Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Seasonal Chores

In her recent post on the second section of her Cycles of Grace Notebooks, Mary provided various detailed and incredibly helpful housekeeping lists.  I am working on my own set of these notebooks.  I began this year after a fairly organized Nativity Fast, in which I was able to do most of the preparations for Christmas that I had set out to do using FlyLady's Holiday Control Journal.  I had the idea that I would add to the binder by continuing to print out portions of that planner to be used with other holidays during the year that require preparation.  Early into this process, I discovered Mary's Cycles of Grace Notebook system (including her set weekly menus), and I was hooked!

One question I wanted to answer for myself regarding the section she calls "Beauty in the Home" (the housecleaning and routines section, similar to FlyLady's original Control Journal) was why would I want to include this section in a set of seasonal notebooks as opposed to having one notebook for this section alone that does not change?  My daily routines remain pretty much the same, don't they?  The lists Mary provided for Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Routines looked like they would also remain the same.  So why print out 5 copies for 5 different notebooks?

Suddenly, inspiration struck.  I had just been getting through a bunch of tasks that I would probably need to do at the same time next year (ie., switching out the kids' clothes, boxing up mittens and winter coats, etc.).  It turns out that I do have certain chores that should be done during certain seasons--so why not create a set of To Do lists individual to each Cycles of Grace Notebook so I don't have to reinvent the lists next year?  Isn't that the whole beauty of the other sections of these notebooks?

I have begun a list of these chores that will take the place of the Quarterly and Annual Routine lists.  I think I will keep the Monthly list, determine how many months that Notebook will cover, and add an appropriate number of little boxes to check off next to the items on this list.  (Incidentally, I've noticed that my Daily Schedule and Routines will also change slightly in the next season as we shift into a lighter homeschooling schedule and more time outdoors.)

Here are my lists for Notebook 4: The Pascha Season.  The first contains chores that need to be done in my home.

The second contains tasks that are more planning in nature.

I have also created a Projects page that is filed in my housekeeping section, a tab behind my Monthly and Seasonal Chores.  (My housekeeping tabs are Homemaking Journal; Daily Schedule & Routines, Weekly Routine; Monthly and Seasonal Chores; Projects; Household Inventory List.)  It's basically an ongoing To Do list sheet.

These are works in progress, but I am very excited about the prospect of using this next year.  I am starting to think more about Notebook 5 now, and hopefully, I will be posting some more of my creations for that notebook soon.  I am also eagerly awaiting Mary's post on her third section "The Year of Grace."  I have my own ideas for this section that aren't strictly church-year-related.  I'd like to include tabs for various secular holidays that we celebrate in some fashion, possibly a tab for birthdays or other gift-giving occasions, and of course I do have church year information filed there too.  I'm sure Mary (and others) will have ideas I haven't thought of and ways of organizing them into lists that will help me to organize my own notebooks.  Looking forward to the discussion!


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share how you made both Mary and Fly Lady's journals work for you. I have tried both and am also working on making it work for our house. I really liked the future planning aspect that you included. An Idea I am sure to steal:)
    We will include your family in our prayers as you prepare for the birth of you newest blessing.

    Alicia in New Zealand

  2. You're welcome! I have been following FlyLady's advice off and on for about seven years now. It's made a big difference in a lot of areas of my life, but there were always aspects that I haven't been able to make work for us. I'm so grateful to Mary for showing me another way of keeping house. I'm glad you find my lists helpful! Please steal to your heart's content! :)

    And thank you for the prayers!

  3. I love what you've done with this. It is so much fun to see someone else take these ideas and make them truly their own.

    I've done a lot of tweaking to the homemaking routine section of my notebook and trying to break down those monthly, quarterly, and annual chores and apply them to more easily usable lists. In the end, I hope that each "Beauty in the Home" section will be unique to the season. I think it may take a year or two of using the notebooks to get it there though. Honestly, I think the process is fun. :)

    Thanks for sharing. Your pages look great. I'm going to take a closer look and see if they trigger my memory to add to my own.

    Hope you're feeling well.

  4. Thanks, Mary! I, too, am enjoying this process. Since beginning these notebooks, my husband has even called homemaking my "hobby" and I think he's right. I really enjoy tweaking these notebooks and knowing that next year I'll be able to make even better use of them. (As a side note, he is a fairly organized person himself and just LOVES that I am "getting organized" and getting excited about this project.)

    Yes, I'm still feeling fairly well, aside from swollen ankles.

  5. Wonderful, Patty!! You and Mary should get together and publish those to-do lists and control journals for us organizationally challenged Orthodox mamas! : ) You both are so inspiring!

  6. Thanks, Molly! I'm simply trying to make use of Mary's generous efforts. I really have very little idea of what I'm doing! And just because I posted a pretty page doesn't mean I'm actually going to be able to put it into practice or "be organized"! While I do have high hopes for this system and these resources, I still have to physically get up and clean the oven or make the dinner. Sigh. :)

    Oh, and you're welcome to use any of the pages I post. I can't figure out how (or if Blogger even makes it possible) to upload a PDF here, but if you save the JPG file and insert it into a Word document, you'll have something you can print out if you want to. Mary has generously shared tons of To Do lists, recipes, and menus on her site for anyone to use too.

  7. I love these lists! They will be very helpful when I get a little further with the notebooks. I have some ideas but haven't had much time to get them written down. I don't know if it will be helpful to to you, but I plan to have a section for seasonal crafts that I will be doing with our children, not necessarily for feasts, but fun crafts to give as gifts, along with favorite knitting patterns for baby blankets and such. For the gardening notebook, I plan to have a list of books relating to gardening to read with the children annually outdoors. Just a few ideas, but I guess I should start with sweeping the floor now. Thank you so much for sharing all your work. It is very inspiring. I hope you are feeling better and the swelling is going down.

  8. Leah, I started with Mary's lists and when I had some time, I personalized them a little.

    I like your idea for a seasonal craft section. I have something similar in our Pascha Notebook. I think the only entry I have so far is "Dandelions." I want to remember next year how much fun the kids had with them and see what we can do to either make something edible with them or do some kind of art project.

    It's nice knowing that I don't have to do everything this year and that there is always next year. With these notebooks, I may even remember to do more next year! :)


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