Motivated Moms Printable Chore Planner for just $3!

If you are feeling overwhelmed with homemaking and keeping up with household chores and wished there was a way someone could just tell you specifically what you needed to do every day to keep your home neat and tidy, then you definitely need to check out the Motivated Moms Printable Chore Planner.

It outlines everything you need to do each day — from basic chores to things like changing the smoke alarm, going through your coupons at the end of the month and pulling the expired coupons. I was hard-pressed to find household chores this chore planner didn’t think of! If you struggle with coming up with a plan for home organization, I’d definitely recommend trying it out and seeing if it works for your family.

Best of all, you can get it for only $3 right now — that’s just $0.50 per month to a detailed home organization plan for the rest of the year! Here’s how to get:

::Go to Motivated Moms and choose any of the printable chore planners reduced to $4.

::Go to checkout and use coupon code group. This will take off an additional $1.

::Finish ordering and pay only $3 for six months of daily printable chore lists!

Thanks, Motherhood on a Dime!

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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Time Management Tips for the Single Mom

Guest post by Missy

Mothering in any sense requires serious time management, but when the number of children increase and the father leaves, it becomes an essential life skill.

1. Assess your resources and enlist help

  • Car pool with a neighbor and split the number of trips made to school, along with less time spent in the minivan lineup.
  • Trade chores. This works with meals and babysitting – other single moms are especially good prospects for this.
  • Get your sitter or nanny on the same page. Have the kitchen clean and toys picked up when you get home.
  • Enlist your children’s assistance in meal preparation, writing lists, putting away silverware and other simple tasks.

2. Streamline everything you can

  • Make your mornings simpler and set a better tone for the day by placing all needed things together the night before.
  • A two-week menu plan keeps my grocery list relatively constant. Immediately add used items to the shopping list. I clip coupons (or print online) for the items I know we’ll use and let other deals go. Occasionally, add in something new or seasonal to the repertoire.
  • For me, it works best to have daily, weekly and monthly routines as described in Emilie’s Creative Home Organizer. To save time on laundry, I put a load in the wash each morning and move it to the dryer after dinner. I have to be committed to folding and putting away just as soon as they are dry. If I don’t, it piles up and gets overwhelming.
  • Clean as you go. I’ve also found with two little boys that flushable cleaning wipes are also great for a daily quick bathroom touch-up!
  • Combine tasks. I clean the bathroom while the children are in the tub. My one who bathes in the morning often eats breakfast in the tub. I do the dishes while the children are cleaning up their evening toys and I garden, weed or mow while they are playing outdoors. We all know to combine errands, that stopping by the bank, the dry cleaner or the market on the way home from childcare are standard ways to avoid fragmenting my day. I keep clipboards in the van so that homework and artwork can be done en route. We also practice our memory verses on the go and read our daily Scripture during dinner.

3. Work the Web

  • Make the most of your time by connecting with family and friends online.
  • Upload photos and print from home.
  • Do your Christmas shopping online.
  • Earn extra money through sales on ebay or Craigslist.
  • Donate items to others via Freecycle – they will even come pick up!
  • Look for grocery bargains, make your lists online, send yourself reminder notes.
  • Of course, do your banking, bill paying and rebates online.

The possibilities are endless, just don’t get sucked into spending more time here than is beneficial. I loved Crystal’s computer time budget suggestion.

4. Capitalize on personal time

Not every single mother has a co-parent. But for those who do, I simply cannot express the importance of managing that time when your children are at the other parent’s home.

This is the time to get in as many errands as possible, tackle bigger projects like painting or re-arranging your furniture, steam cleaning the carpet, cleaning the refrigerator and whatever else is impossible to with children underfoot. If you do not co-parent, ask grandparents or a friend to keep the children overnight from time to time.

4. Celebrate!

Make an end-point to your day, then relax in the tub, read or just indulge in extra sleep. Such sweet times for yourself empower you to be all you can for those little ones depending on you.

Missy June is a hard working optimist doing my best to enjoy life with my three little ones in this not-so-perfect world. She blogs at Little House in the Foothills.

Are you a single parent? If so, what tips, tricks and ideas do you have for time management? Share them in the comments.

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How to Manage Your Time (and Sanity!) as a Military Mom

Guest post by Megan at To Love a Soldier

I wake up to the shrill sound of that horribly annoying ring and I smile. It is 6 a.m. and he is calling. “Good afternoon! How is your day so far?” There is no noise on the other end.

“Please work, please work, please work,” I think to myself.

Then I hear it, a voice that has become all too familiar to me, “The call could not be completed. Please try again later.” I jump out of bed and begin to pull up the sheets, flatten out the comforter and smooth over the coverlet. I grab the throw pillows from the empty side of the bed when the phone rings again.

“Hello?” I say, truly asking. White noise. “Hello?” I ask again knowing there won’t be an answer.

I touch “end call” and place the remainder of the pillows in their places. I head into the bathroom, start the water and place the phone next to the shower, it rings one more time. “Hello?” I ask again.

Static. I put the phone on the hamper lid and step into the steam.

The way I see it, Military spouses have two choices when our loved one is deployed: pull up the covers over our head or smooth out the comforter. A year is a long time — and this is how long my husband will be gone from myself and our two boys. For them, for me and for him, I choose to get out of bed.

There is so much that goes into a day when you are the mother of a two-year-old and a nine-month-old and all of this becomes so much greater when your husband is in Kandahar. My focus is on these things: keeping this family strong and together and helping fellow military wives do the same.

There are many things we can do to make the time go by faster, to make the homecoming seem closer. I try to focus on what can be done and what must be done to thrive in this very special life. It can be overwhelming, it can be stressful, it can be heart-breaking; but it can be so incredibly rewarding and full of joy.

It is easy to get lost in the struggle, to become broken in the battle and to grow tired of the heart-break. But each day brings us closer and each day can make us stronger. Here is how I do it:

Wake Up!

It is quite possibly the most important step of each day along this journey. And I don’t mean wake up at 8 a.m. and lie in bed waiting for him to call and then maybe go watch TV and eat a bowl of cereal. Seriously, wake up! My number one goal is to wake up before my children because if I wake up after them my entire day changes.

You should know that I am not a morning person. I am a triple-shot-venti-give-me-as-much-espresso-as-you got-if-you-want-me-to-speak-clearly kind of person! But I cannot tell you how much better I feel each day if I am up and showered before my kids start babbling or my son sits on the potty still wearing his pj’s (forgetting that all too important step, yet again!).

And if I get to wake up to the sound of my soldier’s voice, it is already a blessed day. But if I stay in bed and wait for that phone call, I could be waiting for a long time.

Send an Email

I know, I know. How technology-dependent have we become? Well, very. And at this point, I don’t answer emails, mainly because I probably only have a couple minutes (if that) before my kiddos are up and moving like they’ve had three shots of espresso and because I don’t want people to begin to think that I will be up and ready to answer their questions at 6 a.m. every morning.

I check my email for one reason: to see if he sent me a message. If he did, he is probably frustrated with the phone system and apologizing for the call not going through (as though it is his fault at all). If he didn’t I know that his plate is even fuller than usual so I email him a few encouraging words, an “I love you” and a “stay safe” and log out.

Enter the Craziness

Yup, there’s my two-year-old, sitting on the potty, pants on, smiling. Luckily, since I have been up and showered, I catch him in time. Pants down, diaper off, M&M looming before him and I hear the babbling in the other room. I open the door and there is my 9-month-old, standing in his crib laughing at me. I wish my husband could see that smile.

Answer Emails

This is important for me because there are 18 soldiers (other than my own) who have their families depend on me to be their link to them during this deployment. Their parents, their spouses, their children, their fiancees, all have my information if they need me. I do not, for a moment, take that responsibility lightly.

I check to see if any questions have come up and I answer them quickly through an email if appropriate or a phone call depending on the time and taking into account the four different time zones there are family members in. This will bring me into perhaps one of the most important things for a Military Wife to remember…

Reach Out for Support

We cannot get through this alone. Okay fine, you can, if you want to be mediocre, if you want to just make it through and if you want to burn out somewhere down the line. But to be a strong support to my soldier, to be a good mother to our children, to take care of myself, I need to recognize that support is nothing but good.

I can only speak for the Army as far as personal experience, but there are so many incredible resources at our disposal during deployments. There are so many people who can help along the way — to do the simple things or to manage the hard things.

Every Army post has an MWR and ACS building/center that can be a major life-line for a military spouse. Use them! I cannot stress this enough. Any welcome center on a military installation can direct you to this building or center and when you enter you will find a plethora of information and people to help you to understand it. (Army OneSource is the online version).

This is also a great way to know what amazing free shows, deals and events are being offered for military families in your area. My children saw Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3 free because of information like this! You won’t know about it if you don’t reach out.

Set a Goal

Deadlines make everything go by so much faster and to have a deadline for something other than when your soldier will return home keeps your mind focused on other things. Many women run marathons, begin blogging, go back to school or volunteer.

To volunteer in the military community has been one of the most fulfilling things in my life. To support those in the same situation and to find support in them does nothing but strengthen the spirit.

Make Time Everyday for Daddy

My children have so many reminders of their Daddy. We aren’t able to Skype right now, so my husband has not seen our boys in about two months. But our boys have a Hallmark book that holds his voice, video recordings of him reading stories, a doll that is a likeness of him and each has a stuffed animal with his voice telling him goodnight.

Everyday we go through pictures, watch videos, talk about him and keep him present. This may be one of the most difficult things to juggle. We are like single parents when our soldiers are away — but at the same time we aren’t.

We are constantly trying to keep our soldiers part of their children’s lives and it can be so stressful. As a friend pointed out, it can make it difficult to enjoy the moments they are missing because we are constantly videoing, snapping pictures, taking notes and trying to keep them up-to-speed.

Let Him Know About Today

Each night I email my soldier with what went on that day and what amazing things are children did. I try to describe it as best as I can for him. This is a double-edged sword: I know he wants to know these things so very much but I also know how much it hurts him to know that he is missing these moments.

My son has crawled, sat up, pulled up and began to try to walk; when my soldier left he was rolling. When he returns, my son will be running.

I tell him about myself, too: what I did, what I hoped to do the next day. I also tell him how much I love him and how proud I am. I do this each day and I will continue to.

Make Time for You

I said how important and stressful it is to keep “daddy” present everyday. But it can be so very tiring, and it is so easy to get caught up in it. So everyday, when you put your children down to sleep, when the world has slowed for a moment, take that instant and breathe.

I write to my boys or I simply sit still. It is amazing the amount of emotions that run through the body if we sit still for a moment when they are gone. And I still say to take that moment and feel it. I do not think we should wallow in our heartache but I do think we should acknowledge it. To be present in it for a time is healthy, to overcome it is empowering. To hurt when they are gone does not make us weak, but to only hurt when they are gone will make us broken.

Read a book, find a blog of a military wife who lets you know that we all feel how you feel. We all hurt how you hurt. We all fear what you fear. Be empowered by the strength that exists within the band of sisters that surround you. Reboot. Recharge. Relax! You cannot be Mommy and Daddy everyday if you don’t.

I love this life. I miss my husband but I am so very proud of him. I want our children to be proud of him, too. If they see me sulk while their daddy is away, if they grow up with that image in their head, they will only remember that. They will not remember the pride, the love and the support.

I want them to understand the importance of his job as they age. I have to set the example by my actions as they grow. What our young children think of their fathers rests on our shoulders. There is so much we should do, everyday, to make sure that image is the same thing we see.

Stay strong. Stay committed. Persevere!

Megan is an Army Wife to a wonderful soldier currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan for a 12-month tour. She seeks to strengthen those around her, encourage those she’s never met and enlighten anyone who doesn’t understand this life. She supports the men and women in uniform with everything in her and looks forward to the next time she will see her husband marching in formation when they welcome him home next summer. Megan blogs at To Love a Soldier.

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7 Time Management Tips For the Working Woman


Guest post by Sarah

1. Lists are a Girl’s Best Friend

Lists can bring sanity to a chaotic household. My husband and I have learned that something as simple as a magnetic list on the fridge ensures we don’t return from the store only to realize we’ve forgotten to purchase several key items!

Packing lists eliminate frustration with trip preparation.

Meal planning lists make grocery shopping significantly more efficient.

We also keep a list of household project ideas, so that with any down time, we simply pull out our list and determine which potential project would be best suited to our available time and supplies.

2. The Power of Prioritizing

I now have a “To Do List” template that breaks my daily tasks into three distinct categories:

  • Urgent tasks that must be completed by end of day.
  • Important tasks to work on as time allows.
  • Future project ideas.

This ensures that my available time is always spent on the most urgent matters, and as time allows, I can easily knock out additional tasks that may be less time sensitive.

In addition, as one item is completed, sorting tasks in this manner allows for immediate selection of the next task at hand.

3. Multi-Tasking is a Must

Always look for ways to be productive while you wait!

If you let your dog outside each morning to do his business, use that time to pack your lunches for the day. While waiting for water to boil, you can empty the dishwasher. While on the phone, you can open mail, straighten your desk or fold a load of laundry.

4. A Chore A Day Keeps the House at Bay

Take 10 to 15 minutes a day to tackle a single household chore — emptying trashcans, dusting, vacuuming the main rooms or cleaning a bathroom. This will keep the house tidy, without requiring an hour and a half of cleaning each weekend.

5. Dinner After Dessert

Each night before bed I will plan our dinner for the next evening.

This allows advanced planning if meat or other items must be thawed, and helps me identify any potential ingredients I may be missing and need to pick up on my way home the following day. In addition, this eliminates my biggest pet peeve — coming home from a long day of work, and trying to come up with a plan of what to make for dinner!

6. Combining Work & Play

Finding ways to make your chores more enjoyable will increase your chances of actually completing them! I now save all my ironing for the weekends, where my husband and I will put on a good movie, and I tackle the ironing as we watch.

7. Just Say No to Procrastination

Procrastination is time management’s worst enemy. Take the bull by the horns and knock out the task at hands. Period!

Sarah is a Regional Sales and Customer Service Manager at Simmons First Bank. She and her husband do not yet have children (although she’s confident that will take time management to a whole new level!). However, with demanding jobs and a number of volunteer commitments, their schedules are usually very busy, and require a significant amount of organization and effective time management.

photo by Mitchell Bartlett

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Time Management Tips for Parents with Special Needs Kids


Guest post by Lisa at Warrior Mama

I’m a mom of two special needs kids. I make all of my kids’ foods from scratch to avoid their combined 35 food allergies and sensitivities. I also manage multiple specialists, food supplements, medications and education IEP’s.

Here are a few things I do to make my days run more smoothly:

Take time to write down a master checklist for your day.

Place the checklist in a plastic protector to be reused. Managing special food diets, supplements, medicines and therapy appointments is overwhelming! A checklist frees your mind to take care of your family knowing you are not going to forget the details.

Designate a box for completed school papers.

Your school papers box will do double duty. Kids with learning disabilities sometimes need to revisit old worksheets to remember how they learned a school skill. These papers will also help give you concrete examples of what skills your child still needs help with to take when you go to their IEP meeting.

Keep all your supplements and medicines in one location.

Our kitchen has often looked like a small pharmacy and health food store! Go ahead, I give you permission, devote one whole shelf or cabinet to your child’s needs. And don’t get rid of those old baby food carousels; they are perfect to hold pill bottles.

Keep good tax records.

Children with special needs qualify for additional tax benefits. Keep all your receipts from supplements, doctor’s visits, special schools, foods bought for food allergies and the mileage for each of those events. Just like the school papers, just keep them in a box so you have them if you need them at tax time.

Color-code your calendar.

I put all our chiropractor and NAET appointments in green on my calendar. They are easy to find when I am planning my week so I don’t miss any appointments. It also makes it easier to go back and make a mileage list for taxes.

Buy extra medicine spoons.

I have at least 20 plastic medicine spoons. I keep them in the kid’s bathroom and the kitchen. What items do you always run out of? Parenting special needs kids is stressful. Anything you can streamline or duplicate may make your day run more smoothly.

Keep a diary.

Keep a small notebook to record daily events. Special needs children can be affected by foods and medical changes. I found that jotting down what my kids ate, when we changed supplements or medicine dosages and unusual behaviors overtime helped us make better decisions in managing our children’s needs.

Lisa is a Cincinnati mom who has struggled the last 10 years to give her kids the best education, food and treatments money can buy. Raising special needs kids is taxing emotionally, relationally, financially and physically. Her dream is to break down the walls isolating special needs families and providing them with information to help them achieve their goals. Lisa blogs at Warrior Mama.

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5 Time Management Tips for Busy Families


Guest post by Jennifer from I Heart Organizing

1. Invest in a Great Daily Planner

My daily planner is my lifeline. It goes with me everywhere I go.

Color Coding Daily Planner

Planners have been around forever, but they are really the most genius way to keep it all together. Every paper that comes home from school with a date on it, instantly gets written in the planner.

What’s for lunch on Wednesday? It’s in the planner. What should I blog about on Monday? Oh yes, also in the planner. What night is garbage night? Family night? It’s all written down in the planner, and color-coded by category (i.e. blog post, meal plan, school event, etc.) When the planner is not physically attached to me in some way, it’s sitting on our counter to be viewed by anyone in the family.

If budgets are tight, with a little creative thinking, a spiral notebook could be transformed for anyone looking to adopt this idea.

2. Make Family Night a Priority

Family Night gets scheduled in each week at our house, just like an appointment.

Schedule Family Night

Family comes first and with the hustle and bustle of all things entertainment, family functions, school activities and sporting events, important family bonding can quickly become obsolete. Making sure to pen it in each week and learning to say, “No” to other obligations that may come up on the same night, is extremely important to us spending quality time together on a weekly basis.

3. Solve the Schedule Equation

On top of tossing all of our important schedules and appointments into the planner, we quickly found that it was still easy for us to get lost in our nightly routine. A quick video game or blog post writeup could simply turn into hours of lost time.

Trying to juggle homework, making dinner, baths, one-on-one time, story time and blogging was definitely a lot to manage without any type of direction. I knew I had to figure it all out, in order to completely maximize our evenings together (not to mention our super speedy wake-up-and-get-on-the-bus mornings!)

Something I found incredibly easy to do, was to break out the day in half-hour increments and plan out a “typical” day in our life.

Daily Schedule

Just looking at all the times slots paired up with all the things that I was dreaming of accomplishing in any given day was great for ensuring we get time to do all the things that matter, from time with our little ones to personal time on our hobbies or interests. I popped my visual breakdown right on the side of the fridge, because it’s great to have a time management reference point if I ever feel like we are getting a little lost.

I was beyond surprised that when the day was broken out there was so much time in the day that I then instantly wondered how I had been wasting it away in the past! Of course not every day is laid out perfectly as there is such a thing called life, but having a plan for our days has definitely proven to keep our daily goals in check and ease in our time management prioritization.

4. Create a Meal Plan

A very obvious time saver for us is meal planning. We have a meal plan/shopping list that hangs inside our pantry door, ensuring that when something runs out, we can it right to the list. Using the coupons that we have clipped along with trying at least one new recipe each week, we plan out our weekly meals before we head off to the grocery store.

Meal Planning

Only spending time shopping for what we need, saving some money not buying what we don’t need and then doing as much of the preparation ahead of time means all we need to do is peek at the planner each day and make whatever is on the list!

5. Set Up a Dump Zone

We use a memo station to stash kid’s papers that we get home throughout the week, along with all of our mail.

Sorting Station

Each Sunday I take a quick 10-15 minutes and recycle or file all the papers in each slot. We also have a dump basket with the same philosophy.

Dump Basket

Since piles can form so quickly, and as much as I believe in the “return things right where you found them” idea, it’s not always practical. Keeping one basket or bin dedicated to dumping our “stuff” each week, is easy to stash away when company comes, and is gone through at least once a week to return items to their home. This is also a great task for little ones looking for ways to become more helpful around the abode!

Jennifer is currently a stay at home mom, that not only cares for her own children {three uber beautiful little boys}, but also has the opportunity to spend her days with a couple other little ones as well, as a daycare mom. She is also currently working to start up an in-home organizing business, manage an organizing blog {where she talks about things like managing cleaning schedules and creating easy ways for kids to get organized} and working on expanding an Etsy shop as well.

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