Sep 15, 2011

Guest Post: Manda Jane from Elf House Chronicles: Keeping Organized

I'd like to welcome the lovely Manda Jane from Elf House Chronicles to the blog, with this great post on keeping organized--this is definitely something I struggle with! Also wishing her a happy early National StepFamily Day, which is celebrated on September 16th!

Hi everyone! I'm Amanda. You can find me over at Elf House Chronicles. You have no idea how excited I am to be posting here at Craftzilla Conquers the World for the lovely and talented Gillian. This back to school theme suited me perfectly. You see, I'm a brand new step-mom to four kiddos (ages 10, 12, 14 and 16). I have no kids of my own, so this is my first experience with raising kids and all the fun that goes along with it! School started here on August 22 - so I've had my hands full with school supply shopping, school clothes shopping, orientations, meet the teacher nights and athletics parent meetings. Mind you, these are all brand new things to me and I'm just trying to keep up and learn as I go.

As you can imagine, with 4 kids, things stay extremely busy. One thing about me (which I myself find to be a positive trait), is my need and love of organization and structure. I need to have a calendar on hand at all times. I keep a running grocery list. I need everyone to know what the rules and expectations are so we have a smooth running household. So, in order for us to get ready for back to school (and since we're a newly blended family), the first thing we did was set 'House Rules' and held a family meeting to discuss these and open the floor for discussion and debate. I think these rules are imperative with school starting back up. A structured home is a happy home. A few of the highlights of our rules are that we will be eating dinner together as a family nightly, doing our homework together as a family nightly, the boys and girls both had chores they are responsible for  and after 9:30 we shut down all social media, computers, phones, etc. We are getting there slowly, but surely. The good news is David and I follow through with enforcing our House Rules and always back each other up.

Another brilliant idea I've come up with to help organize our super hectic life is a Home Management Binder. This was no original idea. I actually ran across the idea while cruising Pinterest (if you're not on there, you must go today and get signed up). I did a little research and visited a few websites and decided we needed one for our family. I'm still in the process of completing it, but I can tell you that our binder will contain:
  • a master calendar
  • a menu planner
  • a grocery shopping list
  • a financial planner (or something to help us with our budget)
  • all school correspondance (i.e. athletic calendars, bell schedules, school calendar, etc)
  • master phone list (parents, kids, grandparents, doctors, vet, etc)
  • insurance information
  • blogging planner/calendar (for me)
  • to do list/chore list
My thought process is that this one binder will be the 'brain' of our family. Anyone should be able to pick this up and know where we are supposed to be, what we need from the grocery store, how to get in touch with someone. My belief is we will add to it or change it around as we figure out what works for us. Here are some websites I'm using that have free printables so that you can do your own Home Management Binder:
So, that's how we have geared up for back to school. It's important that this Momma stays organized and on top of everything. I would hate to be the one to forget someone at school or practice or miss an important event! Not to mention, I still want to make sure everyone is eating healthy, sleeping well and making fantastic grades! It's going to be a fast paced school year, but welcome to our crazy and chaotic life!

Lots of Love...
~Manda Jane~

1 comment:

  1. I wish I was as organized as Amanda! I'm actually working on getting my life (& everything around me) more organized, so hearing about some of her experiences is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!


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