Current Thoughts on Menu Planning

Menu planning is one of those things that I have a love/hate relationship with right now.  The organization junkie inside of me loves making a list of meals for the week ahead, developing a grocery list from that, and knowing what I’m going to cook when I come home from work every day.  It helps keeps us on budget – our goal being to spend no more than $100 a week on groceries. Having a plan for the week and for grocery shopping is a necessity to stay within that; you can’t just walk around the store, randomly tossing items into the cart.


In the 5 ½ months that we’ve been married (plus probably a year before when I started trying this), I feel like I’ve developed a knack for menu planning.  No more nights of staring down the pantry, wondering what I could make from what’s inside, ultimately deciding to order Chinese food.


But like I said, it’s a love/hate relationship – and the hate comes from the fact that it has gotten complex.  The planning was relatively easy until last December; I would just pick things that I knew how to make, ask the husband for requests, maybe add a new recipe in once and a while, and make sure there was enough variety so that we didn’t eat the same meals week after week.  Then, at the start of December, we decided to try The Zone Diet (which you can read about that on the blog I started to keep up with that, though since we derailed, I haven’t kept up with it).   We keep it up for three weeks, were derailed by the holidays and life, but we are planning to get back on track Saturday (and I plan to keep up with that on the other blog again – two blogs? This could get crazy!).


So today, I started planning for next week.  Planning has become like another job.  If I didn’t work, I think I’d spend all day researching recipes and planning…but I do work, and I don’t have time for that.  It’s complex because you have to learn to speak the Zone’s “block” language (blocks are how to measure food); either convert current recipes you use to blocks and find balance or look for new recipes that are already block friendly; and then you have to make sure the proportions are correct – for two people who get very different portions.  I rant more about that here, so I’ll spare you and say the moral of the story:  I can understand why people don’t stick with diets – they’re too complex!


I’ll be glad when Zone menu planning is as easy as menu planning was before, but until then, it’s staying in that love/hate category.


Cleaning Schedule

Since I decided that being a better housekeeper was going to be one of my 2013 resolutions, I’ve been looking at a plethora of daily cleaning schedules.   A simple Pinterest search brings up a ton.  I’ve looked and pinned quite a few, but none were quite the perfect fit for me – so I made my own.

One of the favorites that I found suggested making a 4-week schedule to include items that need to be done monthly, like checking the smoke detector batteries and changing the air filter.   The article included a template, so I started there.

The article also has some good advice, so if you’re interested in the template or the advice, here’s a link.

I decided to do a couple of things a little differently than this schedule.  I did away with the “owner” heading that the template includes since this is my resolution, not my husband’s.  However, I’m sure that he will be helping out with the tasks, and he’s more than welcome to mark them off the list – I just didn’t want to assign him anything.  I also decided to include a few things I want to do daily, such as wash the dishes, wipe down the counters, and go through the mail.  I also broke some of the “deep cleaning” tasks out to do separately, such as cleaning the inside and outside of the fridge on a different day than I clean the rest of the kitchen.  I lumped areas of my house together to deep clean, such as the kitchen, dining area, and den, which are all open to each other.

Cleaning Schedule.xlsx

This first 4-week schedule is going to be more of an experiment than a firm schedule, one reason being that we’re going to have a houseguest for the first two weeks, so I’m sure I will be off schedule more than on.  I also have a feeling that some days will take 30 minutes to complete the tasks, while others will take 3 hours.  I’d eventually like to find a balance, so I left space at the bottom to track the time.  Ideally, those deep cleaning days that take 3 hours to complete could be broken up into one-day-a-month tasks, but that would make the schedule incredibly long and daunting.   I may work that way anyway, marking “deep cleaning” off on the day I finish all the tasks.

Deep Cleaning Tasks

I know there some things I forgot, like cleaning out the gutters monthly and any once a year tasks, like cleaning the carpets, but it’s a start.  If you have a cleaning schedule you follow, feel free to share or link me to it!

I am also happy to report that yesterday, I finally tackled the piles of laundry in the master bedroom and reorganized the closet as well as the dresser drawers.  Today was more laundry (sheets to prepare for our houseguest), and I implemented another organization tip from the article that suggest turning the clothes hangers backwards:

Store extra sheets inside of one of the match pillow cases; found on Pinterest via Buzzfeed.

Store extra sheets inside of one of the matching pillow cases; found on Pinterest via Buzzfeed.

Good Intentions

All day yesterday, I was planning to go home after work and tackle the piles of clean laundry in the master bedroom.  I have no problem doing the laundry…until it comes to folding and putting away.  Sadly, my husband is no better, so we usually just leave the clean clothes in piles in the laundry baskets until we wear them and they make their way to the hampers to be washed again. All day, I was thinking of organizing my closet as I put away my clothes…until about 7pm, after we had eaten dinner, washed dishes, and cleaned the kitchen.  We then decided that we needed an ash bucket for our fireplace, so we ran to a couple of stores to find one.  Then, since we’ve had so little downtime during the holidays, I let my husband convince me to watch a couple episodes of his favorite show…which meant I went to bed later than planned, without hanging up the clothes.

If it had been any other chore, I probably wouldn’t have put it off, or if we had a tv in our bedroom, I could have multi-tasked it.  But such is life, and I am now planning to tackle it this afternoon, since I only work until noon today.

In my planning, I found this tip on Pinterest that I would like to implement:

Found on Pinterest via Buzz Feed

Found on Pinterest via Buzz Feed

I was really hoping I would be sharing a picture of my closet with all the hangers backwards instead of the original tip, but I really like this idea.  I did a big closet purge this past August after our wedding to make room in the master closet for my husband’s clothes, but I know there are still items that I rarely or maybe never wear.  I am pretty excited of the idea that by this time next year, they will be out!