Operation Clean & Organize: Vol 2 – Weekly Menu Board

Taming the procrastinating, ADD, mess cat within me.


(To read the introductory post, click here.)

It is week two of Operation Clean and Organize and this week I’ve been working on a menu board. Some moms prefer to make a monthly menu but that doesn’t work for me. Planning one week ahead is all I can handle right now!

I looked at various styles of menu boards to see what appealed to me. I previously had a dry erase board but over time the erase ability of the board deteriorated. I thought of using a magnetic board because I really liked this one but it was too big and I wanted it to be weekly not monthly.


I decided to make my own smaller magnetic weekly menu. I spent a total of about $20 for a magnetic board the right size to fit on my fridge, a pack of Avery Printable Magnetic Sheets, and “Days of the Week” magnets that I found at Target in the Back to School seasonal section. (You can find similar products at Amazon – Board Dudes Magnetic Board, Board Dudes Days of the Week Magnets and Avery Magnet Sheets.)

Next I sat down and made a master list of all the meals, side dishes and veggies I normally cook. In a Word document I made four columns of labels and typed up the list of foods. I wanted to keep track of days when I had appointments so I would know to plan easy or slow-cooker meals on those days. I also wanted to mark days when I had to pack the kids’ lunches for school.

I color coded the labels: main dish – blue, sides – orange, veggies – green, appointments – purple, and school lunches – red. I made sure to have a number of blank labels to fill in later as I tried new recipes. Next, I printed and cut out the labels. Lastly, I arranged the meals on my board along with a shrunken down copy of Bella’s school lunch menu.

Here’s what it looks like.

For a larger view: View image

The first week using it has been great. We’ll see how it stands the test of time. :-)

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll be working on organizing my pantry and making master shopping lists. Share your own ideas in the comments and happy organizing!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that this organizing business is getting fun. Who knew? But you must make sure that your motherly duties are attended to first. Otherwise you will have to find out that your earlier statement of “he should be able to eat his yogurt alone without making too much mess while I make a quick post” was not only false but stupid thinking. So be forewarned. Wait until the kids are asleep. (And this was after I cleaned off his hair and face.)

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UPDATE (May 2014): An updated version of this post can be found here.

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Waiting for Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey – Season 2

If you fell in love with Downton Abbey last year, like I did, then you must be excited for the coming of Season 2. Although the UK will see the premiere in September, we’ll have to wait until January. In the meantime, you can go The Daily Beast and click on the photos to read about what season 2 has in store for the characters. There are spoilers so I only skimmed that part since I hate knowing what is going to happen beforehand. I love the excitement of experiencing it as you are watching (or reading) the story. (Unlike my mom who will turn to the last page of a book to see if the ending is worth reading the book in the first place!)
Here is also a short behind the scenes look of Downton Abbey, Season 2.

Simple Woman’s Daybook (8/29/11)

Courtesy of The Simple Woman’s Daybook.
FOR TODAY – August 29, 2011
Outside my window…it is the usual August weather here – cold and foggy.
I am thinking…that I have not made a post in a week even though there has been a lot going on.
I am thankful…that my sister BC and my parents were able to spend a few days with us. And it was the first time my dad met Matthew. :-)

In the kitchen
…I can smell the leftover pasta I had for breakfast. (I’d rather have lunch for breakfast and cold cereal for lunch!)
I am wearing…capris, a black top and socks.
I am creating…a new weekly menu board.
I am going…to post a photo of my new haircut on facebook.
I am wondering…how Bella is doing on her first day of school.
I am readingSmart Martha’s Catholic Guide for Busy Moms
I am hoping…that this week is a lot less hectic than last week.
I am looking forward to…trying out my new chore schedule and seeing how much I can actually get done. (Which means I better get off this computer in the next 10 minutes!)
I am hearing…the boys playing with their train set and Matthew blowing raspberries in his swing.
Around the house…there are piles of clean laundry and ironed clothes that needs to be put away because my mom washed and ironed every piece of clothing we have before she left! (I was spoiled and loved every minute of it. ;-)
I am pondering…if I can find a low fat recipe for zucchini bread.
One of my favorite things…a fond memory. This weekend it was hearing the kids playing with their grandpa; they were giggling uncontrollably because they were having so much fun. Priceless.
A few plans for the rest of the week…continuing Operation Clean and Organize since I didn’t get very far last week with first week of preschool, JP’s birthday, the trip to the ER, doc appts, having my family over and life in general.
Here is picture I am sharing…a photo of John-Paul, the birthday boy, (he turned 2) playing on the new deck.

Operation Clean & Organize: Vol 1 – Intro & The Kitchen


**Taming the procrastinating, ADD, mess cat within me.**


I’ve discussed in a number of previous posts (like here and here) about my battle with keeping a clean and organized house. I’m naturally messy and the amount of work I have to do to clean up and organize our house is overwhelming. However, it’s a project I want to undertake because it’s important to me.
I think there is some truth to the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness.” Someone once told me that a person’s exterior life reflects their interior life. I don’t know if that is true but I do know that after awhile I get tired, frustrated and grouchy with all the piles of papers and junk and disorganized areas of the house. A house with little kids will never look like a museum – and never should – but I could definitely use a little more order in my life and I know the difference it makes.
When I do clean up an area and have it organized it makes my life run a little bit smoother. (Who can’t use that?!) I am more at peace and feel that I am better accomplishing my mission in life – to raise a happy family and make our home a little taste of heaven on earth as we work towards entering our eternal home. It is my small way of showing God that I love him – to put aside my natural messy tendencies and find the orderly and creative woman I know is lurking in there somewhere.
So I’ve decided to start “Operation Clean and Organize.” Every week (or two) I’ll post what I am working on and how it is progressing. To start things off, I sat down and made a list of all the chores I need to do each day and those I can do once a week. I used the Family Chore Chart from iheartorganizing to organize my list. (I still haven’t figured out the quarterly or annual jobs. I’m barely getting the basics down.) Here is what I have so far. View image. As the weeks go by, I’ll tweak it as needed. (And although, prayer time isn’t a “chore” I wrote it down as a reminder that it can’t be skipped. ;-)
There is a small wall in my kitchen that is covered by the swing door that leads into the family room. I hung up the chart on that wall after I put it in a $1.99 Ikea frame that I had. I can use a dry erase marker to check off the list as I complete my work. I also hung up a clipboard that holds our Family Home To-Do List. I went through each room in the house and wrote down everything I wanted to do in there – from cleaning out closets to dusting tops of book shelves – as well as other projects I’d like to work on – from organizing the photos to updating my recipe binder to finishing the baby books. It may take years to complete my list but at least I can work on one thing at a time instead of doing ten projects at once and finishing none!
I also hung up in my kitchen a small board next to the counter where I cook and prepare food. I use it to keep notes and jot down things I need to remember. Above it I hung up (using removable Command hooks) a clip board for the recipes I’ll be cooking that week. I can read the recipe off the clipboard as I’m fixing it. So far it has worked great.
Next project - Making a weekly menu.
Are you working on organizing your home? Is your home already organized? Share your stories and tips in the comment section. Thanks!


UPDATE: (9/9/11) Misty at Misty’s Mornings Blog has some creative ideas in her post Creating An Autumn Rhythm {four steps to a cleaning schedule}. I love making lists but not because I’m super organized. Sadly, the opposite. If I don’t write things down, I completely forget those same things! Anyway, Misty has some great ideas and advice, so head over and check it out.

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – vol 10: birthday edition

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~


Today is my birthday so Brian brought me these beautiful flowers along with a letter he wrote telling how much he loves me. Reading that is more than I could ever ask for. He is a gem. I am truly, truly blessed to be married to such a man and to be the mama to our children.



I have lots of {happy} pictures this week. I received an early birthday present this weekend when my brother Rob, my sister-in-law Maria and my new nephew Max came to visit us. This is the first time I have been able to see Rob since he was really sick. A special thanks to all of you who were praying for him. I wanted you to see the answer to your prayers – he is much better now, thank God. Here he is with Matthew.


I was also happy to see the cousins meet for the first time. Matthew is a month older than Max but Max has a head start on size. They both are such cuties!! I love these photos of them together, and the one of my smiley boy as his usual cheerful self. Lastly, we were happy because my brother brought the So Calif sun with him. It was the first sunny day we have seen in a looong time!






This morning I had errands to run in Carmel. I dropped Andrew off at speech therapy and then headed downtown to return our library books and go to the post office. I couldn’t figure what was going on because the street was roped off, there were police everywhere and people were lined up along the sides of the road with cameras and video recorders. It was as if they were waiting for a parade. Then it dawned on me. This weekend is the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance and many of the fancy cars are being displayed in downtown Carmel this afternoon. Unfortunately, I happened to be on the road just as the cars were driving into town. The cops had us stop so all the cars could pass. I didn’t have my camera with me so I snapped a few pics on my iphone. Unfortunately, it is really gloomy today so the colors are very muted but the whole situation still made me laugh.




Last week I showed you a picture of our deck torn apart. This week I am happy to say that it is complete. We landed out forgoing the traditional wood flooring because it did not do well and instead put in a TimberTech composite wood deck. It looks nice and is super sturdy. The kids looove it! They run and ride their tricycle and scooters up and down and I’m happy that it is done without chipping paint or getting splinters! A special thanks to the hardworking guy who did it for us. He did a great job!