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May Personal Planner Pages – FREE Printable

Ready for May? I am excited to share a few more pages from my yearly personal planner with you all. If you want to have a central place to keep track of your goings-on in May, feel free to share and download the May planning pages below.

Free May personal planner pages



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 May Personal Planner Pages

May Daily Planner

You can download the May 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.

Purchase the  Daily Personal Planner

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 Atlanta, GA; Sandusky, OH; and Dallas, TX. Hope to see you at one of them! (p.s. Nashville was amazing this past month!!!)

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.

Home Educators of Virginia 2015 Convention – Need refreshment and encouragement in your homeschool journey? Registration is now open for the 2015 Renew the Joy HEAV convention, held June 11-13, 2015 in Richmond, VA. You won’t want to miss the amazing speaker lineup, extensive vendor hall, and the used curriculum sale. Only $69 for the entire family to attend!

2015 Homeschool Buyers Guide – sifts through volumes of often-overwhelming homeschool information and breaks down the decision-making process into manageable bites. In about an hour you’ll gain valuable insights that answer your questions, provide direction and help you take the next steps.

WordUp! The Vocab Show is a zany new show teaching Latin and Greek roots, as well as hundreds of English vocabulary words. Utilizing a new approach to learning, WordUp! seriously expands a student’s grasp of the vocabulary used in literature, science, and standardized tests.

Reading Eggs  is the perfect program for homeschoolers, providing a comprehensive range of online reading lessons, activities and e-books that teach kids aged 3–13 the core literacy skills needed for lifetime reading success. Take advantage of our FREE 3 week trial and see how your child’s reading improves with Reading Eggs!

Don’t Miss The Daily To-Do List

Daily to do list free printable

My Daily To-Do List is pretty basic, but hopefully it will work for you too. There is an area to make a list of things to accomplish, household goals, appointment, meals for the day, and even a space to record exercise (oh – I crack myself up!) and water intake. Each page in the document is identical so you can print them off, cut the page in half, and have two lists. If you print them front to back, you’ll have four to-do lists and save a little paper.

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Meal Planning Can Be Easy – My Two Favorite Meal Planning Tools (and a Video Tutorial)

Sometimes people hear that I plan our meals a month at a time, and they get a little bit overwhelmed. I get that. It can seem like a HUGE task and make you just want to run and hide.

Meal Planning Tools

But what if I told you that it really doesn’t have to be all that complicated?Meal planning can be easy and in the long run, having a plan in place will save you so much time and energy (and who doesn’t like that?).

There are two meal planning tools that I absolutely love and use every single day – the Main Dish Menu Planner and the Monthly Menu Planner. If you have a few minutes to watch, I’d love to share a video on how I use them.  (Note: I’m going to have to redo the video tomorrow because I couldn’t tell it was so blurry – I’m sorry!)

Feed subscribers CLICK HERE to watch the video

The video pretty much sums up all of the below information, but if you prefer to read through and see pictures and links on how I set up our meal planning system, keep reading!

My Recipe Binder

Meal Planning Tools-10

This lovely specimen is a goldmine of recipes and all of our favorite go-to meals. Don’t you just LOVE the cover?

Confession: I almost started it on fire one night while cooking because I turned the wrong burner on and then couldn’t figure out what the smell was. Those are BURN MARKS on the front cover. Yep. I’m THAT savvy.

Meal Planning Tools-12

The inside holds two 4×6 recipe cards in each sleeve and then another two on the opposite side. I have one similar to this C.R. Gibson recipe binder and use these recipe pocket pages. It came with dividers and has been the perfect size!

Meal Planning Tools-15

When I find recipes from magazines or old cookbooks, I often cut them out and add them in on a piece of paper that’s been cut to size to fit in the binder. It’s really fancy, don’t you think? This has really helped cut down on all the endless magazines and recipes that I’ve printed off from online.

If we’ve tried a new recipe a few times and the family loves it, the recipe is either copied to a recipe card or added in to the blank pages. We still have a few cookbooks that are staples in the cabinet, but this is our main recipe binder.

The Main Dish Menu Planner

My Main Dish Menu Planner

{click on the image to get a peek at my meals}

To make my meal planning easier {and to remember all those little meals that tend to be forgotten}, I made a Main Dish Menu Planner for all of our favorite and go-to meals. Call me crazy. Call me over-organized.

Label me.

But I have a chart and it makes me happy. Oddly and pitifully so.

Meal Planning Tools-5

All the recipes that we use often ~ recipe cards, favorites from different books, etc… are sorted out by category in my planner {beef, chicken, pork, pasta, soups/salads, and other}. The list hangs on the inside of my cupboard door so when I plan meals I can just pull it out, go over the list, and plug things into our meal calendar.

You’d be surprised at how many meals you probably have in your stash already! Our chicken meals are crazy-ridiculous, but this is a great place for me to remember that we sometimes can have breakfast for dinner (because I forget things like that!).

———->  Download the Main Dish Menu Planner HERE.

The Monthly Menu Planner

monthly meal plan calendar

While I usually plug our meals into my weekly planner, being able to see everything a month-at-a-glance really helps me. I’m able to fit in our breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices by abbreviating things. For example:

  • B – Bagels
  • L – Sandwiches
  • D – Meatloaf & Salad

Meal Planning Tools-7

The Monthly Menu Plan hangs on our fridge in a page protector. If the kids want to know what’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – they can just nag check out the plan and phew – no more questions asked! Or then the whining begins because they don’t like what’s coming. Maybe that’s just my house.

And all those lovely blue spaces you see in the image above? They don’t show up when you print off the document, but the show the areas that you are able to type into and edit on the pdf document. The date boxes have been left blank so that you can fill it in based on the different dates/months each year.

You’ll have to open the file using Adobe Reader {you most likely already have it on your computer}. In order to use it over and over, just save your initial file as “Monthly Meal Plan Blank” and then use the ‘save as’ feature to save it under a different file name. I’m putting the dates in my file names so they will sort nicely and I can pull them back up later on {April 2015 Monthly Menu, May 2015 Monthly Menu, etc…}.

———>   Download the Monthly Menu Planner HERE.

Planning Meals for the Month

When I’m ready to sit down and plan out the meals for the month, I pull out the Main Dish Menu Planner from the cupboard, sit down with my recipe book, and start plugging in meals to the Monthly Menu Planner. I’m sure it will shock you to hear that our week has a typical schedule to make it easier for me to plan. It looks a little something like this:

  • Sunday: Popcorn
  • Monday: Beef
  • Tuesday: Chicken/Pork
  • Wednesday: Pasta / Crock Pot
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza
  • Saturday: Soups or something fun

Since the meals have been sorted by category in the Main Dish Menu Planner, it makes it SO easy for me to quickly ‘drop’ meals into the monthly plan. Once I’ve laid the month out, I go back to my recipe book and write out my grocery list. I put notes to know where to find the recipe (what book, etc…). Also, if the meal is one that freezes well, I note that too – in case I want to double up a meal or have a knack to go on a cooking spree if I have room in my freezer.

One thing that I LOVE about this method is I can also ‘recycle’ menu plans from past months. Once I have three or four different monthly meal plans, I don’t have to re-plan it all again! That way we’re not eating the same meals all the time. I can then rotate through the menu plans and copy/past and change the dates as needed.

 That’s a quick look at the meal planning system that has worked wonderfully for us over the years. Do you have a tip or help to share?

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Practical Homemaking Hope for the Tired Homeschool Mom

practical homemaking hope for the tired homeschool mom

How do you do it all? Isn’t that a question that we all ask – either about other moms when we see how beautiful or immaculate their house/kids/etc…appear via Pinterest and Facebook and begin comparing the piles of laundry and leftover dishes piled in our sink with crusted-on food. It can be downright discouraging.

Let’s face it – it is SO easy to get overwhelmed and feel like life is out of balance. Quickly! Many of us are just tired homeschool moms – looking for a glimmer of hope as we dig out from under the huge pile of laundry that threatens to swallow us whole.

That nagging ‘how am I supposed to do it all’ can really throw us for a loop, but first I need to put out a few disclosure: I desperately believe that we need to redefine ‘all’ to match what is reality – not expectation.

Maybe you are looking for a few tips on tightening things up around the house. Maybe life feels completely out of whack. Here are a few tips and resources that have been so helpful to me over the years – and ones that I need to remind myself of as well!

Know That You Can’t Do It All

No matter what you think, there is no mom that is doing it all. Everyone has different priorities and things that make their families unique. There are days in our home when we are lucky to finish the basics of school and have 3 meals. Housework may be pushed to the side for a day or two.

There definitely is something to be said for having an organization plan in place (routine or schedule), but remember – life happens. You need to know what your top priorities are and what is most important to you.

Pay Attention to How You Are Spending Your Time

While it seems intimidating, planning your day is something that can be done. Having a schedule or routine in place can help bring organization to your homeschool day and ensures that you are getting enough educational time each day as well. In the past I’ve shared our weekly routine and how I learned the importance of budgeting our time wisely.

Use Small Segments of Time to Your Advantage

A 20 minute time block is one of my favorite ways to get things accomplished. And truly, you all – 20 minutes can put a HUGE dent in a task that needs to be finished or started. It seems like a small amount of time, but it can break up something huge and make it more manageable. Maybe it’s tackling a larger project 20 minutes at a time. Or maybe that 20 minutes will be all it takes to get it DONE and off your list (and mind). The short time frame is also a great way  to stay focused, and then you can switch to a different task when that time is up.

Find an Organizational Tool You Love – and USE it!

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

I’m a paper and pen kind of girl, although my Google calendar has a part of my life too!  There are two things in my life that help keep me organized and give me an overall view of our year/month and then a look at the day-to-day of life: my Yearly Personal Planner and my Daily To-Do List.

These documents are a paper version of my brain and keep me focused on what needs to be done. I can prioritize a list and get working on it. I will admit that I have been known to add things to my list that I’ve already done, just so I can check it off (don’t judge – there is something wonderful in seeing what you have accomplished!).

Define ‘Clean Enough’

Our house isn’t white-glove ready (please don’t bring any with you). You’ll find spiderwebs, dust, fingerprints and more. I have in mind what is the bare minimum needed for rooms in our house. In our home we focus on the main living area (our busiest area and where we spend a lot of our time) and try to keep that picked up, while I let the kids have a little leeway (ok a LOT) in their rooms. My trigger areas are also kept up until deeper cleaning can be done. We tidy up those areas each night so we are ready to go the next morning. Kids rooms are supposed to be picked up some, but I’ve let go of perfection and they do a more full clean on weekends.

Delegate Work and Have the Kids Help

One thing that has definitely helped in house management is letting the kids be involved in tasks around the house. From the time they were young, we’ve included our kids in the cleanup process and given them responsibilities from wiping down tables and matching socks to washing/folding laundry and cleaning out the chicken coop.

There are some things they do just because they live in our house and are a part of a community – we all pitch in and help because we are a family. We make our beds, pick up after ourselves, put our dishes away, etc… You can get a closer look at our chore system here.

Plan Your Meals

I’ll be sharing more about this a little later this week (because you all have been asking!) – but taking the time to work on meal planning, even a week or two at a time, can be a huge time saver. There isn’t any rush at 5pm wondering what you can thaw in time for dinner, and that alone is worth it!

Freezer cooking has also been a huge help to our family in the busy seasons. It does take planning, but having meals ready to use is wonderful.

Pulling Your Homeschool Time Together

As homeschool moms, keeping everything in order with the house can be hard because we are teaching in the same space we live. Here are a few additional tips for keep

  • Do school when it works for you – there is nothing that says you have to start school at 8:30 am. If your family sleeps in each morning (I may be jealous!!), work on school in the afternoon. Or Saturdays.
  • Teaching Kids Together – We have several subjects that we work together on to help save time and my sanity – history, science (for two), Bible, and art for a few. While the kids are all learning things on different levels, it has been a great time for us to work together.
  • Help kids become independent learners – As our kids get older, the goal has been for them to do subjects more independently. In the younger years subjects are more 1:1, but each year they can add a little more to do on their own. With our oldest two (grades 6 and 8), the bulk of their subjects are independent during the week. At the beginning of the week we go over what they need to cover that week and work on and later in the week we sit down together to review.

The Homeschool Basics series has many posts covering helpful topics from choosing homeschool curriculum, planning your homeschool day, to homeschooling multiple ages.

Take Time to Rest!

couch and resting

One of the best additions to our daily routine in the last two years has been REST TIME. Yes, our oldest is 13, but really truthfully, this (almost) daily time has added more margin in our lives and brought peace to our day. During this time the kids (for the most part) have to stay on their beds, can sleep, play with Legos, read, listen to audiobooks, etc. This just helps bring a time of calm to the day – and a break in any fighting (grins).

For me – this is NOT a time to work. It’s literally a time for me to make myself a cup of tea, sit down and read my Bible, do devotions if they haven’t been done, read a book for growth or fun – but just to relax and not be ‘doing’ something. So – for ½ an hour to an hour we try to unplug and just BE.

Those are just a few tips in helping keep things sane around the house. Again – remember moms (and dads) – there is no home that has everything remarkably together. We all have different priorities, involvements, and family lives. I’d encourage you not to compare what is happening in your home to another’s home. It’s always great to learn new tips and implement things that may help our process run more smoothly – but don’t beat yourself up, especially if you are in a season of life that requires more of you as a momma (hello, newborns!) or there are situations out of your control.

Hang in there! You CAN do this homeschooling thing and get things done! Know what is most important to you and your family and focus on that above all!

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April Personal Planner Pages ~ FREE Printable

I’m so excited to share a few more pages from my yearly personal planner with you all. If you want to have a central place to keep track of your goings-on in April, feel free to share and download the April planning pages below.

Free April 2015 personal planner pages

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 April Personal Planner Pages

April personal planner pages

You can download the April 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.

Purchase the 2015 Daily Personal Planner

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 Atlanta, GA; Sandusky, OH; and Dallas, TX. Hope to see you at one of them! (p.s. Nashville was amazing this past month!!!)

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.

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!

WordUp! The Vocab Show is a zany new show teaching Latin and Greek roots, as well as hundreds of English vocabulary words. Utilizing a new approach to learning, WordUp! seriously expands a student’s grasp of the vocabulary used in literature, science, and standardized tests.

Noodle helps you find tutors and tutoring services and programs near you. Whether online or in-home, for math or for reading, you’ll find a match to help.

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

Don’t Miss The Daily To-Do List

Daily to do list free printable

My Daily To-Do List is pretty basic, but hopefully it will work for you too. There is an area to make a list of things to accomplish, household goals, appointment, meals for the day, and even a space to record exercise (oh – I crack myself up!) and water intake.

Each page in the document is identical so you can print them off, cut the page in half, and have two lists. If you print them front to back, you’ll have four to-do lists and save a little paper.

Share and Enjoy

Daily To Do List – Daily Docket Printable

I’m a list girl – I’ll admit it. While I try to keep things in my brain and remember them, inevitably I forget them if they aren’t written down on a piece of paper somewhere.

Daily to do list free printable



And I also like pretty. And practical. I’ve had a list that I’ve used over the years, but when I created my yearly personal planner – well, I wanted it to match the colors of my new planner. (It’s the little things, people…) Keeping it all to myself seems unfair, because I happen to know a lot of people that like making lists as well and also enjoy cute.

There are days that I’m rather over-ambitious, so I have plenty of room on my list to add things throughout the day. I have also been known to put something on my list that wasn’t there to begin with and then crossing it off (ahem). Some days we just need to feel like we accomplished something and every little bit helps!

Daily to do list daily docket

The to do list is pretty basic, but hopefully it will work for you too. There is an area to make a list of things to accomplish, household goals, appointment, meals for the day, and even a space to record exercise (oh – I crack myself up!) and water intake.

Each page in the document is identical so you can print them off, cut the page in half, and have two lists. If you print them front to back, you’ll have four to-do lists and save a little paper. (Note: if you are having trouble downloading the file or printing it off, leave a comment or email me and I can send it to you).

I print mine off front/back so I can flip it over when I’m done and quickly transfer things from one list to another – because there are always things that don’t get done.  Just wanted to pass along something that is working for me!

—–> Download the Daily to-do List HERE <—–

Curious – are you a paper and pen girl (or guy)? Or do you have a favorite tool for keeping track of things you need to do?

If you’d like to use my older to-do list, feel free to grab that here.

image

* clip art from lovelytocu via Etsy

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