Organizing Occasions

Special Projects include making memories, vacations, holidays, moving, redecorating and other big projects.

Family meetings are very helpful for long range planning. Each member can tell you what will be most important thing for them. Some traditions or ideas of your "perfect" occassion may not really be important any family member. Then you can concentrate on the most important details. Don't try to make things perfect or you are in for a whole lot of stress.

These projects are usually big so break them down into steps. Then make a schedule going from the date backwards.

Back from Vacation Checklist
We recently came home from vacation. I followed my packing list, vacation budget and how to plan a vacation lists. But, then I came home and we just plopped everything down onto our living room floor. I had no idea what to do first. I recalled that this overwhelmed feeling happened everytime I came home from a trip. Time to make a new checklist. I wrote down what I needed to do, then fiddled around with a good order and calmly brought things back to normal. I try to plan a day or two at home after vacation, before going back to work.

1. Pet the cat or give lots of love to any animals left behind.

2. Check the messages on the machine, taking notes. Any emergency calls, call back right away. The rest are in my visor to call when I am setttled in.

3. Put a load of laundry in the washer.

4. Balance checkbook, clean out purse and write down any receipts, find out how much you spent total on vacation for future vacation planning.

5. Clean out the fridge of anything you may have forgotten before vacation.

6. Get milk for breakfast and any other groceries you might need right away.

7. Put clothes in dryer and another load in washer.

8. Check on garden and plants. Water if necessary.

9. Put toiletries away so you know where all your important things are.

10. Put another load of laundry in.

11. Unpack suitcase and have rest of family unpack their suitcase and toiletries.

12. Rest and read a magazine article or two.

13. Unpack with your family the rest of the bags.

14. Another load of laundry.

15. Clear off the kitchen or dining room table of everything you threw there coming in the door.

16. Gather all the pictures and journals of the trip. If you have time, start on a scrapbook. If not, enter it into your planner for a later date.

17. Decide what to do with all your souvenirs.

18. Go through your mail and pay any bills due.

19. Check your e-mail, answer mail or phone calls.

20. Now plan your week to get a fresh start and tie up loose ends. Remember your wonderful trip and be grateful for what you have at home.

Back To School Planning
If you need to get the kids and yourself ready for school, here is the schedule I am using, you can use it to create your own schedule. Many of these ideas I got from the SHE Discussion Board.

Aug 16- start going to bed early
17 Make hair, doctor, immunization, appointments
18 Go through kid's closets and get rid of clothes that are too small, take them directly to goodwill
19 Make a list of supplies and clothes that we will need this year
20 Shopping day with the kids
21 Shopping day without the kids
22 Goal Planning Day for self and kids, ask kids questions about their goals for the school year and write them down, plan your own 3 month goals
23 Plan your morning routine and practice it
24 Plan your evening routine and practice it
25 List different lunch ideas and tape into a cabinet (I have some lunch ideas at Meal Planning
26-Make and post a daily schedule for the kids to follow and make your own daily schedule
27- Decide on a paperwork system and schedule daily and weekly times to go through paperwork
28- Figure out where your launch pad will be for the backpacks, boots etc will be
29- Rest, catch up
30-Send the kids off to school with a special breakfast
1-Get your extracurricular activity bag ready
2-See how your routines are doing and redo if necessary
3-List kid's strengths and your own
4-Do a fun activity as a family
5-Start a 21 day self-improvement challenge

Last month, I had my tonsils taken out and was pretty much out of it for a few weeks. Luckily I prepared ahead for my surgery. Here are some steps I took:
I made arrangements for my mother and my mother-in-law each to help out for a few days. You are going to need some assistance, even if your spouse has to take off work. Please don't try to manage on your own, especially if you have kids.

For one week I wrote down things that occured to me about the kids's schedule, like the directions to soccer practice and how much tv time. Then I typed out a daily schedule for each day I had help. It was very specific including bedtimes, homework times, setting out clothes for picture day. That way I didn't have to talk to answer a bunch of questions and everyone knew pretty much what to do. My mother and mother-in-law both said what a help it was.

Before surgery I put magazines, glasses for water, my medication, pad of paper and pencil, a crossward puzzle book, deck of cards, books I wanted to read all near my bed so I wouldn't have to have anybody fetch it.

I cleaned up the house as much as possible and wrote chore lists for the kids so they could help keep up with the house. It was still pretty messy by the time I was able to do dishes, but at least it wasn't totally falling apart.

I told the teacher I couldn't volunteer for three Wednesdays, and told everyone that I had responsiblities to that I wouldn't be available at this time.

Now I had outpatient surgery, so they kicked me out about as soon as I woke up. If you have a hospital stay you will need to pack your bag (don't forget nice slippers and modest pj's) and make sure you have childcare.

Most importantly, rest, rest, rest. I made the mistake of starting a cleaning kick after a little over a week, and was in bed worse off the next day. Everything will be there when you get better, don't try to jump into things too soon, or you will probably end up sicker. Enjoy this time to think (it's amazing what ideas you come up with under the influence of Codeine) without the guilt.

I have a Moving checklist and a Vacation Packing List. Everything you need for a picnic is in Special Occassions.

Entertaining is easier if you have a party journal or folder. That way you can write down what worked, what you had last time so you don't repeat, who is allergic to what. It is also good for planning this party. You can write out the budget, the menu, the decorations, the invitations and list, any theme you may have. Then make your schedule. Do as much as you can before the day.

Scrapbooking is a fun way to keep your memories. Here is a list of Scrapbooking Links.

I have two file folders in my drawer. One for Places to Go like brochures for places and special events in the area. The other is for Things to Do- pages ripped out of magazines for crafts and science experiments, etc. This is an easy way to plan for a fun weekend with the family.

The special projects are what the kids will remember. Try to make your memories fun and exciting, not something everyone dreads. Organizing these special events will help to create happy memories.

Next month we will talk about Family and Friends Management.

Since the weather is warmer more people will be moving to their new homes. Here is my moving checklist for you.

I love going on picnics, especially this time of year. This week I am going to sew some fabric into an old basket I got at a garage sale last year. If I can figure out how. Inside I'll keep some picnic supplies so we can go picnicking whenever the urge hits us. I will stick in plates, silverware, paper cups, napkins, paper towels, tablecloth and clips, army type can opener, trash bags and moist towelettes. I have a blanket we use specifically for picninc in the front hall closet. (The kids and I have lots of backyard picnics.)We also have a box of outdoor toys like balls, frisbees and water guns. We have the ice paks stored in the freezer so we are ready to go in no time flat.

Family vacations are beginning. If I didn't have a list I always forget something. I even have to consult my list for little weekend trips to relatives. I thought I would share my packing list with you.

Check out the holiday countdown on my Christmas Page

It's also almost time to start the Holiday Grand Plan. The plan starts the last week in August to help prepare for the fall and winter holidays.