A Look Into Our Notebooks – Week 36 of 2020

Happy Labor Day! I know that many of you are working thanks to this upside down Pandemic world we’re living in. I hope it’s as relaxing as it can be! My Monday will be a typical day for me – all three kiddos are home, so I’ll spend it chasing babies and filling their bellies.

But Monday mornings are still the perfect time to look back at the week that just ended. I made a big change to my notebook system this week!

Are you surprised to see a new setup? I used my Hobonichi for 35 weeks but decided that a change would do me good. This is a repurposed Moleskine Chapters notebook that I’ve had for at least 4 years. It’s not a perfect notebook but I wanted to be able to play with layouts over the next couple of weeks and this book is perfect for playing!

The left side of the spread is similar to my old hobonichi spread: I’m tracking daily/weekly tasks, my writing time, and my habits. The right side was inspired by Juliann at Chasing Stories – it’s a meal planner/tracker! You might know that I have an overarching goal of eating a more plant based diet but also have a weakness for the convenience of takeout and fast food. I’ve been tracking my takeout habit over the last several months, but know that soon I’m going to start eliminating certain foods from my diet and wanted to be able to document what I AM eating.

Thanks to all of the meal planning ideas that you’ve generated, I’ve been able to think a lot about what works for my family. I know that assigning certain meals to certain days does not work. I often wake up with BIG plans and then they go down the drain once the day actually gets started. I know that it’s helpful to have a list of meals to pull from – some super easy and some more complicated – is the best strategy for us. At the top of the page you’ll see the list of meals that we grocery shopped for. The ingredients are on hand and everything’s ready to go or it’s something we’ve prepped ahead of time and it’s in the fridge or freezer. Down the page, you’ll see that I’ve written what I’ve actually eaten each day. I think just noticing my eating habits is the first step before I start eliminating anything specific! On the right side of each day, I’ve written down special instructions that I don’t want to forget (soak the beans, defrost the fish, etc). I knew I wanted to cook a big pot of beans to divvy out into individual portion sizes so that I could easily pull out a container for myself throughout the week, but I sometimes have a hard time remembering to soak them at night when I’m tired and only want to curl up with a good book. Putting that in my notebook gave me that nudge as soon as I cracked open my book that evening to fill in my tasks and meals from the day. And those beans have saved me on more than one occasion this week!


Last week I got several questions about my 5 year book. I’m using this Leuchtturm 1917 “Some lines a day” notebook. It’s a bit pricey, but works out to only $6 a year if one actually fills in the full five years! I’m still working to transfer over my 2020 entries. I only need to add January and half of February, so I’ve made great progress! I originally bought mine in the summer of 2018, so I have about a month’s worth of entries from 2018 (August and some of September). Then I took a break and decided to start on January 1st of 2019, so I have entries from January, February, and March of that year. And now I’m going to have all of 2020 added! It’s haphazard and uneven and I love it. I love being able to read my old entries and seeing memories so readily. It’s much easier than rereading old journals because it’s just a few lines each day!

And the truly dorky thing? I’ve gone through and added historical low/high temperatures, sunrise and sunset times, and the moon phase. So on the days I’ve written omg, it’s so hot, then I can know exactly how hot it actually was. Because I’m a nerd and have access to all of those temperatures via our weather station, so why not?


I’d like to invite you to share your own post about your notebooks. It doesn’t matter what kind – diary, bullet journal, art journal, nature journal, or anything else! If they’re intensely private and you’re not comfortable sharing pictures, then that’s okay too! This is simply an opportunity to think more deeply about their value in your life and a way to find and share encouragement.

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11 thoughts on “A Look Into Our Notebooks – Week 36 of 2020

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  1. My journal isn’t anywhere near as interesting — I don’t have any sort of system or layout to track things, I just write what I’m thinking — but last night I discovered that my current notebook has a ribbon in it for marking my place, so now I can leave it where I left off and don’t have to flip through the find the next blank page. It’s such a small thing but was a nice discovery!

    I’ll be interested to hear how your meal planning works. I think having a set of good ideas for meals is a great compromise between planning and being spontaneous; you have the ingredients but can still make the decision of what to make in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those ribbons are awesome! I’m glad you made that discovery πŸ™‚ And I definitely have that notebook that’s just full of words and no layouts – those are definitely important, too!!

      I’ll keep everyone updated on the meal planning saga! I remember you were going to try to come up with a new list of meals on your vacation — I hope that went well!

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  2. You don’t have to soak your beans overnite, just put the dry beans (try 2 cups) in the crockpot, cover with 3 pints of water and cook on low overnight. In the morning your beans will be cooked. The 3 pints should be enough water to keep them from cooking dry. Try it once then adjust. This is a real time saver. If you want your beans to taste light purchased canned dry beans, throw some sugar in with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so much fun using old notebooks! I’m finding that every notebook’s purpose eventually shows itself. That’s why I don’t feel guilty about the stacks that I have πŸ™‚

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