Day 6: Plan to Eat

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This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 


The BIGGEST reason I started planning ahead was MEALS!

If I don’t have a plan for eating I literally stand in the kitchen staring at the contents of the fridge with a blank start (and potentially tears).

OK, so it’s actually gotten better over a couple of years, I can actually throw some simple meals together, but I actually think that’s because after spending a lot of time creating meal plans, I have a lot of those meals in my mind, so I can draw on that memory.

But, meal planning is a HUGE help to me in our household and it can be the difference between a stressful evening (translating to feeling like that entire day/week was stressful) and a  simple time of putting together a meal for our family to enjoy.

I’ve tried everything when it comes to meal planning: once a month meals, once a week cooking, plans that were all laid out and a list of meals with flexibility. And all of those have worked at least for a period of time for me. I can honestly recommend each of those, just depending on your personality and taste.

Online services like will plan everything out for you and include a grocery list for a small fee. If you are the kind of person that likes for a plan that’s all laid out for you, and you’re not super picky about food choices, this can be a great option for you.

Once a month and once a week meal plans are a great way to get a lot of work done at one time and then forget about it for a little while. It’s best if your available prep time is proportionate to the amount of time you want to prepare food for. For example, it might take you an entire day or weekend to plan ahead meals for a whole month, but an hour or two could allow you to plan meals for a week ahead of time.

I do like to prepare a few freezer meals, or freezer to crockpot meals every so often so that I have a stash of meals to grab when we’re in a pinch.

But, the simplest way I’ve found for meal planning is this:

  • I plan one week (maybe two) weeks at a time
  • We have “salad bar” with lettuce, veggies and maybe some grilled chicken at least once a week
  • I plan one crock pot meal a week
  • The meals that I plan provide leftovers for one additional meal
  • We have pizza on Fridays

This makes it pretty simple to sit down and plan out a week or two! Once I’ve plugged in our “usuals” (salad and pizza) I need to plan two or three meals that will feed us the rest of the week. Easy Peasy!

Do you have a guide you follow for meal planning? Is it stressful for you to get dinner on the table? Why or why not?

Day 5: Plan to Have Fun

31 days plan header

This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 


I plan to tell you all about planning for the needed tasks we have in our daily lives (cleaning, cooking, etc.), but I wanted to start by telling you to plan to have fun!

That may seem unnecessary, fun things can be spontaneous, right? Of course they can. But there are also a lot of things you can plan to do for fun that you might miss out on if you’re not planning ahead.

Start by planning fun for your week. As you think through your days and the things you HAVE to do, look for space in your week to have fun. Consider having a family movie night or game night each week to give your people something to look forward to. Or think ahead to what your weekend will look like so you can plan a fun outing or meal.

Think through the seasons for fun things to do at different times of year. This past summer a friend of mine posted their family’s “Summer Bucket List” up at their house and made a true effort to complete every experience before the summer was over. They went to the splash pad, picked berries, went to baseball games, ate ice cream from the ice cream truck and so much more. All that happened because they planned ahead to be intentional about having fun! There are so many seasonal activities you can plan to enjoy, but you might miss out if you don’t think ahead and put them on the calendar now.

So start thinking ahead for your week, month, season and plan to have fun with your people! Whether they are simple activities or elaborate events to attend, just start training your brain to think ahead about having fun.

What are some things you’re planning to do for fun this fall season?

Day 4: Free Printable October Planners

31 days plan header

This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

On day two I talked about keeping your plan where you can see it, so today I’m offering you some free October Printable Planners to help you do that!

(Yes, I know we’re already a few days in to the month, but if you don’t have a calendar yet it’s not too late to start planning the rest of the month.)

Below are a free printable monthly calendar for October and a weekly planner for planning each day of the week.


octobercalendar jpegOctober weekly planner jpeg

Day 3: Plan For Your Day

31 days plan header

This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

Planning ahead can mean planning for far away in the future or just for the time you can see right in front on you.

The best place to start in your planning ahead journey is to plan your day.

As a stay-at-home mom, my days are filled with a lot of the same activities over and over and sometimes not a lot of structure. If I wake up in the morning without a plan or list for the day then I usually finish the day feeling like I have accomplished nothing.

BUT, if I write down even just a few things that I want to do during the day, I almost always get them done and feel like the day was a success.

My challenge to you is this: Either at night before going to bed, or first thing in the morning, write a list of the Five Most Important things to be done that day. (If you’re schedule is crazy, or if – like me – you’re at home with a newborn, it’s ok to only put down two or three things! Write down what will be a little challenging, but is reasonably doable.) These might be work tasks, jobs around the house or things to do for your husband or kids. But write it down in your notebook, planner, or on your smart phone (did you read yesterday’s post?) Look over this list first thing in the morning so that it’s fresh in your mind and you know what needs to be done. Consider any activities you have during the day and think around those time frames and you plan to accomplish those tasks.

That’s it, that’s your plan for the day!

My list usually looks something like this:

  • Laundry
  • Clean up the kitchen
  • Cook Dinner
  • Write Blog Post


What would your Most Important List look like for today?

Day 2: Put Your Plan Where You Can See It

31 days plan header

This month I’m joining in for The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I’m sharing all about Planning Ahead and how I strive to do this so that my life, our family and our household runs smoothly. Don’t miss a post! You can find the whole series here. 

Welcome to Day 2, I’m glad you’re back!

Planning ahead is all well and good, but if you only plan in your head, or you put a plan in writing and then stash it away somewhere it’s not very likely that you will follow through.

It’s important to put your plan where you can see it!

A To Do list on your fridge, a calendar that stays open on your desk, a checklist on your smart phone, all of these are great ways to keep your plan in front of you so that you know where you’re going.

Personally I like to plan with a pen and paper, I enjoy the action of actually writing down my list or plan and then being able to check things off. You might prefer a digital list or a dry erase board. Whatever you prefer the important thing is to make your plan concrete and keep it in front of you.

So here’s a task for you on Day 2: Decide where you will make your plan and start using it. If you’re a notebook fan (like me…I LOVE a new notebook!) buy a new notebook. Put up a dry erase board or bulletin board, stock up on sticky notes or familiarize yourself with a smartphone app. Just choose one and start using it! If you find later that that particular method doesn’t work for you, you can switch it up.

We’ll talk more soon about actually doing some planning, but your first step is to decide where you will plan.

Comment and tell me your favorite tool for planning!

Day 1: Why Plan Ahead?

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Welcome to 31 Days of Planning Ahead!

I hope that this series will be a challenge and an encouragement to you. I hope that it will be a help to you in thriving in this busy life!

So why should we plan ahead?

For me planning ahead has become not only a necessity and something that I enjoy doing, but it is a way to simplify life for me and my family and an extremely helpful tool in our day to day life.

I find that the times I feel most out of control, and when I’m frequently apologizing to my husband for the chaos in our home, it’s because I have simply failed to plan ahead.

  • What’s for dinner? I don’t know, I don’t have a plan.
  • Do we have clean clothes? hmm, probably not, the laundry hasn’t been washed this week.
  • Did you have a good day? I can’t remember, it’s been crazy.
  • Can we have friends over for dinner this weekend? Ummm, are you serious?

Planning ahead frees me up to actually enjoy my life and my family.  You may have other reasons for planning ahead, here are just a few:

  • Planning ahead simplifies things
  • Planning ahead often helps avoid waste (time, money, groceries, etc.)
  • Planning ahead means you are headed in a specific direction
  • Planning ahead allows your husband, family, significant other, etc. to know what to expect
  • Planning is fun!

If you don’t have a good reason or goal in planning ahead, take a few minutes to think about how your life could be different/improved by planning ahead. And be sure to comment and tell me what your reasons are!

I hope that you will see the benefits of planning ahead, not just today, but throughout the series, and especially as you begin to put these ideas in to practice!

See you tomorrow!


31 Days of Planning Ahead

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Hello and Welcome!

If you’re new to the blog from The Nester’s 31 Day Link-up I’m so glad you’re here!

Check out my About Me Page to get to know me a little bit and then jump right in. I would love your comments and feedback as you join in the 31 Day Series.

You can come to this page to find all of the posts in the series, it will be updated throughout the month.

This month I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks for planning ahead, as well as some of my own successes and failures in this area, and throughout the month there will be some fun FREE PRINTABLES!

I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Happy Planning!

Day 1: Why Plan Ahead?

Day 2: Put Your Plan Where You Can See It

Day 3: Plan Your Day

Day 4: Free Printable October Planners

Day 5: Plan to Have Fun

Day 6: Plan to Eat


Family of Four

He’s here! And he’s made us a family of four!


John Phinehas Abbott


September 14, 2014

We are so excited to have this little man in our family. He has been a joy and a blessing already. So far he’s a pretty chill baby, he’s eating well and sleeping a lot.





And the best part? Phoebe LOVES him. Seriously. There is no end to the kisses and the begging to hold him all day long. And during the first few days we were home she would literally cry, giant crocodile tears when I would put him down to sleep. She couldn’t stand for him to be in the other room where she can’t see him.


I plan to share more about his birth story as well as LOADS of pictures in the near future.

We’re so thankful for this gift!



Slowing Down and Speeding Up

I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant.

Some days I can’t decide whether that means I’m close to the end or far away.

Either way, it’s ticking right along and the days are slipping away.

Sometimes I feel like I should be taking it easy, slowing down, not trying to do too much. I want to let things go and be gracious to myself as a third-trimester pregnant mama of a toddler. I want to prop my feet up and watch a movie and ask my husband to bring home pizza for dinner.

Then other times I feel a desperate need to get more things done, speeding up and trying to check things off my list. I want to finish my Summer To Do List of things to accomplish before the baby is born. I want to soak up every moment with Phoebe and play and teach and have all kinds of fun. I want to wash baby clothes and clean the house and prep freezer meals for the days ahead.

So I struggle between this all-or-nothing mindset on what to do and when to rest. And I’m trying to find a balance.

But honestly, I feel like most importantly right now I want to cherish this time. I knew before Phoebe was born that our life was going to change, but I didn’t really understand what that would mean. This time I KNOW that our lives are going to change. Everything from sleep patterns to meal times to just getting loaded up in the car is going to be different. But not only that, our family is going to change. Our relationships will change as we go from a family of three to a family of four and Phoebe goes from being an only child to being a big sister.

I want to remember what this feels like. I want to be filled with excitement and anticipation for our little boy, but also be patient in a way that allows me to enjoy where we are right now.

So I’m speeding up and slowing down. I’ll probably continue to go back and forth between the two, and maybe that’s ok. It’s where I am right now, and where I am right now is where I want to be.

Introducing The Plan Ahead Monthly Bundle

Hello Friends!

Guess what…August is almost here! Can you BELIEVE THAT?? I can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. I’m pretty sure it was just Christmas a little bit ago…

As the days and months are ticking away, it can be easy for me to feel overwhelmed and like I am falling behind. I KNOW that when I plan things ahead and get my mind wrapped around the month before the month gets me all wrapped up that things go much smoother and I’m happier. Which makes my husband and family happier too!

In my ebook, Efficient Homemaking, I emphasize the importance of planning. To help myself with my plan for the month, I have created a printable bundle packed full of what I need to plan my month. Essentially this is like my brain for the month so that I can write everything down and then set it on cruise control.

And now I’m offering it here for you! Starting with August I will be offering The Plan Ahead Monthly Bundle!

Each month will feature a fun new design and will include the following:

  • Monthly Calendar
  • Weekly Planner/To Do List
  • Cleaning schedule
  • Bill Pay Checklist
  • A fun To Do List to use as you need it
  • FULL Meal Plan list with recipes and COMPLETE Grocery List!
  • A Blank meal planner and grocery list, just in case you want to do your own!

All for just $5!

Here’s a glance at the August Bundle:

(The Meal Plan and Grocery List are left blank on this image, but the filled in AND blank version will be included in your printable packet.)

August Bundle Image jpeg


To purchase the bundle simply CLICK HERE and once your order is complete your PDF document will be emailed to you!

I hope you will enjoy this fun printable and that it will be a great tool to help you organize and plan your month!