Posts tagged organisation

The piece of paper that stops my head falling off

Such is the reputation of my memory that my kids treat me as though I am a little bit SIMPLE. “Poor mama”, they say, as they pat me on my shoulder, “her brain is like Swiss cheese, all full of holes.”

Before you get outraged at my mild acceptance of such rudeness from the little rascals, I need to explain that I would love to tell them off, but the impact is lost when I have to screech, “Oi! Thingybob! Enough cheek! Get yourself over to the out time on the steppy stone timber things. And number two, you go do that homework before you fail year 2!” In the heat of the mid-week tempo, I’m generally unable to put a sentence together, let alone a nice pithy one that successfully puts everyone in their place.

“Year 2!” my trouble maker would screech indignantly. “But I’m in year 3, cheese lady!” And his point would be proven. Because the truth IS that my memory is horrible.

During a lucid moment I have actually explained to them that it’s not that mummy is stupid, it’s just that mummy’s brain is very FULL. And not really with anything fun. Just fadmin stuff, like permission notes, planning when to do the dark load of washing so that everyone’s sports clothes are clean for Friday and what on earth is going to be popped into the lunchboxes each morning.

Possibly it’s the quantity of thoughts or perhaps it’s just the mundane nature of them that renders it essential that I WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN at the start of the week. It only takes a jiffy and then my brain can rest, ready to take on the next thrilling parenting challenge.

Once I've written it down, I just don't have to think about it anymore.

Once I’ve written it down, I just don’t have to think about it anymore.

Perhaps you find your brain is a little leaky too, in which case you might like to download and print out this simple planning sheet. Stick it to the fridge to help you unclog your brain (I’ve filled out a demo on page one, showing you what my week looks like).

As you can see, it’s a quick weekly planner for lunch boxes and dinners. Also, I’ve allowed a side bar for a mid-week shopping list. Even doing one massive shop a week doesn’t get me right through, generally I have to duck into a store on Wednesday afternoons.

And while we’re talking lunchboxes, here’s a nice little high-fibre muffin that uses up soggy bananas and gives the kids a chocolate treat.

And they freeze too, for those days when you've forgotten to make something.

And they freeze too, for those days when you’ve forgotten to make something.

Chocolate & banana muffins

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup bran bits (I use original All bran cereal)
1/2 cup brown or coconut sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter or grapeseed oil
2 overripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 12-hole standard muffin tin or line with paper cases.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour (no need to sift), bran, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the egg, milk and oil.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently. Add the banana and stir until just combined.

Divide the mixture evenly among your muffin holes and bake for 25 minutes or until they spring back when touched and a skewer comes out clean.

Makes 12.

For more lunchbox help, don’t miss my Complete Lunchbox Planner e-book, which just happens to be on sale at the moment! Visit the shop to check it out.

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“Dull women have immaculate homes.” True or false?

For those of us who love a little visit to Officeworks.

A gift today, for those of us who get excited at Kikki K.

I read the other day that “Dull women have immaculate homes.” Which seems a little harsh on those of us who don’t mind a bit of order amongst the chaos of daily family life. There seems no harm in finding joy in a bit of neatness when it’s such a hard-won feat.

Although more accurate in my house would be, “Organised women used to have moth problems in their pantry.” Which is why I went a bit crazy a couple of months back finally getting everything into containers. Throwing packets of food away was depressing, and endless moth traps, while fascinating for the kids, weren’t such a source of joy for me.

As you can see, I store a few things in glass, but most of my pantry is BPA-free plastics. Please don’t e-lecture me about the evils of it – for someone as clumsy as myself, it’s a blessing. There’s only so much shattered glass that I can clean up (and stand in) in a year. If you are more co-ordinated than myself and are a glass-only household, then I wish you well and let’s leave it at that.

Luckily these cute labels will help keep things ship-shape no matter what your jar. Sure, you know what brown sugar looks like, but if you’re going to bother organising all this stuff, why not make it look as pretty as hell. It only takes a few minutes to print them out and stick them on.

See! Not dull, just making the mundane more interesting.

See! Not dull, just making the mundane more interesting.

When I had ingredients out to bake yesterday, I was LOVING MYSELF SICK. Besides, you can jot down the use-by dates on the back of the label, blue-tack it on and just admire yourself for being so damn together.

Download the 3-page pantry labels PDF here.

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And if you like these, you’ll also like my printable shopping list.

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We’ve got those ‘first day of term’ blues

Ahhh yes, the post-holiday comedown. How good is it!?! The joyous sound of the alarm ringing at 6am on that first Monday. Realising that there are no ironed shirts. You don’t know where the lunch box is. You never did wash the school jumper at the end of last term, and you forgot to clean the half eaten fruit out of the bottom of the backpack. Smell?! What smell?! And it’s raining. God knows where the raincoat is. Dash out the door, late, amazed at how a two-week break can cause such a break in the routine.

Thankfully, yesterday morning was salvaged by my ‘morning jobs’ chart, which as been stuck to the bathroom door since the beginning of the year. It’s an ordered list of visual prompts that my daughter goes through each day, that helps her get ready quite independently. I just have to tell her to start her morning jobs, and then I keep an eye on her and check in occasionally “what are you up to?” She checks and confirms that next job is ‘shoes and socks’ etc.

With these posters, I can avoid becoming a shrew at 8am.

a poster of morning jobs to help the kids get organised

Chart your way to independent children

Everyone who visits, comments on what a good idea it is. So I’m spreading the joy today, with this PDF download of the morning jobs posters. Cut and paste the pictures you need (make one for each kid), and then colour the “Do I have my…” chart, where they can check their bag contents against the chart and avoid forgetting too much stuff. Get them to help with the cutting and pasting, to make the whole thing more fun. Guide them through it for the first few days (with elaborate praise when they get it right), and then watch in amazement each morning, as they bustle about getting themselves ready.

Cut, paste, colour if you like, and put the kids in charge (of themselves)

Good luck with the rest of the week.

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