Have your kids started back to school yet? The public schools here go back on Wednesday. We homeschool and I haven’t decided yet what day we’ll start back. Thursday maybe? Or Monday?
If only summer could last a little bit longer. Part of me is ready to get back into a routine and part of me still wants to be on a floaty in the ocean.
Whether I like it or not, we need to get back into a routine to deal with all the classes, sports, activities and the schedules they impose. So today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tools for organizing myself and my family.
A quick note before we get into organizing tools – I’m going to be doing a Google + Hangout with Crystal and Kelli on their #LearntoBlog Hangouts on Google +. We’ll be chatting about food blogging at 11am EST/10amCentral on Tuesday 8/13. I’d love to have you join us! If you can’t make it live, you can watch on Youtube later. I’ll share the link when it’s up.
The first tool I use and love are the Weekly Meal Plans.
I really do use the plans. I don’t always stick to them closely, because I need to test new recipes to share with you. But that’s one of the great things about these simple meal plans – they are so flexible that even when I shop with the list, I can still decide to swap out meals and have all the ingredients I need. I love not having to think or prep a list and menu before I go to the store.
This week, I tested a special slow cooker freezer meals plan that we will have for you in September. I made 7 meals in 1 hour, plus started a chicken in the slow cooker to have for dinner and freeze the leftover meat. For the whole month of September, the Weekly Meal Plans will be focusing on stocking your freezer. No big cooking day required.
A sneak peek at this week’s menus are at the bottom of this post.
Cozi Family Organizing App
I shared Cozi with you last year. I don’t know what we would do without this app. With this app, I can easily input all of our schedules and appointments. Everyone in the family sees the same calendar and we can use it on our phones or computers. I’ve been using the free version, but I love it so much I’ve thought of upgrading to the paid version. If you’ve tried the paid, I’d love to know what you think. And if you haven’t tried Cozi yet, do give it a try.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
With school starting up again, I’m going to have to get myself out of bed on time each morning. Since vacation, I’ve been like a sloth. I love Sleep Cycle app. It wakes me up in my lightest sleep cycle, which keeps me from feeling like I’ve been yanked through 100 feet of murky water. Or maybe that’s just how I feel when I get woken from a deep sleep.
Sleep Cycle also tracks how many hours I sleep at night and tells me what my sleep quality was. It makes me very aware that when I stay up late, my sleep quality is low and so is the quality of my day. My best nights are always Sunday nights, because I’m most motivated to get in bed early on Sundays. I need to work on that for the rest of the week too.
Day One Journaling App
I’m a new user of Day One. I downloaded it recently to use for our homeschool to track our days and activities. I decided to give it a try while on vacation and I love it. The app reminds me each day that it’s time to write an entry. And it’s so easy to keep up with. As easy as writing a tweet or Facebook status, only no one sees it but me.
You can also add photos. And I think there are other functions as well, but I haven’t explored those. I use Day One on my iPhone for free. There’s also a Mac app, but it costs $10. I’m not willing to pay for that now, since it’s so easy to use on my phone.
Do you use Day One? If so, I’d love to hear how you use it. I’m looking forward to using it for school.
I use Evernote for all kinds of things from collaborating with my Weekly Meal Plans team, to keeping track of school curricula and plans. I’ve assigned a notebook for each of my kids. Their school courses and book lists are easy to keep track of in Evernote. It’s the best way I’ve found for keeping track of all the high school courses and making sure we’ve covered all the requirements. Evernote is free (although I do use the paid version for the collaborating function) and the notes are accessible on my phone or computer.
Erin Condren Life Planner
Looking at this list, you’d think that I only use digital tools. But I do have a paper calendar (Life Planner by Erin Condren) that I love, love, love. It’s where I keep track of all of my blog work and daily to-do lists. I’d be sunk without it. I’ve been using Life Planners for several years now. I don’t really think of it as a back to school item, just because I use it mostly for work and I use it every day of the year. It’s the book that knows more than I do!
I’d love to hear about your favorite tools for organizing yourself and your family. If you use something you love, leave a comment and share it with us.
Simple Weekly Meal Plans
Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans. When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included. You can find out more about how to get them for yourself by clicking here. Now, you get access to a whole month at a time!
Slow Cooker Plan
- Grilled Steak (use this recipe but steak instead of chicken)
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy
- Dijon Tarragon Tilapia
- Cheese Ravioli with Pesto, Roasted Red Pepper, and Grilled Chicken
- Chicken Broccoli Divan
- Egg Salad Sandwiches
- Creamy Pina Colada Pie