Monday, June 19, 2017

Dishes with your little

Washing dishes with your little helper can feel like you are wasting water when you know every dime you spend is important.  I loved letting my little help me with dishes, but I noticed how after I started staying home, I was more concerned about any water we were wasting.  But I loved her helping me and I didn't want to make her feel I didn't want her to help.

So anyways, I came up with a solution.  Honestly, one day I think God gave it to me, I had been praying about it and later it just came to me.

I don't really like her to help me with the glass because of safety, but in general, she really just wants to play in the water.  So I let her have some of our plastic items or stainless steel dishes to rinse/play with while I work on washing the glass dishes.  This way we are "washing" dishes together, but more importantly working/playing together.  Then when the glass dishes are all done, I let her play with the recyclables in the water., while I dry.

This way, I'm not refilling the sink just for her to play in the water, but rather we are working together and I'm not worried about wasting water, because it's water I'd be using anyways.

 Are there things your little likes to help you with?  How are ways you've changed it to make it work better?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Monthly meal plan

Need help planning a monthly meal plan?  Here's my how to:

1st: Write down your meals: 

Write down all the meals that you make and are willing to make.  Ones you know your family eats and ones you know you will use without a doubt.

2nd: Find a way to make the monthly planner work for you:

When I was first starting out, I just used computer paper.  I'd divide it up into a month and then write down each day's meal.  Now, I use something a little more fancy, but at the time I used what I had on hand.  I Pinterested many monthly meal plan ideas and nothing really stood out so I came up with my own,  I purchased a monthly dry erase board calendar like this, although mine doesn't have the cute little frame.

Now what I like about using a marker board, is I'm not wasting paper or having to buy paper over and over to keep using.  However; until you can get a marker board, use paper, and do what I did reuse the back side so you can get 2 months on one piece.

These next steps are totally optional, and it was something that took some time, but after it was done it has been great at saving time and planning.

3rd: Make a template: 

I took the spaces on the marker board and made a template on the computer to fit the space, it took a few times to get it right.

4th: Color Codes: 

I split up our meals into color codes.
Pink: red meat meals
Orange: chicken meals
Yellow: breakfast for dinner meals or meatless meals
Green: soups and salads
Blue: homemade pizza (we do this 1/week it needed it's own color :) )
Purple: Fun events (family visiting, visiting family, bible study, date nights, etc).

5th: Create your pages: 

Once I have all my meals listed on paper and then divided up into the sections that they fit in, I take that template on the computer and I type in each one.  Each page being one section or save each section as it's own doc (I had to do this because I had more than one page for some sections).  So for example I have saved my template over and over as Meat meals, chicken meals, breakfast meals, soups and salads, etc.  Then I type in the different meals on each square template.

6th: Gather & Print: 

Gather paper in the colors you chose.  Then print each section on the designated color you chose.

7th: Cut & Laminate: 

Finally cut out and laminate.  You can do this a couple ways, one is to just use packaging tape, especially with the small squares this is fairly easy.  Or if you have access to one you can use a cold laminator.  Either way, it works way better if you laminate your squares.

8th: Add your meals:

Grab some sticky tack to attach your meals to your calendar.  This way you can change them if need be and they're really easy to add to the board as you plan.

9th: Find a spot for your new menu calendar:  

We keep ours on our fridge.  I purchased some Velcro command strips to add it to the fridge.  It makes it simple to pull off if I need to, but it holds super well to the fridge too.

And there you go, you have a menu calendar with switchable meals that you chose and are made just for your family.

If you are interested in my meal planner, feel free to comment below with your email and I will email you the template for free.  Note not all calendars are the same size, my template square runs 2" x 2" with 1/2" x 1/2" little square cut out for the date.

Interested in the calendar pieces all printed and laminated?  Email me your food list and color codes and I will make your own set.  Also email me the width and height of your square if it's different than what I listed above. Each page can fit up to 12 different meals. Cost would be $3.00/page + shipping. 

This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature'

Summer, the time when your kids are out of school and you need to keep them entertained, but don't want them to have a lot of screen time.  Want some ideas on how to keep those kiddos entertained?  I brought on Joe who's lead editor at Nature Rated, to share his tips on summer activities for your kids.  

What are your kids doing this Summer? For many of us Summer time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine and if you're lucky the ocean.
As much as kids love Summer holidays, keeping them busy can be a real chore! If you've not got the luxury of a Summer camp then it's up to you as a parent to find things for the youngsters to keep busy with.
Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen and research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of children.
Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental ill-health and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.
One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental ill health and it's on the rise. Prescription medication of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health and social care commissioners are examining and commissioning different options for cost effective services for mental health and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. We need to learn from the past when kids got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building dens rather than spending hours inside.
Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic on 15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature.
This is what it looks like:

15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature

From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there's plenty for the youngsters to get up to. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids out and about enjoying nature.


An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to get. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure.
Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.