Get Organized With This Free Weekly Household Planner {Life Simplified}

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Susan from The Confident Mom is pretty great. And after moving, I cannot even think about creating a new household planner or chore chart. However, my house cannot afford to have no kind of plan either.

That’s why I am SO thankful for Susan’s FREE Weekly Household planner – it is super detailed for people like me, but there’s also a blank planner, so you can type your own information in.
2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner

This planner is in PDF format and there is one sheet for every week of the year.

Susan also offers a wonderful supplement to this terrific planner.

From Susan’s site:

 

The Weekly Household Planner Supplement includes the following digital fill-in forms:

  • Master Family Planner.   Keep track of the entire family’s activities on a daily/weekly basis all in one convenient place.
  • Special Occasion Calendar/Gift Planner.  You’ll always be prepared for the next birthday or special occasion.
  • Holiday Gift Planner Worksheet.  Keep track of your holiday shopping list and purchases and what still needs wrapped or delivered. Never forget that well-hidden gift again!
  • Babysitter Information Form.  This form makes it easy to provide your sitter with all the information he or she needs so you can relax and enjoy your time away.
  • Quick Contacts.  Helps you keep important emergency contacts available for easy reference when you need them in a hurry as well as frequently used numbers.
  • Family Emergency/Medical Information Form.  Record your family’s medical and insurance information on this form—it will be easy to find and share with those that need it.
  • Website/App List for Kids.  An easy way your kids can list the websites they want to visit, or apps or songs they want to buy. This gives you a chance to review first and make sure the content is age appropriate!
  • Website/App List for Me.  A place to record websites you want to visit or apps you want to buy during your downtime.
  • Account Keeper Sheet. Keep track of online accounts, including usernames and passwords. Never get locked out of your account again!
  • Weekly Menu Planner/Shopping List.  Plan your meals for the week so you arrive at the store prepared and don’t over-purchase.
  • NEW—Let’s Plan a Party Form.  An easy way to keep track of party planning details such as guest list, menu, party favors, and activities.
  • NEW—Bible Bookmarks.  Use these monthly reading bookmarks with suggested reading each day of the month, enabling you to read the entire bible in a year.

The Weekly Household Planner Supplement Kit is available for purchase for only $6. 

Use it with the FREE Weekly Household Planner and you have a productive task/organizational tool that will make your household run like a smooth-running machine.

PLANNER-SUPPLEMENT

Get your FREE planner here.

How are you simplifying life this month? Link up any post below that is relevant to simplifying. 

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Trim Healthy Mama {Life: Simplified}

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One of my goals to simplify in 2014 includes my diet. Simplifying the foods that I eat so I can live out my days with optimal energy.

Right now, that is my biggest offender: I always feel tired. I am a big carb loader and a junk food junkie. Sugar has become so much a part of my diet that I don’t even realize all the things I eat that contain sugar. But what I didn’t realize? All those carbs that I load up on? They break down into sugar and after a while, I have a sugar crash.

Fighting Fatigue with Real Food

I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and I frequently crash in the afternoons.

After reading some rather interesting information in the Trim Healthy Mama book, it makes complete sense why I am always tired and having crashes throughout the day.

While I am continue my journey of eating real foods, I remind myself that perfection isn’t the goal here. I am not aiming to never eat a lick of sugar again. Maybe someday I’ll get to that point, but right now, that’s not the goal. After feeding my body {pretty much} toxins for much of it’s existence, shifting that is going to take time.

So, right now my goal isn’t to cut out everything toxic, but rather to include more whole foods. Including more whole foods will automatically push out some of the toxic foods I’ve been accustomed to.

What I am loving about Trim Healthy Mama is that, though this plan has you eat certain foods together, it doesn’t force me to eliminate some of my favorite foods (such as potatoes!). It just has me eat them coupled with the right kinds of foods for optimal performance, and of course in the right portions.

Because I eat so many carbs (carbohydrates), and carbs break down into sugars, I was overloading my system with excess insulin, causing me to crash and store fat.

I am not completely cutting out carbs, I am merely controlling my portions. That’s a start. Last night, I created a meal already part of our regular menu that closely fit the Trim Healthy Mama plan. I will continue to use what I have on hand as I purchase new items to include in the THM plan as I go.

Lemon Pepper Chicken and Jasmine Rice

(Quick recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken – Take chicken breasts and cook in butter, sprinkle with Lemon Pepper seasoning, splash fresh lemon juice on top! Asparagus – Cook in frying pan with butter and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until tender, but not mushy.)

My ultimate goal isn’t weight loss, though I’m sure that will be a lovely perk to this continuous change. No, my overall goal is to have more energy and mental power for my family and myself. I don’t expect any plan will be perfect, but this one seems to deal with some of my personal eating habits.

Each month I will share an aspect of what I’m learning and how my habits have changed as well as the results of those changes. I will also share some new recipes and tidbits from Trim Healthy Mama.

What about you? Are you on a real food journey? What plan are you using?

Follow my Life: Simplified Pinterest board for more resources on simplifying your life.

Follow my new Trim Healthy Mama Pinterest board for all resources Trim Healthy Mama related! 

Life: Simplified ~ Moving Edition

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The last few weeks have been no picnic as we have been forced into living rather simple lives in a staged house. Living a simple life doesn’t mean living an easy life. Oftentimes we forgo the simple for the easy.

Simplifying helps us see better

This move has bumped my goals into overdrive in the Home department of my Life: Simplified project.

Here are a few things I’m learning about simplifying during a move:

Purge as You Pack

Now that we have an offer, I have been able to relax a bit in that area of moving and begin to focus more on packing. As I pack, I am also purging. Since this time requires I touch almost every single object in my home, it allows me to really see what we have that hasn’t been of use.

Although moving is a ginormous task, it is also a wonderful way to jump start a huge purge and start fresh.  I want to start life in a new home where I can breathe easier.

It’s not that we’re big hoarders, or anything. It’s just that we often don’t realize how quickly things can accumulate. A lot of times it’s accepting things from others without really thinking whether we really need them or not.

I am especially focusing on what we have in storage, since those things aren’t items we see on a daily basis.

Live With Less (at least for a while)

Packing and waiting pretty much forces us to live with less. This opens up our senses a little wider since we are limited to what we can pull out. There are less books to choose from, so reading becomes more in depth because there aren’t a million books visible to choose from waiting for me (or my children) to hurry up and finish.

Having fewer options staring us in the face helps minimize those kinds of distractions. It allows us to live more fully in many respects.

Adjust Your Expectations

Expecting everyone in my home to be comfortable with change or understand why they cannot pull out certain toys (such as Play-Doh) during a season of house showings is a bit much.

While I may have a large grasp on the situation and time frame of what’s involved in selling and buying a new home, my children do not. Waiting, for children, seems longer and harder in some respects, than for adults. And it has still been difficult on me, as an adult!

What does this have to do with simplifying? Well, it’s part of recognizing that “simplifying” is not equated with “easy”. I am learning, while also teaching my children, how to be content with less – even if it’s only temporary.

What are you learning about simplifying? Link up your post below! Next week, let’s talk about simplifying our time/schedules. 

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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Homeschooling Through a Move

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Previously, I posted how we decided at the last minute to move. We needed to do a lot of things, fast, so we dropped everything, including homeschooling, and set to work on getting the house ready for listing. The listing went up last Monday.

After the first week and a half of readying the house, I decided it best to continue to keep up on lessons, in some form or another. Allowing my children too much free time and TV time proved to be disastrous. I didn’t think a couple weeks would be a big deal, but it was. And let’s be honest, it takes more than a couple of weeks to sell a house and complete a move. There will be more weeks out of the ordinary ahead of us.

Homeschooling During a Move

So, I decided it best to keep their minds sharp and occupied during this time by setting them up with work that is independent in nature, yet empowers and challenges them to become self-propelled learners. These include:

Book Box

Homeschooling Through a Move - Book Box

Book box is a selection of books hand picked by me, based on what we are learning. I have a set time the children must read something of their choosing from the book box. At times I’ll add in some Literature that may not be specific to the time era we are studying, but it is great Literature none-the-less.

Whatever they choose to read, they must read for 15-30 minutes per session. Some days we have one session some days two or more. This helps them continue to learn by keeping their mind sharp and working. At the end of each session, I ask for an oral narration of what they read.

Math

  Homeschooling Through a Move - Math

Math is always a constant in any season. Too much time off of math and my kids begin to forget the concepts they learned and need to re-learn. We even do math through the summer months. There are days throughout the week we might take off, but I try to avoid taking more than a week off of math at a time.

This does require some help from me at times. Sometimes I’ll have the children work through what they can until I am free to help them, or we’ll finish up what needed to be done together in the evening hours.

Another option for math is to focus on doing drill work; helping my children master the concepts they have already learned and/or memorizing addition/subtraction/multiplication/division facts.

Manipulatives

Homeschooling Through a Move - Manipulatives

For my younger children, I will pull out a set of manipulatives for them to play with and learn independently from. Rotating them keeps their interests piqued.

Some of our favorites are Gears, Gears, Gears (pictured above), Wood Pattern Blocks, Cubes, and Melissa & Doug’s Magnetic Pattern Block Kit.

Among these, we also play educational games, read aloud, and continue with some educational shows on Netflix. Not all of these are done every single day, but having something in the queue helps prevent boredom and sibling fights while continuing to keep their minds

What suggestions do you have for homeschooling through a move?

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

One of the healthiest, easiest, budget friendly meal to make is homemade chicken noodle soup. If you invest in a crock pot for no other reason than making homemade chicken noodle soup, you’ll earn your money back in grocery savings and save time.

Before, I used to use canned chicken broth to make this soup when I had leftover chicken. Now I have learned how to make my own chicken broth, that is also a cinch (especially with a crock pot).

If you’re cooking the chicken fresh, with the soup, the stock makes itself at the same time.

Today I’m going to share two recipes with you. One is for chicken noodle soup and the other is for chicken stock. Learning to make chicken stock was a Life: Simplified Project goal of mine in the Food category.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4-6 adults

Ingredients

4 Chicken Thighs (or any bone-in chicken)
4 Carrots
2 Stalks Celery
1/2 Medium Onion
1 1/2 T Parsley
1 1/2 T Oregano or Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
6-8 Cups of Water
Egg Noodles

1. Chop carrots, celery, and onion.
2. Place into crockpot
3. Add Chicken
4. Add seasonings
5. Cover with 6-8 cups of water (depending on crockpot size)
6. Set to low and simmer for 8-10 hours.
7. During the last 15 minutes or so, cook your egg noodles according to package direction. Drain and add to crockpot. I usually make 3-4 cups of egg noodles.

Serve with bread or rolls!

Now, if you find yourself with leftover chicken and want to make soup out of it, don’t grab the canned broth. Think ahead. When you buy a whole chicken or any chicken with bones in it, save the skin and bones to turn into chicken stock/broth.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Ingredients

Whole chicken carcass or bones and skin from previously cooked chicken
3-4 Carrots
2-3 Stalks of Celery
1 Onion
1 1/2 T Parsley
1 1/2 T Basil or Oregano
Salt and Pepper
6-8 Cups of Water

1. Fill Crockpot with all ingredients.
2. Turn on Low and simmer 10+ hours
3. Once complete, drain stock into storage container(s) with a strainer
4. Store in air tight containers and freeze or use within a few days

If you save the bones, you can repeat the process, making another entire batch of stock from them. I cannot think of a more budget friendly, healthy, and easy way to keep chicken stock on hand.

It can be used in soups, casseroles, rice or couscous (in place of water), mashed potatoes in place of milk (a great way to cut calories) and so much more!

The health benefits of making your own stock include vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and gelatin which helps maintain healthy cartilage. It’s no secret that homemade broth is medicinal; it boosts the immune system.  With all these health benefits and the simplicity of making this stock, I think everyone needs to know about it. It is one of the easiest foods to simplify in the kitchen.

What are you simplifying this week? Link up your posts below!

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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No More Survival Mode

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In order to make some progress in simplifying, it’s important to have some real, tangible goals that are written down and visible daily.

This post contains affililate links. 

No More Survival Mode

No More Survival Mode - Life: Simplified Project

The goals also need to be broken down so they are not overwhelming. Simplifying your whole house in the first month is not feasible, so don’t even fathom it. Begin with a kitchen drawer or cupboard, a closet, or bookshelf.

 

Boys Closet - Life: Simplified Project

Boys Closet After Purge - Life: Simplified Project

This weeks completed goal was cleaning out my boys closet by thinning out their wardrobe. They had so many clothes that were graciously handed down to us, we were overflowing. I found myself buying more and more hangers in order to be able to hang them all up. On laundry day, I was squeezing clothes into this already tight closet.

Having lots of clothing means having lots more laundry. It also makes for more dirty clothes on the floor rather than down the chute (yes, we have a laundry chute).

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.

-Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

Crystal Paine released her latest book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode in January and let me tell you, this book has been a lifesaver to help me narrow down and flesh out my goals. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but the goals weren’t detailed enough and didn’t have a specific time frame to work within. She walks you through it step by step and offers her own examples.

Breaking them down into smaller bites and plugging them into my planner puts them right in front of me and tells me to walk them out. They aren’t stuffed somewhere in a notebook, forgotten.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Book.jpg

 

Crystal teaches you how to narrow down your goals and make them specific. She also encourages you to be disciplined.

What really grabbed my attention was how to streamline my home management to be more efficient. It gets really frustrated to be constantly cleaning only to turn around and find new messes. It’s a vicious cycle and I couldn’t keep up.

One thing I still struggle with is menu planning and the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?”.  Crystal offers great suggestions on how to be ready for dinner before it’s 5pm.

Sometimes, though, you’re not sure what goals to make. May I make a suggestion?

In other news…

This weekend has offered us an unexpected opportunity and it has forced us into some major purging and simplifying. Have you ever put your house up for sale before at moment’s notice? Yea, that. A few things are still up in the air, but we are proceeding as if the expectations we need met, will in fact be met. More details as it all unfolds!

What are you simplifying this week? Link up your posts below!

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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Simplifying Our Food

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I have been overwhelmed by the response of the Life: Simplified Project kick off and am excited to dig in and share some of my goals and projects with you in the coming weeks!

5 Processed Foods Easily Simplified

Today I want to talk about food. I have been a struggling menu-planner for years. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what the problem was and why I felt overwhelmed and stuck by the idea of menu planning. But one of the major reasons finally hit me: too many choices.

Our grocery stores are filled with endless choices of just about everything. The overwhelming choices cause me to freeze. I just don’t even know where to begin. Though we aim to eat healthy, there is still room for improvement and in order to simplify our choices, I decided last year to eliminate as many processed foods as possible.

I am still on this journey and will continue to eliminate more items and replace them with more homemade, whole foods. Today I am sharing 5 processed food items that we have swapped out for more whole foods. These are some of the most simplest food items to change out.

Margarine

We stopped buying margarine, which is mostly hydrogenated vegetable oil and water. Although it is inexpensive compared to butter, the health benefits just aren’t there.

I understand some people cannot eat butter due to special health restrictions, but for those of us who can, I recommend it over margarine. It has a higher fat content, but the fats are healthier than those in margarine and you can save money and calories by cutting down your portion.

Vegetable Oil

Not far behind, we swapped out our vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil. Again, healthier fats. Buying this in bulk will save lots of money in the long run.

I have also heard of many people using coconut oil, which is something I tend to add to our pantry stables but have not yet found a local place selling it at a decent price.

Canned Chicken Broth

High in sodium and void of wonderful nutrients, I have stopped buying canned chicken broth in favor of making my own homemade. It is super easy and it doesn’t even compare to that stuff in the can.

Simply use bones from a chicken, add water, some carrots, celery, and an onion and simmer for 8-10 hours. I put mine in the crock pot over night. You can add seasonings to your liking, but the broth comes out so full of flavor, you don’t need them, or could always add them later, when you use the broth for soup or other dishes.

I’ll be sharing on this in more details in a later post.

Processed Cheese

No, I don’t make my own cheese. But I do buy it as little processed as I can. We have stopped buying pre-shredded cheese in favor of the blocks and just shred it ourselves. The shredded cheese is coated with a substance called dextrose and calcium sulfate, otherwise known as corn starch and a synthetic salt. Both created in a lab, yet pretty easily eliminated in this instance. This substance is to prevent the cheese from sticking together.

I am currently doing some research on American cheese. While we stopped buying the individually wrapped slices, we are buying the deli-style, but am not sure that’s much better, honestly. So, my research on that continues.

Pancake Mix

I know, yes, I am one of those mom’s who buys the packaged pancake mix and while it seems perfectly fine, it’s really not. It has elements in it to preserve the mix and, if used passed the expiration date, has been known to be deadly. Scary thought, huh?

It’s really quite simple to find a good, healthy pancake recipe. Whole wheat, topped with fresh fruit? Yes, please.

What processed food would you like to simplify, or swap out for real food? I will share more as my journey progresses.

This post is part of the Life: Simplified Project. Follow our Pinterest board here.

Life: Simplified Project

 

You can link up your Life: Simplified post here. Share your goals or projects for simplifying your life in 2014. If you’re reading this in your email, you can click over to the blog to add your link. Prepare a post and join us each Monday!

 

{Affiliate links}

Check out Simplified Dinners for help with easy menu planning. Also available in dairy and gluten free. Get $3 off by using coupon code: simplified
Simplified Dinners eBook

 

How to Get Involved in the Life: Simplified Project

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Many of you are wondering how you can get involved in participating in the Life: Simplified Project. We didn’t anticipate such a large response, so we made some adjustments in order to open the community up in a big way.

Get Involved in the Life: Simplified Project

There are 3 ways you can get involved. You can choose to do one, or do all three. Totally your choice.

Do the Life: Simplified Project

You may be asking how to do this project. We have left the gates pretty wide open on this one, but it’s left a lot of room for questions and direction. We don’t want anyone confused on how this works, so if it helps to offer some guidelines, here they are.

  1. Choose an area or areas in your life that need to be simplified. In my case, I chose Home, Time Management, Food, and Homeschool. You can find more details on why and how in yesterday’s post. The areas are endless, however. Think about where or when you feel most overwhelmed. What can you do to simplify in order to bring more peace? It may be a matter of rearranging or changing things for a season. It may mean subtracting some things altogether in order to make space to breathe.
  2. Create goals in these specified areas. Next Monday I plan to post my goals for Home. I will give you a hint here: It will begin with a major purge. That’s one of my goals. In order to get my home into a more peaceful state, I need to simplify it.
  3. Begin working towards these goals. Then you can choose to do the following.

Pinterest Community Board

We have decided to open the Pinterest Community board for all those interested in joining the challenge and pinning their progress. You can write a blog post up and pin the post. You can take before and after photos and pin those. Also, feel free to pin tools and resources you find helpful in simplifying your life, including affiliate links (be sure to disclose), however, any spam will be deleted and multiple offenses will result in deletion of the pinner.

In order to join the board, you must follow these important steps so I can add you:

  • Follow the board here. Pinterest requires members of a community board to follow the board before they can be added.
  • Post your Pinterest name in the comments so I can add you. You can find this when you go to your Pinterest profile, at the end of the url. Like this —> http://www.pinterest.com/christinwrites/ <—- Although my name is Christin Slade, my Pinterest profile is under christinwrites.

Link Up

Each Monday there will be a link up for those who would like to link up their posts and read the progress of others in the project. I find it’s important to remain inspired and motivated by reading other people’s stories. So please DO share your stories and your progress!! If you are not a part of the Pinterest board, we will pin your posts to it to help others and it will drive traffic to your blog.

You can visit the other bloggers leading this project here:

Our  hashtag for this project is #lifesimplified. You can use it on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Looking forward to a productive and meaningful 2014!

 

Simplify Life in 2014

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I have found my life getting continuously cluttered in many areas. This causes me to be overwhelmed and seldom feel like I’m getting anything done. My mind hardly rests – if it isn’t the cleaning list of to do’s, it’s the mothering list of how to’s; it’s the meals I can’t do. It seems endless.

I’ve been working with a team of bloggers and recognized we all have similar goals to simplify, so we put together the Life: Simplified Project for 2014.

Life: Simplified 2014

While our goals vary slightly on different areas of our lives, our ultimate goal remains the same: to simplify our lives in the areas needed  most.

For me, this includes these 4 areas:

Simplify Home

Maintaining a relatively clean and tidy home filled with 7 people is no easy task. After realizing repeatedly that I cannot keep up at this pace (even with the help of my children), I’ve decided it was time to take a different approach: purge and simplify. The old saying rings true: less is more.

We’ve accumulated more toys, more clothes, more miscellaneous than we can keep up with.

Less stuff will equal more peace and more time.

Simplify Time Management

Speaking of time, freeing up some more is definitely a good thing but it wouldn’t do much good if I didn’t manage it well. I need to funnel that extra time into areas where it will most benefit. I also need to choose wisely what I’m spending my time on. I have created schedules but have rebelled against using them because I felt they were too restrictive. But the truth is, they allow for more productivity and direction. Not having a plan everyday only ensures I won’t accomplish much.

I’m only given one life to live. I don’t want to waste it by letting it whittle by.

A vase of camomiles against a background of blue walls

Simplify Food

Have you ever noticed the vast amount of food varieties at the grocery store? It can be so overwhelming, I don’t even know what to make most days because I don’t know how to navigate through the endless choices.

And honestly, most of the food on grocery store shelves aren’t healthy anyways due to all the junk they put it in it for various reasons: taste, texture, color, shelf longevity, etc. Much of it is not even food. 

I know how overwhelming switching to a more whole foods way of eating can be. But I’m also learning that if I narrow down our choices to a more simple menu, it makes planning that much easier. Who says we need to eat 30 different meals per month? I’ll be sharing these simplistic meal ideas and recipes in future posts.

Simplify Homeschooling

Homeschooling multiple children is no easy feat and I’m learning so much along the way. However, I thought it would be wise and beneficial to use different core curriculums with different children. I was very wrong. It is way to difficult to keep up with such an endeavor. Essentially, I’m teaching 4 different things to 4 different children rather then teaching them the same things, adapted for their level. My idea simply wasn’t a great one and sometimes you just don’t realize that until you try it. Sometimes, things look better in our mind, or even on paper, then in reality.

So, I will be simplifying in those areas but I also want to broaden our learning experience beyond books and pencil and paper. We will be learning notebooking techniques and using them, not only for learning purposes, but to also keep an ongoing record of their work. Something more tangible and consistent then we’ve been doing.

But we’ll also be venturing out more and focus on strengthening the gifts each of our children possess.

In the coming weeks and months, I will be sharing my goals and photos where applicable. I don’t just want to share my intentions, but my progress. Though I’ll be focusing on most areas simultaneously, I’ll be sharing them in intervals.

There are about 10 other bloggers who are doing this challenge along side me, each with slightly different goals. We want to invite you to join us! Think of 3-4 areas you could stand to simplify and make some goals to do so. Feel free to blog about it if you feel so lead. Sometimes that kind of accountability can really keep us motivated and moving forward.

Join the Community Pinterest Board

You can follow and join our Pinterest board to keep up with our latest progress and get inspired for new ideas.

If you are interested in joining the project, leave your Pinterest name in the comments and I will add you to the board by the end of the day.

You must make certain you are following the board or it will not allow me to add you to it. If you are not following the board, I cannot add you. {Pinterest won’t allow me to}.

**Please note, this is for pinning posts of your progress only. Any spam will be deleted and pinner will be removed after several offenses. We want a way to share progress, not spam.

However, we invite you to share tools or resources that are helping you along the way. Anything that will help our community simplify.

For more details on how you can join and be involved, click here.

What areas could you most use the simplicity?

Resources along the way:
{affil links}

The Confident Mom’s Daily Planner (FREE!)

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger

Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-home Mom by Tricia Goyer

7 Ways to Conquer Your Morning Routine

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Mornings are the time of day when my children thrive. They are most awake and most alert and it’s the best time for lessons and learning and all things the [potentially] disciplined mind requires. The house is wide awake with wonder and that curiosity needs direction.

7 Ways to Conquer Your Morning Routine.jpg

As a blogger, my first inkling is to jump on the computer and sip my coffee while browsing the new posts filling my Facebook timeline and my Twitter stream. It doesn’t matter how well laid out my plans are or what the schedule is for my children. If I am not actively involved in directing them, they lose focus easily and nothing gets accomplished.

There are 7 things I aim for to help us stay on schedule, especially in the mornings when we are all at our best.

1. Wake up early.

This is probably the most important foundation for me in getting a great head start on the day. Ironically, I do not consider myself a morning person. However, I recognize that this is the best way for me to get ready for my day in a variety of ways. It allows me adequate time to wake up, spend time with Jesus, drink some coffee, and be prepared when the children wake up.

2. Look over my schedule

Maybe it seems redundant, but if I don’t look over my schedule everyday, I easily forget what I’m supposed to do. Parts of my schedule change seasonally, so it’s not hard to forget what lies ahead for my mornings. Looking over my schedule allows me to make another mental note of what I can expect.

3. Don’t sit down.

This may sound strange, but for me, if I sit down to do something, such as check Facebook, I struggle to get back up. I need to keep moving in order to keep up.

In fact, I need to be dressed in real clothes and shoes in order to be motivated and remain productive.

4. Complete a task before moving to the next one

I really try to complete one task before moving on to the next one. If I leave half a dozen projects undone, I don’t accomplish anything.

If I’m working through homeschool lessons, I cannot stop in the middle to work on a cleaning project. I’ll lose the attention of my children and it’s hard to get it back! I’m not talking about taking a break, but getting distracted.

5. Avoid distractions.

Don’t stop to do research on curriculum while you’re homeschooling or look through photo albums while you’re cleaning. Distractions kill productivity. Stay focused and stay on task.

6. Follow up and inspect my children’s work.

It does no good to set our children off to do their chores or independent lessons if we do not follow up and check on their work. Make a habit of this and we’re sure to create laziness in our children who are unsure of their expectations and lack accountability.

7. Be all there.

Find joy in your schedule, don’t just mechanically get through it. The schedule is a guide in order to help us maximize our time and accomplish the most important things. But if we aren’t all there, in those moments, we miss the point. When our heart is somewhere else, we will not give our children our best.

A combination of these 7 tips can make for a powerful, productive morning.

What tip can you add that helps you get through your morning routine?