Friday, May 25, 2012

Bulk buying is not always the best price

So I went shopping last week with great trepidation to a warehouse type grocery store.  I bought a large tin (1.4kg) of a nice brand hot chocolate mix and paid $1.30/100g.  At the supermarket I frequent it is $1.28/100g, not even on special, and then the store brand I actually prefer is $0.80/100g.  Boy it pays to keep track of prices.  Even toilet paper was not cheaper for 48 rolls than me buying my 6 pack of rolls at the supermarket.

Hmm, this Galaxy Tab is starting to earn its keep as I keep records of my grocery shopping.

Best wishes
Jen

Snack schedule

Things used to be very relaxed around here for snacks.  I figured they could access the fridge when they were hungry or just eat whatever they liked of whatever had been baked.  Now though as our budget gets tighter and some of the kids are not always making wise choices on the quality or quantity of their snacks I have decided to make a snack schedule. 

Monday          1    Fruit and nuts
                     2   Crackers and sour cream dip

Tuesday         1    Fruit and yoghurt
                     2   Pita crackers and mini salad

Wednesday     1    Fruit and nuts
                     2   Baked treat, yoghurt

Thursday        1    Fruit and yoghurt
                     2   Pita crackers and mini salad

Friday            1    Fruit and nuts
                     2   Crackers and sour cream dip

Saturday        1    Fruit and yoghurt
                     2   Pita crackers and mini salad

Sunday           1    Fruit
                     2   Baked treat, yoghurt

Ironically I think it is time to start packing a lunch box like I had as a kid for school.  I want to raise children who eat healthily in both variety and quantity of food.  I would also like them to learn that sometimes you don't get to eat only the foods you like.  I think learning to eat at least a small portion of a food you don't love is a good practice towards being courteous when others serve you food different to that you usually eat.  It is part of being a good guest.

On a side note a benefit could be that my baking doesn't all get eaten in one day and the electricity bill may go down because the fridge is not being opened and closed all day long by 4 little people and me.  I can hope, can't I?

I will be getting a lunch box too.  I find myself not eating enough fresh fruit so having a portion in my lunch box each day certainly won't harm me.

I am going to use 4.0 litre Decor containers.  They slide perfectly down inside the cooler bags I have bought from either Woolies or Coles over the year.  I can then slip an ice sheet down each side of the bag and lunch and snacks are done.  We will also be a lot more portable.  If I need to go out I won't need to juggle around meals but just take them with us.  

Hot lunches are a favourite around here so I think I will just add the cutlery to the box as a hint of what is to come.  I don't always like sandwiches myself so I won't make my kids eat them every day either.  I can still be more flexible about that as a homeschooler. :-)

Well, off to make up some fresh ice sheets.  Now, where did I put them?

Best wishes
Jen

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Combining Franklin Covey and FlyLady

Reposting an old idea:
I need to revisit this now I am back to using an electronic organiser.

Over the years I have tried many ways of planning.  A paper binder worked well bk (before kids) and my Tungsten E Palm was good too, but I got to a stage as a homeschooling, stay at home mama that neither of these tools were working for me.

That is when I transferred all my planning pages to index cards and created a paper version of the Franklin Covey software I like to use. I was finding that 20 minutes of daily planning was taking 2 hours of also checking emails, surfing links set in said emails, etc, and then signing off with several games of Spider Solitaire. Not a good start to the day!

Here is how I have worked it so if you're really not into the whole idea of mission statements, goal setting, prioritising etc this could be over the top. It is sort of a combination of FlyLady's CJ and a Franklin Covey planner.

I have my routines written on index cards and inserted into a photo album. The cards are in this order...

1. Morning Routine for me
2. Morning Routine once kids are up (or need to be kick started lol)
3. Breakfast and post breakfast routines
4. Chore Time only written on card
5. An empty space that I put that zone's card into each day as I do my planning (I have my house broken into 6 zones Mon - Sat and then have 4 different weeks that I rotate through for monthly tasks)
6. Yard Time routines
7. School Time only written on card
8. Space for putting post it note with quick details of school to be done
9. Morning Tea and School Time
10. Space for putting post it note with quick details of school to be done
11. Lunch and post-lunch routines
12. Table Time space for Science/History activities, Art/Craft ideas, Preschool activities, again with post it notes with prompts
13. Project Time space for my personal project time, time for kids to use PC or watch pre-approved DVD, or work together on a bunny trail from our lessons
14. Afternoon routines
15. Dinner and after dinner routines
16. Bedtime routines
17. My personal time routines

How I do my day...

On card 1 I have personal planning time. In this time in the morning I look through some index cards from a file box. These are:

1. Mission Statement/Inspirational Quote for this period of my life
2. Values eg Family, Education, Service with a short statement of what each means to me
3. Roles eg Mum/Teacher, Homemaker, Individual, Church Member, Family Member, Wife, Community Member each again with short brief statements of areas that are important to me in each role eg as Mum/Teacher giving my children basic skills in personal hygeine, 3Rs, etc suitable for their age
4. Project/Long Range Goals with tasks/steps necessary
Eg Homemaker Project 1
Goal: Tidy and catalogue outgrown boys clothing
Tasks: - Sort clothes by size into boxes
- Make a list for each size noting item brand, style of clothing, colour, condition
- Type up lists in Excel for analysis
- Send lists to my mum
- Put list in HMB (Home Management Binder)
- Move boxes to garage

I have cards for all sorts of projects and regularly check through them, pencil in dates when I write a step on a post it note for in my photo album, then cross off as done or rub out pencil because it has dropped in priority and I must do some other Project task more urgently.

I also have a Misc project card for those things that I want to do that are only one task to complete, like posting a letter off or hemming a certain skirt for instance.

Next I insert the appropriate zone card and write up lessons from my Homeschool binder onto post-its in a very brief summary form, sticking them in the appropriate spots in the photo album.

A list like in Franklin Covey overwhelms me or makes me want to do it all now and my routines fly out the window. Having only routines with no place to record big goals/projects or one off tasks wasn't working either, so this is my way of combining the two. Now I know to leave projects till the afternoon, to not get caught up cataloguing clothes when school hasn't been done yet, and other similar dilemmas.

Ok, was that overwhelming?

For me I needed to put it all in one place and my to do lists kept clashing with my routines and I was running around stressed but not doing anything important. So far this seems to be working for me.

Ask away if you have any questions.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lost in Translation

I have just bought myself a new brain, which will be very useful (I hope?!) when this old brain figures out how to use it.  I used to have a Palm that was awesome.  It has been quite some years though since I could get it to work for more than a couple of days as a toy before it would become a mini brick again.

My new "brain"  is a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7.  It is a good size to carry in my hand for reading books or for using for my shopping list.  And I am lucky that it has the latest and greatest screen type too.  Just a little bonus!

Anyway, back to the title of this post.

I bought a screen protector straight away, as any good mummy should.  This is the back of the packaging. 


Sorry for the glare, but as you can see it takes a good photo.  The first few items were translated well.  When you get to Silicon Adhesive Coating... well, No residue leaves on your LCD display when you remove it.  Hmm, little bit off, but then you get to "flossy" finish. Hmmm!  It gets worse.

Check out Remarks and tell me if you can understand it.  In case it isn't readable for you here is what it says.

"If has any question to paste in the course, can carefully to take it out, paste it again.  Keep the PET backing and paste it back after you clean the screenward(????), can push out the bubbles and paste it again."

Something definitely got lost in translation.  Or is it that my old brain really needs to be reformatted?  :-)

Best wishes
Jen

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Poor Judd is dead....

No, it isn't that drastic!  No-one has died, just our old CRT TV.  It has been going for a while but died today.

So off to the Good Guys, my favourite electrical retailer.  They have always given us a good price and from what I have read online their extended warranties are very user friendly.

Today I got myself a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7.  It is one of the latest and greatest tablets out there (not that I really cared, but dh does).  As long as it was a comfortable size in my hand and was light enough to not cause hand ache, and was compatible with Office programs I was happy.  So it will become my portable brain. I just do not have the memory I used to have and I really need to keep track of a lot of things these days.

Dh got himself a 39" LED television.  Yup, his toy!! lol

So you may be hearing more from me as I get more mobile.  I hope so, as it has been a bit lonely here.

Best wishes
Jen

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Think, Plan, Act? Evaluate?

Yup, I can plan really well.  You should see the piles of plans I have made over the years.  I am just not so good at the act stage and what is there to evaluate then?

This morning while sitting on the exercise bike I asked one of the kids to bring me a book to read.  They handed me First Things First by Stephen Covey.  I have read this book several times over and it always gives me something new.  Chapter 10 is called Learning from Living.  There is a little diagram in there about evaluating our actions to see if they are in alignment with our values.

After some reading and reflecting I created my own little flow chart that speaks to me.


Funnily it helps me feel a little more confident that I can step out and do the action part, the bit that scares me, because I know I can evaluate, reflect and plan again, my favourite bit of planning life.

Best wishes
Jen
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