Life-changing tips (at least for me!)

I have been self-employed since 2004 and then we had our first-born in 2007.

Chelsea at 14 mths

Up until then I was lucky enough to have very little house chores.  After all, it was just me and Ashley.  Some nights we would just eat out, or just have sandwiches.  I could get away with doing the washing once a week, and even clean the house once a week.  After that, everything dramatically changed.

As some of you well know, suddenly there was an extra little person to consider.  No more date nights (at least not for 3 years!), no more going to bed early, and no more freedom!!!

Then in August 2009, Kirsten came.

Kirsten at 4 mths

All of a sudden I had more than three loads of washing every day, I had a busy toddler to look after and I had a baby who needed attention 24/7. On top of that I had to cook wholesome and healthy meals daily.  (That’s beside cleaning the house and cleaning up after them!)  Life had taken a huge turn for me.

Now life happens to everybody and I believe through sharing our life experiences we learn to deal with it quicker.

So how are we supposed to do it all?  I have learned over the years that the golden rule is PLANNING…PLANNING…PLANNING!

I try to abide by it as much as I can.  It is not easy especially not with kids around.  So I have drafted a short list of tips that help me get by.  I hope it makes sense to you.

  1. At one stage I had a Home Binder System.  It is basically a management file for you family and home.  It can work really well and save a lot of time and money.  Unfortunately I forgot it in Cape Town.  (I am hoping the next guest from CPT will be kind enough to tag it along) It will definitely make my life a lot easier.  You can Google it: home binder or household notebook.  My best advice is, make it pretty and personal.  If it makes you smile you’re halfway there.

2.     I try to plan our evening meals for the whole month at a time.  I have neglected it for a few months.  But it really does work.  It relieves that stress of worrying what to cook, and it helps me keep the pantry and fridge stocked with the relevant food.  Here is a typical example of a weeks evening meals planned and an estimate of how much it cost (4 servings):

  • Monday – lasagna & salad (R 60)
  • Tuesday – creamy peri-peri chicken livers & rice (R40)
  • Wednesday – homemade pizza’s with mince and chicken toppings (R45)
  • Thursday – Fishcakes, mash and squash (R 30)
  • Friday – Chicken stir-fry & rice (R 30)

Now my shopping trolley will more or less include:

  • 1 kg mince (stretches for 2 meals)
  • 1kg chicken livers (1 meal)
  • Rice (± 10 meals)
  • Flour (2 breads & 2 pizza’s)
  • Lasagne sheets (2 meals)
  • 1 can pilchards (1 meal)
  • Potato’s & Squash (2 meals)
  • 500 g Chicken breasts (1 meal)
  • Frozen stir-fry vegetables (2 meals)
  • Green leaf salad (3 meals)

3.     I have also decided to start rewarding myself! Like most homes, we have tons of piggy banks all over the place. So I have decided I’m going to have at least 10 items on my to-do list daily. For every item I complete by the end of the day, I’m going to give myself 20 cents. So if I complete everything on my to-do list that day…I’ll have made a R2,00…and by the end of the month, I’ll have made at least R60 (if my to-do lists are done!), and then I’m going to treat myself to something I want!  I know it’s not a lot, but at least I can buy underwear, or flowers, or shoes!

4. I try to plan my day the night before. If I map it out, it is much easier to be prepared for whatever happens. As site managers, we have to be ready for unexpected guests at anytime. My kitchen always needs to be tidy and I always need a home-baked treat in the pantry for hungry mouths.

5. I have 3 laundry bins. I have labeled them: Whites, brights and bedding. This makes sorting much easier and I can quickly do a load if I have time. I also put a load in the washing machine just before bedtime. This saves a lot of time and I can hang the washing early morning.

These are just a few tips that have helped me keep sane. They are easy and make my daily load a little lighter. Do you have any tips you would like to share with me? Kindly send them through. The more we share, the more we learn!  Go on…send them!!!

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