Just a reminder for all interested. The Holiday Grand Plan from Organized Christmas starts on Sunday August 31st.

If you plan on participating, please check out Organized Christmas.

Here is the link to the Grand Plan. This has all the information to get you going to get the house in order.

I am starting Sunday! Hope you all join in!

It is done…

The children and parents survived the 1st day of school. WHEW!! All the children came home with PACKETS of paperwork to get filled out. And of course there are all sorts of incentives (bribes) to entice the children to have them turned in the next day. There really needs to be a better way in this day and age. Why do I have to fill out a medical card, an information card and then a teacher’s card FOR EACH CHILD?!?! Then there was medication forms and the updating your race forms and the may we use your child’s image forms, and the computer Internet use form. Then each teacher had a what can I expect of you as a parent form, what do you expect of me. AND we got all six sets done so they can turn them in and get their prizes.

In this day and age all of this should be able to be done on the computer. Enter it one time and then verify each year. No reason to kill all these trees. Maybe I will suggest it for next year. Maybe I will right the program and sell it to schools. All I know is there has to be a better way!

It is here!

Tomorrow! The day the children have been waiting for all summer. The first day of the new school year.

Last week was packed with finding all the little things that are so hard to find at times. You know the specific red pen, the page dividers. And of course finding the new clothes for certain teenagers for their first day as a senior or their first day as a freshman.

Monday afternoon, Mandy went to her IB team building session and had a blast. She also received her schedule and found out that she was in the marching band, which was not what she had requested, so we had to get that straightened out. Since there is a schedule conflict she no longer in band. She will be taking art. I also had to get some of the items for the teacher’s breakfast for Wednesday.

Tuesday was spent doing some more shopping for those perfect outfits. Tuesday night the PTA Board was at the new parent orientation at the elementary school.

Wednesday was the Welcome Back Teacher Breakfast at the school. So I headed over there at 7:00 to get it set up along with the other PTA members.

Thursday was crazy day. We had the sneak a peek at the elementary school. This is where the students get to see their teacher and their classroom. Most teachers also have the seats assigned so they will get to see where they are sitting. The PTA Board had to take turns manning the PTA table. THEN we had get over to the high school for Mandy’s freshman orientation.

Friday was a relatively quiet day. I cut the boys hair in the afternoon. Richard and I took Emma and Becky to get their haircut. We also took the girls to their bangs trimmed for the first time. Then we had the older girls babysit after dinner and Richard and I went out for dessert.

Saturday I had training for the PTA. That lasted most of the day. Richard took the middle 4 and Amanda to a Soccer Shoot-out sponsored by the Knights of Columbus in the morning. After that we had a quiet evening.

Now it is Sunday. All the backpacks are filled and waiting to go. The first day outfits are out and ready to go. Tonight the children have decided on fish sticks and macaroni and cheese for dinner. After that it will be bath and then to bed on time for the those going to school.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

9 Days until School Starts

This week we have been working down the 14 page list, implemented a new daily schedule and been getting ready to go back to school. So writing on the blog hasn’t been happening. 🙂

About the list — we have just about everything done. This week we need to tackle the dungeon, I mean basement and then I have to get a couple of hour blocks and get my room done and then we will have tackled the monster 14 page list.

New Daily Schedule — I recently purchased Managers of Thier Home. It is primarily set up for homeschoolers, but I have been able to work it into my life with good results (and a little resistence from a couple of children). I will tweak it some next week for getting into back to school mode.

Back to School — All the supplies have been purchased. Backpacks are packed. Yesterday we found out the teacher’s for the middle four. Liz has her schedule. Monday Mandy has a get aquainted gathering at Harford Glen Environmental Education Center. Then she has freshman orientation on Thursday. Also on Thursday the middle for have a “sneak a peak” in the afternoon. So much for a quiet week before school.

But starting on Sunday I start the back to school routine. The school bedtimes are enforced, the children get up at thier school times. Dinner is back to it’s school schedule. My the time Monday the 25th rolls around everyone is semi-prepared.

Kids Blog — Amanda has started her own blog about our family life. Right now it is by invite only. If you are interested in reading about our life from one of the children’s view let me know so we can get you an invite out.

Y’all have a wonderful weekend!

Planning for the holidays…

A friend was talking about needed a site to help with organizing her house. I pointed her to one of my favorite sites, Organized Home. I love this site. It provides so much information and has a bunch of free printable forms that can help you come design a workable household management binder.

It also has a sister site, Organized Christmas. Another site I love. They have a Christmas Countdown that gets you ready for the holidays so that you can ENJOY them. They have a 12 week plan and a 6 week plan. This year I am going to do the 12 week plan. Again this site has printable forms to help you do things like organize your gift closet so you know what you have. Saves money so you aren’t buying for someone twice.

Right now I am in the middle of the back to school cleaning. Once that is done I am going to jump right into the Christmas Countdown. It begins August 31st. Anyone else care to jump in too so we can enjoy the holidays this year?

Countdown Clocks at

Working on the list!

We have spent the past three days working on the list. We have actually accomplished quite a bit. Two of the 4 bedrooms are clean. The linen closet has be purged and reorganized. (And I actually have room to spare!). The kids bathroom has been totally scrubbed, top to bottom. A few of the kitchen cabinets have been purged and reorganized too. The front porch and back deck of been de-junked, swept and hosed off.

So we are making great progress. Only 9-10 more pages to go. Since I have bits and pieces done on several pages. We keep up this pace we may have everything done by the end of next week. So that will leave the last week before school to relax and enjoy the rest of the summer!

It is time….

The children head back to school in 3 more weeks. I have decided to do a major clean and purge. So tonight I sat down at the computer and opened up Word. I typed and I typed. EVERYTHING I want to get done. I broke it down to cabinet level at times. You know — the cabinet over the Oven. Empty everything out. Wipe down cabinet. Sort and purge. Organize remaining items and put away.

I have done this for every room, every closet, every cabinet in the house. And even some things outside the house. I have 14 pages to go through. What have I done?!? LOL Actually it is not too bad. I put it have it in 18 point Arial font. But I also like having it written out. When the children start talking about being bored, I can have the them pitch in and help. I can tell the older ones. Find something that isn’t crossed off and do it. The middle ones can climb into the cabinets to get the things out. They can climb in and help put them away. I have a couple that love to vacuum and dust too so I will put them to work at the correct times.

I figure if I take one or two areas a day I should be able to get them all done within the three week time frame. Then I can feel better about having a house ready for the “new year.” Even though the official new year is months away I always feel a new start when the new school year starts. So when the children walk out the door to go to school, my house will not look like a wrecking crew lived in it over the summer (although they really did).

Who else is in?

How does your food budget compare?

I like to track my food budget. It the main area where I can really control the household budget. I was poking around at the USDA site and found the official USDA food plan for June 2008. This report is put out, I believe, on a quarterly basis. It shows what the USDA expects a a family to spend on food. It is broken down into four food plans: Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost and Liberal. For fun I figured out what the Government says I should be spending on food for my family of 11 each month. Oh this money includes FOOD ONLY! They also assume all meals and snacks are prepared at home.

Thrifty: $1,311.30
Low-Cost: $1,680.00
Moderate: $2,062.40
Liberal: $2,474.40

I really need to get the USDA’s publications Thrifty Food Plan, 2006 (2007) and The Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost and Liberal Food Plans, 2007 (2007). I want to see what these people “think” I should be buying!

I find these amounts to be ludicrous! I am able to purchase EVERYTHING my family needs, food, health & beauty, paper products, diapers and even pet supplies, for $700 a month. On a really “bad” month it may be closer to $900, but those are the months that I see great sales on meat and stock up. The next couple of months I spend less so it I would say the average is $700.

How does your budget compare? Here is the June Report.