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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How to simplify your life and find some balance

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Everyone can benefit from a tad more simple life.  So I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped me tremendously in trying to balance homeschooling with all my other ‘mom and wife’ duties.
Menu plan – Don’t have time to menu plan?  Try a menu planning service like E-meals.  I don’t always follow their recipes to a T, nor do I always make everything on the menu for the week, but it’s a great starting ground and makes planning so much easier and less time consuming.
Shop in bulk – Not only does it save you money, but it saves you numerous trips to the grocery store each month.  I try to hit Costco once a month, and then one more time for a much smaller, mostly produce trip.
Cook in bulk – There are all these great sites for spending one day prepping freezer meals for the month, but it’s hard to find the time to do that!  So since you are cooking dinner anyways, make twice as much and freeze half for a rainy day!  I love having them there for those days that I just don’t feel like cooking. 
Use a crockpot – I don’t actually have a crock pot, I have a rice maker that doubles as such.  Though it cooks a lot faster….I use that to my benefit.  I’m able to prepare dinner during our down time at about 3pm, and have it ready by 530pm with minimal effort!  It works well for us.  Some might find a tradition 8-10/4-6hr slow cooker works better.  But either way it’s a lifesaver many days a week!  (this is also where meal planning comes in handy).
Do one load of laundry a day – I’ll admit I don’t always get them folded and put away each day, but at least they are clean!  (I have to hang dry the clothes, so that’s an added step)
Order a pizza once in awhile – Papa John’s has a rewards point program, and once in awhile they will give you bonus rewards for ordering during a certain time frame, take advantage of deals like that.  That’s two pizzas for the price of one, and TWO nights not having to cook dinner in one month!  This doesn’t apply just to pizza, most businesses will have specials on weeknights when it’s slower.  It doesn’t hurt to eat out once in a while (just don’t make a habit of it, b/c it can hurt your pocket book and your health).
Get organized – Figure out a system that will work for you, with technology now a days, there is bound to be something you can use.  Trick is to USE IT!  The more organized you are, the less frazzled you’ll be. In homeschooling we use workboxes and milk crates (to organize what goes in the workboxes).  To organize my appointments I still use a pocket calendar and old fashioned pencil (we have not joined the smartphone crowd).  Some people use home organizer binders, some use sticky notes, whatever works for you go with it – if it doesn’t work…find something that does!
Leave it for tomorrow –  and get to bed on time!  Some things can wait.  I know Fly Lady says to go to bed with a clean sink, but for me, sleep is more important.  If I can get a good nights sleep, I don’t mind tackling those dishes first thing in the morning (or other things I didn’t get to).  (On another note, if you have not heard of Fly Lady, I do recommend her!)
Don’t be afraid to say ‘NO’ – You can’t be everything for everyone all the time.  Sometimes we have to say NO (see next).
Decide between Good, Better and Best – Follow President Oaks’ council (from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).  There are lots of Good things, but that doesn’t mean we have time for them all.  Make time for the very Best things first, then go from there.   
Don’t forget to pray – and read your scriptures.  It’s so easy for the day to pass us by and realize that we forgot the most important items (the BEST of the BEST).  Do these first, and all else will fall into place!
*First featured at Latter-Day Homeschooling on 1/13/13
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