Fun, Cheap or Free?

We've been talking lately as a household about the need to embrace and experience more fun, around the usual day to day work life and schooling life. It can be challenging and too easy as a household at times to get caught up in the mindset that to have fun, to really have an amazingly fun time and experience, you also need to have a lot of extra money coming in and onhand to achieve it.

Is it possible to have really great fun, to do significantly memorable fun things, without a lot of additional money being thrown into the mix?

Is it possible to experience fun and create significant memories that your kids will talk about many years from now, even though the budget is always limited, particularly if you are a single income household?

Is it truly possible to go out and have an awesomely cool and fun time, without breaking the piggy bank or constantly tripping up and down financially with the credit card in order to do so?

Over the next little while I think it would be a super interesting family challenge for us as a household to investigate just what options were out there. It is sure to be of some interest also to others in a similar budget and economic situation, to potentially follow along and see what options were found to exist.

It would be interesting for us as a household to investigate budget-friendly and frugal ways to experience more fun and memorable experiences, that weren't at all reliant on a whole lot of money being part or central to making it happen.

It would be particularly interesting to also see what could be out there that is significantly fun and enjoyable, yet cheap or free, within the footprint of our local community.

Fun. Is it really able to be enjoyed, carried out and had, without an open cheque book being required or the inevitable sliding up and down of finances on a credit card?

Perhaps another challenge project, (a bit like The $1,000 Project), needs to be proposed.............

Blogging, Vlogging & Homeschooling?

Blogging, vlogging and homeschooling, how do people manage it? Is it possible or even wise, to attempt to incorporate all three into your life?

How do those who blog, vlog and also homeschool their children manage to juggle a full-time job as a home educator, and also do what is essentially one or two consuming part-time jobs online at the very same time?

How do they have the time, the energy, the resources to produce content, to edit, to put something online that appeals to others?

Do you have to in fact be Superwoman to blog, vlog AND homeschool?!

As a fulltime home educator who has blogged since 2013, and who also now in 2019 has launched the accompanying Household Logistics Youtube Channel, I am able to perhaps share some words of wisdom and insight with others who are thinking of going down a similar track.

Yes, it is possible to do full-time homeschooling and also blog or vlog!

Yes, it is possible to spend a good proportion of your days guiding your children through their various schooling products, and also put together content for a Blog and/or Youtube Channel.

You do not have to be a superwoman to blog, vlog AND do homeschooling. However, you are wise to think through what will work for you, and therefore you will go into each online media endeavour you choose to pursue with your eyes wide open. You will have greater clarity to see what can and is often truly involved.

Having a successful, satisfying and even money-making Blog or Youtube Channel does not happen overnight (not usually for most of us anyway). It takes time, it takes thought and it takes a good dose of both commitment and perseverance also.

I have put together the following helpful tips which I hope will encourage, inspire and equip others. I sincerely hope these 10 helpful tips will be of help to those considering exploring setting up their own little corner in the greater blogging and vlogging world.

It is often good to hear from someone a little further down the track than ourselves, someone who has gained some hindsight, before launching into something new. We can often learn valuable truths from the experience of others. We can learn about the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and what is shared with us can prove to be most useful and informative, as we ourselves take a step in faith forward.

It is wonderful when we can gain from the experiences of others, and go on to make not only good decisions ourselves, but in fact great decisions. It is most beneficial when we can glean and learn from those who have gone down a pathway before us, and the best and most appropriate solution or choice becomes ours.

So here are what I hope will be some helpful tips to consider, before starting online as a Blogger or Youtuber........ Happy reading.

You are the expert on you and your viewpoint. You bring a unique viewpoint and take on whatever it is that you are passionate about and would like to share with others, via online media. Share your expertise. Share your enthusiasm and take on a specific hobby, subject or interest.

Whether you are a skilled homemaker & organizer, an artist, a passionate homeschooler who wants to inspire others in their day to day teaching & learning experience....... you have skills, talents, experience and expertise the world is sure to benefit from, by seeing and hearing your particular message.

Share what makes your heart sing. Share what you wish to make a difference with or for. Share & take others on an adventure, learning through you and hearing about your particular take on your subject of interest.

When I started the Household Logistics Blog I wanted to document my homemaking adventure. By blogging I was able to share the progress and the process involved in administrating and managing our home. It was something I was passionate about and by blogging about each new project I undertook, I had an extra incentive to do my very best effort. The hope was that the journey I shared could hopefully perhaps encourage other homemakers also. I started to share my expertise about my experience and my viewpoint of going about homemaking.

We are the experts of our own viewpoint. We each have things that others could well enjoy finding out about and seeing, from our particular unique angle. Rather than be too diverse, consider selecting one passion, one area of significant interest to you and share solely and wholely about that. You can choose to do a lifestyle focus, a special interest focus........ be selective and share your expertise, so others can gain from the interaction that occurs.

Your perspective and your viewpoint is what shapes your angle and your approach to blogging and vlogging. Yes, there are thousands if not millions of people also blogging and vlogging, however they will never do you. They are not the experts on your angle, your are!

The expertise you bring to your blogging and vlogging endeavours is just as valid as theirs. While thousands of people may blog about organizing, homeschooling, art and craft making, parenting, homesteading, fashion, etc you have your own unique brand and content also. Share your expertise.

It can be very helpful & wise to consider from the outset who your target audience may be. By determining your potential target audience, you will be able to refine what you share online. It can be very helpful to actually put pen to paper and come up with an imaginary profile of your ideal reader or viewer. By putting together a statement about who this individual is, you will fine tune what will be the margins within which you will operate and create great quality content.

Give your ideal reader or viewer perhaps an actual name, call them Gabby, Jen or Felicity..... it may make the concept of having actual readers and viewers just that bit more real for you! Write down what you imagine might be their socio-economic status, where they may live, what activities might typically structure their day or life.

By spending a bit of time determining and considering who may well one day discover your blog or channel, via a Search Engine search, you will start to recognize just who might be your target audience and therefore the niche market of people your content will be catering for. Such an exercise can be very helpful, when it comes to putting a bit of an overall plan together, for the direction you wish to take.

If you want to be in the business of creating an online presence & generating potential income via blogging or vlogging, you have to have an awareness of who your target audience may well be. You need to have an appreciation for the place your future consumer will have in making that income come to be.

Sure, you can simply blog or vlog and never actually publicly share your content, yet if part of the reason you are blogging and vlogging is to work towards generating future financial income, then you need to give your potential target audience some genuine consideration.

By considering who your target audience will be, from the outset, you will always be able to monitor the direction your blogging or vlogging is taking. If your target audience is people who have a passion for homeschooling, then you have immediately not only determined your niche market, but you will increasingly tune in to what will potentially be the most successful means and formula to engage that particular community or niche group of people. Perhaps you wish to target those seeking to homeschool that wish to explore unschooling, this again will help determine the overall content you will offer.

Will you share your own daily experience of unschooling? Will you share your own daily experience of using Living Books? Will you do monthly reviews of products and resources? Will you offer tutorials? Will you highlight great community resources? Will you showcase how you do your daily, weekly, semester or annual planning? Will you do a tour or two of your resource collection or actual homeschooling space? Will you profile monthly favourites and fails? Will you share how you go about step by step doing a particular learning activity? When you determine who your target audience will be, the actual content of what you intend to share online will become clearer in your mind.

Determining your target audience is a great way to set in place the purpose and reasoning behind your particular online content. It is a means to help you stand out and reach specific people, amongst the masses surfing online. People do use social & online media to seek information, to connect with experts and people they can relate to. So by determining your target audience you will be more likely to create the very pathways needed that help people easily find your specific Blog or Youtube Channel content.

If one of your major goals is to grow a following that enables you to eventually gain financially from your online efforts, thinking through & determining your target audience is a constructive step. It will help you figure out that which will help build subscriber and follower numbers. It will help the connection be made, with those that will be faithful and committed to following your content in the long run.

Take time to research what others are already doing online in your particular area of expertise and how they are going about reaching your target audience. When we research and look at how others are approaching blogging and vlogging, it can help to give us ideas about how we ourselves may approach it. It can help point out a unique direction to take, as well as the pitfalls to avoid.

This does not mean that you have to be directly influenced by what others are doing, but rather it enables you to have some awareness of what are current trends & approaches, etc. You may find someone who has a particular style of presenting written or visual materal that could work well for you.

For instance, even though you may be planning to share "7 Helpful Tips for Encouraging a Reluctant Reader" and they are sharing "7 Helpful Tips for Reorganizing a Bathroom", how they actually go about step by step presenting the overall content of what they are sharing may be what would also work well for you. When it comes to the world of Youtube particularly, being aware of how others have approached filming & editing can be very helpful.

If your interest is in cooking or perhaps art, craft or scrapbooking and offering online tutorial videos is something you wish to explore, watch several others online and see how they go about filming and editing their tutorial presentations. Do they film each step using an overhead camera position solely or do they alternate viewpoint? Do they begin the video sharing all the tools & materials required? Do they also offer extra information on an accompanying blogpost and if so, how do they translate what they are sharing in a video format into both text and photographs instead?

You can easily also discover what titles, headings and style of thumbnail prove to work well as well. Branding & creating your posts, each page, each video in a way that people start to recognise as being a particular style and approach that is your signature brand, helps to market your specific online efforts also.

Make sure you really do know what you are talking about. Make sure you have done the research and preparation in order to have a good foundation of knowledge behind you. Planning is so valuable and will make a significant difference when it comes to how confident you are, and how confident the reader or viewer will be able to be, about what you are sharing. What you are writing, saying and doing needs to be etched with a confidence and calmness that appeals to your audience.  Your reader or viewer needs to be able to trust you in order to be loyal to you.

Being well informed, about each and every aspect of what you are presenting, ensures that what you are sharing will be of upmost value to your reader or viewer. To gain loyalty you need to be seen to be trustworthy, reliable and of course be producing great content.

You have to market yourself well with each and every post. Quality, giving your best effort, helps keep people engaged and builds a willingness to follow you. Research helps ensure the necessary care and effort is being made and is able to be sensed. Quality just is that: quality. Great, consistent content will be quickly discerned by a discerning follower. Do both yourself and your future subscribers the best possible favour: do research.

Getting started is often the biggest hurdle. Yet, getting started is often just what we each need to do. As you build and put together your blog or channel you do have the option of keeping it private and unpublished. This can be helpful if you want to have a bit of time to fine tune everything, before you go live and public with your content.

Getting started is important. It takes a step of faith and it takes a positive mindset. Be brave. Take courage. With planning and preparation you can get started and make your new online adventure begin.

Everyone has to start somewhere and everyone has to start with what they currently have available to them. You do not have to have flash cameras or editing equipment. There are online programmes such as Picmonkey that are available to use to help with photo editing. There are tutorials online about how to do thumbnails, headers and all sorts of other visuals, for both blogging and vlogging.

You can get started anytime you want, the choice to start is always in your court. Have a positive mindset. Choose to focus on the value your content does have, and how someone out there in cyberspace will eventually discover you and your corner of the wider Internet, and they will value what you offer.

Just get started.

Planning in my opinion is everything. When you are endeavouring to juggle doing fulltime homeschooling and also look at starting an online presence via a Blog or Youtube Channel, you need to embrace planning to make it work well for you and your household.

As a fulltime home educator who both blogs and creates Youtube content, I know firsthand that time management is key to making everything tick over steadily and healthily. You need to plan your content. You need to plan your days and weeks ahead, so you can actually find the time to do all that you wish to accomplish. No one else can achieve your goals for you, only you can make it all work well. Planning is key to success.

Those friends I know who have made a great success of blogging and vlogging have worked extremely hard on both their content and achieving regular uploading of content. There are also those however that have endeavoured to blog and/or vlog daily and they have simply burnt out under the pressure of trying to do so. Be realistic.

It may mean that your channel takes longer to gain momentum and your list of subscribers takes long to grow, however you have not burnt out or ended up completely throwing in the towel. Be realistic and seriously consider what time, energy and resources you do currently have available to you. It is far better to set a reasonable goal than an unreasonable one.

You can produce shorter, concise content that appeals and still is manageable in relation to your daily commitments. You can timetable in 10 - 15 minutes per day, or you can dedicate an afternoon or several evenings a week. Some people choose to make the most of getting up that bit earlier than the rest of their household, in order to work for a time on preparing their online work. Do what works best for you.

Perseverance is key to success. I have been blogging since 2013 and I know firsthand that it takes time to build up a following online. There are times when life takes over and blogging is just not able to be included in amongst the busyness of my day or week. Yet, overall I have this underlying commitment to persevering and to making the vision I have come true.

There will be times when it seems like it is simply not worth your time, energy and resources to produce online content, and those are indeed challenging times to journey through. Yet like Rome, we too can not build an online presence through our blogs or vlogs without persevering. It is important to accept the inevitable need to keep persisting faithfully, when not much yet indicates that the fruit of our labours are on the way.

If you wish to financially benefit from blogging and vlogging you simply will have to persevere to build your readership and subscription numbers and this will more often than not take time. Those that have succeeded online have often put in some significant hours to produce 2 - 3 videos per week on their channels. To grow a blog following also requires considerable commitment. Perseverance and great content always walk hand in hand, when it comes to launching your new online project.

There are ways to get around the waves of life and still produce content and get it shared online. You can plan ahead and produce material that you then schedule. Scheduling prepared content enables you to make the most of what time you do have to work on content, and it also enables you to still be uploading during those other busy periods of time.

Why not create a short series of videos that are helpful tips and schedule one to be posted each day for a week or every other day? A day of filming could well produce a week or two of posts. Likewise, an afternoon or evening of preparing a series of blogposts could see you through several days or weeks also.

There are numerous ways to engage your audience. Great content is the major draw card for those seeking to read and view online material. How you present your material also determines just how appealing it is overall.  There are also other things that help engage a reader or viewer and here are just some of them:

You can choose to do a series of blogposts or vlogs. This can help build momentum about a particular subject. You can specialize for a series of posts for a week or even a month. Knowing your audience will help you gauge just how long a series should be and what would be most appropriate and fitting.

You can run a campaign to create and build excitement & interest about a particular upcoming blogpost or vlog. One resulting benefit may well be that for a time this campaign also helps generate greater subscription numbers. Great content with great market can do wonders for increasing readership & viewership, both in the short term and the long term.

You can engage your audience by also exploring several other online platforms. If you are using a blogging platform you can also set up an Instagram account that also contains regularly postings. By advertising upcoming blogposts and videos via your Instagram account you may well gain a further audience for your online material. The Household Logistics Instagram Account has been another way I have been able to share upcoming blogposts and videos, as well as material that is not necessarily being aired on those other platforms...... yet it all helps create traffic to both the Household Logistics Blog and the Household Logistics Youtube Channel.

You can also engage your audience by responding to comments from your readers and viewers. People very much appreciate having their comments and engagement acknowledged. By engaging via the comment sections in a constructive, positive and engaging manner you help build connection. People value being able to interact with the person behind the content. You can moderate and monitor the commentary also, so at all times you can guard the integrity of your created site.

A giveaway or online offer can also help engage your audience. You can promote an upcoming Question & Answer video sesson. You can live stream. You can celebrate particular milestones, such as being online for a year, by offering subscribers or commentators the opportunity to enter a draw. You can create templates, design products that are able to be downloaded. You can share links to your Etsy store and your other online enterprises.... There are multiple ways in which you engage further with your online audience, and the key is to ascertain what would work best for you and your audience.

Once you have determined your area of interest, your area of passion, you will be able to find your blogging and vlogging niche. When you find where your expertise lies, what material best fits with what you wish to share online, it will feel comfortable and right. When you determine your focus and your particular area of interest, when you know what group of people will be looking for what you do and offer, you will have found your niche.

Offer what you are most knowledgeable about. Offer what you are most skilled and talented at. Offer what you yourself are most interested in and passionate about. This will help determine your niche in the wider online blogging and vlogging market. When you target and focus on a particular niche you will attract those for whom this particular niche has great appeal, and they will become loyal in their interest.

Distinguish what you do and how you present from others. You can make yourself stand out by offering something unique and something that meets a particular niche yet to be filled by others. Finding your niche will be significant key on the path to online success. Specialising, offering something unique and specific, can help build your brand and make what you offer stand out amongst thousands of other online offerings. Aim to find & determine your niche.

Time management is paramount when it come to juggling just the usual activities of life. When it comes to adding blogging and/or vlogging into the mix, your ability to time manage will certainly be something you quickly recognise needs to be faced head on.

If one of your major goals is to grow a following that enables you to eventually gain financially from your online efforts, you will have to manage your time. Like all business endeavours, you will have to commit time to starting out and following through with what you put your hand to.

You will need to be realistic about just how much time you currently have and where you may be able to put aside some time to work on your new vision for a Blog or Youtube Channel. You can choose to work for 15 - 30 minutes in the early hours of the morning while the rest of the household sleeps, or perhaps you will put aside some time each evening. You may choose to dedicate a particular afternooon, perhaps one day a week..... what you choose to do time and commitment wise will help determine the path and the overall success of your online endeavours.

Managing your time is something that only you can take responsibility for and it will be something worth serious consideration. Your level of commitment, how you manage your time, energy and your resources will help to influence both the direction and the short & long term success that may come your way.

How you go about managing your time has significant benefits and significant consequences. There is always that risk that what we do may not have the results we first hoped for, and that is always something we need to be real about. Most new ventures and new endeavours are taken onboard and launched into with a good amount of faith and hope thrown into the mix and the same needs to be understood when it comes to online ventures also. Manage your time so that there is balance and wisdom operating in the mix.

The final helpful tip I would like to share is keep learning. Keep learning and taking onboard that which will add positively and constructively to what you are working towards creating. Be mindful of ways that you can enhance what it is that you wish to offer. Keep learning.

Choose to engage with others online as it is appropriate. Look for new ways to improve what you are presenting. Keep learning how to make the most of your time, your energy and your resources. Seek mentors and those who may offer wise feedback and guidance, and be willing to learn from them. Be willing to put the time in to perfecting what you do, so it will be better for both you and your audience in the long run.

Make the most of your library. Make the most of your community, both literally down the street and also here online. Make the most of free online tutorials, so that you can upskill and improve your method and style of presentation. Keep learning how to refine and improve your editing skills. Keep learning.

It is my hope that these 10 helpful tips will indeed be helpful and encouraging. Blogging, vlogging and homeschooling, can people manage it? Yes they can.

Pantry Organization

My latest home organization project is finally completed and I am thrilled with the results. Not only does the pantry look so much better overall, it is functioning so much better on the organization front.

I have posted a video over at the Household Logistics Youtube Channel about this latest organization project, and here is the link for those that are interested in seeing it: Food Pantry Organization.

If you like the video, please give it a thumbs up. I am hoping to do more organization videos soon, sharing the other areas of the kitchen I will be going on to reorganizing, so do think about subscribing if you want to see those videos also.

Magazine holders have proven to be my go-to-item for corralling a range of items like recipe books, the kit for cheesemaking, etc on the top shelf of the reorganized pantry. I purchased these particular holders from KMart and I really love the way they have worked out for doing this particular component of the reorganization.

Here is a link to the actual products used, for those that are interested: KMart White Magazine Holder and KMart Grey Magazine Holder.

I then used my label maker to do the various labels on each magazine holder. I really love how it now looks visually uniform, and as I need to get down any particular item the whole magazine holder container is very easily removed to enable me to access the collection of contents now contained within it.

An expandable shelving system has helped no end to tidy up how we store canned items in the pantry. It has made everything so much easier to see and each items is that bit more accessible now also. It is so much easier to see what we have at any given time. This tiered shelving system was one I got from Storage Box. Here is the link to the product that was used: Madesmart Expandable 3 Tier Shelf.

A Lazy Susan Turntable has helped corral the various cooking oils and vinegars in the pantry, and I am delighted with how well it is working out having this now set up and in place. 

This particular unit was a two storeyed one, but I decided to dismantle it for now and just use the lower storey. Here is the link to this particular product: Madesmart 2 Tier Turntable. Here is the link to a one tier turntable also: Madesmart 1 Tier Turntable, which is just slightly smaller in diameter.

I made the decision to move from using plastic storage containers for dry good storage some time ago. Step by step, I have gradually replaced what I had, and I am really pleased with the result now achieved. 

As a single income family, it takes that bit longer to be able to purchase things like these containers, because I can only just get one or two containers each payday as money allows. Still, with the goal in place, and with a little patience and perseverance, it worked out that I could still achieve my goal of the pantry makeover over time. These particular glass containers (those shown in the above photograph) were purchased from The Warehouse. 

I really like the fact with glass products I can see quickly at a glance just how much of any particular dry good is onhand. It is visually appealing also to see all the various colours and shapes of the rice and pasta, etc, so overall this means of storing dry goods is proving to be one that I am pleased to have set now in place.

Here is a link to a similar product that is still currently available at The Warehouse: Glass Storage Jar. Please note that the link is to a jar that is slightly smaller than those used in my own pantry makeover.

In the above photograph you can see I have used a slightly different and larger glass jar to house larger quantities of such dry goods as flour, pasta, rolled oats, etc. Here is a link to a jar that is similiar to that I used to store these. These storage jars are still currently available from Briscoes. Here is the link: Fido Glass Storage Jars.

If you want to check out more about this makeover project, do click on the link provided above and go on over to see the video detailing what was done. We are all pleased with how the project has turned out, and it was well worthworth putting the time and effort required into achieving it this past year.

Until next time, Happy Home-making Everyone!

The $1,000 Plan: Day Forty

It is Day Forty of The $1,000 Plan and the financial goal of saving $1,000 that I set all those many, many weeks ago is, I am thrilled to say, now achieved.

This goal set so many weeks ago, managed to come to fruition within the set timeframe of 4 - 6 weeks and I am delighted, and also somewhat weary, all at the same time.

What a journey it has been!

Over the last 40 days it has been a time that has had its highs and also its lows. There have been times where it has taken some determined willpower to persevere and push on through, because discouragement had tried so awfully hard to step in occasionally and take hold of the steering wheel I was endeavouring to hold on to a set and specific course.

I have baked up a storm. I have cooked, compiled and frozen meals literally for hours around other commitments. I am sure I have frozen more muffins and meals than has ever been placed, in such a short space of time, in our freezer.

It has been a time of doing more selective shopping and purchasing. It has been a time of weighing up and reevaluating what was really needed, against what was perhaps just wanted.

It has been a time of deliberately using less overhead lighting and being more conscious of how we are using various household utilities.

There have been those family members who have probably gleefully thought how sweet it was they got some chores taken off them. There have been those on the other hand whose workload on the chore front has increased.

It has been a block of time, 40 days, which contained a great deal of active change and also reflection. It has perhaps been somewhat of an eye opening for those in my household that habitually wanted to do things only one way, to see that things CAN be done differently, and doing things differently CAN be wise and fruitful.

The $1,000 Plan has come to fruition, and the $1,000 savings now tucked away are a source of satisfaction, as they are no longer just funds that was once only a dreamy, wishful hope.

"There are secret miracles hidden in the midst of every challenge," is a quote I recently read online by author, Alexandra Franzen, and it is indeed very true.

There have been a number of positive, constructive results alongside the overall hoped for result of now having $1,000 in savings tucked away.

When you learn (and so much better master) that it doesn't matter what anyone else says; when you learn that no one else's opinion need be more important than your own; then and only then, you are just that much closer to actually obtaining what your mind is set on.

When you finally learn that keeping on with keeping on IS the way forward. When you finally learn that regardless of the voices or circumstances around you, regardless of how many knocks repeatedly turn up and come along the way, that you just must persist and keep going...................then, and only then, are you truly literally going to see your goal become an actuality.

When you get up and keep going step by step, no matter what comes against you, it is highly likely you WILL end up making the most of everything that is at your disposal, and you will be so much closer today to your goal than you were the day before.

It is those who get up and persist that realise that determination and perseverance can both be such incredible breakthrough tools. Every knock, every failure....... sheer determination and perseverance can cast aside and ride them over, again and again and again, and the goal WILL be achieved.

Challenges can be opportunities for failure and throwing in the towel, or they can be amazing, outstanding opportunities to hold faster, and never let go regardless, until the desired success is obtained.

We often need time to figure out what best to set in place. We need to figure out that, whatever it takes, we will persist no matter what.

We often need to figure out that one of the most essential breakthrough keys at our disposal is to be extra doggedly determined to see our goal come to be.

We need to figure out that by going the distance committedly, no matter what obstacles ever raise their ugly heads, that we will without a doubt eventually in time have our goal come to be.

The $1,000 Plan is no longer just a plan. It is no longer a journey being taken by my own household. It is no longer just an attempt to reach a goal, ride out and over some obstacles, and obtain a constructive, positive financial breakthough.... The $1,000 Plan has worked out, and its outcome has become an actuality; and it is truly wonderful to finally have that very amount of money now saved in the actual bank.

The $1,000 Plan: Day Thirty-Nine

It is Day Thirty-Nine of The $1,000 Plan and today was another day of working on menu preparations around our usual day to day routines and homeschooling. We were able to bake a bulk batch of cheese scones, plus a big pot of pasta during the day, and by late evening it was all put away in the chest freezer ready to use whenever required.

My young son was keen to have a go at helping make the cheese scones, so it was a good life skill learning experience for him. It was lovely to see him quickly grasp the various aspects of prepping the scones and he soon took over putting each tray in the oven and following through the process to see the finally products laid out on cooling racks, ready to be later bagged for the freezer.

I appreciated the time we worked on this together, and it was also wonderful to walk away later knowing that on a number of levels today's baking session had been a really great success. Not only was there more food preparation achieved, there had been some good and valuable life skills imparted to a keen young baker also.

We also spent some time in the afternoon visiting friends. I enjoyed catching up with my friend while our children all played together, and it was interesting being able to reflect a little with her about how things have gone while working towards The $1,000 Plan.

Mindset really is crucial when it comes to working towards any and all goals. We view and experience life and the world, from the point of view that the most prevalent mindset we hold determines.

It is sometimes a lot of sheer hard work, and very determined will power, that propels us to keep going when others around us may be projecting a lot of negativity. Mindset really is everything, and it determines an awful lot, both day to day, as well as long term. May the breakthroughs needed and desired indeed be achieved.

The $1,000 Plan: Day Thirty-Eight

It's Day Thirty-Eight of The $1,000 Plan and I spent time cooking up several items to go into the freezer. I am pleased with the resulting outcome and it will certainly be nice to have things ready onhand in the freezer, that can simply be defrosted and then put straight into the oven (minus the plastic lid).

I plan to do further bulk cooking tomorrow, if time allows and hopefully then we will have a good stock of items onhand for the weeks ahead. It is so much nicer to be able to take a prepared meal out from the freezer the night before, and not have to do all the preparations from scratch each and every time.

There are some days when it is just so busy, and when the day proves to be also tiring, having a prepared freezer meal helps to lessen the load. I have also grocery shopped this evening, so I am hoping that alongside the soups and fruit crumbles I prepared today, I will also be able to put together several bulk pasta and rice dishes. These will all be good to have sorted out and ready onhand as well, and it will add a bit more of a selection into the mix also.

Our grocery bills have lessened over the past month, and I am a lot more conscious of where the grocery budget has been going. Menu planning really is advantageous on so many levels I am finding. I am planning to fine tune it even a little more over the coming weeks, and then I am aiming to recruit another household member (one at a time) to come onboard and learn how to do a bulk menu plan for a month also.

Until then however, I am personally being kept quite busy. Some days, (like yesterday and today, when there is a bit of a 'soup-fest' occurring at the stovetop alongside homeschooling the children), are proving to feel quite like longer and more tiring days at present. Yet, they are also days where there is an extra sense of accomplishment occurring because they are so productive on the food planning and budgeting front.

Rome was most certainly not built in a day, and each step IS proving to be very conducive to positive change. Step by step, day by day, the good habits needed to achieve The $1,000 Plan's hoped for outcome are all gradually being literally worked out. Yay! Yippee! Yay!

The $1,000 Plan: Day Thirty-Seven

It is Day Thirty-Seven of The $1,000 Plan and today was a day of making bulk lots of soup and pasta sauce. Having cleared the chest freezer, it was apparent that we could make a lot of delicious and heart-warming soup and sauces for the coming weeks, with what we had tucked away and onhand.

While the children were horse-riding I went into town to do errands, and I also looked at what options I could potentially explore for setting up a better storage system within the chest freezer also. The Warehouse had quite a good range of freezer-to-oven options of glass storageware.

Having received some birthday money, I thought it might be a worthwhile investment to purchase and try some of them out, over the next little while, and see if we find it works well to have a dual purpose type of food container for bulk cooked ready-to-cook meals. I personally like the idea of having less containers to wash up and clear, if a container can be used both in the freezer and in the oven. We shall therefore see how it goes.

In the meantime, around our usual day to day activities this week, there is most certainly a huge cook up happening, and I am sincerely hoping this will lighten the load for a while when it comes to thinking through what to cook each day for our main meal.

I found a lot of fruit in amongst the freezer contents also, so I am thinking such things as fruit crumble, perhaps some fruit pies, might be on the cooking agenda this week also. We shall see how time and energy allows for this to happen.

In the meantime, what soup was had today by everyone was enjoyed, and the country vegetable soup that was busy still cooking, yet sampled by a few keen taste-testers, was deemed most yummy also. The freezer makeover is most definitely already making a difference for the $1,000 Plan.

The $1,000 Plan: Day Thirty-Six

It's Day Thirty-Six of The $1,000 Plan and today I took up starting the challenge I set myself of sorting out the chest freezer. Alongside our usual homeschool and home life routine for a Monday, I removed everything from the freezer and went about defrosting the freezer to give it a bit of a clean-out.

There was a lot of ice build up within the freezer, so the children offered to help me and they seemed quite delighted to muck in, declaring it rather like shuffling around shovelling a bit of icy snow! Between us, we managed to eventually get it completely cleared and ready for items to be placed back in it. Going forward, I am sure the freezer will work so much more efficiently now it is cleared of it's extra icy parcels, found previously here and there.

I was amazed at just how much we had been storing away in the freezer. As I worked my way through looking through everything, sadly there was quite a bit that had to simply go out to the compost.

We had little meat left in the chest freezer after the past month of 'shopping' it first & foremost for meals, so what was now left and found was mainly garden produce that had been blanched and frozen previously. Still, there was quite a bit that could be saved and I am looking to see how best to make the most of what was located during this big sort and clearout.

I need to still determine a good system of overall organization for this particular freezer. It would be wise to keep a more thorough record of the actual 'best before' dates of every item, and to somehow have a large onhand chartable system that we can refer to, in order to keep a much better system of rotation in place. This will be something I will most definitely need to put greater thought into in the next few days.

There is quite a bit of a revamp and makeover needed to get the freezer in much better shape going forward, however I really think it will be time well worth investing. Slowly, but surely I am sure each of these changes we are implementing will have substantial financial benefits. The $1,000 Plan is being worked out, step by step, in some very productive and practical ways.