The Planner Post

I previously asked if anyone would be interested in a post about my planner usage. Turns out, many people are interested. Lauren & Alexandra invited me to link-up with them today and share a little about my methods.

My last three planners (2017, 2018, 2019) have been Plum Paper Planners. I love PPP because they have SO many choices. You can do a horizontal or vertical option, you can get prioritized pages, you can get student or teacher or mom-specific planners. Options are endless.

Their planners are durable and come in different sizes. You can pick from multiple front cover options and add customization like your name, initials, etc. You can make the inside colorful or neutral, & you can chose what month to start with, & you can chose the duration of the planner (12 to 18 months). You can also add organizational pages for home, baby, wedding, blog, chores, bills, scripture, exercise, and many many more.

So… as far as my planner goes, I order the 7×9 horizontal planner with two-sided days, the colorful layout, and my name + the year on the cover. I also add a bill pay chart at the end of each month. In the past I added sticker sheets but I have a lot left over from the last 2 years so I didn’t for 2019.

In the future I think I’d like to add more but for now this works really well.

My 2019 Plum Paper Planner

My new planner has coffee mugs and fresh, empty pages. To better illustrate my organizational habits I’m going to take pictures of my 2018 planner. Let’s start at the beginning…

(Click on pictures to see them larger.)

There is a basic calendar in the beginning of the planner. I mark birthdays and holidays but otherwise don’t use these pages for much.

Next is SPECIAL DATES

After each month is over I go back through the month and jot down important or noteworthy events. This is helpful when I go to scrapbook our marriage years.

The next page is IDEAS. PLANS. GOALS.

Here I write down the yearly and seasonal goals I am working on.

Now we finally get to the months. For past months I clip them together. When I’m in a current month I use a paper clip to mark the week:

We’ll use April 2018 as an example month…

The first page of the section is dedicated to goals, important dates, and lists for things happening this month. Sometimes it’s blog swap lists or book challenge lists. In December this is where I keep my Christmas shopping list. In April it was a “money owed” (to me! lol) list and a menu for Easter (which we hosted).

The next page is the overall month. I use long stickers or washi tape for trips.

On this page I also list my blog posts. Since I post on Tuesday & Thursday I number the column and add titles as I write them or think of them. I check them off once they’ve been scheduled/posted.

This is a relatively light week but….

The dinner planning cracks me up… Clearly a lazy week. I didn’t get to the grocery store.

My weekly to do list is up in the box (top of left side page). Our dinners are in the shaded box to the right of each day. My scheduled blog posts are also in that box on T/Th. I use sticker icons when appropriate.

The last two pages of the month are dedicated to books and bills, lol.

I keep track of what books I’m reading, what I’ve finished, and what I’ve logged on GoodReads and on the blog for Show Us Your Books.

On the bills side, I list them as they come in, check them off once the check has been sent or the payment has been scheduled, and mark them with a dot once the money has left my account.

In April I renewed PicMonkey, got my hair done (Exodus), and paid the dog sitter (Anna).

Ok… moving on. (If you’re still with me, HIGH FIVE!)

The back of the planner has some dotted pages for notes. I just list all the trips and goals we might like to accomplish over the year.

There’s also a page for passwords, contacts, and a calendar for the following year. On that future calendar I tend to mark appoints/weddings/events that I’ll want to jot down in my new planner once I’ve ordered it.

And that more or less sums up how I organize my planner! I keep a separate (monthly) planner for work related stuff. That one is just filled with deadlines, employee schedules, and work trips.

If you read this whole thing- thanks! If you have any questions on my planner style- fire away!

Thanks for hosting this link up, Lauren & Alexandra!!

 

Meal Planning (or “How to Keep Most of Your Groceries From Going Bad”)

Hiii (*waves nervously*) Let’s kick this off with the confession that I am not a foodie or a chef or a professional meal planner. I’m a newbie who still let’s the milk go bad and forgets to use the bananas before they’re squishy and grey.

Alright. Now that my credentials are out of the way…

*In between starting this post and finish it I went through our pasta cabinet and threw out so much expired food. Pasta, graham crackers, panko breading. Not a few months expired… years. Please note: All of that was purchase pre-meal planning. #oops

Toward the end of last year I started meal planning for our family of two. At the start of 2017 I made the lax resolution to meal plan every week. Surprisingly, I’m actually carrying this out with moderate success. A fellow blogger (Carolann, I think?) suggested I talk about my methods. So I thought, ‘Sure! Why not?!’

To be frank, I’m not even 100% sure I do this right. Critique me if you feel so inclined. I have thick skin; I can handle it.

Step 1

Pick three meals for the week.

Three?? But Audrey! Surely you’ll starve!

Fear not, my friends. We utilize the luxury of takeout and/or dining out at least once a week. (*cough*still working on budgeting*cough*)

Honestly, though. On Fridays we’re usually out with my parents and on Sundays we typically have dinner at my grandparents. Mix in one night of take out and fill that fourth night with leftovers and we’ve got three days left for home cooked meals.

… perhaps I’m not so qualified to write this post.

Stick with me, friends. Pick three meals from anywhere. I usually search Pinterest. Sometimes it’s not a recipe meal- sometimes it’s just burgers and veggies on the grill. It doesn’t matter… it still counts.

Ok. Got your three meals? I’m going to play along here and pick three, too.

  1. One Pan Sausage & Veggies (+ egg noddles with butter #healthy)
  2. Chicken Fajita Pasta (so good!! if this isn’t one of your 3 you should change that)
  3. Steak & veggies on the grill (+ mashed red potatoes left over from meal #1)

Step 2

Make a grocery list with the ingredients you don’t have.

can we ignore the “egg noddles”? oops

Now double check your kitchen for the ingredients you might actually have, but you put on the list anyway because you weren’t sure and you were too lazy to go look in the cabinet to check. (Oh. Just me? ) Cross those ones off.

Step 3

Go grocery shopping. I prefer Sunday afternoons because for some reason it’s a ghost town at the market but everything is all stocked for the week.

Obviously if there’s an afternoon NASCAR race this gets bumped to Monday night (which becomes the takeout night).

Step 4

Prep stuff if you feel so inclined.

Often I do not.

This is a good time to figure out WHEN you’re eating your meals. I don’t like to keep asparagus or steak too long so we’ll have those on Monday or Tuesday. If we don’t plan to make something until the weekend or we get busy and have to skip a meal I throw the appropriate meat in the freezer.

Boom Bang Ba-Da-Done.

the chicken fajita pasta… seriously- SO good

Some amateur tips:

  • if you never go out to eat plan for four nights
  • if you have a super busy week aim for two nights and make enough for leftovers
  • this doesn’t include lunch… and if you eat leftovers for lunch, go with 4 meals
  • make that Chicken Fajita Pasta… you won’t regret it

Was that even helpful…? Hahaha. Honestly, I never meal planned before this year but now that I do it’s pretty easy to stick with. This is probably a good gateway to meal prepping, too, but I don’t wanna demand too much of myself…

So tell me… do you meal plan? If so, what am I doing wrong? 🙂 If you don’t plan does this make you want to…?

Quarterly Goals Check-In

Happy Friday!

This week I was reading posts from my usual bloggers and all of a sudden I felt so sad that I live so far away from most of y’all. Seriously, though. As an adult it’s pretty tough to make friends out of the blue but there are so many bloggers that I follow and communicate with that I know we’d get along and wander through Target together every weekend in real life. If any of you want to move to Ohio I will absolutely help you find a house/apartment. Ha.

Alright, so that was a little off topic.

Today I figured I’d look back on my goals that I made in this beginning-of-the-year post. October kicks off the last quarter of the year so hopefully I’ve at least scratched the surface of these goals….. ha.

(I also did a quick goals update in July!)

Start running.
Nooooooope. I was feeling confident in July but eff that shizz. Honestly, I think I’ve found my groove with yoga. I’m good with that. Bye for now, running shoes.

Learn to cook more (vegetarian) meals.
Yeah, dude! I made wings for the first time this week! I actually texted K on Monday and told him I was planning to cook every night this week. He was pumped and offered to make his chili one night, too. (And it made for a yummy Wednesday!) Still working on the vegetarian part, but at least there’s some progress in the kitchen!

Find a word for 2016.
Most of y’all probably know I picked “embrace.” I’d say things are going alright. Haha.

Read, read, read. And write.
So many people read WAY more than I do, but I’m feeling good because last year I barely touched a book. Most of what I’ve read this year can be found here. My writing has taken a backseat lately, but I’ve made progress this year so I’m still crossing it off.

Volunteer.
Ok, I’ll finally talk about it!  🙂
I’ve been volunteering at a wilderness rescue and rehabilitation center on Saturdays. So far I’ve syringe-fed baby squirrels and cuddled a duckling and tossed meat to vultures. They also have a resident fox and I swear my heart bursts each time I see her ❤︎

So in conclusion, I’m feeling pretty good  🙂

yes
same gif I’ve used for every ‘goals’ post… ha

These past two weeks of sinus-crude have knocked me off my social game, but just looking back on what I’ve done this year recharges my battery! And I’m working on these Fall Goals, too, but I’ll talk about that when the season ends. How are you doing with your 2016 goals/resolutions?

audielou.com_signature

**In other news, the pit bull ban in Montreal was suspended  🙂 There’s still a battle against breed discrimination, but it’s a good start!

The 2017 Planner

No one is giving me money or a free dog to write this post. I wanted this planner so I contacted the company and asked them if I could get a coupon code for myself & my blog friends. And apparently the people at Plum Paper are angels because they sent all of us a code.

Planner_1

So here’s your code for 10% off (good until 11/30/2016):

LIFE10

And here’s my new planner:

Planner_2

I, like many bloggers and Type-A nuts professionals, love planners. I usually order my planner for the new year some time in August. When it arrives, I go crazy jotting down all the birthdays and events. I really love laying out my entire life on paper. Weird, but true.

Anyway, I browsed and browsed for the perfect planner because I’ve been using the same one for three years and I finally settled on Plum Paper. They offer the standard monthly and weekly pages, plus some extra spots for goal writing, important events, contact info, and doodles. They also have tabs for each month which makes flipping through SO much easier!

Planner_3

I chose to add on and asked for a “Bills Paid” page at the end of each month, as well as two sets of stickers!

Planner_4. . .

Planner_5

There are SO many different add-on options including fitness tracking, home planning, family planning, budgeting, and wedding planning (plus more). There are also dozens of cover images to pic from, but I loved the crisp, clean look of the flags. So like I said, here’s your code ( LIFE10 ) for 10% off a planner. I don’t get any money from this- just the joy of passing on savings 🙂 Enjoy!

** I am so grateful for the minds and souls that read my blog. I was so nervous to share my feminist post last week and I am just overwhelmed by the incredible, strong, badass women who responded. You are all the greatest.

audielou.com_signature