Wednesday, January 30, 2008

my household binder

i have always been enamored with household binders. for the past few years, i have used one i created but found its size cumbersome so i never used it to its full potential after creating it.

recently, i found a blog where someone had created a half sized version of it. i tossed the idea about for a few weeks...should i invest the time needed to create many half sized pages or stick to what i had started? after agonizing over it, i threw caution to the wind and took the plunge. i spent $5.50 on the binder and $3 on a pack of full sized tabs which i took home and cut down.

i created 9 main sections (i may add more later) using these tabs:

general planning is divided into the months. each month has a monthly calendar and my own weekly to-do creation based on this full sized one. there is space on the back of the monthly to write my goals for the month which is nice.
my to do list pages
meal planning consists of:
-my shopping list page that i created
-a page with a list of entrees, sides and starches for reminders on what we like to eat and to provide a variety of choices
-a menu calendar (basically a blank calendar that i can write in meals for each day. i also write in if someone won't be home for dinner ie. older kids at their dad's/mom's, greg at a meeting, etc.)
-4 sub-sections full of recipes: entrees, breads, sweets, sourdough
-master pantry list (a list of staples we have on hand at all times)my shopping list pages that can be cut off as needed

household info:
-8 zone sub-sections: my focus cleaning for each week. i rotate through each zone each week so each zone is hit every 2 months. they are: kitchen/basement entry/closet, dining room/downstairs toilet/front and back porch, playroom, living room, stairs/hall/upstairs bath, our bedroom, kids bedrooms, basement
-seasonal chores, reminders of what to do when
-storage info to remind me where i stash the off season clothing. believe me, i need this
-kids master chorelist, a list of what all they can/should do

-quick find list of important numbers and account numbers if applicable such as boiler repair guy, utilities, doctors, schools, savings accounts, etc.
-address book
-directions to seldom traveled to places (homeschool meeting locations, fellow goat people, long distance relatives that get visited once a year)
-b-day/anniversary list
-book/dvd wish list for rentals and purchases
-holiday gift idea/purchase/made list

-goals for the year
-wish list/need list (great for garage sales and thrift shops)

-account info
-egg and milk sales

emergency preparedness:
-first aid info
-emergency prep info: 72 hour kits, meal kits, etc.

-campling check list (we take the same things every year and every year i wish i had one of these)
-housesitter info
-vacation spot ideas/things to do and see
-vacation menus/recipes (we always camp when vacationing)
-food checklist (tried and true snack foods for the trip to/from as well as what to buy to use for cooking the above menus/recipes)

all the pages i created are on half sized paper. i just cut it with a paper cutter and then put it in my printer. i've been decorating the tab pages with cut outs from magazines that i got at the library book sale for 10 cents each. i'll post more finished pages as i get them done.
my kitchen zone section cover. i added a loaf of bread at the top...

so that's it in a nutshell. it is not completed yet but i've got the main portions done that are used daily. i'm finishing up the zones and then i'll head on to the other sections.

i think the reason why i like this size better is because it is like a day timer i used to use in my working days. it's small enough that it fits into my bag and light enough too.

i plan to find some lovely fabric to sew a cover with handles. that should be hard to decide on!

ps. diyplanner has some planner pages for half sized (classic) binders.

posting frenzy

trying to catch up on posts....see below

2007 goal review

long overdue, my 2007 goal review.

-make all gifts & cards throughout the year
-hold a yard sale
-grow hay and grain for animals (so-so on this goal. we harvested some hay but not what i had hoped for
-purge all items two times (made it through 1 time)
-make items to sell at (didn't happen)
-focus more on preparedness (in progress)
-rain barrels (didn't happen)
-upload photos to snapfish and print (didn't happen because computer crashed and all photos were on that computer)
-write herb class for babies/kids (didn't happen)
-contribute articles to herbal magazine (at least 3) accomplished it twice
-start writing book (didn't get far)
-root cellar (didn't happen)
-bigger hoop house this fall (we found a cheap-o greenhouse which sucked and blew apart before summer)
-spend better time with the kids
-family game night once a week (happened for about half the year)
-start rent-a-chick program
-give the kitchen a face lift & make it central part of house (still in progress, waiting for wainscot to be installed)
-rebuild herb spiral and add water pond filled in, will try again next year
-paint dining room and install chandelier
-sew my own clothes (made quite a few things)
-preserve more food (didn't happen)
-build 3 more raised beds (didn't happen)
-move upstairs rooms around br/>
-be a better person, more respectful, cheerful, caring (i think i made progress on this)

2007 wasn't very goal friendly. this was mostly due to having sage around.


caleb's section: the stars represent the chore is done

jaden's chore section. mostly in picture form since she can't read yet. also, the purple tag marks the day of the week since she doesn't know them yet.

here it is in all of its glory. i have it divided into 6 sections: 5 for kids and 1 for my spare parts section. right now, it's a bit rough. sage doesn't utilize his section since he is only 17 months and would rather eat the tags than flip them over. plus, he doesn't really do any chores at this point.

the tags are comprised of several different pieces:
-white tags that say in either words or pictures what the chore is on one side and have a star or smiley face on the other side. kids flip them as they do their chores;
-red tags represent pay the maid/chef/waitress/etc. if someone doesn't do their chore and i do it for them
-green tags represent computer time: complete all available chores in a given day correctly and they get 30 minutes of computer time to be used that day or saved up
-yellow tags represent 'checked by mom' meaning i noticed a chore wasn't done right. chore must be redone or they lose their green tag for the day
-blue tags represent extra chores done. right now, this is only for my 10 year old daughter. she is a big harry potter fan and has become highly motivated to do additional chores to earn some cash to buy some harry potter stuff. she can earn up to $2.50/week. it's a win-win situation: she does some of my work which makes my day easier and gets money to save up towards buying the golden snitch

so far, so good! i don't have to remind them what needs to be done, they can see it on the board and do it.

winter goals

my winter goals are a bit more haphazard. i am still stumbling around, trying to get back on track. i have been very contemplative about my role in life and my purpose for inhabiting this earth. lots of attitude adjusting for myself has been in progress which i think is overall improving my moods and ability to get things done.

-revamp binder (stay tuned for posts and pictures on this endeavor)
-build choreboard and put into action
-plan this year's garden
-sort seeds and order anything needed
-paint playroom and hang up world map
-order bee equipment
-check into purchasing commercial pet feed license to sell raw goat's milk
-work out details for chicken share (we raise meat birds and everyone interested pays for their share and helps butcher when they are grown and gets to take home their own birds

autumn goals

i fell behind on updating my goals for autumn and forget about winter! i am hoping to get back into the swing of things. i haven't been on the computer much lately due to an overactive toddler who is into and onto everything he can be. i'm waiting for the day i walk into the kitchen and find him on top of the refrigerator or at the top of the pantry shelves. i only slightly jest about this.
busted! attempting to destroy what's left of our thermostat

anyway, a rundown of autumn goals:

-find doors for kia so it can be repaired still searching
-pot up annual plants/herbs and bring inside
-3 lessons (actually 9) of unit 2 in rosetta stone no such luck, this is on a back burner for now
-finish working on plans for garage renovation (to become my apothecary)
-decide if i want to start michael moore's correspondence course or do online nursing classes (i think i'm going to lean towards nursing right now to get a better idea of how the body works) neither right now, i'm doing home study
-look at some more suburbans (we desperately need a vehicle to haul the 8 of us) waiting on finances to afford this goal
-start getting back into focus in my life
-solstice gift list (ugh, i am so not into it this year)
-herb seed/plant shopping list

so, as you can see, now very productive on the goals for autumn! hopefully, what's left of winter will be more productive...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

word for 2008: organize

this year i'm vowing to organize my home. some websites i have found inspiring:

organized home - i find the cleaning master list especially helpful
rockin' granola - love her household binder!

i am also tweaking my household binder. i removed the homeschool section to its own binder. i want to make an 8 week focus clean rotation section so each week i focus on one area (this week is kitchen) and i do tasks in that room that don't get done daily or weekly (clean inside fridge, dust ceiling fan, straighten shelves, etc). rockingranola rotates her pages each week so the current week is on top. i like that idea.

i am in search of martha stewart's homekeeping housebook to purchase for cheap as i have really enjoyed reading it for great cleaning tips. gotta love martha!

hopefully, i'll be able to organize the garden/canning better this year since sage is getting older. on my january to-do list is to make a list of vegetables/fruits we eat and figure out how i can up the production of them so that we buy less from the grocery store and farmer's market. i need to get our grocery bill down.

i want to make a list of things i can make (and have in the past) and start making them again such as tortillas, bread, yogurt, cheese, etc. we buy too much that can be made and i feel like it's pure laziness that has kept me from doing it.

i plan on writing out my 2008 goals soon. i just haven't had the desire to be online much and it seems when i am online, i'm juggling nursing babies which makes it hard to type (part of this post has been typed one handed).

i also would like to make a list of healthy snacks that are quick and easy to make that i can post on the fridge so that when we get the munchies, we are not reaching for cookies (which are not in the house often) and my weakness of sundrops (organic m&m's) and almonds. i'd like to cut out snacking on the sugar bombs. i love those coconut/date bars from trader joe's. i need to recreate them as they are very sweet and help cut that craving when i have it.

the biggest challenge is to actually refer to the binder. i'm a bit lazy about dragging something out and cracking it open. i hope to designate my kitchen table as the binder location so i can always have it open for reference. currently, the 3 things i use the most that stay on the side of the fridge are my monthly calendar, my weekly to do sheet from and my monthly menu calendar that i created for myself. i think by redesigning it and putting in things i need to have nearby (stain remover care sheet, commonly used recipes, menu choices, weekly focus checklists and schedules, etc) i will use it more often.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

januray blog party: kitchen spices - discover the medicine chest in your spice cabinet

a lot of people become intimidated when it comes to herbs because they don't know where to start. most are familiar with the more commonly used ones such as echinacea and st. john's wort but what a lot of people don't realize is that they have a whole arsenal of medicinal herbs in their spice cabinet: garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, fennel, dill and anise seeds, lemons and turmeric are a great start. pull out some salt, vinegar, olive oil and honey (raw) from your cabinet and you've got the makings of a first aid kit worthy of treating winter ailments! throw in some vodka or brandy and you can make a full spectrum of herbal remedies.

garlic: natural antibiotic, broad spectrum which body/germs don't build a resistance to allowing it to be used over and over again. useful for helping to fight off bacterial infections, earaches and other wintertime ailments such as strep throat. can help to reduce span of illness. best raw (but take in small doses as it can irritate in large). can be heated in oil to make eardrops or infused in honey and eaten to help with sore throats, etc. tinctured in brandy or vodka, it can be taken as needed (15-30 drops at a time depending on body size) to help.

to use in oil: crush garlic cloves, place in double boiler with olive oil and gently warm for 2 hours. strain and add a few drops in both ears to treat earaches and infections.

to use in honey: crush garlic cloves, place in mason jar of preferred size and fill with raw honey. allow to steep for at least 1 month. eat a spoonful as needed. the cloves can be eaten too.

rosemary: rosemary essential oil has been tested for use in effective against colon, breast and lung cancer with promising results. it is an antiseptic and is great in tea form. it can smooth the muscles of the digestive tract, helping to calm stomach cramps as well as menstrual cramps. as an infusion, it relieves digestive problems, relieves cold symptoms, and helps as an expectorant.

thyme: great for the respiratory system. thyme is excellent for coughs and sore throats. it has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. it can be used externally as a wash to cleanse wounds. it makes a pleasant tasting tea and is helpful for bronchitis and whooping cough/pertussis. when our family was going through whooping cough this summer, a tea containing thyme was drank in copious amounts to help.

sage: a sage/salt water gargle for sore throats. it is also known as a diaphoretic which means it will increase perspiration. use with caution if breastfeeding as it can decrease the milk production (helpful if mama needs help with adjusting her milk flow though).

fennel, dill and anise seeds: great for digestive problems. seeds can be chewed before and after meals to help settle the stomach. a tea can be made and drank during meals to help with digestion as well.

lemons: an excellent form of vitamin c. a drink made from 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon of honey and 8 oz. of hot water helps to soothe a sore throat. when lots of mucus is present, oranges should not be eaten because they can increase the amount of mucus in the body. lemons provide a great source of vitamin c w/o increasing the mucus.

turmeric: excellent when used in a honey paste for sore throats.

turmeric/honey paste: mix equal amounts of honey and turmeric well and eat. i start with 1 teaspoon of each. after about 3 doses (usually taken w/in an hour) i have always had much relief. this is the first thing i reach for when my throat feels scratchy.

salt: add to water or herbal infusion to make a gargle for sore throats. heat in a pan on the stove and place in a handkerchief (tie opposite corners together tightly to keep salt from leaking out) and place on aching ear for extra soothing power when using garlic oil drops.

vinegar: herbs can be infused in vinegar and added to salads to help with calcium absorption. any herb can be used to increase health benefits as needed.

olive oil: infuse herbs by crushing herbs and adding with olive oil in a double boiler and slowly infusing over low heat for a few hours (or placing in a mason jar and setting in the sun for 2 or 3 weeks). oil can be used as a massage oil to relieve muscle cramps, rubbed on the stomach to relieve stomach cramps, ear drops to relieve ear aches, ear infections and swimmer's ear (infused with garlic or onions) or combined with beeswax to make a salve.

honey: honey in itself has terrific medicinal powers. infusing herbs in it can make herbal medicine yummy, especially for little ones who aren't so crazy about herbs. it can be made into a syrup by combining 1 part herbal infusion to 2 parts honey, warming briefly on the stove to combine and bottled. add 1/2 part brandy to help preserve and store in the refridgerator. pastes can be made by adding equal parts of honey and powdered herbs. adding more herb can make a dough that can be rolled into balls and and dried.

these are just a brief synopsis of herbs that you can find in your kitchen that can help with ailments. try googling some herbs in your cabinet by typing the word 'medicinal' and the herb to see what you can come up with. you will be amazed at what you can do with what you've got! also, check out my fellow bloggers for all of their wonderful posts on the same topic:

shamana flora discusses turmeric in detail

herbwifemama speaks of the joy of thyme

dreamseeds shares a great overview of various spices as well

kiva rose has a wonderful post on bee balm

crabapple herbs
has a thorough post on cinnamon

i'll be updating this post as others also contribute their entries for this months party. feel free to join in!
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