How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving with iStratus

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and food. But it can also be a time of stress, especially if you’re the one in charge of planning the meal. But don’t worry, iStratus can help! Our productivity app can help you stay organized and on track, so you can enjoy your holiday without all the stress.

5 Steps To A Stress-Free Thanksgiving

1. Start With Lists

Use the to-do list to create a checklist of everything you need to do. This will help you stay on track and avoid forgetting anything important. For example, you might create a list of tasks like:

  • Plan the menu
  • Make a grocery list
  • Buy groceries
  • Cook the food
  • Clean up

2. Use Your Calendar As A Planner

Use the calendar to schedule all of your tasks. This will help you make sure you have enough time to get everything done. For example, you might schedule tasks like:

  • Grocery shopping on Wednesday
  • Cooking the turkey on Thursday morning
  • Making the pies on Thursday afternoon
  • Cleaning up on Friday

3. Keep Good Notes

Use the notes feature to keep track of recipes, grocery lists, and other important information. This will save you time and hassle later on. For example, you might keep notes about:

  • Your favorite Thanksgiving recipes
  • The ingredients you need to buy
  • Any special instructions for cooking the food

4. Share Your Plans

Use the file-sharing feature to share your plans with family and friends. This will help everyone stay on the same page and avoid any last-minute surprises. For example, you might share a document that includes:

  • The menu
  • The shopping list
  • The schedule

5. Don’t Rely On Your Memory

Use the reminders feature to set up alerts for important tasks. This will help you stay on top of things and avoid forgetting anything. For example, you might set a reminder to:

  • Go grocery shopping
  • Start cooking the turkey
  • Make the pies
  • Clean up

iStratus is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to prepare for a stress-free Thanksgiving. With our easy-to-use features, you can stay organized and on track, so you can enjoy your holiday without all the stress.

Download iStratus today and start planning your stress-free Thanksgiving!

10 Meal Planning Tips For Making Mealtime Easier

At iStratus, we believe in being prepared. That’s why meal planning is right up our alley. Today we want to share with you 10 meal planning tips for your family.  Meal planning is a great way to ensure you and your loved ones are eating healthy, organized meals.

10 Meal Planning Tips To Make Mealtime Easier

1. Plan ahead

Start meal planning at least a week in advance to give yourself enough time to shop for ingredients and plan out meals.  Use the iStratus app to keep track of your menu. The good news is that you don’t have to do this alone.  Sit down with the whole family and get their suggestions.  Assign them a day to pick the dinner and help cook it.  This will lighten the load and make dinnertime more fun.

2. Create meal themes

Choose a meal theme for each day, such as meatless Mondays or tacos Tuesdays, and build your meal plan around it. This will help make meal planning less daunting and more enjoyable.

3. Make a grocery list

Once you’ve planned out your meals for the week, make a grocery list of the ingredients you’ll need to make them. This will help save time and money by avoiding impulse purchases. Use the iStratus app to create your grocery list directly into your calendar. Also, you may want to view our blog, iStratus Lists, for other lists to add to your calendar to make your life easier and stress-free.

4. Pre-prepared meals

Save time during mealtime by pre-prepping components of your meal ahead of time, such as chopping vegetables or marinating meats. We find that including the whole family in meal prep makes everyone more appreciative of the work and makes the task go by more quickly.

5. Get creative

Don’t be afraid to try new recipes or ingredients, meal planning is a great way to get creative in the kitchen and add some variety to your meal plan. A good rule of thumb is to add one new meal each week and choose a weekend to try it as a new recipe usually takes more time.

6. Utilize leftovers

Leftovers from one meal can become the base for another meal later in the week. This will save time and money, plus reduce waste. Consider having a “fend for yourself” night each week.  This gives everyone the opportunity to eat the leftovers from earlier meals.

7. Cook in bulk

Take advantage of meal planning by cooking large batches of meals that can be portioned out for the week’s meal plan.  This will help save time during mealtime and create more leftovers for later in the week! Spaghetti sauce and chicken breasts are two examples of items that can be cooked in bulk and pulled out later for a quick dinner.

8. Use your freezer

Building on the last tip, freezing leftovers or pre-cooked meals will help save time at mealtime and ensure you always have something on hand when hunger strikes.

9. Recycle meal ideas

Don’t be afraid to reuse meal ideas from previous meal plans to make meal planning simpler and easier. This is the #1 reason to add your menus to iStratus. It gives you the chance to go back and recycle.

10. Have a meal plan backup

Always have a meal plan backup ready in case you don’t have time to prepare or there’s an unexpected change of plans.  This could be pre-cooked meals, meal delivery services, or takeout!

Meal planning doesn’t have to be daunting. With these meal planning tips, you can create healthy and organized meal plans for the whole family with ease.  Give meal planning a try and experience the benefits of being prepared! Download the iStratus app today and give it a try!

Reduce Your Stress By Adding These 10 Things To Your Calendar

Do you find yourself overscheduled most days?  Do you find there is never enough time in a day?  Do you sometimes wonder where time has gone?  This can be a stressful way to live.  Believe it or not, you may be able to reduce your stress level by adding these 10 things to your calendar from now on.  

10 Things To Add To Your Calendar

1. Schedule time for yourself

Make time for yourself every day. Dedicate at least 30 minutes to an hour to do something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. This can be anything from reading, taking a walk, listening to music, or meditating. Give yourself this time to relax and rejuvenate so that you can face the rest of your day with a positive attitude. Be sure to add these thirty minutes to the calendar or it won’t happen.

2. Wake-up time

Add your wake-up time to your calendar.  Knowing when you are waking up will allow you to better schedule the rest of the day.  This may mean you need to get up earlier. This may sound counterintuitive, but by waking up even just 30 minutes earlier, you can give yourself some much-needed time to ease into your day. Use this time to do something calming, such as reading or stretching, so that you start your day off on the right foot.

3. Meal times

Make sure to schedule time for meals on your calendar. Skipping meals can lead to unhealthy habits and make it difficult to concentrate throughout the day. If you know you have a busy day ahead, plan to pack a healthy lunch or make time to stop for a quick bite. Scheduling meal times will help to ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.

Scheduling time for meals also helps you to be more mindful as you eat.  When we mindlessly eat, we are more likely to overeat or make unhealthy choices. By taking the time to sit down and enjoy meals, we can be more aware of what we are eating and how it makes us feel.

4. Exercise

Add exercise to your calendar just like you would any other important appointment. Exercise is essential for maintaining your health and well-being, so it should be given priority in your schedule. If you find it difficult to make time for a traditional workout, look for other ways to add movement to your day. Taking a brisk walk during your lunch break or riding a bike on the weekends are all great alternatives.

5. Work

Of course, you will need to schedule time for work as well. If you have a set work schedule, be sure to add it to your calendar. If you are self-employed or have a more flexible work schedule, try to set some structure for yourself by blocking out time for work each day. This will help you to stay focused and be more productive.  Also if you tend to have multiple meetings during a day, be sure to schedule a time to get specific projects done.  You may need to schedule a time to check your email or a specific project.  The goal of adding these things to your calendar is to start taking control of your schedule instead of letting your schedule take control of you.

6. Chores

Chores are an essential part of life, but they can also be a major source of stress. To make things easier on yourself, add chore time to your calendar. Dedicate an hour or two each week to laundry, grocery shopping, and other household tasks. Scheduling these activities ahead of time will help to alleviate some of the stress associated with them.

7. Family time

Make sure to schedule some quality time with your loved ones. Family time is important for maintaining healthy relationships. Whether you spend an evening each week cooking dinner together or plan a weekend getaway once a month, be sure to add this time to your calendar. One of our favorite parenting tips is to add time with each of your children to your calendar.

8. Free time

Free time is essential for letting your mind and body relax. While it is important to schedule time for your commitments, it is also essential to schedule time for yourself. Add some free time to your calendar each week so that you can do something fun and enjoyable. This can be anything from going to the movies or taking a yoga class.

9. Bedtime

Getting enough sleep is vital for your health and well-being. To make sure you are getting enough rest, add your bedtime to your calendar. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to wind down before going to sleep so that you can get a good night’s rest.

10. Reflection Time

At the end of each day, take some time to reflect on what you have accomplished. This reflection time can be used to set goals for the next day or week. It is also a good time to evaluate how your day went and identify any areas that need improvement. Scheduling this reflection time into your calendar will help to ensure that you make time for it each day.

By adding these 10 things to your calendar, you can help to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. Scheduling time will help you to better manage your time and prioritize your commitments. Get started today by downloading the iStratus app!

Fun Easy Packed Lunch Ideas For Kids

Packing lunches for school can be a slog for you and can become boring for your children pretty quickly. That’s why we decided to do something a little different this month. In this article, we will share 20 ideas for fun and easy, packed lunches.

20 Fun & Easy Lunch Ideas

1. Keep it simple

Use a cookie cutter to make your child’s sandwich into a fun shape. This is such a simple idea.  Make the same lunch but cut the sandwich into a fun shape. It changes everything!

2. Enlist help

Get your child involved in packing their own lunch. Let them choose their snacks and help with making their sandwich. This will take some of the load off of you and ensure that they are getting the food they really want.  You may even be able to prep for the lunches over the weekend so there are grab-and-go items ready for their lunches each morning.

3. Add some color

Add some color to your child’s lunchbox with brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Don’t let the ideas go stale.  Carrot sticks every day for a year may be hard to stomach. But if you mix up the variety each week, you will find they are more likely to eat them.

4. Think outside the sandwich

Make a packed lunch Bento box style with different foods divided into compartments. Consider hummus and veggies, or yogurt and fruit.  Rolled-up sandwich meats and crackers are also fun. 

5. Jazzy PB&J

Jazz up a PB&J sandwich by using different flavored jams or swapping out the peanut butter for almond, cashew butter, or even Nutella once in a while.

6. Words matter

Make lunchtime more fun for your child by including a fun note or joke with your child’s packed lunch. You may even create a series of notes that tell a story over several days. This will give your child something to look forward to with their lunch each day.

7. Homemade lunchable

Put together a “lunchable” style packed lunch with crackers, cheese, sliced meats, and grapes. Add homemade cookies for a special treat. These are a fun way to let your child decide what small things they would like in their lunchable.

8. Pizzadilla

Make a mini pizzadilla by combining a flour tortilla, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni. These are a kid-favorite especially if their school gives them access to a microwave.

9. Lunch cupcakes

Use a muffin tin to make packed lunch cupcakes. Fill the muffin tin with different fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, etc., and then top with a second flour tortilla or pastry dough.

10. Get in shape

Get creative with your child’s fruit by cutting it into fun shapes or adding dips like yogurt or honey.  This is another opportunity to ask for their input.  What would they prefer, apples with honey or strawberries with kiwi?

11. Hit the trail

Put together a trail mix of your child’s favorite cereals, nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate chips for a sweet and crunchy snack.

12. A frozen treat

Create a refreshing packed lunch drink by freezing fruit juices or smoothies overnight and packing them in a thermos.

13. Nachos

Make a healthy-packed lunch version of nachos by using whole wheat tortilla chips, black beans, and salsa.

14. Fruit kebabs

Create a fruit kebab by threading different fruits onto a skewer.

15. Homemade granola bars

Make homemade granola bars for a sweet and nutritious packed lunch snack. There are so many options for these and they often freeze well.

16. Roasted veggies

Pack some roasted vegetables like brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes for a filling and healthy packed lunch option. Consider using a thermos to keep them warm.

17. Plastic mason jars

Use a plastic mason jar to make packed lunch salads that can be eaten on the go. This is actually a great idea for after-school snacks especially if their practice will be running past normal dinner time.

18. Look for no prep lunches

For an easily packed lunch that requires no cooking, pack a cold chicken or tuna salad. Add a side of tomatoes or carrots, a few crackers, and some cheese and you will have hit most of the food groups.

19. Mini quiches

Make packed lunch mini quiches using a muffin tin and your favorite quiche recipe. Simply fill the muffin tin with quiche mixture and bake as directed.

20. Taco bar

Kids love tacos! Surprise them with a bento-style taco bar. Pack guacamole, salsa, cheese, sour cream, a tortilla, and any other toppings they love. Let them be the creators of their taco dreams. 

Planning ahead is an important step to making lunch easy.  

Use iStratus to plan your lunch and dinner menus, create your shopping lists, and keep track of what was a winner and what they hated. Visit and download the iStratus app today!

iStratus Lists: To Organize Your Life

Write. Write. Write. Or rather, type. Type. Type. Recording your thoughts or “To Do’s” helps you process and remember information.

If you’re feeling like life’s a bit out-of-control right now, one of the best things you can do is create a set of lists you can take action on.

So c’mon, let’s get motivated with iStratus, and make lists!

Brain Dump – Free Up Your Mind A Little 

We recommend getting all of your thoughts down in the notes section. Make a clear list of:

  • What you need to do, 
  • What you want to remember and 
  • What plans or projects do you have to work on

Write (or type) until you can’t think of anything else – and be patient with yourself! Bear in mind, this process could take a while! Add or edit as you wish to.

Once the brain dumping is done, your mind should feel lighter (if it isn’t, at least a little, then something else needs doing. Take 10, 15, 20 minutes, or 3 days it doesn’t matter). 

The point is, once you feel a little relief (yes, every bit counts), you will find that it is easier to categorize related items, prioritize, and productively disregard unessential responsibilities.

This will free up your mind to think about other things besides the stuff you want your brain to recall.

Existing Projects List

Even though having an existing projects list seems repetitive or unnecessary, it’s an effective idea to consistently have one.

Why? How so?

Ultimately it provides a realistic picture of everything that’s on your plate right now. Too many projects occurring at once can be overwhelming, and it’s unlikely to increase motivation to get anything done.

3 or 4 important projects are enough, relocate the others to a “Next” list.

The Next List

This is the one that can help you take action and be productive regardless of where you are…

Such as, making a call or sending a quick follow-up text, before a meeting begins.

If you’re driving and need something to listen to, maybe pull up that podcast you’ve had on your mind or “must listen to” list for ages!

Daily To-Do List

This list really shouldn’t be multiple pages if you’re aiming for effectiveness.

Three to five items you want to accomplish are sufficient. That’s all!

It’s those important things required for achieving your goals.  It’s important to focus on completing them the best you can.

Process Checklists: Easy as 1, 2, 3

If something requires certain steps for completion, and you tend to forget them a process checklist can help.

A process checklist could include:

  • How to update your SUV navigation system
  • How to turn on/off the alarm system 
  • How to run payroll.

Grocery And Quick Meal Lists Will Save Your Sanity

Avoid driving yourself insane because you can’t recall that it was a can of coconut milk you needed from the supermarket.

Keep a grocery list active in iStratus and share it, so that members in your household can contribute to it.

If you use an online grocery pickup service, you can add items to your cart as you note them.

That way, everything will already be in your cart, ready to order as needed.

Create a list of quick meals, the kind you can make in a dash.  This list will save your sanity on those busy nights when you are running the kids here, there, and yonder. Meals that are easy to make are key. See here for some fast, easy 30 Minute meal ideas.

And yes, sometimes a pizza delivery is OK too!

Things to Research

Lately, “doomsday scrolling” has become a real problem for so many of us on social media platforms.

In reality, with so much chaos in our world right now, it’s only natural that we want to keep up with the latest information, which easily turns into hours of endless scrolling and building anxiety.

A “Things to Research List” dedicated to a specific amount of time online researching whatever information is needed, will help you stress less, reduce anxiety, and it won’t eat up too much time in your day.

Books to Read, Music to Hear, or Movies To Watch List

This is the fun one. Self-care is important. 

Use iStratus to list the exciting stuff you want to engage your ears and eyeballs in. Next time you hear a tune you want to spend more time listening to, or there’s a good book you’d like to read someday, or if there’s a movie you’d love to watch – Note it. 

Lists can be life-changing and interchangeable with life. With the flexibility of our checklist system, you may breathe a little easier.

And remember to laugh: 

“There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.”

~ Mary Wilson Little

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

A Healthier You!

New Year, New You, Right?

With each New Year, comes resolution: Changes are welcomed and new ideas are formed. 

In the spirit of new beginnings and starting with a clean slate, we want to help you take action towards becoming further organized this year. Below are some tips to help us all serge into another year refreshed with iStratus.

We hope you feel that spark of rejuvenated optimism. Taking Action is the first step.

Begin Small with Achievable Targets

Right off the bat, setting realistic goals will improve your chances of success. Realistically, grandiose resolutions or targets will likely result in feelings of failure. Whereas if you begin with having your engine checked, drinking two glasses of wine a day, or reading-through your email first thing in the morning, avoiding distractions later; these small things, can lead to big successes.

Perhaps, choose three tasks you will begin doing daily. Once you have mastered those three, adopt three more to pursue.

Declutter to Feel Refreshed

As you may well already know by now, one of our favorite things associated with using iStratus is the idea of lessening clutter. Perhaps you cleared stuff out before Thanksgiving or Christmas, however, when you seriously think about it, there will no doubt be further things in your house or life requiring attention to freely welcome a new year. 

Tidy Can Be Mighty

Housework may be your least favorite task, however, flipping it around, cleaning is also a good way to relax or provide stress relief. In the end, you might love the result of having a clean living space.

Try creating a weekly “spring-cleaning” guideline in iStratus and applying whatever best fits with your schedule and your family, where everyone can positively contribute somehow.

Your Calendar is an Advantage For Everything

While some people may dislike being ‘boxed in’ with schedules on their calendar, adding reminders, tasks, vacations, and other important events to it can also help you recall things. Use iStratus on your smart device and start noting your “To-Do’s”, to stay on top of daily tasks.

“Gaining control over your health and well-being is one of those times in your life that you get to be completely selfish and not feel bad about it. If you want to meet your goals, you have to make it about you. You have to make it work for you and you alone. Anything less is a setup for failure.”

~ Jennifer Hudson

Why iStratus Storage is Effective

With the emergence of electronic e-statements or e-billings, we are subsequently cutting back on paper filing. Thus, our main goal at iStratus is to provide a safe and secure, one-stop, storage system in the palm of your hand for documents you may need to access, no matter where you are. 

Stick To A Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Routine and Don’t Feel Stuck

If you tend to forget due dates, creating routines, or checklists will make it easier to accomplish your tasks on time in no time. Things such as fixed automatic payments, or meal planning ahead will make your life less stressful. Set reminders for things that need addressing each week or month to remain organized. 

Additionally, set routines aligned with what you already do and build upon these things, one step at a time. So when life becomes overwhelming or stressful, consistent routines provide some stability to get things done.

Yes, Love Those Packed Lunches

It’s no secret, packed lunches are not just for school kids, best yet – there’s a whole new foodie love out there for taking lunch to work, or pre-prepping dinners to save you slaving in the kitchen every day. There are loads of exciting sandwich recipes on the web, that you can dare to try not just the classic PB&J. This can also save you buckets of money each week.

Use iStratus to lessen the stress of dinner decisions and checklist groceries and pre-plan. Not only will this save you money, but the pre-planning will also save you precious time overall. Calmer mornings make for calmer and less stressful eating on the run!!

Monitor Your Progress

We love the use of color. Give it a big check or a big check on your calendar with iStratus. Highlight each day that you’ve made successful strides towards keeping some of your resolutions. 

When you can physically visualize the chain of success, you will be more motivated to keep going down the list until your goals are achieved.

While tracking your progress may appear somewhat daunting, it will also potentially motivate you to do more.  Even if you’re feeling flat at the minute: Go do something right now! Mark up that iStratus calendar!

As the year progresses, focus on organizing one day at a time. There is absolutely no time like the present!

Live life and roll well with iStratus. Download our free app today.

Cook Up A Storm: Meal Planning

Food/Meal Prep is kind of a funny thing. People either love or hate being in the kitchen. When culinary adventures are in your blood they just are, however, when they’re not – “cooking up a storm” just isn’t fun. 

Between job commitments and family schedules, the working weeks are crazy! One of the last things most people want to do is plan a dinner table full of fancy, stylish foodie things from scratch.

Anyhow, the point being made here is that while leisurely cooking might not be your thing, you still need to eat and eat well. You don’t have to go all out, to provide meals that your and your family will love. 

Meal Planning Made Easy

Believe it or not, iStratus is here to help you relieve some of that chaos felt in the kitchen when you prefer to avoid it like the plague.

What’s the secret? Meal planning. (Ok, so that probably sounds tedious, but it doesn’t have to be).

Taking 5 (or 15) minutes at the beginning of the week to plan out meals is a MASSIVE, timesaver. It always helps reduce the time and energy involved in “dreading” meal prep.

Smart Meal Planning

This isn’t new news… how many of us (*raises a hand, slaps own forehead*) are guilty of wishing we were more efficient meal planners without actually having to plan any meals?

The truth is it only takes five minutes to sit down and type out a recipe list for the week. Using iStratus you can easily start by adding any recipes you know you and the family love to a checklist.

Next, fill in the remaining slots for the week with quick and easy recipes, that you often have staple ingredients stored in the pantry for.


Meal planning happens much quicker when using an organized recipe catalog. You’ve probably already guessed by now that iStratus loves to organize, organize and organize.

Easily create Food File Categories for:

  • Recipes you want to try.
  • Your “Quick and Easy” meals.
  •  Recipes you have tried and loved including a note with links or references (unless those tried and true favorites are memorized). 

When planning, pull up your checklist and choose a few things that stick out.

Shop All At Once

This is the toughest part of meal planning – but it saves time (and money!) in the long term. You might even find it reduces food waste too.

  • Plan your weekly meals, noting your grocery list at the same time. Here’s a secret we use.  
  • Use iStratus to checklist your shopping against your pantry items, and do one shopping trip or better yet use a service like Instacart or Amazon Prime to have your groceries delivered

Multiple visits tend to deviate into unneeded things, so checking and sticking to your list curbs temptation!

Not EVERYTHING has to be Prepared From Scratch 

One of the best things about iStratus is that information is stored. You don’t have to keep doing things on repeat or making food from scratch either. WHAT?! How does food prep help your organizational skills? 

If you have a grocery store like Wegmans or Whole Foods (love them both)! You can save additional time following your meal plan by using iStratus to:

  • Establish a shopping list, linking via copy, ingredients from recipes into notes/a checklist. And –
  • If you know the supermarket layout well, pop down the aisle number for the ingredients on your list, it’s a bonus timesaver.

Side note: There is no shame in pre-chopped fresh ingredients or frozen fruits and veggies folks; you’re allowed to cut some corners. (Especially if it means there’s no microwaved Spaghetti-O’s every week).

Join a Foodie Mailing List and Daily Dropbox Meal Ideas

When the repetition starts to get boring it’s time to incorporate new sources of inspiration. Sign up for email updates from chefs and food bloggers. That way, tasty, interesting food ideas are right there on your phone as you’re drinking your morning coffee!

Any recipes that inspire you – copy them directly into your “Daily Dropbox” or your “Recipes to Try” folder. And boom! Meal plans are a one-stop-shop!

Throughout the Week

Using the Slow Cooker on Sundays can be a busy Mom’s friend. A few favorite Slow Cooker recipes are Chicken Cacciatore and Vegetable Curry. Be it a Monday or Wednesday it doesn’t matter, reheat and serve to save time. Favorites stick, simply switch side dishes to avoid boredom.

List Swap-able Staples

9/10 times a mysterious thing happens when you plan in fine detail: There’s change! 

We can have the best intentions, the checklists, and the best-stocked fridge on the planet, but sometimes, you just want pizza to arrive. IT’S ALL GOOD.

Build a “cheat day” into your weekly meal plan – use it whenever necessary, there are no rules.

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
~ Thomas A. Edison
Just:  Live life and roll well with iStratus.