Category Archives: menu

Noteshelf App: My New Digital Home Binder

I am addicted to binders. I have a house organizational binder, a binder with my daughter’s curriculum ideas, a binder with our FHE plans (just realized I am 2 weeks behind on those… nice!), a binder with baby educational ideas,  … you get the idea. And then there are all the countless notebooks- containing everything from my daughters journals to the 10 I have stashed everywhere for my to do lists.

My organizational bliss needed a makeover.

And I think I found the answer in the form of an iPad app. Noteshelf.

Let me first tell you that I was not compensated for writing this review- I think this app is so amazing that I want to shout about it from the rooftops.
Noteshelf is an app that was designed for, well, taking notes! But it goes to the next level, with the ability to create custom pages (you will see much more of this feature throughout my review), exporting finished notes as pdfs, and it has the all important cute factor. Which is a big deal!

Ability to sort notes into notebooks. And notebooks can be grouped together. Think of it this way: the groups are like your binders. And the notebooks are like the tabs within those binders.

My “Home Planner” group of notebooks
Noteshelf app front page
For example, all the items in my old home binder were sorted by tabs….now they are individual notebooks, under the “home planner”group. I can easily open up the home planner group and pull up the January notebook to see what we have going on during the month, just as easily as the old tab/binder system. 

My daughter has her own notebook group. Within her group she has two notebooks: her chore chart and journal.

My daughter’s notebooks are grouped together in her own collection.

And do I worry that she might accidentally delete all her cute journal entries, since she has easy access to her notebook? No, and here’s why:

Noteshelf has the ability to easily copy pages. And not only copy the page into the current notebook, but I can move the page into any other existing notebook that I created. So in my personal notebook group I have a copy of all her journal entries, safe and snug.

In the finder view you can easily see all the pages in your notebook. You can copy, move, delete, and export pages from the finder!

Boo’s journal is one of my favorite notebooks. I love that she loves to write in her journal now, she has access to several ink colors/pen widths/stickers, and I can quickly type a description on the same page. I love that I can now email her journal entries- so if there is an especially cute one about grandma, I can send her a copy right away. And for those that have the iPad2 (so jealous!) you can take a pic and insert it right into the note.  Those of us with a regular iPad can insert pics from the photo album. I think my days of binding notebooks for my daughter to use as journals (and end up only using half of the notebook because it gets lost) are over. At least for now. I just love the idea of having an instant digital copy of my daughter’s work. How cute would it be to make a shutterfly book of all her journal entries! Ahhhh I am rambling- back to Noteshelf….
I LOVE having my daughter’s chore chart on Noteshelf. As I mentioned earlier, you have the ability to add custom pages by importing jpgs. I used the GIMP to save all my pdfs to jpgs and I was good to go! After creating the chore chart custom page, I added it to her notebook. Now she can immediately add a digital sticker to her jobs as she completes them, and when we are done for the week we can clear the page and start over! (Once you create a custom page, you can easily insert it at anytime into any notebook) No money spent on stickers- or time spent searching for those aforementioned stickers… I love it. This also works for our scripture reading chart as well!

Digital chore chart

With the ability to create custom pages, I have been able to use all my old binder planner pdfs. So nifty! My monthly menu plan, my special days lists, my birthday calendar,… everything! Just think of all the money you could save by not printing a gazillion lists! And you never have to reprint… its all digital. And no more lugging around your 2 pound binder everywhere.

The finder view of all the pages in our January notebook. You can see the variety of pages! 
A close up view of our weekly cleaning page in our January notebook. (You can download this for free- scroll down to the bottom of this post!)

Other pros: you can tag pages, so if you are looking for a page in a notebook and you don’t remember where it is, you can search by the tag. And I do believe you can do a search for text, if it has been typed. You can export pages to evernote/dropbox. I don’t use these services so it doesn’t mean anything to me, but I know a lot of people might find this feature useful! You can send a page directly to facebook, and that might be of use someday…. Another pro is that it offers wrist protection- which basically means you can set your wrist down on your ipad while writing and the app won’t think your wrist is writing too. You can password lock notebooks and notebook groups- PERFECT for your personal journal, or any notebook entitled “Gift Ideas”.  You can also zoom in on your notebook for more fine tuned handwriting.

Zoom feature for handwritten text

And those lucky ipad2 folks can take pics of children’s calendars from school or other important notes and send them directly into a notebook so you can truly be paper free!

Cons: I have to mention a few. First, I would love the ability to import pdfs directly, instead of having to save them as a jpg. I don’t mind the extra work because I love the result, but it would make life a bit easier. I would also love to see the ability to insert links and images directly from the internet. I created a Pinterest page with the projects I want to work on during the month, but I had to save the pics of each project to my ipad before importing them into the notebook.

Pinterest notebook page- A great place to add pics and text of potential projects for the month.

Also, I would really like to be able to make custom notebook covers. And it would be cool to have that handwriting to text conversion that I have seen in other notebook apps. None of those are deal breakers for me- it is pretty nitty gritty stuff.

Here is a free download you can import right away as a custom page in your Noteshelf app(or you can print it, I won’t mind)

When all is said and done, this app is a must have. Let the trend of digital binders begin!!!

Happy TECHing! (and yes, I left the “a” out on purpose!)

January’s Curriculum and Menu Calendars

OK- I am finally posting my latest calendars! I have been really busy preparing to start a temporary job as a curriculum writer for a textbook company (this is SO up my alley- and I get to work from home most of the time, too…. such a blessing) I did want my beloved readers to know that I am still very much here and very much active in my daughter’s education! I wanted to post both my menu (to inspire you mommys to eat something new every night) and curriculum calendars (since I might not be able to post my learning activities as much, you can peruse this calendar and let it give you some guidance as to how you want to spend your learning time with your little ones!)
I added our fun little holidays in red…. can’t forget those days…. celebrating those off the wall holidays is one of my favorite aspects of being a mom. I am not following a set curriculum for January, other than the little one I created, for 2 reasons. First, the curriculum that I originally had (and loved) was just not meeting the needs of my daughter. And secondly, I wanted more flexibility in my day. And I really love the thematic days that Eva and I came up with- so I am going to stick with those for the time being!
My curriculum encompasses religious teaching, learning new Nursery rhymes/fairy tales, learning ONE spanish word a week (doing more was just too hard for me!), and spending time with gross motor skills activities. I read through my old Montessori checklists that I posted about a year ago, and fell in love with that all over again, and came up with a clever little way to integrate those skills. I printed the checklist, cut out each activity as a separate slip of paper, folded them, and put them in my daughter’s learning jar. Whenever we have a spare 20 minutes, we will pull out one of these skills to do together! There are learning activities from pouring beans between two jugs to folding clothes to grating carrots…. a huge variety!
I hope that your curriculum plans are coming along well- there is just SO much to do with so little time!!!
Happy TEACHing!

Toddler Recipes: Cheesy Potato Cups

Now that I am pretty much fully recovered from the flu, I have been trying to get back into the swing of things and that includes pulling out my menu plan (which I LOVE having- I am one of those poor souls who is lost at the grocery store without a list!). I need a variety of healthy foods to keep my toddler interested in eating- when I found this recipe on Kraft Foods I was eager to try it out myself!

These cheesy potato cups were part of our “Try Something New Tuesdays”.

I LOVE- the nutrition and color- plus they are very TASTY!!!
I STRUGGLED with how long they took to prepare- from start to finish, about 2 hours! And I am not a BIG cook, so trying to cut and scoop a boiling potato was not fun!!! Another thing- I think this is meant to be a side dish. My husband and I were starving after eating about 4 of these potato cups!
Will I make this again? Maybe for special occasions. Time is valuable! Maybe if the potatoes were baked the day before…
Happy EATing!

October’s Menu

Thanks to the Menu Planning Made Simple Post, I created our whole monthly menu in a snap!I wasn’t going to plan anything for Wednesdays, since it is the “Wild Card” day- but then I thought we should have a back-up plan just in case I am stumped about what to make! And you might have noticed that I added pediasure to our dinner on the 31st- between trick-or-treating and birthday cake I know my little one will need some nutrition!!!
Happy….Eating! 🙂

Menu Planning Made Simple

I have always struggled creating weekly menus. It’s not that I don’t like the concept- I think planning ahead of time is essential in staying on top of things. I just always seem to draw a blank on what to prepare. I looked at what I had written down for the coming week- spaghetti, hawaiin haystacks, soup & sandwiches, crock pot stew…. where I then had an organizational idea. Instead of creating dinner menus day to day, why not create 7 daily food themes (one for each day of the week) and then jot down lists of possible dinners.
For example, we eat a lot of Italian food. It seems like we eat spaghetti at least twice a week- and that gets old after awhile. So I created “Italian Thursday”. I then wrote down all the Italian food that I love, and voila! I have a month’s worth of Thursdays all planned! Seriously, menu planning became so much easier after I decided to create menu lists instead!
Here is our week in food: Crock Pot Sunday, Multi-Cultural Monday, Try Something New Tuesday, Wild Card Wednesday, Italian Thursday, Friday’s Favorites, Soup and Sandwiches Saturday.

Roast/potatoes, stew, soups, anything made in a crock pot!
There is SO many dinner ideas in this category! Enchiladas, tacos, ham fried rice, orange chicken, burritos, sushi, etc!!!
This is a day that I felt was important for my little family. I get stuck in the routine of making the same things over and over again- and I want my daughter to experience new foods (so she won’t be a picky eater like her momma!) This will be the day where I open up the good ole recipe book and try something new! And if we like it- I can add it to our Friday’s Favorite list!I have playgroup Wed- not a lot of cooking time. This will be the day where we might finish off some leftovers, or do something crazy like breakfast for dinner. (I love breakfast for dinner and I can see us doing this a lot- crepes, french toast, waffles, omelets, YUMMY!)
Love this day! I can serve up spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, fettuccine, panini, risotto, ravioli… there is 7 weeks of different Italian foods write there! No more spaghetti twice a week!
This is where I can put down ANYTHING that I know my family loves to eat! Chili and corn bread, hawaiin haystacks, pizza, chicken pot pie, chicken caesar salad, etcThis day will be dedicated to soups and/or sandwiches! Nothing like a bowl of soup on a brisk autumn day!

What I like about this plan is that it makes sense in my plan-a-holic brain. I always know what to expect for dinner on any given day, and if I am struggling for a menu item- I simply look at our theme and google for ideas! I just like that this provides some structure for planning a menu.

I dare you to try this and see how much easier planning a menu really is!

Happy EATING!!!

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