How I’m Getting Organized by Using a Label Maker

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Brother and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own. Want to win a Brother P-Touch label maker? See my tutorial below and enter to win an amazing giveaway

The last several months, I have been on a mission to declutter and organize my house. Since we moved in a year ago, we’ve had so much going on that we just haven’t been able to keep the clutter at bay.

The biggest reason for this is that I don’t have things organized and a place for things to be! I think I sometimes want to make things more complicated than they need to be and so I put off important projects like organizing our office/craft room.

How I'm using a label maker to organize my office

Because January is national Get Organized Month, I decided to jump on the opportunity to get a Brother P-Touch label maker and I’m so glad I did!

When I first began brainstorming what I could do with a label maker, I was envisioning the dinosaur label maker that I used when I was an intern in collage. It was slow, clunky, and didn’t print very pretty labels. But I figured it was better than nothing.

So when I opened up my box containing my new P-Touch label maker and started using it, I was pleasantly surprised! This label maker is so smooth, fast, and has almost no learning curve. I literally picked up the label maker and did this organizing project in less than 10 minutes. I’m now carrying my new label maker around the house from room to room figuring out what I can label next ;)

Getting Organized with a Label Maker

Here’s what my office/craft room has looked like for about 3 months now.

My craft room...before!

 

1) Organize you project into bins, buckets, or drawers

Here I’ve decided to use my cubby storage I’ve had and start really sorting my craft and office stuff into bins that I can actually find for later.

2) Print out your labels

I was really excited to find out that not only do I have multiple font options with this label maker, but there are also 99 border options! This extra little detail really upped my organizing project in the cuteness factor – something I’m always happy for!

Printing out my labels3) Label Away!

Once I made my pretty labels, it was so easy to stay motivated to get this project done and completed!

Putting it all together - my label maker project!

As a busy homemaker, mom, and wife, simple projects like this are what I need in my life right now! Now my craft and office area is starting to get organized…and I’ve got the momentum to finish it. 

I’m already starting to dream of the ways I can use my new label maker to get other areas of my house organized like my pantry, under our bathroom and kitchen sinks, my closet and more! I don’t think this label maker will be leaving my side for a looooong time.

If you want to find other fun projects you can do with your label maker, check out the link up below!


Why You Need to Start Meal Planning (Plus a Video)

As a homemaker, who is concerned about my family’s health and staying within our grocery budget, learning how to meal plan has been the single most important and helpful skill I’ve developed.

Why you need to start meal planning

I’ve heard from many women who don’t meal plan and think that menu or meal planning just won’t work for their family for one reason or another. If you are this woman, I challenge you to read through this article and keep an open mind. In 99% of family’s, I think meal planning would be very beneficial!

Why I Meal Plan

Before we dive into how I meal plan, I want to share into a little bit about why I meal plan. Yes – meal planning does take time, commitment, and a bit of work – but in the end, the benefits are so worth it!

Meal Planning…Saves Money!

Here is my #1 reason for meal planning, it saves my family money and helps us to stick to our grocery budget. It helps our budget in a couple of ways:

1. It Keeps Me Out of the Stores

When I meal plan, I can do about 2 big grocery shops a month and keeps me out of the stores. When I enter Costco with a strict budget and specific grocery list with items all attached to meals, it helps me to cut out impulse purchases.

I’m focused on my goal the entire time while in the store.

2. It Allows Me to Plan Around Our Grocery Budget

In true Dave Ramsey’s fashion, my husband and I try have strict grocery budget’s each week and plan our meals and eating out to fit within that budget. When I meal plan with our budget in mind, it allows me to space out our grocery money throughout the month. I know what I’m spending at which stores and eliminates that question of “I went to the grocery store, spent all our grocery budget, and still don’t have enough meals for the month. How did this happen?

Pssst: While I’ve been meal planning by hand for years, the last 9 months I’ve converted to an online software for my meal planning and I’m never going back. Build a Menu has a neat feature that shows you the price estimate for very meal! So as you add meals to your menu for the week or month, you have a running total of how much this grocery shop will cost. With just a few clicks you can plan an entire meal plan within your budget, print off the ingredient list, and off you go to the store! Right now they are running a huge blowout sale of over 50% OFF a 12 month membership! Get complete access for one year for only $35 with coupon code: BAM35JAN. Find out more HERE!

Meal Planning…Saves Time!

Initially, meal planning takes a little bit of time to get into the habit of and actually do each time you head out to the grocery store. But in the long run, it saves so much time! It virtually eliminates the “What’s for dinner?” question that pops up around 5 o’clock every day.

Meal planning mentally frees me from having to think about my meals each day and helps to cut down on time searching for meals to make, running to the grocery store for one or two items I forgot, and helps me to be more organized.

Meal Planning….Helps Us to Eat Healthier

Even if meal planning didn’t save me money or time, I would jump into meal planning because it really helps me to feed my family healthier meals. It takes a lot of time and energy to cook 3 meals a day mostly from scratch. We’ve virtually eliminated processed foods from our house and so that means I’m cooking all.the.time!

Meal planning gives me freedom, direction, and a vision for my kitchen so that I can focus on cooking the most nutritious (and yummy) meals for my family. I think my kitchen would be in chaos if I didn’t regularly meal plan.

How to Meal Plan the Easy Way

So are you convinced now that you need to start meal planning? Awesome – let’s jump in and I’ll share how I’ve been meal planning for the last several years.

1)  Print Out Meal Planning Sheets

Of course, you can use a regular old notebook to do your meal planning, but I’ve created these free printable meal planning sheets for you to use.

I laminated mine (with my amazing laminator that I got off of Amazon for about $30) so that I could re-use them again and again without having to print it off each time.

Free Meal Planning Sheets

Download the Meal Planner and the Shopping List

2) Gather Your Favorite Cookbooks & Recipes

I love cookbooks – seriously, I’m a little bit addicted. So my first step in meal planning is to pull out a few of my favorite cookbooks and find some recipes. Note: When you start filling out your meal plan for the week, make sure you write down which cookbook the recipe came from and the page number. You think you will remember later…but you won’t!

Meal Planning Made Easy

Pinterest is of course my other favorite place to find recipes. So many of our family’s favorite recipes over the last several years have been discovered in Pinterest. You can follow me HERE on Pinterest to see how I use it for my homemaking.

3) Assemble Your Meals & Write Out the Ingredients

Here’s the crucial step – as you start to fill in your meal plan and pick out each meal, pause and write down the ingredients from each meal onto your shopping list.

If you are not sure if you have an ingredient or not, add a little “C” next to the ingredient so you can remember to check on it before you head to the store.

Then before you know it, you’ve created your entire meal plan! Check out my video below to learn even more about how I menu plan!

In the video, I mentioned that I no longer use a pen and paper to do my meal planning. I’ve actually converted to an online system for my meal planning and now I can do my complete meal planning and print off my shipping list within just a couple of minutes. This new website I’ve been using is called Build a Menu. I purchased a subscription to it last year during their annual sale and I’m happy to share they are running that same sale this month!

You can get a 12 month membership for over 50% OFF! Use coupon code: BAM35JAN to get an all access membership for an entire year for only $35. For less than $3 a month this meal planning software has been a life saver!! Come back on Thursday and I’m going to share a video with you on how easy it is to use Build a Menu.

Build a Menu ROCKS!!!

*This article was originally posted on November 3, 2014.

The Homemaking Foundations Podcast is COMING SOON (But I need your help)!

Believe it or not, I have been working on this podcast for over a year now and am finally *almost* ready to launch it! Coming soon – The Homemaking Foundations Podcast will be a weekly show that will feature tips, advice, and guest speakers on various aspects of homemaking. But I need your help! 

Homemaking Foundations

I love podcasts! I listen to them everyday while I’m driving, cleaning, cooking, or getting ready for the day. I’ll share more about what a podcast is and my favorite shows below, but first, I want to share my heart behind this new venture.

A lot of the quality podcasts that I end up listening to are business and blogging ones. I get so much enjoyment from them and learn so much!  But there are just not a lot of Christian podcasts out there for women. So when I share that I listen to a lot of podcasts, women ask me all the time which ones to listen too.

And so, it’s been on my heart for a long time to create a podcast for Christian homemakers. A podcast that will give you a dose of encouragement for your day, a heaping of grace (and not guilt), and practical advice from older, wiser, Titus 2 women through interviews and guests on the show.

What Is a Podcast?

At this point, you might be asking what a podcast is? It’s basically like an internet radio show that you can listen to at any time. Every Tuesday, I will post a new show for you to listen to it. It will be through an audio player that you can listen to on your computer, iPad, or smart phone.

The show will range from 30 minutes to 60 minutes and will cover all aspects of homemaking: organizing, cleaning, Biblical womanhood, hospitality, cleaning, raising kids, and so much more! I will also be introducing guest speakers onto the show soon so you can learn from some amazing homemakers!

But, I Need Your Help!

So as I get all the details ready to launch my new weekly show, I need your help! I get so many emails, messages, and questions from all of you every day that I have no way to respond to each and every one of them (even though I wish I could)!  So here’s your chance to ask a question and have it featured on the new podcast.

You can leave me a message below and I will actually play your question on the podcast before answering it and/or directing you to other resources. Depending on how many questions I get, I’m hoping to play as many questions as I can live on the podcast. So here are some guidelines for asking a question:

1) Please try and keep your question under one minute or less. It’s okay if it goes a little over but please try and keep it short, sweet, and simple!

2) Due to the nature of this podcast’s topics (marriage, etc.) please don’t get too personal in the podcast. Please try and stay respectful and if you want to ask a question about marriage or another personal subject, try and stick to general terms instead of going into your personal marriage too much. We want to respect our husbands and our families speak in love.

3) Spammy or disrespectful questions will not be played on the podcast. And if you have your own blog or website, you are more than welcome to say the name of your blog once. For example, “Hi my name is Jami Balmet and I blog at YoungWifesGuide.com My question is…”

*Please note that when you submit a question, it may be played publicly on the Homemaking Foundations Podcast and by submitting a question you are agreeing to our terms and conditions.

Other Awesome Podcasts

My podcast is coming soon, but in the meantime, get into the habit of listening to podcasts with these great podcasts below! I could have written this post myself from The Humbled Homemaking on how she uses podcasts throughout her day. Check it out HERE!

Christian Podcasts

Jolene Engle’s Marriage Podcast

I love Jolene and her commitment to Scripture when dealing with Marriage and the hard topics that can come along with it! If you need need a dose of encouragement for your marriage or some wise advice, I highly recommend you check out her podcast!

Inspired to Action Podcast

Kat Lee’s podcast was one of the very first ones I ever started listening to. She gives me so much encouragement and motivation to be the kind of mom that I want to be! Her podcast isn’t solely about being a mom, but I love her perspective as an intentional mom.

Living Inspired with Trisha Goyer

I’ve not actually started listening to Trisha’s podcast yet but I’ve had it recommended to me from several people. So I’m excited to jump into that one soon.

A Slob Comes Clean

Dana was a speaker at my latest Homemaking From Scratch conference and I love her approach to organizing and cleaning from a naturally messy person (like myself)! Her podcast is always motivating for getting my house under control.

Business Podcasts

Entre Family Podcast

My friend Stephanie and her husband just launched  a new podcast all about building a business as a family. All the business decisions we make, we make with our family in mind and I love the encouragement I get from listening to their podcast.

This Is Your Life by Michael Hyatt

This one is more business focused and so you might not have an interest in it but I love the things he has to say on leadership, business, establishing routines, etc.

Smart Passive Income Podcast

My husband and I are building a business from home and we love listening to Pat Flynn’s advice and encouragement on the subject. He approaches online business with such integrity and creativity that I’m always inspired listening to him!

Stay tuned for season 1 of The Homemaking Foundations Podcast coming soon!

3 Spiritual Solutions for Your Husband’s Annoying Habits

By Erica, Contributing Writer

Shellie walked through the house and saw her husband Mike’s shoes in the living room floor, she picked them up, begrudging his messy habits. As she walked to their bedroom closet she spied his pants in a pile on the floor, his razor, toothbrush, and towel strewn across the bathroom cabinet. She hurled the shoes into the bottom of the closet and in her mind she gave him the “what for” he deserved for being such a big fat slob. She had grown tired of his fake laughing and the way he interrupted her every time they were with their friends and she was telling a story.

3 Biblical solutions for your husband's annoying habits

When Mike came home, Shellie gave him a piece of her mind, declaring the reasons why it was so inconsiderate for him to be messy every single day. She even gave him a reminder of the other habits that annoyed her.

Mike had grown tired of the verbal assaults to the point that her words went unheard.  He did hear the attitude that radiated from Shellie. It screamed to Mike telling him all that he needed to feel, “I hate serving you and helping you,” it was as obvious as the enormous billboard advertisements along the highway.

Mike wished Shellie would take the time to consider all the stress he had dealt with at work with his irate boss and apathetic co-workers, but she never did think to ask about how his day was or care about his struggles. She only cared about the things he forgot to do instead of who he really was and the things he was going through in the other parts of his life. He wished that she would just simply love him and be his helpmeet.

He loved her, he really did forget to clean up after himself, and never intended to disrespect her. But what did it matter anymore? It was the same old cycle, and the reason why he hated coming home after a long day of working for his family. Oh yes, he knew his responsibility before God to make a living for his wife and children, but it did not change the dread he had as he drove home waiting for Shellie’s next attack.

Every once in a while I know a woman named Shellie, and I think I know a man named Mike. Do you? I’ve been married for 10 years now, at at times this cycle reoccurs in our marriage.

Here are 3 spiritual solutions for those daily annoyances your husband may do:

Learn to be long-suffering

Being long-suffering is one of the fruits of the Spirit. The word gives it’s own definition, suffering long. When we understand that God is always working on each person that is saved, then we understand that even when we cannot see it, God is working in you and your husband’s life. When we suffer long it is very similar to exercising forbearance. It is enduring the problems for the purpose of  allowing God the freedom to work in your husband’s life without nagging and complaining that he is not who you want him to be yet.

You must exercise faith in God’s plan to perform the act of long-suffering. One exercise that may help you forbear is to say thanks for something about your husband to be able to remind yourself of the good qualities God created in your husband.

Live peaceably

The Bible says in Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Living peaceably does not mean that we cannot bring up the things that bother us. It means we should do it in a way that would be respectful, honest, and gently in order to keep the peace in your marriage. It takes work to live peaceably because it is not a natural response to dealing with problems. A Spirit-led wife will exercise another portion of the fruit of the Spirit by being peaceful.

Serve without expectation

We do not serve to get, we serve because it emulates the Christ that we love. I believe that in the course of life, there are times when we get hardened to serving our husbands in the small tasks of life. Some of us address the needs of our children and cater to them, while turning our noses up at the opportunity to fill the gap for our husband’s deficiencies. Not only could this mean cleaning up after him, it means taking the time to listen to him and know about his life in a loving and gentle way. Serving could mean that you need to listen and pray more for your husband’s daily life that is outside your home. You are an important part of your husband’s life but you are not his entire life.

Conclusion

If you have a husband that is faithful to work and goes out into the world and battles the daily strain of physical or mental labor, and then comes home with a paycheck to help support your family, you need to be grateful. There are many wives who wished their husbands would put forth the effort and be the providers of their family. Be thankful for what you do have instead of being ungrateful for what you do not have (a neat husband, a husband that remembers all the items you told him to pick up from the store, etc.). He loves you and desperately needs you to demonstrate it with consideration to the work God is doing in His life without the problems.

I believe that one of the most beautiful qualities that the virtuous woman possessed was doing her husband good and not evil. Proverbs 31:12 says, “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” When we do all of these practice long-suffering, living peaceably, and serving without expectation, then we can be successful in one area of doing our husband good and not evil.

3 Biblical solutions for your husband's annoying habits2

A Fresh Call to Prayer

By Rachel O’Neill, Contributing Writer

Of all the spiritual disciplines, prayer is probably the most neglected in the church today.

A fresh call to prayer for 2015

Prayer meetings are becoming a thing of the past. The few that do remain are often poorly attended.

Many Christians faithfully read their Bibles and frequent worship services, but find it difficult to spend more than a few scattered minutes a day in private prayer. Not many families can be found who pray together regularly.

Yet historically we see that times of revival came when God’s people made a special commitment to prayer.

Several times in the New Testament we are exhorted to pray constantly and without ceasing. An exhortation is a command. Christians are commanded to pray.

Jesus rose early to pray, and often prayed through an entire night. Paul was a fervent man of prayer. The apostles and early Christians are found praying all throughout the book of Acts.

Me personally? I may set aside two or three minutes for prayer before or after reading the Scriptures each morning. I pray over the Word as I’m reading {when I remember}. I might shoot up prayer requests throughout the day as people and needs come to mind. I utter quick prayers of confession and repentance as I am awakened to specific sins in my life.

But truth be told, my prayer life is pretty pitiful. Brief, distracted, irregular and undisciplined.

May I propose prayerlessness as a root of many of our problems in the Church and home today?

Would couples who regularly sought the Lord’s face together be much less likely to divorce? Probably.

Would churches who came together in fervent and meaningful prayer see spiritual growth in their members and conversions in their community? I sure think so.

Would our hearts grow in sincere love for Christ if we communed constantly with Him throughout our days? Yes!

This year, I desperately want to change my prayer life. To make a fresh commitment to seek the Lord’s face, and His presence continually.

Having a committed prayer life might mean waking up earlier or staying up later. It will probably require turning off the t.v, computer, and phone for uninterrupted silence. Yes, there will be sacrifices. But the teensy sacrifices will be working for a far better, eternal, weight of glory.

Will you join me as I commit to regular, intentional prayer in 2014 2015?

May we see the Spirit move in magnificent ways as His Church seeks His face.

This post was originally published on January 3, 2014.