Purposeful Planning: Meal Plan for the Year, Heck Yes!

I did it. I finished my meal plan for all of 2013! Woohoo! I just need to print out the recipes and put them in my binder. My 1st goal, without much motivation, was to complete it by January 1st . Make sense right?! But, that didn't happen, so my 2nd goal was January 15th. Again, that goal didn't happen. I finished it a few days ago, and I already did have January through July completed before January 1st, so I have still been following (kind-of) my January plan. We have had a lot of meals with our extended family, so I haven't cooked a ton this year. I know that will change. I'll get my pictures up of my 2013 Meal Planner soon. I hope to complete it by this week. :) It's been a great challenge that I know will save me a great deal of time this year! And I think the best thing about this idea happens to be that I can repeat this plan each year with only minor changes of new recipes we didn't like, adding new recipes we want to try, or changing around my theme on different days (depending on changed schedules in the future). I love this.

Here's to phase 1 of purposeful planning!!

What does it mean to Simplify?!

Photo credit: Primitive Signs
Here's what it looks like to simplify in our life (for one of my 2013 goals):
- Declutter!
if you know me, you probably wouldn't say our place is full of clutter. Well, it's not really, but we still have lots of stuff, too much stuff.  I don't believe we will ever truly be minimalists, especially with kids, but I do want to strive to have minimalist way of thinking... so
- Purge un-wanted/un-needed/un-used material items!
this is harder than it sounds. I usually have a good-will run once a month it seems, but I still have so, so much stuff.  Determine the amount of clothes we actually need and get rid of the rest. We have way too many clothes, which leads to way too many loads of laundry, which leads to lots of time doing laundry. Here's the thing, I don't have a problem with getting rid of stuff, I have a problem with buying stuff on sale... so
- Work on buying things that I LOVE and not buying things because they are a good deal or because I may be able to use it some day!
wow, this will be hard. I love deals, finding deals, getting great deals... but I don't need or use half the stuff I find. And, lets be honest, a deal is only a deal if I/my family will use it. If I buy a shirt for Alivia for $2 but she never wears it, then I just wasted $2. I need to stop looking for deals and start looking for things I need when I need them... so
- Limit events/outings on our schedule that we will enjoy doing as a family or that will grow us as family!
honestly, think about things, events, activities before making plans or committing to them. Don't say yes to everything and strategically plan our days. Make sure that it is something we want to all do. I, too often, commit to things for our family or make plans (like going to a store or finding deals) and Ben really doesn't want to do it or vise-versa... so
- Communicate. You're probably thinking why this is under a simplify category!
we are pretty good communicators with each other, but we still have to work at it. One way we need to work on our communication is in events. We often schedule things without asking the other and don't realize that the other person already has a commitment and this causes conflict. By communicating better in this area, we will simplify our life by not adding unnecessary conflict.

Sounds like a good written plan, now to really go about doing it!

Anyone have any good reading suggestions or tips on simplifying, organizing, or decluttering?

It's a new year- 2013!

I'm not one for new year's resolutions, I actually never make them, maybe because of failure to keep them, maybe because I'm too lazy to make them, or maybe it's just because I think you can make goals and resolutions any time of the year. I think it's all three. But, this year, I decided to join the fad (in hopes that is won't just be a fad for me and I can keep my goals). I'm choosing to call them goals. So here goes, I'm ready to tell the world (or at least the blogger world)...

Jesus' Follower:
~Read the Jesus Calling Devotional every day at breakfast (Hopefully most of the time, with the family included unless Ben is working)
~Start a prayer cup (become intentional about praying for others and not just my/my family's needs/wants/prayers/joys etc.)
~Read 2 Christian books that may lead me to grow in Christ
~Find a way to encourage someone 1x a month

~Find a way to encourage Ben at least 1x a week
~Plan a date night at least 2x a month

~Start up school/lesson times with Alivia again. (I stopped this after our house flood and never got back into it)
~Be intentional about playing with the kids (not all the time, but just moments/times out of the day that I am truly focused on them and not on anything else such as technology/cleaning the house/fixing meals etc.)
~Have a special time with just Alivia and a special time with just Nolan 1x a week

~Read 3 books (not including the 2 Christian books)

~Decorate the kids room

~blog 3x a week on life, family, thoughts

Homemaker: (I don't have time frames for these goals, just goals I would love to complete this year)
~Finish my meal plan for 2013 by January 15 (up to July is complete) and follow as best as can
~Figure out new, healthy snacks  and meals to make for the family
~Completely transition to a whole foods diet (Only buy foods at the store with 5 ingredients or less)
~Figure out a budget and stick to it :)
~Organize garage
~Sale items that we don't need

That's it for now, I'll add as I think of more and update if/when completed if it has a completion date!

Happy New Year from our family to yours!