Now that Kim has given you the history behind our home management notebooks, I'd love to share my details. Kim and I discussed what we wanted out of these over the course of several months. We're both very visual and we agreed they had to be pretty. We had to want to handle them frequently and we wanted to be rewarded when we looked at them. She's a graphic genius and she sent me my cover inserts and divider pages. They were all the inspiration I needed to take off on my own.
We both had taken to heart stories like this one and this one, and since we were both pregnant, they were in the back of our minds as we sought to put on paper everything we knew would make our households run more smoothly. The chance of our demise notwithstanding, there were other reasons for committing household routines and rhythms to paper. We saw these binders as works in progress and we knew that they would become the living books with which we could teach our daughters to keep house. That's why we both chose visual themes with our daughters in mind. And we also knew that the exercise of thinking these things through would only benefit our families, not just in the long run, but in the near term.
When a bottle of red wine fell off the top of the refrigerator and onto the granite counter below, thoroughly drenching my copies of Heart of the Home and Autumn from the Heart of the Home, I cried. Then, I blotted and reconciled myself to the fact that now I had lots and lots of pages to cut and paste in order to add graphics to my planning pages. I downloaded the same font she'd used for the dividers from Two Peas in a Bucket. I wanted all the pages in the same font if at all possible. For purposes of this post, I have saved all the downloads in a plain Word font, since you wouldn't be able to read them in the Two Peas font unless you'd downloaded it as well. Clear as mud so far?
I have already benefitted enormously from this book. I had all these routines in place by midsummer and my children and I were well practiced before the fall and the stresses that came with it. Within a two week span, my husband changed jobs (from one that had him traveling often and working at home to one that has him traveling still but working in a downtown office as well) and we added a baby to the family. Add to that the beginning of the school year, a new activity schedule, and some nasty viral illnesses and I could have been looking at utter chaos.
Thanks to the help of some very dear friends and to the forethought of the plan, we are surviving rather well. It's not perfect and my house doesn't look like a Better Homes and Gardens spread, but it's functional and when we put our minds to it, it's downright lovely.
The book begins with some inspiration. Kim sent this page:
and then I added this post to remind myself why I am doing this whole homemaking thing.
The Schedules section of the binder begins with a master schedule for the week. I've listed, by day, where each child goes and how they get to and from. Behind that are pages that include all the game and dance rehearsal schedules, directions to all the fields for the current season, my husband's travel schedule, the local school schedule and any correspondence from coaches or dance teachers. I keep a few empty page protectors there so that I can file things the minute they get home.
The Food section includes:
- a Basic Kitchen Inventory Download healthy_kitchen_basic_inventory.1.doc which I use to generate a grocery list
- a three week cycle menu Download cycle_menu.1.doc
- all the recipes that go with the meals in the cycle menu-- perhaps they will appear at Kitchen Comforts sometime soon (I keep promising Lissa)
- the co-op order form (we order all our poultry, eggs, butter and many dry goods from a Virginia farm once a month)
- an inventory of all the food in the upright freezer (twice a year, we order a side of beef)
The Cleaning Section includes:
- The chore chart. I began with a subscription to Motivated Moms but quickly discovered that the schedules there didn't work for a family this size and my definition of clean and orderly. So, I tweaked it. I still consult the Motivated Moms schedule weekly, but the chart we use is way-tailored to my family each week.Download EDAILYCHORES--10-22.doc
- Several pages clearly defining what "clean" really is. These are also laminated and posted throughout the house. These charts enable my husband to make "inspections." Download eslists.1.doc
- A page with the laundry routine Download laundry_routine.1.doc
- Instructions on washing diapers Download washing_diapers.1.doc
- How to make various household cleaners Download basic_cleaners.1.doc
The Health section includes:
- The names and numbers of all doctors and dentists and the pharmacy.
- Health insurance information.
- A list of symptoms and herbal remedies.
- A pediatric herb compendium.
- Our family's immunization schedule
The Faith section includes:
- current novena prayers
- The Mass schedule and contact list from my parish
- All the great liturgical year ideas I've gleaned from places like the 4Real boards, the Cottage, and Jenn Miller. This section is growing very fat.
The Home Education section includes the plan for each child that I wrote this summer. Those are all linked on the sidebar of this blog.
The Contacts section includes:
- the back page from our community news magazine which has all the names and numbers of local offices and merchants.
- a printed list of the names, phone numbers, and snail mail addresses of all the 4Real Message board moderators.
- a printed list of other frequently called numbers
Whew! I'm having such fun reading others' ideas and plans for management notebooks and I'm sure glad that I bought a two inch binder from the get-go. I see much adding in my future.
For more on Homemaking Companion Books click here.