Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just a quick note to my readers

As you know I am working on my homemaking binder series. Due to the pregnancy and the realization I need to do it now or it will never get done, I plan to post the whole series in parts over the next few days. I need to get it done now while I have the chance.

So I hope you don't mind the plethora of posts, I am not trying to bomb your feeder or facebook lol.

The series will still be broken up into weekly steps, just all posted from beginning to end over the next few days. Then I will go back to my normal postings.

I love you all


Getting the most out of your home binder.

Hey lovely ladies,
I want to thank you so much for your patience and understanding during the chaos of the past few weeks. Now obviously as you can imagine, adding a baby to the family, my home binder is getting a radical facelift.

So I am going to switch a few things up, but I will update every post that has been made and all upcoming posts will be current.

As I mentioned, I will add as soon as I can supplementary posts with picture tours of my binder.

So as I was working on tuning up my binder plan, I was doing some thinking and there was an issue I wanted to address. One that I think everyone should think about at the begging (so I will post this at the beginning of the series :))

When making a home binder, The whole point is to have one organizational system that will eliminate clutter, chaos, or the need for multiple systems. But one thing I neglected to say, it that your whole life cannot possibly fit in one binder. So we need to choose carefully, based on the needs of our life and homes, to decide what goes into our binders.

Let me give you a quick example, one tab under my binder (tutorial coming) is a financial tab. Now as you can imagine in regards to finances I have- contracts, bank statements, old credit cad statements, and on and one. Now imagine if I kept even just one years worth of statements in my home binder. I would have no room for anything else. So throughout this whole process, I will try to motivate you with promoting questions that can help you decide what to add.

Also remember, everything I suggest is based on what works for me. You are welcome to adapt and mold it to your needs, and I hope that you will.

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's official

They confirmed it today and sent us home with a picture :)

They calculate my due date at the 17th of december, but she will adjust that if needed at the next visit in 3 weeks. Then I get my mutterpass :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Homemaking binder - section 2 Contacts

Hey guys-
Here is the next tutorial on our contacts section of our binder.

As I previously mentioned, use this as a guide, tweek it to your needs, as this is your book.

We can obviously draw from the title that this section is going to have our contacts.

So for starters we are going to start out with some brain storming, I will then share my method.

What contacts method works best for you? Are you an a-z kinda gal, or do you prefer to bundle by category?

Take a moment to think about what you want to include, do you want every contact you possibly have in your binder so you always know where they are? Or would you rather just have your commonly used contacts?

Will you enter people as family units, combing all info, or as individuals?

Now jot down a few notes and we will reference those in a bit.

So here is what I am going to include in this section:

1. Our divider- remember this can just be store bought, personalized, or even hand made.

2. Birthdays and anniversaries list. I did cover this under the calendar section, but I choose to include mine under contacts.

Donna young has a nice simple birthday list here 

3. A important number reference sheet- This is just going to be those top priorities- mom at work, dad cell, poison control. These are our emergency number we can just flip to at anytime, without having to scavenge.

A really nice important number sheet can be found here at Donnayoung

4. Our contacts section (s)
Here we have to think about what fits our needs. While I can see why many people use a-z, that just doesn't work for me, so instead I group by category. Now this works best for me, as we have a international marriage meaning contacts in Germany and in the US. So when planning a birthday party here, I don't want to dig out everyone and Germany, or on Independence day the same for everyone in the US. I also want to be able to find financial and medical contacts easily. Now you also have the option if going this route to put your contacts under the applicable tabs- ie medical under health, financial under budget. I find that most helpful. Then at any time you open the section you need and everything is right there. For the sake of the tutorial, I will go ahead and list how I group my contacts.
a. Family in the US
b. Family in Germany
c. Friends in the US
d. Friends in Germany
e. Financial in the US
f. Financial in Germany
h. Medical in the US
i. Medical Germany

Now you can add any other tabs you need- business associates, church, school.

a+b, I wanted to have all family members available at a glance. I do not alphabetize, but since everything is grouped, I can just flip through a few pages and find people. I group as family units that live under one  roof.

c+d I keep all friends grouped together. I dot break things down further into grade school, church, ect, but you could if that fits your needs

e+f All financial contacts- banking, creditors, student loan companies, anything regarding finances. (placed under financial tab)

h+i All medical contacts- that is doctors, insurance, and the like (placed under medical tab)

Now there are tons of telephone contact sheets on the internet. You can choose what you would like under each listing. Here is what I like to include:
a. All family member names
b. Address
c. Home telephone number
d. Cell phone number(s)

Some people include work numbers, fax, email. It is really up to you. I do not like things cluttered and seeing as not everyone uses those mediums, I include a separate sheet.

A nice telephone list can be found here at donnayoung

5. Email contacts.
I just use a spread sheet. Handwritten. Since so many people have multiple accounts or each family member as their own email, it is easier for me to have an email list I can reference. I do group the same way, as listed above, friends, family and so on. Everything is viewable at a quick glance.

So your homework for the week:
1. Find or make a divider
2. Birthday list (If you decide, it is currently in our calendar section)
3. Important number reference sheet. (place this directly behind the divider for quick reference)
4. A contact section based on your needs and preferences
5. Any additional contact sections such as emails, or websites
6. Anything else that you think would benefit you in this section.

See you next wee, up next is our Family tab

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OK, update time

So I kept trying to wait until I got 100% said confirmation from the doctors, but seeing as they have a totally different system here, I will just go ahead and post before someone comments and spills the beans.

So there is a reason behind the recent madness and chaos with my blog upkeep.

Last week we found out that we are 99.999999% expecting out first.

Now to understand the whole situation, I gotta give you a bit of a back story.

So on Tuesday I went to our GP, because I had a abscess on my skin that was not healing by itself. After checking me out she sent me to consult with a surgeon (they do all lancing here).

So Wednesday morning I head out to the surgeons office. After taking a look he says its to infected and needs to be done under general anesthesia, he tells me to go directly to the hospital in a neighboring city.

So then I call my poor husband who takes the day off work. He comes and gets me and takes me to the hospital. We consulted with the head surgeon there, who planned to keep me overnight and send me to surgery in the morning. Well as normal they ran pre surgery blood and urine samples, at which point all plans changed since my test came back positive.

So I was sent home with strict instructions to come to the ER if I have a peak in fever or pain.

Thursday, I was sent to the Obgyn. She did an ultrasound and saw a flicker on the screen, but said it was to early to confirm by ultrasound. She took blood and told me to come back monday.

Well monday rolls around, she confirms the hormone levels are increased, but still on the lower end so they took more blood to use as a point of reference. They then consult that the hormone levels are doubling as they should be.

So I am set to go back Friday for the next ultrasound, and hopefully will then get the medical confirmation I had expected last week.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pay Attention while using

So, first I wanted to say, that I had promised a major update in the next few days. That will come tomorrow :) I have already ran my mouth on Facebook and don't want to jinx myself, so after an appointment tomorrow that will clarify things for certain I will post publicly here.

So, I noticed some changes on that I wanted to warn you about.

I had mentioned before that amazon is a great way to buy english books here, and since all international sites are linked you just sign in with your preexisting amazon account.

Well today I was super excited about finding a very famous american book I was looking for. Since in my situation I needed it sooner rather than later, I decided to go ahead and pay a few bucks more to order from Germany and have it sent directly to me. Since sending to someone stateside, or from the UK would take a lot longer.

However, the checkout process has changed. As many of you know the germans mainly use the leiferung system. That means a bill is sent to you with the book and you pay via bank transfer. Normally when ordering a second page pops up asking how you would like to pay.

Well amazon did away with that feature and I guess a small box is on the side with your established payment methods. What that means is if you have a card on file, even if on your us amazon. Unless you catch it it will charge that card.

I noticed to late. I hit the button expecting to go to the payment screen and instead got a thank you for your

So just watch out for that. I am not sure how to switch to leiferung, as I noticed mine to late. Next time I order I will make a not on here about that.

And one final note, for some reason amazon is putting 2 books in your basket when you order. Thank god I noticed that and removed one additional copy before hitting next. I have no idea why it is doing that, but any time I put a book in my basket it shows up as two copies. One time I missed it and had to cancel and redo my order.

Happy shopping

Sundays in my city

Normally I space my posts out, but due to procrastination, three will post today :)

Unknown Mami

So we are back for the next round of Sundays in my City.

Bad Wimpfen

Bad Wimpfen is situated on the left Neckar bank around 15 km in the north of Heilbronn. The town is divided in two parts: The olderWimpfen im Tal (Lower Wimpfen) situated at the Neckar and Wimpfen am Berg (Upper Wimpfen) containing the town centre. Besides of the town itself the village Hohenstadt also belongs to Bad Wimpfen.


Altdtadt with a view of the Blue Tower
First traces of settlement on the communal land of Bad Wimpfen are proved at the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. An old trade road running from France forks here towards Nürnberg and Öhringen resp. the Danube. It has already been used in prehistorical times proved by several finds.
Around 450 B.C. the Celtic tribe of the Helvetii settled at the Neckar, Kocher and Jagst around Bad Wimpfen. Presumably the Celts had been given names to the rivers as they are today. Wimpfen presumably comes from "uimpe" (umwallt) = "surrounded" and "bin" (Berg) = "mountain".

The Blue Tower - See those windows on the top? Yeah someone actually lives there. Pretty sweet aye?
The most important monument of Bad Wimpfen is the Kaiserpfalz. Its symbol is the Blauer Turm (Blue Tower) where an attendant lives for 650 years. Even the tower can be visited. The Roter Turm (Red Tower) is a second tower of the Pfalz.

Red Tower

Stein Haus

Protestant Church Courtyard
The Protestant Stadtkirche was built in the 13th century in Romanesque architecture and ended in Gothic architecture. Next to the church there's the calvary.

Make sure to head on over to the Unknown Mami and check out the other great posts

What's so special about Ikea?

So this is my 200th blog post. Kind of exciting lol.

Any who I wanted to talk to you about our Saturday excursion. Let me first start by saying I have never been in an Ikea in my life. I know, I know, how so very unAmerican of me lol. We got an Ikea in Portland a year before I left, but I never got around to visiting it.

So I asked Hubby if he was up to driving down to Ludwigsburg to check out Ikea. This is a sub city of Stuttgart. So we set out to Ikea. Now upon arrival we had a hard enough time figuring out the parking lot lol, that should have been red flag number one. Red flag number two is that Germans in terms of shopping and bargains are mass chaos. Hubby describes it as a Nato camp when the food shipments come in, rather un PC I know, but not a bad description in and of itself.

So we get into Ikea, and can't figure out where the hell to go in. We figured out we were in the wrong when the arrows were pointing towards us rather then guiding us. And walking against the arrows in Ikea, is like driving the wrong way on a one way street. People are not too accommodating. So we ended up starting in the warehouse section. I was totally confused and overwhelmed by the mass crowds. Mind you Germans are very pushy, they ram you with there carts, mutter rude things at you, and stop smack in the middle and just stay there so you have no way to pass them. And you thought Americans in walmart were bad, ha.

So we just wanted to check it out and see the price ranges and quality of things. We did pick up a few odds and ends: a apple cutter, a egg cutter, a toilet brush and holder, two plastic bins for my spice packs, and a small spatula set for 12 euro.

Now in terms of their furniture It was not bad, but the prices were not all they are cut out to be. Some items like beds, baby furniture, and kitchen furniture were really well priced. But there couches seemed really low end and over priced. I mean for less then 100 euro more you could get a full sized sectional couch from neckarmann or otto. And there stuff was really like a cheap futon quality. Not impressed.

I also did not like the layout, it was very user unfriendly. Things were not well grouped together. Many were not even priced. It was so packed together that it was near impossible to get into any isles with your cart.

But it was still a fun experience. And thank god by the time we made it to the second floor we were going with rather then against the flow of traffic.

So my final verdict, they have good prices for odds and ends and small furniture. But I would surely compare with other companies before assuming ikea is the cheapest. They also don't deliver, you have to rent a truck from them and do it yourself.

So after checking out Ikea we headed over to the Brueninger shopping center. It was huge about 130 stores. It did remind me of American malls. We did not stay too long we just checked out the bookstore and electronic store. Maybe some other time we can go back and look around more. I really hope to also head down to the outlet center.

We then concluded our day with a healthy lunch at Burger King :)

And I have to say I was rather amused by the parking lots. Not only did they have handicap spots, but also family, and women only spots. Ha. Never seen that before.

Till next time

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mexican week at lidl woohoo

You can check out the site in German here

Sale starts Thursday, and one thing you should note, go the first day, once it is sold out it will not be replaced and running around to every lidl in the area is no fun, and often times unsuccessful.
*note, germans are not the most accurate at ethnic food, but I settle for what I can get :)

Here is a look at what is available:
Mexicanos with sweet chili sauce (in other words chicken nuggets with dip) 500g 2,49
Filled tortilla wraps (pre-stuffed and nummy) 2 per pack 150g 1,79
Fajita or Burrito kit 1.99
Fajita Sauce 1,59
Chili Beans ,59
Mexican Baguette (who knows, but I will try it) ,85
Mexican pizza (pepperoni with kidney beans, not the best) 2,69
Jalepanos canned 1,29
Pikante tomato juice ,89
Hard taco shells 1,19
Dip mix (nacho cheese, guacamole, and salsa) ,99
Tortillas ,99
Tortilla chips (sweet chili, or burrito flavor) ,69
rice crackers ,69
roc and rolls (rolled tortilla chips???) ,99
Mexican style beer (not mexican style made in germany) ,49
Tequila silver 7,99
cachaca (some kind of alcohol) 7,49

They also have festive plates 2,99 and cups 1,69

Let mw know what you try and what you think of it. I have found ethnic foods here are really hit or miss, but some are great.

My tip, buy one and try it if you love it, next time buy a bunch.

I love the tortillas, tortilla wraps, and burrito kits so I will be stocking up.

Happy Mexican week :)


Monday, April 12, 2010

Make your own French dressing

I was to delighted when I stumbled upon this recipe, and I was sure other expats would enjoy it as well.

Sylvia over at Christian Homekeeper Network shared the following recipe for French dressing:

Homemade French Dressing
2/3 cup ketchup
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small onion, quartered
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Prepare the dressing by combining the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, oil, onion, paprika and Worcestershire sauce in a blender or food processor. Blend until the onion is well chopped. Chill and serve.

This will last about 3 weeks in the fridge. I am so excited to try it.

So head on over and give Sylvia some love, her posts are always fabulous.

Just for the ladies

I thought for a long time about writing this post, and after talking to so many women who were shocked, embarrassed, and not prepared, I figured what the heck. So this is my warning to you that this post may comes with a big TMI alert, ie Dad and brothers may want to stop here :)

One of the biggest shocks for expat women in Germany is the gynecological exams.

Remember the good old days with these bad boys?

Yeah well those are a thing of the past so prepare yourself for one of these.

Once you get past the shock of the exam tables there are a few other things you should know.

Curtains and sheets to cover yourself?
Nope, nudity is the norm here and things are not set up in the most modest of ways. So be prepared to be nude from the waist down openly.

Dressing rooms or curtains?
I have never seen them. The doctors often do not leave the room. They tend to just say ok, get undressed and meet me at the chair.

These do tend to be the same as in the US and are done once a year. This is covered by insurance. 

This is also a standard part of the yearly checks here. But do note, they do use the invasive wands. This is done instead of the American hand checks. 
It was brought to my attention that this is not always covered by insurance and can cost up to 50 euro, so please make sure you ask. :)

Are all costs covered under insurance?
Most but not all. Special testing may be covered at your own expense never hesitate to ask your doctor is the test they are preforming are covered under standard health care plans. 

Making an appointment
1. You will need an uberweisen (referral) from your GP. If you skip this route you will have to pay a copay. You only need this once a quarter, not for every visit. 
2. Expect long waits. Some places have 6 months waiting times. So try to always schedule your next visit when you leave. 

Family history
Be prepared with your family history, but don't expect one of those info sheets to fill out. Many doctors will just ask you themselves in the first appointment and then add it into the computer system

Doctors offices. 
I have seen two layouts. 1. The exam room with a room of to the side with a desk and chair for the conversation part, or 2. Combined into one room.
Sometimes they will do one part of the exam and then send you back out into the waiting room, before calling you back again. 

Breast exams
They do this by hand generally while you are standing, first with arms to the side, then above the head

Birth control
It is not covered by health care and must be paid out of pocket. Prescriptions can be obtained through your gynecologist. Price varies per brand and method. 

While many doctors speak English, or at least understand it pretty well, you should prepare yourself for the fact that not all do.

Here are some key words to get you started
* Note I am using a american keyboard so any vowel followed by an e is an umlaut :)

Frauenarzt or Gynaekologe= Gynecologist

die Fortpflanzungsorgane = reproductive organs
der Eileiter = fallopian tube
der Eierstock = ovary
die Gebaermutter = uterus
der Gebaermutterhals = cervix
die Scheide = vagina
die Blase = bladder
die Harnroehre = urethra 
die Schamlippen = labia

steril = infertile
die Menstruation = menstruation
das Hormon = hormone
der eisprung = ovulation
der Geschlechtsverkehr = intercourse
die Geschlechtskrankheit = std
schwanger = pregnant

das Pessar = cervical cap
das Diaphragma = diaphragm
das Kondom = condom
die Spirale = IUD
die Pille or Antibabypille = birth control pills

Well I hope that gives you a little info about what to expect at your first doctors visit :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sundays in my city

Unknown Mami

So Yesterday we were in Bad Rappenau, and I tried to take some pics. But the sun was just not cooperating with my point in click camera lol. So here are some pics from our gallery. This is Neustadt a small village in east Germany, where my husband grew up.  :)

Wikipedia says:

In 1372 Novenstadt the community as "" (from Latin novus 'new' first mentioned). 1485 was the place to build a town hall and Roland statue erected to mark the jurisdiction. A large fire destroyed Neustadt on 10 September 1678 almost complete, only three houses survived the disaster.
In the 19 Century, the pattern of tourism, a spa in 1870 and eight years later was a bathhouse built. In 1887 operating Hermann Kronberg a sanatorium on the basis of a natural method of treatment. Since 1890, New Town may Luftkurort call.
With the unification with the neighboring community of Osterode in 1952 exceeded the first time the new town population of 1000

And you know the cool part, that fire in the 1600's? My husbands grandma's house was the only house to survive. It is the oldest house in the village. I will take some pics of the house when we are there next.

*Note wikipedia may be incorrect as the town history writes her house is the oldest and only survivor of the fire. However that page is translated and the Germans use the word house for any building, so it may reference other types of buildings like factories ect. I am not sure, but I will ask in the town historical society next time I visit. 

Above Neustadt is the castle Hohnstein. It was the first castle I visited :)

Make sure you check out everyone elses posts over at the Unknown Mami

I decided to add some additional pics. Here is the barn from the Oma's house. It is over 400 years old and used to be a school house. HOw cool is that. I will also add the castle pics in another post, but gotta get them off hubbys computer.

This is the view from the woods overlooking Neustadt. They have a WWI and WWII monument up there. 

Here is the door to the barn/ old school house. That is my brother-in-law. Isn't he a cutie :) He finishes school this year and got a ausbildung (like an internship or apprenticeship) working with hearing aids. This was 2007, not the most flattering pic mind you. lol

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Section 1- Planning (homemaking binder series)

*****Update: I had originally said this series would have two posts a week. The first with the homework for the week, the second with resources and a tour of that sections of my binder. While writing this post I realized how silly that was. I can't say hey make this without resources lol. Ooops. So it will still be two posts. But the first will be the explanation of this section, what it can contain, and resources, as well as weekly tasks. The second post will just be a tour of the section completed in my binder. Hope that helps-- Hugs, Rena
Hey everyone,
Today we are going to jump in to out first section of our home binders. Just a reminder that each section will have two posts. One will be a general overview. The second which will be posted at the end of the week, will include a tour of this section in my binder, as well as applicable resources and links.

You can find all previous posts on this topic under the homemaking binder link at the top of the page under my banner.

Sigh up today to follow the blog so you don't miss out on any posts in the series.

And thank you for joining me.

So just a note- All sections in this binder can be adapted to your needs and style. They do not have to be identical to mine, nor in the same order. Use this as an inspiration to develop one to your needs.

So todays section, section 1 is going to be our planning and organizing our schedules. Now you can call it any name you want, planning, schedule, my day. Search for a phrase that reflects you.

So to start out we are going to ask some basic questions that apply to all of us:

1. What components of my life need to be included in my schedule?

2. What type of schedule works for me?

3. What type of calendar works best for me?

4. What are my standard daily routines?

Take a few notes, we will be coming back to those later.

So now I want to talk to you about what I choose to include in this section. Later we will touch on other ideas that works for other people.

1. A divider - Rather then using a pack of standard dividers. I decided to go for a more personal feel and make a tab myself. So I will using just a basic word type program create a page with the section title, a coordinating image, and a small inspirational quote.

2. 12 Monthly Calendars- just your standard 12 month calendar. Now do not here depending on your needs you have a variety of options. First you can use any calendar you have on hand, just punch holes in it. Or print out calendars online. Some people even design them themselves. Now ask yourself. Are you the kind of person who wants to be able to flip through all months and reflect back? If so, I recommend printing all 12 months. If not, consider in printing just a blank calendar template. Use a dry erase marker to fill in the dates each month, and the some technique to fill in key dates and appointments. At the end of the month wipe it clean. Now you could also do this with say a three month cycle that way you can always look ahead a while. So for me, I am the type of person who wants to be able to write in events way in advance all year long. I will also reflect back next year and transfer important dates, so for me having all 12 months in a calendar works best.

Also note: How do you best utilize your calendar?  Do you write in pencil so you can just erase anything that changes? Or perhaps you color code based on type of event or by family member. Start to think about how you want to utilize your calendar. Gather any tools you need- pens, pencils, erasers, dry erase pens.

This section I use as a general monthly calendar. What does that mean? I do not write in daily reoccurring events, such as family members work or routines. This is just important events- think appointments, get togethers, birthdays and anniversaries. Things of that nature. You do not want it to be come too cluttered. But rather to serve as a guide to know what is coming up.

2. Personal Calendar (weekly, daily, or hourly)- Notice how I did not specify weekly, daily or hourly? That is because we are all different. What are your needs? Do you have many appointments throughout the day? Then a hourly calendar will work best for you. Many people utilize weekly calenders. Just to jot down everything from meetings, appointments, to to do lists, or even what is for dinner that day.

For me, I do not have many appointments outside of the home, so I decided to use the Motivated Moms calendar. Now this is a pre-made homemaking calendar. Due to the fact I do not have so many things to track, I just write in notes on the side. I then highlight them after they are done.

Motivated Moms is a pre-made homemaking calendar described as :

Motivated Moms is a printable chore planning system to help you have a clean and organized home and still have time for yourself!
Motivated Moms is a great idea for anyone who would like an easy system to help them to know what to do each day.
Just consult the list, do the work, check it off for the day and enjoy your free time!

This calendar is not free it does cost 8.00, but I think it is highly worth it. You just download and print it out. Now it is designed for people with kids, and not all tasks will apply to you, I just cross those off and write in as needed. I then highlight as I complete tasks. It has been a great help in my home. They have various formats, with or without daily bible readings, I bought the Chore Planner with scheduled bible readings.

Now some people may ask, why the heck do I need two? Well you don't have to. Utilize what works best for you. I have found though that I want my monthly calendars to be quick glance. The more detailed stuff, notes or to do lists just bog it down.

3. A year at a glance calendar- I know you are thinking, is this lady on some kind of calendar craze. But let me tell you what this is for. Just major events This can be holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. I use this just so I can glance and see of hmm Tommy has a birthday in a few months better start planning. That kind  of thing. Just a quick overview of major reoccurring events.

I used the Blank one year month by month planner from kristensguide

Now a final note on calendars- Too often we become bogged down in trying to maintain too many calendars. The idea behind this technique is too get rid of that. Remember this will be the key to your home that everyone uses. Build your calendars that way. So it can be referenced at anytime by anyone in your home. Get rid of those wall calendars, purse booklets, portfolios. Use this as your one main calendar. Now on that note, if you want to keep a small purse sized one with just key appointment type of things for when you are out and about, that is not a bad idea. But the idea is to quit trying to utilize so many various calenders that we become bogged down and forget about things. Everything in one place is what we are going for here :)

Calendar Resources:
Donnayoung - great printables, calendars and more
Mom Advice- weekly planner, and more
All free printables- tons of great stuff here
DIY PLanners
Kristens guide
If you don't find anything here, just do a quick google search of free printable calendars, tons pop up :)

How to use a calendar:
Flylady- Kelly's guide on how to use a calendar

Now the next few sheets we will be talking about are our daily routines. 
Note- cleaning routines are not included in this section, that will come under our home maintenance, but you can of course move things around to your liking, but don't worry about that just yet.

Now the idea behind this comes from Sure we know what we do every morning, or rather what we hope to do. But so often we are caught up in chaos running around with like a chicken with our heads cut off, that we forget to do things. And most often these are the little things we should be doing for ourselves. So these will serve as our daily checklist. What we need to get done and make sure we never skimp over.

4. Morning routine. Now this one you will have to develop for yourself, based on your needs. You want to be precise and detailed, but also keep it manageable. These need to be non-changing and constant components of our mornings.

Ask yourself, what is important for me to achieve every morning. Start by making a list.

Start here at fly lady and see her steps for developing your morning routine.  You can also view example schedules here.

Now just to get your creativity flowing I thought I would share what is included in my Morning checklist.

1. Rise and shine
a. Make bed as soon as you are out of it
b. Start coffee
c. Shower and wipe down shower doors when done
d. Brush teeth
e. Morning skin care routine
f. Get dressed to a T
g. Do hair and makeup
h. Have breakfast
I. Feed and water birds

2. Love your home
a. Open all windows for 30 minutes
b. In winter turn heat on
c. Start a load of laundry if needed
d. Start the dishwasher if needed
e. Tidy up each room
f. Swish and sweep the bathroom

3. Think about your day
a. Check the calender
b. Make daily to do list
c. Take dinner items out to thaw

4. Love Yourself
a. Daily bible reading
b. Daily devotion
c. One chapter personal reading
d. Check email and blog

Now once you have your list, personalize it. I made mine in open office, with some cute clip art and fonts. You can even add an inspirational quote if you like. Some people make a checklist they can check off, some create their own daily calendars with the routines included for each day of the week. I chose to just print one sheet, that I can quickly reflect over and see if all is accomplished.

5. Afternoon routine- Now here I ventured away from fly lady and the other resources I have seen. I didn't want just a morning and night checklist. I know, for me, I need all three. So follow the same steps for your afternoon or midday responsibilities. (note, mine is in the final stages, so I will add it here this week, check back :))

Ask yourself what do I need to do every afternoon- it can be anything from dinner prep, to write in my blog, what ever is a normal part of your afternoon. Note: I do include basic cleaning like clean up after dinner, ect, but my detailed cleaning schedules will come in a later post

6. Before Bed Routine- Same concept, what has to be done every day before you go to bed.
(note, mine is in the final stages, so I will add it here this week, check back :))

pack lunches, lay out clothes, take meds, floss your teeth. Make it your own

check out flylady's how to section here And examples here

As I mentioned some people create a daily check sheet composed of all three check out an example at a high and noble calling (its under todo list)

So that is what we will be staring with in our planning section of our home-binders. Feel free to add anything else you think would fit well into this section.

Some other ideas include:
A master schedule- This is a daily set schedule with set times for activities, this is great from homeschooling parents, or parents of young children

A list of holiday celebrated in your family (I include mine under the family tab)

Some people like a typed up list of birthday and anniversaries ( I include mine under the family tab)

Some people also include there home and cleaning schedules here. I may actually do the same, but will talk in depth about cleaning schedules under the home tab. I am already too long winded here hehe.

So I hoped this helped you get started with your home binder. Check back at the end of the week for a tour of this section in my home making binder.

And check out some other ladies homemaking binders over at A proverbs wife

So your home work for this week just to recap:
1. Insert your first divider or make your own
2. Find a 12 month calendar you like
3. Find a personal calendar you like
4. Find a year at a glance calendar you like
5. Create your morning routine
6. Create your afternoon routine
7. Create your before bed routine
8. Put all sheet in plastic page protectors and insert in your binder
9. Pat yourself on the back
10. Start putting your new scheduling section to use :)

Next up Contacts

But what can I put in there???

When starting to plan your homemakers notebook, you have to create a outline. You know, kind of like your papers back in high school. People can give you ideas and suggestions, but in the end you have to decide what matches best to you and your family.

Also remember, the reason we are making this in a binder, is that it is ever changing. You will always have the ability to adapt, tweek, toss, or add new things at any point in time.

Start by asking yourself a few questions about your life.
Obviously pretty much everyone will have a few of the same tabs- calendars, cleaning schedules, contacts.
But try to expand beyond that to fit your individual needs:
Are you actively involved with the church? Maybe add a church tab.
A homeschooling mom- A homeschooling tab
Got kids involved in lots of Extracurricular activities?- A EA Tab

The possibilities are endless.

But the trick is to find what you need. When thinking about that think about the biggest areas of your life. IF we break down every aspect, we will need 5 thousand tabs, so try to group accordingly. Maybe consider a personal tab, where you can keep just those items that apply to you, but don't really need a home of their own.

So what I want you to do today, is start by making a list of the sections you think you need.

Overtime, and as you think of things, make notes of what you think would fit under that category, this will later become the outline of your homemaking binder.

Just to give you a glimpse into my plans for my home binder, here is a list of the sections I plans to cover.

Rena's Homemaking notebook
1. Planning and schedules
2. Contacts
3. family
4. home
5. meals
6. finance
7. health
8. Activities
9. Renas Personal section
10. Pregnancy
11. Marriage
12. Inspiration

These tabs are created to fit my needs, try to do the same for yourself.

Here are some other commonly included sections.

Household rules
Magazine/ internet articles articles to read

I mean seriously, what ever floats your boats, works. And when we are done, it will be so nice and organized you will no longer be swimming in pile of to-do lists.

Now one thing to note, some people may have sections that are so in depth they need a binder of their own versus being included here. For example if you are a major crafter or gardener, you may choose to have an additional binder set to this theme. Or even homeschooling parents. For me, I decided to not include recipes, instead I will have a separate recipe binder.

When making our homemaking binder, keep in mind, we cannot fit every possible thing in here. What we are looking for is key items that need to be accessible at all times, so don't bog it down with the last ten years tax forms. In our lives we have so many papers that sometimes, it is better to file those separately. We are going for a organization system that we can utilize everyday, only things we need and will use.

Keep in mind, this is just our rough outline, later we will be filling in the key points of what fits where.

New Years Resolution Updates

I have really been slacking in this department. Now that I have more time on my hands I hope to get some things done.

1. Wedding album
Nothing done on this yet- But I have been seeing some great deals on free prints. I think I will utilize those. 

2. Write 12  11 letters or Postcards home
Wrote one to my mom, yeah need to catch up here lol

3. Complete the Bob Greene Program
I have not started yet ..... 

4. Watch 4 movies a month with hubby, one rented
Well we are definitely keeping up with this one. Hmm, trying to think of some movies we watched recently- Old Dogs, Couples Retreat, A Time Traveler's Wife, to name a few. 

5. Reading: English- 24 books (2 a month) 12 magazines (1 a month), German- 10 books, 5 magazines
Yeah, need to get back into the swing of reading. I have lots to read, but gotta start :P

6. Write 15 blogs a month (main blog)
I think I have that covered

7. Treat myself monthly- goal 1 clothing related item, one cosmetic or body, 1 book, and 1 household item
1. I found a great outfit on sale at kik, I got pants for 4.99 and a matching top for 6.99. I will take and add some pics later. 
2. I found a great coupon for 75% off elf cosmetics that is just .25 cents USD. So I had it sent to my moms. Hope to get it soon. When I do I will share. Plus I always score sweet deals through my mom with avon. 
*I will share those as I actually get the packages, then I can take pics :)
3. I have scored quiet a few free books through book trading from my great friends in Heilbronn. So I need to catch up in some reading. 
4. I really scored at Lidl last month. I got a food processor, blender, digital kitchen scale, and a bread machine for 85 euro. I was so excited. I have been trying all shorts of new recipes with them. 

8. Visit 10 castles
We went and checked out the castle in Gundelsheim Easter weekend. We plan to go back and visit the on site museum. 

9. Visit 10 museums
Not yet

10. Finish my homemaking binder
Check out the awesome series I am doing on this. We will be completing it together. Woo hoo. 

11. Make a recipe book
Have not started yet, finishing my homemaking binder first

12. Try 1 new recipe a week
I have gone above and beyond. Most my recipes are new each week. 

13. 2 fold part 1) Finish the integrations course and 2) pass the b1 test
In Progress
Part one done, and just waiting on the results

14. *secret*
Not yet started

15. Read the bible cover to cover
In progress, plus with devotional. I will do a separate post on this theme
I am way behind need to get back in the swing.

16. two fold 1) get my drivers license and 2) learn to drive stick shift
I am studying the test materials

17. Complete the future homemakers program (its like a home ec course learning to maintain a home)
In progress

18. Start crafting and complete 10 projects
I am working on decorating the outside of my home binder, plus another top secret project (for hubby so I can't say, ask if curious), still in progress. I got a spring craft kit I plan to use. 

19. 2 date nights a month- one at home and one out, take turns planning
We do lots of movie nights, and recently went out for lunch, visited castles. 

20. Get out of the house and meet a friend 2 times a month
Not as easy as thought. But I do hope to do so more. I also plan to invite people over once our living room is done :)

21. Attempt a new baking recipe once a month
Sure thing, I witched it up to once a week. 

22. Stay in my OCD mailing group a full year
So far so good

23. Go walking at least 3 times a week

24. Complete 5 small monthly mini goals/ projects
Cleared up below under the list of projects

5 mini goals/ projects for January:

1. File all loose papers: not yet
2. organize loose cords: not yet
3. clean out kitchen cupboards: in progress just a few left to do
4. organize bookmarks on computer: need to do again
5. Clean out email: need to do again

Dang those mini goals didnt turn out so well lol.

So for April mini goals:
1. Complete the spring cleaning series on christian homekeeper network
2. Start reading again
3 start bible readings again
4. start a craft project 
5. file all loose papers

I will update at the end of the month with any accomplishments. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So what do I need to get started??? (Homemakers binder series)

Everyone has personal tastes and styles and so we are going to just start out very basic and then you will have the flexibility to tweek it the way to want.

So just for starters you are going to need:

1. A sturdy 3 ring binder- due to the fact we will be adding to and from over time, we need something flexible, and binders are perfect for that. The size really depends on your needs. But I recommend a 2 inch to start. Also keep in mind the type of binder, those with plastic on the front are great because you can update your cover at anytime by sliding in a new sheet of paper. Or if you are crafty get a plain one and collage on a cover. It is also useful to find one with pockets on the inside. Now there are various types of rings, try to find one that is good for flipping around, some people like those with full rings, others the half ring thing where one side is flat, the choice is yours and anything you have on hand will work just fine.

2. A pack of loose leaf paper- Now many of you will end up typing up parts of the binder, others will go buck wild with excel, and then some just like to handwrite. We will start basic with handwriting, but keep in mind you can design, create, or take from resources I post and swap at any time.

3. A pack of dividers- 10 is a good number to start. You of course can also make you own as we go. That is what I will be doing :)

4. Sheet protectors. It gives a much more organized looks and allows sheets to last much longer. In addition, you can also use dry erase markers on them if you like, use that over your checklists and just wipe them clean and use them again, really cuts down on those printing costs.

5. Some good pens and pencils- the kind you like

6. A pencil pouch- to hold all of your supplies in one place.

That is just our basic starters. Over time we will personalize.


I made my first batch of corn bread yesterday. It got annihilated before I had the chance to take a picture. OK, ok, Honestly my husband wouldn't touch it, so I was the sole annihilator. First he said he forgot what corn was, then he tried a nibble and said it tasted like normal bread, and then when I said he should try a real bread he stormed off saying you can't tell me what to eat. OK> lol.

So I thought I would share the recipe with you

1 1/4 cup white flour (weisenmehl)
3/4 cup corn meal (maisenmehl)
1/4 cup Sugar (zucker)
2 Tsp Backing soda (note, German back pulver does not work the same as American, you cant switch them here you need American)
1/2 tsp Salt (salz)
1 cup Butter milk (buttermilch)
1/4 cup Sunflower oil (sonnenblummen oel)
1 egg, beaten (ei)

I used American measuring cups.

Combine all dry ingredients. Then add egg, milk and oil. Mix with a mixer until a creamy consistency is made.

Now do note, this is not going to be a dough like bread. It is going to be runny, like a cake mix. So use the same kind of pan you would for a cake. I used a small oval glass baking dish and it worked fine :)

Good luck

How do you make your corn bread? I really want to try some variations like those with creamed corn.

Testing, Testing, 1..2..3...

Testing signature....

Aww it looks terrible. Looks better in the writing template. Anyone know how to get rid of the box?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am so Smart, I am so Smart... SMRT

Did you like that Simpsons reference lol. I am just so darn proud of myself, I figured out how to add pages to my blog, yeah!!!

Check it out and let me know what you think. You can find the buttons along the top of the blog.

Ok I know its basic, but for a technologically impaired person like me, this is one great step. ha.


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