels give an area to write the recipe, the date the meal was made, directions for cooking/thawing, and serving suggestions. For my labels, I added side dishes that are also in the freezer (rice, buns, mashed potatoes, etc…).

Once the labels are filled out, use packing tape to stick them on Ziploc bags. For aluminum containers, wrap the container in tinfoil and put the label under a layer of saran wrap (rather than taping them to the package).

These labels are editable as well! You can either print them off as they are and write out your recipes, or you can type them in to save some time!

—> Download the Freezer Cooking Labels HERE <—

 

Freezer Cooking Recipes We Used

Freezer Cooking Labels and Recipes-5

Some of the many meals we made!!

There were a few recipes we used last time that we loved, so we included them in this round of freezer cooking. After some more digging in our cookbooks, recipes, and online, we found additional recipes to add to rotation. Several of the meals in this freezer cooking session are casseroles that we froze in metal pans, a few can be simply cooked or reheated in the frying pan, and the bulk will be cooked in our crock pot.

All in all – a total of 22 meals went to the freezer, and we had Sloppy Joes for dinner.

Freezer Cooking Labels and Recipes-1

Lots of food to prep – not including all the meat and fridge stuff!

Our main goal was to have meals that were ready to go when we pulled them out of the oven, crock pot, or pan – not just a main dish that needed boatloads of additional sides. It needed to be filling and require little additional work. The only thing that we both did ahead of time was cook 2 pounds of pork for the pork bbq – otherwise, all the cooking was done day of the freezer cooking session.

Overall, I think we did great on time, especially since we had to prep several of the meals separately because of a gluten allergy for my friend’s son. That meant washing dishes between cooking/prep, creating a few special gluten-free sauces, and just general goofing off. Pulling the 23 meals per person (46 meals total) took us a little over 6 hours, and that included most of the clean-up and packing/storing of meals, as well as taking care of a nursing baby. 

Note: several of the recipes called for cream of…. soup, so we created a cream base using chicken stock, heavy whipping cream, a mix of spices (a.k.a we threw in what tasted good), and thickened it with arrowroot powder – worked great!)

A Few More Quick Freezer Cooking Tips

Freezer Cooking Session 2-6

Freezer cooking is more fun with friends!

After sharing five freezer tips (and the 17 recipes we used last month), there were a few additional things we did this month that helped us this go-round.

  • Create a spreadsheet of recipes and links that you love. While many of the recipes we use are on my Pinterest Freezer Cooking board, this time my friend and I created a Google Spreadsheet to track the recipes that we were using. We divided them up into categories (beef, chicken, etc…) and were able to put a link to the recipe and make additional notes. It streamlined it for us since we were working together on the meals. She can edit/make changes to it as well, and it was a huge help for both of us.
  • Label bags and containers before you start! All of the cooking directions and serving suggestions were written ahead of time, taped to the bags, and ready to go. Made it so much easier!! While it would have been great to have them all stacked in prep order, our order changed a few times during the process – such is life!
  • Know your prep order when you start. We had a general idea of recipe order, so we were able to prep food as we went along. We tried to group similar meats and/or recipes together. Chilis were made in one batch. Simple to assemble was another. One of us worked primarily on assembling the meals, while the other diced, sliced, and peeled (I am ever-so-grateful for a friend who handles onions and smiles – while crying onion-tears).
  • Work with a friend. I can’t say that our cooking sessions have necessarily been faster (we may get distracted talking…ahem), but it really does make the day go by so much more quickly – and it’s a much more fun.
  • Wear an apron. Unless you are incredibly un-messy (I am not), you will be covered in many things throughout the day. Splashed with bacon grease or chicken juice (shudder to the chicken). You can’t quite see it above, but I L.O.V.E. my Flirty Apron (affiliate link) – it’s cute and has saved many an outfit.

See the Last Freezer Cooking Session Post

Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips for Busy Moms

A few months ago I shared five freezer cooking tips and the seventeen freezer cooking recipes we used. Hopefully it will be help to you!

 

Have you tried freezer cooking yet? (I promise, it’s worth it!) Share a link to a favorite recipe – I’d love to hear!


 


 

Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips for Busy Moms

Freezer Cooking Recipes and Tips for Busy Moms


 

In a huge preventative measure (and mom-sanity saver moment) for the upcoming busyness of fall commitments, a friend and I spent a little over six hours putting together 17 freezer meals each to use in the next few months. That’s seventeen meals that just need to be pulled out and either dumped into a crockpot, or thawed the night before and then quickly popped in the oven to finish. With the addition of a few meals that I doubled and froze this past month, we’ll have plenty to choose from. (Yay!)

Cilantro Lime Chicken freezer meal

Many of you saw my pictures on Facebook and Instagram and asked if I would share recipes. Ironically, I have very few pictures of our day spent cooking, but I can assure you the kitchen was a mess, we got a LOT accomplished, and our freezers are stocked.

While we were far from being super-efficient in our entire process (there was a nursing infant and kids running in and out and asking me to feed them things like lunch – those hungry kids), we really did get a lot done and the kitchen was clean when we were done.

(happy sigh)

And really – freezer cooking did take a chunk of our time, but it was so easy overall. And fun. But please don’t tell my hubby I had fun, ok? Let him think it was grueling labor.

Freezer Cooking Tips

In the meantime, here are a few tips to consider before you begin your freezer cooking venture.

1. Plan Ahead

In the few days leading up to our freezer cooking day, a friend and I went through our recipe books, looked at favorite recipes, and picked recipes that required minimal prep (both in the prep phase and when it came time to cook it) and ones our families would enjoy. I have a kiddo that dislikes rice, so we pulled as many potato or similar recipes that we could find. My friend has a son with Celiac, so we had to make sure recipes could be easily adjusted to fix gluten issues.

image

I used a simple notebook to write down recipes, ingredients needed, what we had on hand, and the order we planned to make the meals. Only after did I find these GREAT freezer cooking printables from Money Saving Mom set up almost exactly how I did my notebook planning.

(And psst – don’t plan to go grocery shopping the same day you want to do a major freezer cooking day. Cut yourself some slack and shop the day or two before.)

2. Start with a Clean Kitchen

Maybe the thought of cleaning up your kitchen pains you, but trust me. This was just a huge help in the process. All surfaces were cleaned off and ready to go before we started cooking and chopping. There wasn’t a need to move things around and figure out where to put things while our hands were covered in something.

3. Set up Stations

To make life easy on ourselves, we put all the ingredients we needed on the dining room table so we could find what we needed quickly. We also had an area where all the spices needed were already on the counter along with measuring spoons. Veggies and such were in a separate area and meat had it’s own counter space as well (to avoid any cross contamination). We also had an ‘assembly’ area where we put it all together.

Overall, that process helped out tremendously and one person could man a station during the put-together process.

4. Work in Phases

While it would have been great to cut, dice, chop and get it all done prior to assembling recipes, we had an infant on hand, kids running in and out, and also wanted to make sure all gluten issues were covered. We did try to group like recipes together (all pork, all beef, all chicken, etc…), did slice up all the peppers ahead of time, and washed potatoes and left them in the sink drainer to pull out as needed. We also browned the ground beef for a recipe before starting.

5. Clean a Little as You Go

Having piles of dirty dishes on the counter or in the sink didn’t work for us. We needed the sink to wash hands, and while I have a lot of dishes, there weren’t enough to cook on the level we did that morning.

The dishwasher was empty before we started cooking. We filled it as we worked, washed a few mixing bowls as we went along (again the gluten issue and contamination), and that helped out so much at the end when it came time for the final clean up.

Freezer Cooking Recipes

image

I’ve put together a Freezer Cooking Pinterest board with all the recipes I could find online to share with you. A few of the recipes we used were ones that I have in my recipe binder or ones that I’ve pulled together over the years, so I uploaded a pdf file with those for you (see bottom of the list). Here’s a peek at what we made (links where available).

Keep Track of it All!

Don’t lose some of those meals to the back of your freezer! Be sure to keep a running list and either stick it on the side of your freezer to cross off meals you use, or keep a list handy so you don’t forget.

Another huge help for me is using my master meal planner and also my monthly menu planner so that I KNOW what we have on hand. I am a huge fan of getting as much of my shopping done in one evening (with the exception of perishables) and planning meals ahead helps save me time in the long run.

FREE Freezer Cooking Labels

FREE freezer cooking labels | homeschoolcreations.net

You might be interested in the freezer cooking labels that we used. To make life a little easier for myself, I put together some simple labels to stick on the front of each of our freezer bags and containers, and you can download them for FREE and see our second round of freezer cooking 22 meals!

That’s it for now! Hope this has helped you some!

 

What are your favorite meals to freeze ahead? Have a freezer tip to share with readers? We’d love to hear!