organized meal planning

Organized Meal Planning

The following is a guest post from Jennifer Dempsey, Food Expert, from The 29 Minute Mom.  Meal planning is one of those things that I personally want to get better at so I am SUPER excited that Jennifer is going to be my new personal meal planner! Why not let her be yours too?  All we have to do is check in with her every Sunday and she will do all the work for us.  I am so in on this one!

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get better with menu planning then we’re here to help! Every Sunday starting January 1st we’ll be featuring family friendly meal plans that are easy, healthy and ready in 29 minutes or less! What we love about our meal plans is they feature delicious recipes from around the web that are not only easy to prepare but everyone will love! Each week we will feature 5 recipes including links to the recipes so you can easily print and save. All you need to do is print the recipe and decide what day you want to make it!

So you might be thinking why are we only featuring 5 recipes instead of 7? Good question! After years of meal planning and thinking I had to plan a meal every single day I realized I was wasting food, primarily leftovers because I felt I needed to cook a new meal everyday. I quickly learned that you don’t have to have every day planned. I like a little flexibility in my schedule because let’s face it schedules change, things come up and most importantly leftovers happen. If I can get two meals out of one I’ll take it! It’s a total timesaver!

So you definitely have to have room in your meal plan for change. That’s why the meal plans I design are not based on the day of the week but just a meal for that week. Make it on Monday, Wednesday or Sunday. You choose. The point is to have 5 recipes ready to go for the week and the ingredients on hand so you can prepare them any night of the week. And if leftovers do happen, try not to recycle it the next day on the menu. Wait a day so there isn’t burnout.

Also, consider freezing leftovers. If you make a big pot of chili instead of eating it five days in a row freeze some so you have it on hand to incorporate in another weekly menu on one of those off nights. Plus, it totally saves you time in the kitchen from making dinner! Casseroles are perfect freezer meals too. When possible I’ll make one and freeze one to pop in the oven on a busy weeknight. Typically I know ahead of time if I’m going to incorporate a freezer meal in my menu planning so it helps with planning. I also usually use them within a month, two at the latest.

I know meal planning can be a daunting task but honestly you should spend no more than 29 minutes a week planning your weekly menu. And that’s why we’re hear to help! 

For tips to help you with your meal planning and to listen to the podcast about meal planning click on the image below:

How to Get Organized in 2017!

how to get organized

Do you want to learn how to get more organized in 2017?  

I am calling all of you that need a little boost in the organization department to commit to the 2017 Organize Now Challenge.

How does the 2017 Organize Now Challenge work?

  • 1. Listen to the podcast.  Every Friday I will be on The 29 Minute Mom Podcast.  There are 3 different ways to listen:
    • Click play on the podcast episode from the website
    • All podcasts will be posted on the Facebook page
    • Subscribe on iTunes (just click the link and hit “SUBSCRIBE”
    • Subscribe to the Organize Now mailing list and the podcasts will be sent to your inbox
    • Note: you can listen to the podcast any day after it goes up on Friday. So pick a day that is convenient for you.  However, we did plan Fridays in hopes that you could get that particular organizing task done over the weekend.  Some tasks will take you longer than others so I recommend that you go at your own speed.
    • In the podcast I will share some of the steps and tips that I cover in the book along with tons of inside knowledge and motivation!
  • 2. Follow along with the book.  I have written out checklists for each area we will organize in the book.  So for example if one week we are covering “How to Organize Your Kitchen Cupboards” the book has a step by step guide written out for you.  It also has a list of how to maintain that area throughout the year (maintenance is KEY my friends).  You can find the book anywhere books are sold including:
  • 3. Ask your questions during the Facebook live videos.  Facebook videos will be posted on the 29 Minute Mom Facebook page.  Dates and times for videos will be posted as we go.
  • 4. Join our private Organize Now Challenge Group on Facebook.  There you will be able to interact with others on this quest to get more organized.  It is also a great place to share ideas, ask questions, get inspired and receive support!

Some of ways the 2017 Organize Now Challenge will change your life:

  • You will learn how to purge things that you don’t love or use.
  • You will be able to find homes for the things you are keeping.
  • Your home will be simplified.
  • You will waste less time looking for things.
  • You will save money because you won’t buy things you already own.
  • Your mind will become clearer and it will become easier to focus on other goals.
  • You will start to feel proud of the home you have created.
So I hope you have decided to commit to getting more organized!  I think this format will be perfect not only for teaching but to offer support to each other.  I mean who doesn’t like some extra motivation when you decide to reach a new goal, right?
I am here for you! I am telling you 2017 is YOUR year! No more wondering what it would be like to have an organized home and an organized life.  This can be your reality!
 
Join me! Learn how you can live your dreams instead of your things!
Would you like to win a FREE, SIGNED copy of the book?  Here is how you can enter:
  1. Share this post on your social media accounts along with #organizenow2017
  2. Answer this question in the comment section below:  What chapters in the table of contents do you want to focus on the most in 2017?
I am so excited to go on this journey with you!
 
Jennifer Ford Berry
stay calm and organized during the holidays

5 Ways To Have a Calm and Organized Holiday Season

Christmas is by far my most favorite time of the year.  I love the feeling of celebration, love and hope that we should be experiencing.  It is sad when I talk to other moms that don’t feel the same way.  I think our society needs to be careful before all of the Christmas magic is sucked out! It is being replaced with over the top gifts that create debt and families that are so caught up in their individual selfish desires that they forget the point is to create memories together!  If we are not intentional with how we spend our time this month we will feel depressed and let down when it’s over.

I try not to get too overwhelmed with the details of the season.  It really helps me to start early so that I am more present when the holidays arrive. This also give me more time to do the things that bring me joy when the season is in full swing.

I have to admit I become a little obsessed with the Hallmark channel this time of year.  I love to take it a step farther by attending real life holiday events that make me feel like I am living in a Hallmark movie.  There I said it!  (please don’t judge me)

But seriously, when I was a kid I cherished the traditions that we did every year and my kids are now the same way.  If I am stressed out, overwhelmed and too busy getting things done I will miss these very important memories.

I think being proactive with organization and not procrastinating is the key to getting the most out of the holiday season.

Here are 5 ways to stay calm and organized during the holidays:

Be Intentional

Grab your calendar and spend a little time reserving time in your schedule for the things that matter most to your family. 

What activities do you want to do together?

Who do you want to see and spend time with this year?

When will you get your shopping done?

What traditions do you want to continue?

Make Card Sending Easy

I absolutely love receiving holiday cards in the mail, especially ones with photos!  It warms my heart to see pictures of our friends and family in the mail during November and December!  However, over the years I feel like less people are taking the time to keep up with this tradition.  It could be the money it costs but I also think it is because people 1) don’t plan ahead 2) over think!

There are ways to make this tradition easy:

Don’t over think the card or photo, it doesn’t have to be perfect

Create an excel sheet of addresses that will print labels. You can reuse every year.

Use return address stickers or have the address printed on the envelope.

Create your card on a website that will mail them for you.

Decorate & Purge Decor At The Same Time

The perfect time of year to clean out your holiday decoration is while you are decorating!  Nobody wants to look at the Christmas decor in July!  So while you are looking at these items decide what you don’t want.  I will give you a hint: the decorations left in the bottom of the bins are the ones you don’t love.  If you loved them then they would be displayed. Let them go now and save storage space the rest of the year!

Clean and Label the Bins

Now that you are finished with your decorating and have removed the items you no longer love or use, your bins should be nice and empty.  This is the perfect time to wipe them out and label them.  I don’t know about you but I am always more excited to pull out my decor then pack it away. I like to have the bins ready to go so I can just toss it all back in after the holiday season.

Pinterest Pantry Prep

It is a good idea to stock up on ingredients and snacks that you will need on hand during the holiday season. Here is one of my favorite holiday tips to share with you: spend about 20 minutes on Pinterest and pick one or two easy recipes that you can make for all holiday parties or gatherings you get invited to.  Save it to your board and make a list of all the ingredients you will need.  Next time you go grocery shopping stock up on these ingredients.  This will not only save you time running to the store it will take the guess work out of making something next time you receive an invitation.

Happy Holidays!!

Jennifer Ford Berry

maintain your sanity during the holidays

Holiday Sanity: How to Not Loose It During the Holidays

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. For some it can also be the most stressful. Holiday sanity might even sound like an oxymoron. Trying to get everything done from baking, shopping, Christmas cards, and going to holiday parties can get overwhelming! We know!

If the holiday season totally stresses you out then this podcast is for you! In Episode 5 we chat about ways to maintain your sanity during the holidays. From doing Christmas cards NOW to not having to go to every holiday party will help you find time to just sit back and relax with a hot cocoa and watch the Hallmark channel because we all know there’s nothing better than cuddling up on the couch watching a good Hallmark Christmas movie!

In this episode
  • Creating and sending your Christmas Cards now!
  • You don’t have to go to every holiday party.
  • Easy holiday recipe and cooking tips.
  • Enjoy the holidays without stressing that your house is messy.
  • Wrap as you buy!

So pour a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy Episode 5 of The 29 Minute Mom – Ways To Maintain Your Sanity During The Holidays!

Click Play!
Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes! 

Jennifer Ford Berry

As a Friend, Are You the Driver or the Passenger?

driverpassenger

Friendships take work, much like a marriage.  Part of that work is making time to spend with each other.  We were not made to walk this earth alone.  God created us to be in relationship with other people.  Women especially were made for this and were given a desire to spend time with others talking, laughing, sharing and connecting.

Lately I have been wondering if women know if they are the driver in a friendship or the passenger.  I think women tend to fall in one category most of the time or the other.  We ALL feel very busy and at times overwhelmed with just keeping up with life’s basics: the cleaning, cooking, laundry, work, driving the kids, maybe a spouse and SO much more.   Sometimes women just feel too darn tired to add another thing to their plate!  They FEEL like they don’t have the time. But the truth is we all have the time, actually the same amount of time…it is how we use that time that will determine what kind of life we are living.

When you look at your relationships with friends would you say you are more of the driver or the passenger? Now I am not talking about all of your friends or acquaintances I am speaking only of the women that you would consider your closest or best friends.

The Driver:

-Intitates most of the planning.

-Makes the majority of the calls.

-Loves to entertain and practice hospitality.

-Is a social and outgoing person.

The Passenger:

-Not as interested in entertaining but still loves to get together if they get invited.

-Friendships are important but not at the top of her priority list.

-May feel that she is not sure what to plan or feels she is not good at making the plans.

-Most of the time is just along for the ride meaning that she will go wherever her driver takes her but usually waits to get “picked up” instead of “offering a ride”.  This is all figuratively speaking of course 🙂

-Sometimes has trouble stepping out of her comfort zone.

I am working on a new book (yes very excited)!  It is all about how to live an intentionally balanced and organized life.  Throughout this stage of writing I will be sharing many of my thoughts and ideas here on the blog.  Balancing friendships is just one of the things I will be writing about so I can’t wait to hear from all of you on this topic!

Do you tell yourself when the kids are out of the house you will have time for your friends?

Are you dreaming of retirement when you no longer have to work everyday and can start having more fun with friends?

In your opinion, how much time does it take to stay in a close friendship with someone?

I think it depends on the friendship.  Some will always pick up right where they left off and some will feel awkward if too much time goes by.

Do you have the attitude of “I’ll see you when I see you” or are you really good at making time for your friends and feel disconnected if too much time goes by?

I think this season of Thanksgiving is the perfect chance to spend a few minutes thinking about the friendships that are important in your life.

  1. Make a list of the 5 friendships that are truly important to you.  Research shows that you  are like the 5 people you spend the most time with so write your list wisely.
  2. Next to their name write why this relationship is so important to you.  This way next time it has been awhile since you have spent time with this person, you can read this and remember why it is important that you make time for them.
  3. Now write a new list of at least 3 people that you currently would like to get to know better.
  4. Finally, grab your calendar and your phone.  Find some open time…even if it is an hour!  Make a call or shoot a text and plan some time with your friend.

Jennifer Ford Berry

12 Days of Giveaways

12daysofgiveaways

 

I am pretty sure I have mentioned it before but I will say it again….

THIS IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!!!! 

This is why I have decided to put together a fun little series I call “12 Days of Giveaways” and thanks to a bunch of AMAZING companies that have teamed up with me, YOU are going to have a chance to win some of my VERY favorite products!  Does that sound like a fun way to spend the next 12 days?? I sure think so!!

1.Gatheredtable.com: EVERYONE receives a 12 month free subscription! One lucky winner will receive a gift set including: a grocery gift card, towel and a cutting board.

2. Fridge Coaster: Win a $40 GC toward their products!

3. Young Living Essential Oils: Win one bottle of Stress Away oil!

4. Smead: Complete Smead filing system!

5. Life in Case: a Life In Case portable filing box!

6. Organize Now: a signed copy of Organize Now! think & live clutter-free and 30 minutes of phone coaching!

7. Dipsy Dabber: Win 2 Dipsy Dabber containers!

8. Bulu Box: Win a FREE 3 month subscription!

9. Getting Organized Magazine: Win the entire library of Getting Organized magazines, a free subscription to the magazine and one for a friend!

10. Post It: Win a packet of Post It Reminder Tags!

11. Kidecals: $30 GC toward their online store!

12. Wrap iT Gift Bag Organizer: Win a wrap iT gift bag organizer!

Holiday Party Planning Tips

Holiday_party_planning_tips_title

Hi everyone! A big thank you to Jennifer for giving me the opportunity to guest post here today.  I blog over at Love Your Home, and when I started blogging there about a year ago, I picked up Jennifer’s book Organize Now! as a guide to get myself, my family, and my house in order, all while sharing my experience on the blog.  After being on maternity leave for a year, of course all my attention was on the baby, and not so much on keeping our home tidy and organized (I’m sure all of you moms have experienced that!)

I started her book on the very first page, and my goal was to follow week after week and complete a new organizing task.  Unfortunately, life did not allow for that, but I hold onto this book dearly and open it often to see where I could put my organizing skills to work.  I have completed projects with Jennifer’s help and motivation through the pages of her book such as: creating task lists and shopping lists; setting a perfect family evening routine; planning our meals for the month; organizing my office papers; storing craft supplies; closet organizing; and so on.  There is so much left for me to do.  Her pages cover areas from organizing high-traffic spots in your own home, to special events, routines, etc.  What I enjoy is how every section is given a specific checklist of goals and tips.  It’s detailed, but not overwhelming.  This book has really been a great addition to our lives, and it never gets outdated!

With the holidays approaching, I thought a perfect topic to cover today is organizing parties.  Even if it’s a small get together with a couple of friends, there is always a lot to prepare.  And speaking of preparation, it’s a good idea to stock up on many things (drinks, snacks, extra gifts) as a foray of visitors come a knocking on your doorstep this holiday season.

When planning a party, remember to do the following:

  • Choose a date that works best for YOU. Don’t feel like you need to accommodate everyone’s schedule.  With so many family events already going for a lot of people this month, the chances are that someone may miss your party and there’s nothing you can do.
  • Decide on a guest list early. The earlier the better because then you can start thinking about how much food you’ll need to prepare, or what gifts to buy, and then plan a budget.
  • Always request RSVP. These days, people are more likely to get back to you by email.  You can leave a phone number on your invites, but include an email address that you check often as well.
  • Give yourself time. It’s Thursday and you want to have 15 people at your house by Saturday night.  Well, that’s asking for stress! Besides, it’s best practice to give your guests a couple weeks’ notice in case they have to take time off work, etc.
  • Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. For example: decorating, party favours, setting up the buffet table with linens, ordering the wine, cold food dishes, and cleaning the house (or at least the areas guests will use/see that evening – powder room, dining room, living room, kitchen).
  • Don’t stress about the event.  If you planned it early, as you should have, there’s no need to anyway.

One of my go-tos when it comes to organizing a party is lists.  Make a list for everything! What to buy, what to bake, what to make, what to decorate, what to clean, and what (and who) to shop for.  Next to my lists I keep a handy calendar and pen so that I can plan when to do each activity.  Don’t forget to also take care of yourself! Take an evening to get a manicure, or soak in a hot bath the night before to relax those muscles after all that hard party planning!

I like to give my readers a little something when I’m on the topic of organizing.  Today I’m offering a FREE to-do list printable when you click here! I conveniently made it a letter page so that you can fill it with all your needs for your next soiree (no matter how big or small).  Plan your tasks by day, week and month so that nothing gets forgotten.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post today! I hope I have offered you some great tips for planning your next holiday party.

About Antonella:

I am the face behind the blog Love Your Home.  It’s a place where I share organizing tips, decorating ideas, shopping finds and trends, crafts and DIY projects, some favourite home recipes, life, and much more.  I’m a mom of one beautiful little girl, and with my husband we are still living in our first home together – a humble townhouse in the suburbs of Toronto.  With the addition of a little one into our lives, I’m constantly changing our place to make it work better for us.  I am strongly passionate about blogging because I can talk decorating (a long time love), create and bring out my artistic side.

http://loveyourhomeblog.blogspot.ca/