We all have to eat, so why not make the planning for it efficient? Sunday nights are my meal planning nights because I like to grocery shop early Monday mornings. This works for me and my schedule, but find the time and day that works best for you. My process for doing so is fairly simple. I gather together:
I start off by looking at my calendar. What days I'm going to be out of town, if one of us will be working late, if we're having guests, etc. and mark them on the weekly notepad. I also take note of what is going on that day. If I know I have a busy day and won't be able to do much prep, I keep that in mind to choose a low maintenance meal. And, as simple as it sounds I just go through my cookbooks and start picking the ones for that week! My meal planning notepad was a gift from a little store in Minneapolis, but here is a list I made of the meal planners I want to try or have heard how great they are!
The following tips are comprised of my methods as well as my three older sister's methods. They are all busy mamas and had a lot of great tips to offer. Hope you enjoy & let us know if you have a method/tip we didn't mention in the comments section below! :)
I lived in Rockford, Illinois for most of my life and it was there that I learned how to drive. In a church parking lot down the street from my house, my dad taught me the rules of the road and the do’s and don’ts of driving. Since I turned 16 I feel like I haven’t stopped driving. I’ve never minded it; I’m happy to travel especially when there’s fun things and great people on the other end. In the past few years however I’ve gotten exceptionally good at it.
It all started when I accepted my offer to go to Iowa State University. Ames, Iowa is a five hour drive from my parent’s house so I wasn’t really setting myself up for an easy commute, but it was worth every road trip to and from home. My sisters live across the Midwest so most weekends were spent traveling to their houses to see them and their families. When I met my fiancé almost five years ago, road trips became how we bonded (he would bring me home for weekend trips even though he lived in Wisconsin…I was oblivious to the fact he liked me & would drive an extra hour out of his way just to hang out in the car!). The music (& sing-a-longs), the conversations, the excitement of travel – it became something we looked forward to and a way we could get to know each other and dive deeper into our friendship.
As we started dating our road trips became even more frequent because we were doing long distance. We were apart for internships and work every summer, so we’ve been to and from: Rockford Illinois, Ames Iowa, Omaha Nebraska, Rogers Minnesota, Mount Laurel New Jersey, Portland and Mitchell Oregon. We were even crazy enough to drive from Portland, Oregon to Cedar Rapids, Iowa twice (once with our four-month-old puppy) in a matter of two weeks. (We spend a total of 52 hours in the car together for one of those trips – and we still like each other!)
Since graduating in December, I’ve traveled (what seems like non-stop!) to and from different parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Needless to say, I have road tripping mastered. In all the movement, I’ve come to know a few tips and tricks to making your road trip smooth and organized.
I’m writing this blog in my home office and it feels amazing to be sitting in my own space writing to all of you. The past month has been constant driving and travel and I. Am. Exhausted. All for amazing things, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had the pleasure to work with some awesome clients, to have family time as well as see some college friends. I’ve never minded driving long distances or traveling if it means seeing the people I care about or being able to seize opportunities. The upside to traveling this much (other than getting to see great people!) is that I’ve started to learn what is necessary to pack and what isn’t.
I have been lucky throughout my life to have traveled as much as I have. I’ll be the first to admit, I ALWAYS OVER PACK. It is ridiculous. I just went to New Zealand over Christmas/New Years and I was the only one who had a bag past the weight limit. It was embarrassing! After that trip though I pinpointed it to, I am a “just-in-case” packer. It can be a bad thing if space is limited (or if there is a weight limit…) but it ultimately makes me feel unorganized and overwhelmed having more than I need in one small suitcase.
I have a few tips to make your packing experience a little happier, organized and stress-free. Let me preface with the fact that I am a visual learner, so I find it helpful to lay everything out on a flat surface as you are going through these steps. (I even go as far as laying them out in the order I’d wear them but I understand not everyone is as particular as I am. Ha!)
In the past 8 months, I have gone through a lot of changes.
*Deep breath in*:
So, when it comes to my financial situation, there are a lot of variables. Currently, most of my habits are geared towards finding middle ground with my fiancé, Nick. We both had our own systems for money management and our own habits for keeping track of it all prior to getting engaged. Tracking our finances and creating a budget was one thing that we wanted to establish right when we got engaged, so that we were as prepared as possible after our big day.
Let me preface these 5 steps with: I AM NOT A MONEY EXPERT. I’m not an expert on saving, on accounting, on investing, none of it. I do not know all that there is to know about these subjects. However, through experience I have learned a few things that make figuring it out a little easier. That being said, here are a few of our take-a-ways in trying to merge to one system, but by no means does this only apply to couples. These are all valuable to think about if you are wanting to organize your finances.
Emily has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. There she learned how valuable organization can be in being productive. She chose to use this knowledge and help others achieve this productivity and optimization in their homes and small businesses. Read & Enjoy and as always, let us know if you have any questions!