A household notebook is a simple tool that can
make your life easier in so many ways. It can help you save time and
money, stay organized, and track whether you are accomplishing your
goals. In the future, it will serve as a treasure of recorded
memories. My sons are in high school and college now. I still have
planners that I kept from their early years. It was fun seeing
"pack diaper bag" or "fix formula" on my list!
One way to create a household notebook is to
use a three ring binder with dividers and notebook paper. It will
remind you of being back in school! If you can find the dividers
with pockets, that will be even more useful. You may want to add or
change categories to suit your needs, but here are a few suggestions
to get you started.
DAILY TO-DO LIST
The first divider could be labeled "Daily To-Do List". At
the top of the paper, write the day and date and list everything you
need to do that day. If you are like most women, your list will
probably be a mile long. We all tend to plan more than we can
actually do in one day, and then end up being frustrated and
stressed. So when you are finished with your list, go back and put a
star by the priorities. The other tasks are optional. If they don't
get done that day, cross them out and write them on the next day's
page. You could also have pages for weekly and monthly chores in
this section. I have found that when daily devotions are the first
thing on my list, the rest of the day goes better!
The second divider is very helpful. It is the shopping list. This
may take awhile for you to compile, but it is well worth the effort.
Make one list for food items, one for health and beauty, another for
cleaning and paper products. It may help you to divide those lists
into even smaller categories, such as baking, frozen foods, canned
foods, and so on. Then, when you are planning your trip to the
grocery store, you can quickly go down your master list and jot down
what you need on a separate sheet of paper. This helps prevent
impulse buying. It also keeps you from getting back from the store
and realizing that you forgot several things you needed.
I also have a master shopping list for clothes
for each member of my family. This way I can tell at a glance what
would make a nice birthday or Christmas gift. It also makes shopping
for school clothes more efficient.
MENUS AND MEAL PLANNING
Since cooking is a huge part of our lives, why not make it as easy
and organized as possible? Label the third divider
"Menus". Take an hour or so and write down all of your
family's favorite meals. Include the meat or main dish, side dishes,
vegetables, salads, fruit, beverages and desserts. Try to come up
with at least twenty different meal plans. They don't have to be
elaborate. Ordinary, healthy, tasty meals are fine. For example, one
meal could be this:
Now, you can plan your weekly menus without
worrying about having the same meals over and over. It also helps to
have a printable calendar in your notebook. Write a dinner for each
day, and plan your shopping list from it. If you have dividers with
pockets, you can tuck in some coupons to use to go with these meals.
Now is the fun part! We all have special meals to celebrate
different holidays. Relatives bring their unique dishes. Why not
write them down? This not only helps to efficiently plan holiday
feasts, but it preserves our traditions and recipes for future
generations. Include the recipes for each dish, and your will have
an heirloom to pass on to your children.
DIET AND EXERCISE JOURNAL
There seems to be a lot of evidence that keeping a food journal can
help us to stick with a healthy eating plan. Writing down our daily
food intake helps us to track our calories and food groups, and
encourages us to be accountable for what we put in our mouths. This
divider could be labeled "Diet and Exercise". As with your
daily chores, label a sheet of paper for each day. Write down
everything you eat for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Don't forget
snacks and anything in between Then, at the end of the day, you can
tally your calories or food groups. Don't forget to include your
glasses of water.
At the bottom of the page, write down your
daily exercise. Do you walk, do exercise videos, or play a sport?
Log the activity and number of minutes. (Make sure your doctor has
approved your eating and exercise plan!)
Being organized is a great benefit to us and our families. It can
help us be more efficient, less stressed, have healthier habits, and
even save us some money. A well thought-out household notebook can
help us achieve this goal.