Organizing & Time Management - Part 2

Our Command Center

As a continuation from this week's post, today I would like to post notes from the Time Management portion of my notes from a few years ago. Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines time as a particular portion or part of duration and manage is defined as to conduct; to carry on or to direct the concerns of something. Sometimes management involves training...either ourselves or others. One who has the conduct or direction of anything therefore would be a manager. From a Biblical lens then, women are exhorted to be 'managers' of their homes. How can this be accomplished? With effort, endurance and through the examples from others who do it...are good places to start.

As a participant this month's Organizing Junkies' "Command Central Round-up & Giveaway", I have posted a picture of our command center, so to speak. The kitchen is our gathering place and the refrigerator is one place that seems to be visited multiple times per day. :-) To make it easy for everyone in our family to know what is going on, I have utilized the front of the refrigerator to house a dry erase calendar and added sticky hooks to hold our various schedules, chore charts and menus. How does it work?

  • The dry erase calendar is color coded. I use one color for all appointments, a different color for school activities, another for fellowship gatherings, a fourth color for special occasion reminders (holidays/birthdays/anniversaries) and a fifth color for church events. This keeps us balanced with were we are spending our time during the month, so we aren't too heavy on one side or running too much. I also try to write one or two Scripture verses along the top of our calendar that relate to the month or virtue we are focusing on for the month...to help remind us about our purpose each day. (You could easily choose to assign a color per person in your family, if that works better for you...)
  • The other part of our 'command center' is the sheet protected schedules, charts & menus that are hung on the three ringed hooks next to our calendar (left of the picture above). I purchased the double-sticky hooks and affixed them right onto the front of the refrigerator. I then inserted the following forms into sheet protectors:

Morning Chore Chart - I created a 'table' on Microsoft Word with columns for Monday-Saturday along the top, then the name of each person in our family (minus dad...he works daily outside the home ) down the left side. Each person's row is color coded to make it easier to read and their assigned chore is listed in the box for that day.

Afternoon Chore Chart - The same 'table' was used as above, except with different chores listed for doing each afternoon.

Daily Schedule - This schedule was modeled after the "Managers of Their Homes" method of block scheduling. I love creating tables (versus spreadsheets) if you haven't guessed already and used the same concept as listed above...The far left column is designated for Time (half hour increments...our day begins at 6am and runs through 10pm) and then the other columns across the top are the names of each person in our family (once again, except dad who is working...although before & after work he is on our schedule doing various activities with our children). If you would like to see past examples of our chore charts or schedules, look for the article on that in my blog archives.

Menus - I have a monthly menu plan for breakfast (one page), lunch (one page), afternoon snacks (one page) and dinner. My breakfast menu is the same all month, different each day...meaning all Mondays are the same, all Tuesdays are the same, etc. Our lunch schedule is bi-weekly to allow a little variation. The afternoon snack menu is the same format as our breakfast menu to keep it simple. And finally, the dinner menu is based on a five week month. I planned Mondays to be crock pot or soup meals, Tuesdays a 'meat and potatoes' type of meal, Wednesdays are soups or quick meals due to leaving early for church, Thursdays are Italian, Fridays are Mexican and Saturdays are chicken or fish. Sundays are flexible due to church and/or leftover night.

All of these schedules, charts and menus are rigid in appearance - HOWEVER - are meant to serve as a guide. They are guides to accomplish the things the Lord has purposed for us to do...Don't be discouraged when there are days things don't run as clock work - REMEMBER - "man makes the plans, but God directs the path".

This is a list of some helpful websites and other resources you may want to visit which I have gleaned from in the past and recent days:
  • Managers of Their Homes ~ a wonderful Christian site by Steve and Terri Maxwell, authors of a book titled Managers of Their Homes...one that was instrumental to helping me learn to better manage our home and God-given responsibilities
  • Fly Lady ~ a site containing information on establishing routines, reducing clutter and gaining control of your house and home
  • Organized Home ~ a site where I have printed free forms to 'create' our Family Organizer notebook; also contains articles, tips and tricks for organizing, cleaning and family matters (printable forms for meal & party planning, various checklists, health & finance, etc.)
  • Donna Young ~ a site where you can print planner pages and other household forms; also has helpful forms for homeschooling & some curriculum lessons plans
  • Organizing Junkie ~ a site I recently discovered full of organization tips, posts from others with before & after pictures, meal planning and other helpful links

Realize that all systems need to be tweaked from time to time and it only works with diligence and consistency. Consider starting small if you have never tried to schedule or menu plan...if scheduling maybe make one from morning until lunch and start there. If menu planning, maybe start with one of the set of meals...breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Be encouraged in this...

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3

Organizing & Time Management...Are You Ready? Part 1



Over the summer, several years ago, I taught a class to several moms to help prepare their homes for the upcoming 'school year'. I used Scripture as my basis for these two topics of exhortation and gave practical tips and a list of resources for future reference. It seems to be around this time every year that we all need a little encouragement and reminder as to why organizing and time managing are 'friends' NOT 'foes'. I have pulled some of my class notes out and will post them as a means to hopefully encourage and exhort you to begin well, stay the course and reap a blessed harvest this new 'school year'. This post is to compliment the 4 part posts recently titled "Prayer, Planning and Preparations" as well as the post titled "Logs, Schedules, Charts and More". The pictures give examples of different storage and organization methods (click "storage methods" in the article below for further ideas/explanations).

We find direction in Scripture regarding these topics...Organizing and Time Management:

There is a time* for everything, and a season* for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

So teach us to number our days* that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

God is not a God of disorder*, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage* their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 1 Timothy 5:14

Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home*, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4-5

(* = my emphasis added)

ORGANIZING

We all strive for peace in our homes and organizing is a means to bring that peace...the blessing. We all have different personalities, preferences, gifts, families, circumstances...the list goes on and on. As with anything we read or learn, glean and apply what will be beneficial to our family based on our needs and abilities - BUT don't NOT do anything. It is important to start... :-)

  • Choose an area you want to organize and try to visualize what that area would look like when it is completed...all the items in that area would belong, have value or purpose and be easy to utilize. A key to having the orderly home you desire is 1) not having a lot of "stuff" and 2) guarding what you bring in to your homes...don't get rid of things and then allow more to come in.

  • Have available three boxes, bins or bags labeled as DONATE/SELL, THROW AWAY and PUT AWAY

  • Set a time limit for completing the sort process (5-15 minutes depending on the area)

  • As you are working on the area, try to keep that visual picture of what you desire that area to look like. BE DISCERNING in what items you keep. These items should be items you use and fit into your 'visually organized space'. DON'T keep something with the mind set that 'you might use it or wear it someday'. This is clutter and actually causes disorganization. It takes up valuable space and time! Having less really frees you to manage well, giving time to focus on your priorities: the LORD, your husband and then your children.

  • When you have sorted all the items, 1st take the TRASH items and put in the trash can...this will eliminate the temptation to analyze and pull things back out. Next, take the DONATE/SELL box to a different location...for the same reason. (I keep a couple blank donation forms handy from a local charity, so I can complete them for tax purposes as I gather things periodically...and plan to deliver those items as soon as possible.)

  • Now thoroughly clean the empty storage area: vacuum, wipe down with cleanser and put items that you have chosen to KEEP away in this clean area. Use storage methods that will help keep this area organized. ENJOY the freedom of having a clean, orderly area and reward yourself with time saved by spending 'couch time with your husband' or 'playing a game with the kids'!
A rational step from organizing to time management is to CREATE ROUTINES & GOOD HABITS. When habits are formed, less time is taken to look for things, re-do things and it allows your mind to focus on things of importance...menus, consistently placing items in their proper place (keys, shoes, papers, school work, supplies, etc.) and doing activities at the same time each day...which will lead us to the topic of scheduling (Time Management portion of Part 2 post).

Additionally, training and delegating tasks to our children not only allows them to learn valuable life skills but shows them they are important to contributing to the family's needs. Training comes BEFORE delegation, so they will know how to properly do the task given. "Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." This can be applied to training in the life skills they will need, as well as the Biblical virtues and theology necessary for Christian living. The virtue of stewardship of time and obedience with the right heart are valuable lessons that are coupled when learning to do a 'task'. Initial time invested will be a long time blessing!

I hope that this gives you an excitement to start on the road to organizing...one area at a time. Don't allow the big picture overwhelm you...break the area down into bite sizes and begin today.




Organizing Blog

Visit for more organization ideas and inspiration.

Mexican Lasagna

We tried a new recipe a couple nights ago...economical, quick and tasty. It is a fast spin-off of ground beef enchiladas, without some of the additional steps...always looking to save time. :-) I renamed it and tweaked it to suit our family, since it reminds me more of a layered lasagna. If your family likes Mexican dishes, this would be simple enough for young ladies (or the young men) to make for the family. :-)

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 2 Tbsp of jarred minced garlic)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Saute the garlic and onion together in the olive oil until translucent, then add ground beef and brown. Drain excess liquid.

Add to beef mixture (in the same large fry pan):
1 can of drained pinto beans
1 can of drained kidney beans
1 cup of frozen corn
1 small can of green chiles (I used mild - we don't like it too hot)
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder


Optional:

1 medium zucchini, diced
1 can of sliced olives

Cook on medium/low until the flavors have blended together...about 5-10 minutes. Stir thoroughly as cooking to ensure the corn cooks and seasonings are well mixed.

Additional items needed for layering:

2 or more cups of fiesta shredded cheese (Mexican or taco flavored cheese works well, too)
12 tortillas, large (although I believe we used 8, by cutting them in half to line the stoneware baking dish)
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce


Using a 9"x13" baking dish, pour the tomato sauce in and spread to cover the bottom. Lay 4 halved tortillas, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the pan over the tomato sauce. Scoop and spread half of the meat mixture over the tortillas and sprinkle 1+ cup of shredded cheese over the mixture. Repeat the layers, starting with remaining tortillas. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden. Cut into squares and serve with sour cream, salsa and/or corn chips.



Makes one 9" x 13" baking dish and served our family of 8 fine (3 adult eaters, 5 children). Approximate costs for making this meal is $1.50 per person. Double the recipe and have one for lunch the next day!

Other options for making this meal can include serving with a side of yellow rice or black bean soup, homemade salsa and Tostitos, or a green mix salad. If you have leftover yellow rice, just add it to the meat mixture when cooking...adds to the filling nicely. :-) I have included a few pictures to make you hungrier... :-) Adios!

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY AUGUST 17TH, 2009
Outside my window...it is overcast and relatively quiet in the neighborhood. The lawn is in much need of some attention - awaiting a young man to mow later today and do an extra thorough job of weeding and weed eating.

I am thankful for...starting school TODAY, which is going fairly smoothly in spite of some unplanned adjustments. :-)
From the learning rooms...ABeka 1st grade curriculum, Phonetic Zoo (spelling) for another child, silent assigned reading, puzzle time and one napping. :-) Much has been accomplished already - praise the Lord.
I am creating...the liquid laundry soap recipe and for dinner...slow-cooked beef tips with gravy over noodles with steamed broccoli and rolls.
I am reading...the Bible (Proverbs daily & James) and Babywise by Ezzo.
I am hoping...for continued smoothness as we adjust to new schedules, waking up on time and getting to bed early this week; a home project to be completed in the next couple of weeks to help with keeping order in our home and provide a little more usable space.
I am hearing...math recitations taking place with 1st grade ABeka and spelling words being spelled out loud.
A few plans for the rest of the week...simply staying on track to the best of our ability and according to the Lord's direction; taking an extended lunch later this week to attend a local homeschool support group's open house to hear a guest speaker and make a last minute curriculum purchase.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

The liquid laundry detergent recipe we made last night...curing as I type and I am hoping this will be another wonderful alternative to purchasing expensive detergents. This recipe was from a downloadable e-book found at Penny Raine's blog (it was free last month). Check it out - I'll try to comment later to let you know how it worked. If you are looking for a good powdered laundry detergent recipe, check out Two Strawberry Girls blog. I have used this recipe and was very pleased...thanks Lisa. :-)

Thank you Peggy for hosting this simple daybook. To read other Daybooks you may do so here.

Down By The Creek Bank Musical

Saturday night was the finale to VBS...a classic children's musical about Creation. The children were all so excited as they entered the sanctuary...bubble blowers, butterfly nets, fishing rods and camping gear in hand...skipping joyfully through the congregation until they all entered the 'creek bank set' on stage ready to sing the first song. Right on cue, the sound of praise coupled with hand motions began from ages 4 - 14... It was a sweet story line about our Creator God, enhanced with choruses and solos, playfully witty lines and the truth of Scripture throughout. The set was under a large tree, in front of a beautifully painted backdrop and all the camping gear one could need for this trip...not to mention the dock right at the waters edge! :P

(***Before viewing the promotion video or musical video clip, scroll down to pause the music playlist at the bottom of the blog, so you can hear the children and the music for each video.)

The promotion video was shown a few weeks ago on Sunday morning, which allowed the congregation a 'sneak preview' of what the children had been working on in July during the Amazon Expedition VBS on Wednesday nights.

The 30+ minute musical was a truth-based, fun-loving evening that concluded with a picnic for all to enjoy! My attempt at this little video snippet doesn't compare to the live presentation and sweet voices the children lifted up, but hopefully will give you a glimpse of this classical musical.

video

Praise be to God for all those who used their God-given gifts and served during this event...one body, many members.

Because of Him...By His Grace and For His Glory!

Back to School Beach Fellowship

Thursday, August 6th started out clear and sunny - a great day for a beach fellowship! However, the Lord had other plans. By the time we arrived over to the beach late afternoon, the storms had rolled in...the thunder rolled and the lightning was all over the place! Each family (some having been there for a couple hours already) loaded in the line of mini vans, cars, trucks and passenger van to wait out the storm and decide what to do next. Pizza anyone? It was the perfect solution - with the exception of dodging lightning bolts to get over to the quaint beachside pizzeria. :-) We (9 families) packed into the restaurant taking all but one table and ordered several pizzas...the owners were quite gracious...thanks Rocky! After tummies were filled and the storm passed (40 minutes later) we all headed back down to the beach for surfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, sand castles and ultimate Frisbee! It was a blast - from the littlest one year old to the parents (ages not necessary :P) - all enjoying the time of fellowship and play. Hope you enjoy the movie (just a few of the taken photos).

video

2 Years Ago Today...

Minutes young with our midwife after getting her first sponge bath

Kailynn's photo debut at one day young with Mom & Dad

Today is a very special day...our current littlest one's blessed birthday! How quickly time has flown - to think that at this time 2 years ago, I was in the beginning stages of labor, knowing that the time was imminent before we would actually meet and hold this precious little girl...her name was confirmed during pregnancy - Kailynn Faith - Kailynn meaning "pure" and Faith for what is stands for. She has been a vibrant, energized addition to our family. Counting our blessings this day as we celebrate the life the Lord has given her!


Cincinnati Zoo May 2008

Summer fun at the beach July 2009Remove Formatting from selection