The Little House Living Show – Episode 009 – How I Plan My Week
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What’s In This Episode?
0:36 – Introduction
2:19 – Planning my week
3:30 – Meal planning
5:13 – Breakfasts and lunches
8:14 – Grocery Shopping
9:00 – Weekly To dos
10:24 – Daily to dos
12:35 – Prayer list
14:45 – Review of the week
17:20 – Where I keep my planner
18:00 – Wasted space in planners
20:00 Encouragement and Wrap Up
Links Mentioned in This Show
- Submit a Question for the Show
- The Planner I Use
- Youtube Video Showing My Planner
- Recipe Binder Printables
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Hello, and welcome to the little house living show. This channel is for those trying to live a simpler, slower, and more cost-effective life. My name is Merissa and I will be your host and your friend as we journey along together to find new tips and advice, as well as lots of encouragement.
Hi everyone. I’m so glad to have you here for another episode of the little house living show. Like I’ve mentioned before in blog posts and emails, I’ve been unable to do my podcast for the last couple of months because we’ve been moving and I haven’t had my podcast equipment, actually. I didn’t know where it was. So now I found everything again, and I’m so excited to get this started. I do have a list of ideas that I’m going to be doing some podcast episodes from for the next couple of weeks. But if you have any ideas for me, of things that you want to hear, please let me know. You can email me at [email protected] and I’m happy to check out your ideas. I did send out a poll a while back a little survey, and I know a lot of you gave me some ideas. So I’m excited to talk about some of those topics over the next couple of weeks in the next couple of months.
So I hope that you’re excited that I’m doing this again. I have tried doing some YouTube videos and well, there’s some stuff that works really well over YouTube, like when I’m showing you certain things. I definitely favor podcasts. I just feel a little bit more comfortable behind the microphone, I guess. So either way, I hope this is helpful to you. My whole goal with blogging and running little house living is that I’m just doing things that are helpful, that will give you ideas and encouragement. And yeah, if I’m not doing those things, I feel like I’m not doing my job.
So anyway, today’s topic that I want to cover is how I plan out my week. Now, if you do follow my YouTube channel, you might’ve seen that. I did post a video on this a while back. I wanted to show you guys the inside of my planner and just give you a better view of what my week looks like and how I kind of put things together.
It doesn’t take me very long to plan out my week, cause I have a system that I follow, but it’s so nice to have your week planned out for you because then you know what you’re doing, you kind of stay on task. If they’re, if you have some days that are busier you know, what you can make for meals, it just, it helps so much helps keep you on track.
So if you want to see that video, I will be sure and link it in the show notes. So you can check that out and just see my planner. And I’ll be sure to leave a link to the planner I’m using in the notes as well, in case it’s something that you want to use. I’m really enjoying the planner that I’m using this year and something different than I’ve used in years past. But like I said, I really like it. It’s really simple and it works well for me.
So the first thing that I do when I plan out my week is I do my meal planning. I don’t know why I do that first. It just kind of seems to tie the whole week together for me, the way that I start my meal planning for the week is I look at the weather forecast. I mean, in the winter and like right in that heat of summer, I don’t always do this because I know, okay, if it’s the middle of summer, it’s going to be super hot all week. But especially right now in the fall. And like in the spring, the weather is always changing. One day, it can be 90 degrees, and the next day it can be 40 degrees or not if you’re not in South Dakota, but here that’s really normal.
And so I don’t want to plan a big pot roast supper on a day where it’s going to be 90 degrees because we’re just not going to feel hungry for that. So I start by looking at the weather and just kind of getting an idea of what each day is supposed to be. And then I pick out my meals based on that weather forecast.
I’ve talked about this before on the blog. I don’t know if I’ve talked about it on the podcast, but I keep all of my recipes together in a big recipe binder that I put together. My husband has made some really cool little pages so I can keep my recipes all sorted out. Not just the ones that I write down that are mine, but ones that I print off of the internet and stuff like that.
I like to keep those all together in a binder. And that way, when I’m planning meals, I can just flip through it and find the stuff that I need. I’m not trying to flip through a hundred different cookbooks or look on Pinterest or anything like that. Like I have everything that I know that we want and occasionally I like to plan something new, but it doesn’t really happen very often because our family kind of likes to stick to the same old thing.
And sometimes I like to make variations of those things, but my kids are kind of going through a little bit of a picky phase right now. So it’s kind of nice to just stick with things that we know, things that we know we can get the ingredients for, and things that I know that they will eat. So I go through that recipe binder and I pick out all of the dinners first.
That’s just how I start. And then I write that I have a little menu section in my weekly planner. And so I write down all of those dinners that we’re going to make. I usually do not write down sides. That kind of varies based on what I can get a good deal on at the store that week or want to have in the pantry or something. I kind of just stick to writing what the main meal is going to be. Then I go through and I have two lists that I keep at home. And when is the list of 30 breakfasts and one is a list of 30 lunches. And so I just go through that list and then I add that right onto the menu plan.
Now I like to plan breakfast and lunches because our breakfast tend to be a little bit more involved. My kids really love to eat like muffins and pancakes and, you know, scrambled eggs with toast and that kind of thing. And I like to have it planned out ahead of time. The same with the lunches, our lunches are really, really simple. Me and my husband almost always have leftovers, but the kids, sometimes there’s not enough leftovers everybody. So the kids will have soup or chicken or pizza or, or something else just really simple.
But I like to have it all planned out in advance because now I live about 65 miles from the grocery store. So I can’t just go to the store and pick up something if I need it. Like I have to have a plan when I go to the grocery store and it has to be good. So I plan out all these things in advance. And then I know, okay, on Friday, we’re having pizza. I need to make sure that I add whatever we need for pizza on the list. Just those kinds of things. And that’s why I plan out each meal a day because I don’t want to get to the end of the week and really go, well, we have nothing left for breakfast because mom didn’t plan that far. It just really helps with the grocery shopping and stuff. So yeah, clean out the menu ahead of time, breakfast, lunch supper.
I don’t plan out snacks. We always have snacks in the pantry, no matter what the kids eat multiple snacks a day. And I just kind of let them pick from what they know mom has bought, or mom has made for snacks. And it’s just up to they’re up to whatever they want. I just don’t care. All right. Start by planning that. And like I said, it’s based on the weather.
I use my recipe binder. I use my breakfast and lunch list and I can plan out the menu for one week. Yeah. In probably five minutes. It doesn’t take very long. So the only thing with that is that most weeks I’m trying not to go to the grocery store as much. We’re now not buying as much for our house since then. The majority of it is built. So I won’t be having to go to town every week. So like the last time I planned out my menus, I planned out for the next three weeks and grocery shopped for three weeks instead. And so I actually have meals planned, you know, for quite a few weeks in advance right now. And usually what I do though in the winter, I plan out two weeks in advance plan to go to the store every two weeks.
And in the summer I plan out one week in advance and that isn’t because I go to the store every week. It’s just because there’s so much fresh garden, then it’s really hard to plan out further than that because you don’t know what’s going to be ripe.
Okay. I’m going to try to move on. This was not a segment about meal planning. I can definitely do that if you guys are interested, but I just wanted to start with that because meals is kind of how I start my week and how I start making my plans. So once I have my menus ready for each day, then I go ahead and make my grocery shopping list. The easy, I just go through the recipes, figure out what I don’t know I have in my pantry or in my freezer or in my fridge and added onto the list, which is on the other side of my planner, the I’m using is really cool.
It has this little space for a grocery list and it’s perforated. So you can just tear it out and take it to the grocery store, which has come in handy for the last couple of weeks. It’s been really nice plan the menus, figure out the grocery shopping.
Now, once that’s done, I start on my weekly to do list. I do not like making daily to do list because it’s too much pressure. It’s just, it’s too hard to think, okay, I’m going to sit down today. I’m going to get this and this and this and this done when you have kids and you’re trying to figure out, okay, but I also need to take care of my kids, but I’ve got this list that needs to get done. Like it’s at my main focus, needs to be on the kids and their needs during the day and my husband and his needs during the day and not what’s on my to do list.
So I’ve found that a weekly to do list is better for me because then I can just write down, okay, here’s the stuff that I need to get done this week. It doesn’t need to be done today. It just needs to be done this week when I have time to do it. And like I said, I found that just takes a lot of the pressure off. I almost always get done everything that I have on that list because I’ve, I find the time to do it. Like when I find myself with an extra spare amount of time, I’m like, all right, what’s on the, to do list that I can get done for this week. And I just worked so much better that way.
Now my planner that I use does have space for daily to do’s. I do add a couple of things on there and they are only because they’re specific to that day.
So like when I’m working, I current I’m currently working on the blog and stuff two days a week. I write that down on the planner because that is day specific when my husband is working and write that on my planner, because that’s a day specific. If we have an appointment, I put that on there for that week because that’s also day and time specific.
The other thing that I write on the daily to do part of the planner is if I need to get something out for a meal the day before. So I always, we almost keep all of our meat in the freezer. I do have a little bit of a can, but most of it stays in the freezer. So I always have to pull that out the day in advance and I’m really bad yeah. About remembering to take it out.
So if I, since I already have my menu planned, then I can just go through my daily planner and write on, you know, for example, if I have, I’ll just look at my planner right now, Tuesday, I have planned that I’m going to make this chicken fingers recipe. Today is Monday that I’m recording this. So I know that today, I need to get that chicken out that I’m going to use for that the chicken fingers recipe tomorrow. So make a little note on Monday’s schedule that says, get chicken out of the freezer. And then I do that for each day of the week where I need to pull something out of the freezer. And sometimes it’s not me. I keep a lot of stuff in the freezer that we need for future meals. But it’s just, it’s just a good place to remind me to do that because I’m just really bad at remembering to pull stuff out of the freezer.
So that’s something else that goes on my daily to do’s occasionally there’s something else I might add on there. Maybe a specific cleaning task or something that has to be done on that day. But for the most part, I try to keep that on the weekly to do’s. I just don’t need to add anything else to my day. We’ve already got daily, you know, cleaning schedules. We’ve got homeschooling schedules, we’ve got work schedules. We have enough that’s on there. So anyway, so I like to keep those things separate.
The other thing that I have on my planner is the prayer and praise list. And this is something that I’ve tried to start working on better this year. I, I get so many requests for people that asked me to pray for them, love to be able to do that. But I have some issues with brain fog and remembering things and stuff like that.
So having a place where I can not only write it down, cause I was writing it down before, but then I would lose my list. So if I keep it in my planner and write everything down in there, then I’ve got this one place where everything is at and I can, you know, when I come on here and I look okay, what’s my weekly tutus. Oh yeah. And I need to remember, I need to stop right now and pray for it. So, and so that’s where that goes. And it just makes things so much better for me and my brain and yeah, just keeping things organized because I do keep my planner out in the kitchen, on the counter during the day I keep it open to the week so I can have it all right there. And so, like I said, it’s just right there.
It’s a constant reminder. I love it. I love that reminder of who I need, you know, who I need to pray for, who I need to be thinking of right then. And it’s also a good place to remember, to, you know, write down who you want to contact that week. I’ve been trying to get better at that lately because there’s so many people that were not able to visit and not able to see in person. And for me, it’s been a real struggle. I, I am half introvert and half extra. It’s a really weird combination. I’ve taken those details, killed personality or whatever they are tests. And I’m like 51% introvert and 49% extrovert. It’s a weird combination. But anyway, I love to connect with people and talk to people and catch up with them. And so my planner has been a good place to remind me, Oh, Hey, I need to remember texts.
So, and so this week or give so and so a call during these times when we’re not able to go visit people in person, it’s really nice to keep up that extra line of communication. Not only to whoever it is that you’re talking to really appreciate that you, I took the time to catch up with them, but it is, it’s really good for you too. We just, we really need that human interaction even right now when we’re not able to have it, like we normally do. They do. So the planner has been a good place to keep all of that information for me. Just a good reminder.
Let’s see. I’ve covered my whole planner actually. So I’ll just kind of review it again and just kind of go over it. How I go over it at the beginning of the week. Now when I do sit down and do this, I try to do it on Sunday.
Sometimes I’ll actually have it all planned out in advance. Especially like this week. I didn’t have to do any planning. I already had my menu planned. I already grocery shopped last week. I didn’t need to do anything cause I already had appointments and everything written on there in advance. But I usually try to sit down on Sunday. I always go over my planner with my husband because he needs to know what’s going on, where I’m going to be and stuff like that. You know, it helps that we’re both on the same page. And then he is also currently making two of the meals per week right now while I’m working. And so he wants to know and have input in what he’s speaking to. So it’s good to go over the planner together. And sometimes he has appointments and things like that that I didn’t even know about.
So they need to go in the planner. So we both are on the same page the whole week, but so I sit down Sunday and I plan out my menu, start with supper, move to breakfast and lunch. Doesn’t take very long. Once I’ve got that menu planned out, I can make my grocery list based off of what I’m planning for the week a week. Once my grocery list is done and my menu is planned, I will go on the daily to do area and write down the little reminders for the meals that I need to make that week. Just like taking chicken out of the freezer. Then I go into my weekly to do list and I write down anything that just needs to get done that week. That doesn’t need to be day specific. Then I move on to the prayer list, sometimes pairs and I’m praying for get transferred from last week onto this week’s prayer list.
I usually have a lot more than I need to add from my inbox and just from other things that are going. So I fill that section out and then I go into the daily to do list and make sure that I’m adding in the appointments that we have when someone is working and when we’re doing special activities and things like that. And that is how I plan out my entire week. Total. It probably takes me about 15 minutes to plan out the whole week and that includes the menu and everything. So sometimes it takes longer if I’m planning menus out for the weeks later, but otherwise, yeah, it’s very simple and it takes such a short amount of time and it helps keep me on track for the whole week.
Like I said earlier, I keep my planner right on my kitchen counter during the day.
And it is open to the week so I can see the complete menu for the whole week. I can see all the time dues for the whole week. I can have that constant reminder of who I’m praying for and I can grab my grocery list on the day that I’m going to town. So having it accessible and easy to use has been a big plus. And it has helped keep my week organized and just reminder all the things that I need.
The one thing that I wanted to mention is I have seen a lot of planners that have a lot of details in them. You can plan out how many glasses of water you’re going to drink in a day, or how many times you exercise, or you can have a whole all checklist of all the daily chores and stuff like that. I have used those types of planners in the past and found honestly, they were just a waste of paper for me.
I know what daily chores need to get done. And I know that the chickens need to be fed every day and closed in at night. I know that I need to do the dishes after every meal. I know that I need to sweep the floor at the end of the day. Those are just things like that. If you need a reminder of those things, I kind of think it would be better to just write down like a list of here’s the chores that we have in a day. And that might be especially helpful if you have older kids that are helping with those chores, like here’s a reminder of all the chores that, you know, our family needs to get done in the day. And you could just have one paper that has all that on it that you do every day and maybe posted on the fridge or something.
But for me, I just remember those things. They’re just part of my routine and I don’t need to be reminded to exercise and busy chasing kids around. I don’t need reminders to drink water. I definitely know when I feel that hydrated. So I don’t keep track of those kinds of things. I like to just keep it simple and only write down the things that I know that I will probably forget or things that I need to plan in advance. I don’t want to waste paper. I don’t want to waste my brainpower, trying to think of all of these other things that I don’t really need to focus on during my day. So that’s why I stick with a simple planner. And I know that there’s a lot of other planners out there that are really good and they work really well up until this year, I use the happy planner and I used it with all of its accessories and I had extra bundles that I put in it and all kinds of things.
But I found that that honestly, it was just a waste of money for me. I was spending way too much on all of these extra things that I would write on once with good intentions and then never get to it. So that’s why I went with a much more simplified planner this year and it’s working out really well.
And I hope that this will kind of encourage you to simplify your week and simplify the way that you do planning and just know that you don’t need to spend a lot of time on it too, for it to be super effective and to get done what it needs to get done. And yeah, so that is how I plan out my week. And I hope that you enjoyed listening to this and that it was helpful to you or encouraging to you. I, I have been a planner for quite some time.
And so I’ve had a lot of experience in this area. And like I said, I have made a lot of mistakes and bought a lot of planners and a lot of planning, things that I never use, they just end up being a big waste of money and of stressful, especially when you think that you need to plan so much in your day, our day just doesn’t need that. It’s busy enough without having to add, I must do this and I must do this when it’s not actually really necessary. So hope you enjoyed this episode of the little house living show. I have some more episodes that I’m excited to record for you, but like I said, in the beginning, if you have any ideas of topics that you want me to cover during this podcast, just let me know. You can always email me at [email protected] Thanks so much for taking the time to listen to this.