Friday, February 25, 2011

Week in Review & Five Question Friday--2/24

Week in Review photo credit

What I'm Reading

I finished Agatha Christie's Pocket Full of Rye. This is the second AC novel I've read. The first was a Poirot mystery and I thought I followed along pretty well, had it mostly figured out, but at the big reveal, I had definitely missed some things. That was okay. This time, I feel like I was led on a wild goose chase and the perpetrator was a total surprise. I won't go into more detail so as not to spoil it for anyone, but it was a disappointment, and also pretty boring. Thumbs down.

I continue to read Memoirs of a Geisha and I'm entranced. Great writing, tons of details about the geisha culture. I'm really enjoying it!

What I'm watching

Ugh, lots of movie duds lately. So I'll just mention the good stuff.

Crazy Heart--we really enjoyed this, great performances (Jeff Bridges deserved his Oscar), though we never quite bought the "romance."

Inception we thought was okay, interesting to watch, but we felt like the movie was trying too hard to be clever at the expense of plot.

Brothers we thought was surprisingly good. I didn't think Natalie Portman had the maturity to be believable as the mother of two kids, though she was technically old enough. {I suppose that's the challenge for her, when she's been acting since she was a kid and she weighs about 100 pounds.} But Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal were excellent. And it had me on the edge of my seat.

Ondine was another good one. Charming, romantic, a little mystery. I really wish it had subtitles {I've mentioned before that we have to keep the volume low because our kids are asleep} because all the accents and mumbling were hard to understand, but even missing half the dialogue, we liked the movie. :-)

In other news

I posted my EE update the other day, so no news there.

I've been playing with my blog. I figured out how to change the color and font of my header. I added a welcome message and picture of my kids in the left sidebar. And I'm working on adding "pages" like "About Me" to go along the top.

Five Question Friday
1. Can you drive a stick shift?
Sadly no, I never learned that skill. My husband loves manual transmissions, so his current car is actually a stick shift. Therefore, I cannot drive my husband's car. Is that weird?
2. What are two foods you just can't eat?
I am a picky eater, so there are plenty of foods I don't like. But I gag, literally gag, on ham and spinach. Once I was eating a tomato and bacon pizza and I gagged on one bite. I spat it into a napkin and looked down--there was a piece of ham (that had been hidden under the cheese). So I don't even need to know it is there. Now I just tell people I am allergic to ham and spinach, so they won't serve them to me.
I also really don't like fish of any kind, but I can usually choke it down if I have to.
3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?

Now don't call me unpatriotic, but as I was thinking about buying Girl Scout Cookies this year, I wondered "why bother?" My favorite is Thin Mints, which are basically the same as Keebler Grasshopper cookies, which are cheaper. So I'll just stick to Keebler. I know, so sad. :-(

4. How do you pamper yourself?
I don't do massages, pedicures etc. So I pamper myself with laziness. I like to curl up in pajamas on my recliner, with a blanket and a tub of ice cream and watch a movie. Yep, that's my joy. That said, I did get my eyebrows waxed for the first time last fall and those few minutes felt like pampering. I'm looking forward to doing it again soon.

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?
I don't really have a nickname other than "mom" and that one I got by having my beautiful children. And Hubby calls me various stupid pet names, we're really quite childish, but we both have kind of long formal names that don't lend themselves to shortening, so "pookie" and "kwady" win out.

Alright, it's time to get T up from her nap. For more Q&A fun, visit My Little Life. Happy weekend!
By the way, those are not affiliate links.

Organizing Challenge, Week 8

Progress Report

Well, things have been crazy in our household again this week with even more illness. And of course Monday was a holiday. And I've been under the weather. But I did okay with my Bare Minimum. I tried, despite the wacky schedule, to implement my new schedule and did okay with that too, good enough that I can now present the current rough version of my schedule.

Daily Schedule

Each day of the week is different because of our activities, so bear with me as I go through the days of the week. M=morning, A=afternoon, E=evening.

Monday is my crazy day, L goes to school till noon, then we hurry through lunch and go to speech, so I don't plan to do more than the Bare Minimum.
M: laundry, dishwasher
E: clean out food from fridge {because trash is picked up Tuesday}

Tuesday will be errand day.
M: run errands
A: laundry, dishwasher, fold clothes
E: shower

Wednesday L has no school in the morning, but we go to speech in the afternoon.
M: laundry, dishwasher
E: L bath

Thursday will be my "stay home and get lots done" day.
M: laundry, dishwasher, clean one bathroom
A: change kids' sheets, T bath, fold clothes
E: shower

Friday, my mom is usually available to babysit part of the day, so I'll run errands--that could be morning or afternoon, so I'll have to be flexible.
M: errands
A: laundry, dishwasher, cook, fold clothes

Saturday, I try to do as little as possible so...
M: laundry, dishwasher
A: {while T naps and Hubby takes L on an errand} clean living room

M: laundry, dishwasher
A: shower, kids' baths, meal & grocery planning

I'm not sure how well my schedule "reads," but basically I have easy days and hard days, and I try to limit how much stuff I want to get done on the busy days. As I said, I want Thursdays to be my "stay home and get stuff done" day, so I put in my weekly "clean one bathroom" chore on that day. Changing sheets isn't a tough chore, but I figured I need the reminder so I put that on Thursday as well. I try to fold laundry whenever there's a pile that needs folding, but sometimes I procrastinate, so that is why I added "fold clothes" to the easier days of the week--so I'll remember to take care of anything that has piled up. The kids' baths are also flexible and depend on when they've rolled around in the mud, but just as an added reminder, they each get 2 baths per week on the above schedule. Same with my showers--at a minimum, I need to shower the nights before speech.

I've learned over these weeks that running the dishwasher and doing laundry are the keys to keeping my home running smoothly, so I've been trying to do them in the mornings this week to get them out of the way. That seems to have worked, so that's why I placed them in the mornings on days that I'm home.

My next task is to write up this schedule in an eye-catching way--the page I scribbled on didn't even fit Saturday and Sunday.

If this schedule works, I hope to be able to add more tasks to my week. :-)

Okay, that's it for this week. I'm going to keep on keepin' on. Please head over to Unsolicited Advice for more One Year To A {More} Organized Life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

EE Update

So I just wrote this post about our morning routine and had to add a blurb to explain why my 5-year-old is drinking bottles before preschool. Tons of fun. But I pat myself on the back for publishing the post anyway, rather than being embarrassed by our little bottle-drinking situation. Anywho... it made me realize I am long overdue with an EE update--I can't believe I haven't blogged the whole off-the-bottle/back-on-the-bottle saga.

The Saga of the Bottles

Just before Halloween (October 2010), L finished a bottle, put it on the counter and said thoughtfully, "bottles are for babies; I am not a baby" and I jumped at the chance to offer him all sorts of cups to drink from. He sat right there and started drinking formula from a cup. Woohoo. This was right before bed, so we wondered how it would go the next day. He woke up and I asked if he still wanted to drink from the cup and he was up for it and he drank the whole thing. The first day was a huge success, so I thought we had turned the corner.

Over the next couple months, he drank less and less out of a cup. {I'm skipping ahead, there was a whole go-to-the-store-to-pick-out-cups adventure and he chose McQueen take-and-toss cups with straws.} We then tried mixing the Neocate with Nesquik to make chocolate "milk" and his volume went up briefly. Then his nutritionist cautioned us against using Nesquik because it is cross contaminated by things like wheat. Then his volume dropped anyway and we went back to the tried and true Neocate mixed with orange Pedialyte.

Then just before Christmas, he was sick with a cold and drinking barely any formula and getting quite lethargic. We panicked and asked L if he'd like to drink from a bottle. To our surprise, he said yes, he would like a bottle. First, we weren't sure he even remembered how to drink from a bottle, but soon enough he downed the whole thing. We were so relieved.

We went to the pediatrician's office the next morning. She diagnosed a sinus infection and when I told her how we'd freaked and given him a bottle, she assured us the reason he hadn't been drinking was the illness, the post-nasal drip explains everything, go back to the cup. But L didn't want to go back to the cup. Hubby didn't want to go back to him not getting enough volume. So as of late December, L is back on bottles. After 2 months without. :-(

The good news is that while his volume of Neocate was going down, he started eating more real food. So he is back on bottles, but fewer of them. Before the switch to cups, he was drinking nearly 42 oz of Neocate per day (7 bottles times 6 oz/bottle). We offered 7 cups a day and he drank very few ounces of each. So when we went back to bottles, we are down to 4 bottles per day (28 oz total), with the difference made up with real nutrition from solid food. Yea!

Finally, last month we had an appointment with his gastroenterologist and told her the whole long story. Her first reaction was to try to get him back to a cup. Her main point is that getting off the bottles will only get harder as he gets older. I replied that he still has the skill to drink the cup and we are keeping that up, like on road trips, but now that he is drinking less volume, he can get through a day of school by eating real food, and my husband's theory is that the way off the bottle is to get off of Neocate--by eating more and more food. She pretty much agreed. So to avoid headaches and heartaches, we are back on the bottles. L is getting his nutrition, but they don't really interfere with our life because he can get through a school day without it and if we are out and about I can bring a thermos of Neocate and it's fine. The end.


L is eating meals better than ever. Some of his new foods include:
-Sunbutter sandwiches (on gluten free bread)
-quesadillas (on rice tortillas)
-hamburgers (on gluten free buns)

The addition of hamburgers has been the biggest success--since he has long refused any kind of beef. It's been a long time coming. Two things helped: (1) he wanted to try Daddy's burger and (2) we finally found gluten free buns (at Trader Joe's). Woohoo! Now burgers are his "favorite food." Of course we doll up an entire half a burger (cheese, mayo, ketchup, mustard) and he eats 3 bites, but it's a huge success!

Okay, I think that's the EE report for now. Everything else is just business as usual. Oh and I completely forgot to schedule an allergist appointment (we should have gone before Christmas) so I'll have to do that soon. I'm hoping to get back to doing my "week in review" thang and updating EE in those posts.

Division of Labor--Morning Routine

photo credit

There's nothing like being out-of-routine to make you appreciate what a good routine you have going. That was the case yesterday when Hubby had to go to work early so I had to drop L off at preschool. Meanwhile, I've been wanting to do a little series on how Hubby and I divide up housework, childcare etc. We've been married for 12 years and parents for 5, so our routines and responsibilities have changed and evolved. If you've been here before, you know there's a lot that I don't have figured out. But a few things are working, so I thought I'd share. Today I bring you Division of Labor: the Morning Routine edition. Here's how our school mornings usually look:
If you're new here and wondering why my 5-year-old is drinking bottles, it's a long story. Suffice it to say, he has a medical condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis and he gets about half his nutrition these days from elemental formula, which tastes so nasty that he still drinks it from baby bottles. We're working on it. Feel free to follow our journey with the EE tab in my sidebar. To get enough nutrition to power through the school day, he drinks two bottles before he leaves.
The alarm goes off and Hubby gets up and wakes L. I stumble out of bed toward the bathroom. Hubby fixes 2 bottles for L and a sippy of milk for T (who is hopefully still asleep). Then he's "off duty."
I emerge and grab clothes for L and help him get dressed while he drinks his bottle, then I doze off in the chair till breakfast. Hubby makes himself breakfast (usually cereal) and eats by the computer.
I make breakfast for L (dry cereal, yogurt, bananas; occasionally oatmeal or pancakes from the freezer). At some point T wakes up and joins us; I eat too. It's usually during breakfast that I pack L's snack. And Hubby is in the shower getting ready for work.
Breakfast ends, L gets his 2nd bottle and I make his lunch. Once lunch is packed, I join the kids in the living room and get L's shoes on.
Hubby comes out ready to go. As he backs the car out, I help L get his sweatshirt and backpack on, hand him the other stuff he needs to carry and the boys are off to school and work.
Hmmm, to look at this written down, it seems like Hubby gets off easy. But actually he has the toughest parts of the job: (1) getting out of bed first and (2) doing the driving and drop-off. If I do drop-off, then in the midst of the above, I have to dress T and myself. Plus, drop-off is kind of a madhouse, so I'm glad to pass that chore to him.;-)
I am linking to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family, because this routine works for me (and the rest of my family, for the moment).
How do your kids get ready for school in the morning?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Once Was a Movie Buff

This weekend is the Oscars. I used to live for the Oscars, set my watch by it, celebrate it like a holiday.

You see, I was a movie buff. "What do you wanna do this weekend?" you ask. "Go to a movie," I'd say. I loved going to movies, really that is what I'd do for fun. Yes, the price of admission kept going up, but it's not like I had a lot of expenses back then (before children), and matinees were affordable. It's not like I had other expensive hobbies.

There was a year, the Gosford Park year {2002}, when Hubby and I saw 4 of the 5 best picture nominees (ironically, not Gosford Park, which won the award) as well as other movies up for awards, like Black Hawk Down (one of my faves). That was fun, rarely have we seen so many nominated films prior to the awards being handed out (we tend to catch up on DVD).

But stuff happens. First, the IBS makes it difficult for me to enjoy movies in the theater. {First, you can't get into the theater without a ticket, tough if you have to use the bathroom before you've made it to the front of the ticket line. Second, there's no rewinding--so if I'm in the bathroom a lot, and I usually am, I can get pretty lost in the plot. So going to the theater these days is often more stressful than fun.} And now we have kids, so there's the cost of the movie, plus the babysitter, so we just don't do it.

And I used to follow all the Hollywood stuff, who's dating who, who's wearing what. And now I find it all toxic. Divorce. Adultery. Botox. Boob jobs.

But I digress.

So now the Oscars come around this weekend and I haven't seen any of the movies. {Well actually now that they nominate TEN movies for best picture (don't even get me started), I have seen Toy Story 3 and Inception, but none of the top contenders.} Plus all the actors are younger than me. {And I have an unhealthy resentment of people who are more successful than I am--I know, that depends on how you measure true success}. Plus with kids, it is nearly impossible to watch something other than cartoons in their presence. Plus, when I haven't seen the movies, I don't like to be "spoiled" by all the clips they show of the nominees. Which all adds up to: I'm not sure I'm even going to bother to tune in. And that makes me kind of sad. :-(

Last year I think I tried watching the early part of the show, but all I remember was tuning in once the kids were in bed, just in time to see Sandra Bullock win for The Blind Side. I love Sandra Bullock and The Blind Side was probably my favorite movie last year, so that was fun. And then the Hurt Locker won for Best Picture and that was the only movie I'd seen of the nominees at the time (I've since seen several, including Avatar) and we loved it. So I could do that again, just tune in after bedtime and watch the biggest awards.

Really, I'm still a movie buff. We watch movies nearly every night, and that pastime has pretty much replaced my other biggest hobby: tv. {I only have a handful of shows I watch, and I'm dreadfully behind on all of them.} It's not the same, but nothing ever is after you have kids, am I right?

So tell me, will you be watching the Oscars this year? What or who are you rooting for?*

*Technically, that should say "For what or whom are you rooting?" but I couldn't bring myself to be so formal. Forgive me, grammar snobs.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Five Question Friday 2/18

I had high hopes of writing a "week in review" post today, but with only 10 minutes till T's nap ends, I'll have to settle for a quick 5QF.

1. Have you worn the same outfit more than one day in a row?
Haha, I routinely do. For example, I got all dressed up (t-shirt and jeans) to go to speech on Wednesday, but Thursday I only needed to run out to pick up L from school, so I threw on the same t-shirt as the previous day (and I always wear the same jeans, 99% of the time), because no one at school had seen me the day before. Yup, happens all the time.
2. If you had to choose any LARGE city to live in, which would it be?
Phoenix, which happens to be where I live. My husband might prefer San Diego or San Francisco, but Phoenix works great for me. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, then I went to school in a suburb of Boston, I've lived in a suburb of LA etc. All of this to say I have a very suburban personality or inclination. Oddly though, we are in the city of Phoenix, but kind of a remote area, definitely has a suburban feeling, though I don't have to drive far to feel urban.

3. Fly or drive with the kids on vacation?
This is an easy one: DRIVE. First, I hate flying. The fasten-seat-belt sign is my nemesis (with the IBS, do not stand in the way between me and the lavatory!). And post-9/11, the hassles of air travel have amplified (long lines, also not compatible with IBS)--don't even get me started. And of course, the cost of 4 plane tickets is pretty much always prohibitive. Yup, driving is much better, cheaper, and I can shove anything we could ever possibly need into our minivan.
4. What is your idea of "spring cleaning"?
Another easy one: I don't do spring cleaning. I can't get on board with regular everyday cleaning, so I certainly don't aspire to launder my drapes every spring or similar extra tasks. Nope.
5. What is the best book you have ever read?
My regular readers will bored to once again see me say Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. {Awesome! Must read! So romantic!} Thus, I will share another of my all-time favorites: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. I read that in junior high and it Spoke To Me. And the Lord of the Rings trilogy is pretty awesome too. Those are not affiliate links.
That's it for this round of Q&A fun. Check out lots more answers over at My Little Life.
What's the best book you've ever read?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Organizing Challenge, Weeks 6 & 7

Here's my latest progress report for One Year to a {More} Organized Life hosted by Unsolicited Advice.

Bare Minimum
I'm coming along. I rarely do every single thing, but I'm finding that even if I miss something, it's not that bad because I'm generally keeping up. I've found that loading the dishwasher each day is critical. The times I haven't, I have gone on to regret it, so that generally keeps me in line {but still, life happens, like yesterday I didn't load the bottles, so I ran two loads today}. I have been pretty darn good about making the bed and about sorting the mail right away so there's no pile {but again, life happens, I've got a little pile going right now, sigh}. To sum up, I really like my Do Or Die list, it keeps me on track but allows me to goof up along the way. :-)

Kids Chores
Last week's assignment was to set up a chore system for our kids. Well, this one is a failure for me. I will just be up front and tell you I'm not doing it. I should. L is certainly old enough (5 and a half) to have some chores. But I can't handle it. I cannot add to my plate supervising a chore system for him. Hopefully, once I get my life more organized I will be able to move forward with kids chore management.

As a substitute, I am implementing a reward/punishment system that I've been meaning to do for a while. L has a listening/disobedience problem. He completely tunes me out! Grrrr! After chatting with my BFF, I had a plan and today I finally set it up. I bought a $1 dry erase board (Batman) from Target. On there each day he will start with 5 stars. When he disobeys or gives me attitude or generally does something I need to correct (but it's not so big it deserves a time-out), I erase one star. It's possible he can earn a star by doing something good (I imagine this will be hard for me to "catch" him being good, but I'm going to try). At the end of the day, if he has 5 or more stars, he gets a sticker on his chart (just a basic chart with 25 spaces). Days with fewer than 5 stars, no sticker. Filling the chart with stickers earns him a prize. Ugh, wish us luck!

Daily Schedule
I continue to do trial and error to figure out how to manage my week. Stayed tuned, next week I hope I'll have a rough schedule to share with you.

Today (Thursday) has been super productive. I made a list of what I wanted to get done (nothing fancy, just dishes, laundry, etc.), put some down for morning and some for afternoon, and I've just been banging out the list. Yea! Anyway, it makes me think that Thursdays will be my don't go anywhere, ignore T, get stuff done day.
Two additional sources of inspiration for me in this task:
Daily Cleaning List from Money Saving Mom
The Power of Something Simple (a guest post on Life As Mom) about a daily To Do List.
So stay tuned, I will keep you posted as my daily/weekly schedule comes together. For more organizing stories or to join the challenge, go here.
How do YOU organize your daily and weekly tasks?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Internet Hodgepodge--February

I am just a wee bit excited to have half an hour to myself. I'm going to try to gather up the links to all the cool stuff I've been reading lately and that I want to remember. {Please pardon my old graphic, Saturday Stumbles is now hosted by Simply Staci.} Bring the Awesome by Oh Amanda. Truly awesome. Sadly, I tend to bring the mediocre, if I show up at all, so this spoke to me. I tried to bring the awesome yesterday when doing valentimes with my kids but, well let's call it a work-in-progress.

Best Plug-Ins for Mommy Blogs also by Oh Amanda. I'm so clueless about the techy stuff of blogging, but this makes me think I may be able to spiff up this here space, stay tuned....

Find Your Compass at Motherhood Your way. {I know, this is also by Oh Amanda, the trifecta!} This is such a fabulous post about finding your way, your focus, your parenting goal--I'm totally working on this!

How to Balance Structure and Flexibility by Steady Mom via Life as Mom. Another great parenting post, especially as I'm working on time management.

I'll Pray for you... no, just kidding by Mrs. Dexter introduced me to this awesome site called Echo Prayer--a genius way to fit in prayer throughout the day. I've been using Echo Prayer for about a week and I love it!

In which I share some not-at-all-original ideas by Boomama (whom I love and adore) compiles a wonderful list of recipes suitable for entertaining.

The Jane Austen music video shared by Miskellany--scenes from Jane Austen movies set to Taio Cruz. Genius editing, if you are a JA fan, you must check it out!!! (The second video she posted is kinda cute too.)

Alright, I think that's everything, until next time. For more greatness around the blogosphere, check out Saturday Stumbles, now hosted by Simply Staci. Have a great weekend!

What's the best thing you've read lately?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Adventure--Homemade Breadcrumbs

Today I am joining Try New Adventures Thursday over at Alicia's Homemaking with the story of my first ever attempt at making my own breadcrumbs. Why would you ever want to make breadcrumbs from scratch when they sell them at the grocery store? I suppose you could do it to be frugal or to be fresh/organic/pioneer-y. I, however, did it to be wheat-free. As you know, my son is allergic to wheat. For months we've been buying him his own gluten-free bread, but he hates crust, which leaves at least two pieces of bread at the end of each loaf, and these are expensive loaves of bread so I hated to throw any of it out. So I've been keeping the heels in my freezer and in the back of my head thought I might one day make breadcrumbs.

Then came the moment of truth. I had mayonnaise chicken (just a breaded chicken recipe we like) coming up on my menu and it was time to do my little experiment.

I had to go to the web to find out what to do. I got my basic instructions here. Is it sad that I needed instructions? I had frozen bread and I didn't know if I needed to bake it, toast it, defrost it, or leave it to out to get stale??? So I googled it and got the help I needed. Love the internet! So it turned out I did need to bake the bread to dry it out. Here are the heels all lined up on my cookie sheet, I just used as much as fit on one sheet, it left me just a few slices to put back in my freezer for next time.Once the bread was done, I whipped out my fabulous Magic Bullet blender. I put in only a few chunks of bread at a time, then poured the crumbs into a bowl and fished out any un-blended chunks for the next go-round and so on till everything was nicely ground up. And voila, homemade wheat-free breadcrumbs!

I put the breadcrumbs in a ziploc bag and when it came time to make my chicken, I poured some out as usual, mixed them with spices (I normally just buy the Italian breadcrumbs already seasoned, so this time I had to add that step) and proceeded as usual--and the chicken turned out great. My husband thought it was better than usual, I thought it was pretty much identical in flavor, so either way that was a win. (I used almost all of this batch, and kept what was left in the pantry till next time.)

The verdict: super easy! I will definitely keep doing this so we always have wheat-free breadcrumbs in the pantry.

For more Adventures, be sure to check out Alicia's Homemaking.

What new things have you tried lately?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Organizing Challenge, Week 5

Time Management

Let's see, I'm still a mess. ;-) Every day is different and I'm trying to learn from my successes and failures. Yesterday, for example, I succeeded in showering and taking T with me to Walmart. But by mid-afternoon, I felt like crap (IBS cramps) so I napped. {Then I was able to buck up and make lasagna for dinner so it wasn't a total loss.} Therefore, today I planned to nap first thing this morning because that seems to be less disrupting. (Yes, I'm learning I need a daily nap. How pathetic is that? I'm getting 8 hours of sleep per night, pretty religiously going to bed by 10:30. Sort of.) But T was clingy and it was 9:15 by the time I laid down. And when the timer went off at 10:00 (I have also scientifically figured out I need 45 minutes of rest or I won't get up), I couldn't get out of bed. 15 minutes later I did rise, thanks to T screaming for me to start a new show. I had been debating which errand to run (the choices were post office-grocery combo or Target) but I got up feeling like the morning was wasted and said "screw it--no errand." And then I decided to run through my whole To Do List. Which I did and was mostly done in 45 minutes.

I started laundry before my nap, so I switched it to the dryer. Unloaded then reloaded the dishwasher. Changed the sheets on both kids' beds. And wrote and mailed a bday card to my sis. I took a quick break (yes, I kept it quick) then started writing thank you notes. Finished 4 out of 8--yeehaw!

Great, so in order to be productive, I must ignore my kids and not go anywhere. Yeah, that's not a super duper plan. Thus, time management continues to be a huge work in progress.


Last week, I did do some organizing of my desk. I'll post before and after pics soon. Basically, we'd been using a basket to corral our various pieces of paper (junk) and it was overflowing, so I had an idea to get a desktop file box. I bought one for the desk and for the foyer table (a future project) and I went through the basket of crap paper, threw out (recycled) a ton and filed the rest. Yea! I can't wait to tackle the foyer table. (I also have more junk on the desk to corral, but it's much better.) {Can I just say, I'm loving my files, so easy to find things!!!}

And my BFF and I have decided to tackle organizing projects together, one per month, since we both happened to work on our home office in the month of January (in fact, I was inspired to do my desk after seeing pictures of her revamped desk). So this month is entryways--she's working on her backdoor dumping ground and I'll be working on my front entry (including messy disaster foyer table). Great to have another source of support and accountability!!!


I attempted to do the pie chart activity, but I couldn't wrap my head around percentages or fractions (don't get me wrong, I can do math, I just couldn't visualize my time and priorities in that way) so here's what I came up with instead:

What I spend enough time on:
-spiritual (it would be great to increase this down the road, but I'm okay right now saying my prayers in bed at night)
-relaxing with Hubby (once the kids are in bed and I make the formula and sometimes shower, we watch Netflix together till 10:15--this is good for my marriage and my sanity, it stays)
-cooking (I handle 3 meals a day, whether Hubby or I do the actual cooking, this is a good system)

What I don't spend enough time on:
-playing with the kids

What I spend too much time on:
-the internet

From this exercise, I've learned that I need to take time from the relaxing/internet time and put it toward neglected things like my kids and cleaning and if I'm ever going to accomplish projects like decluttering or making photo books. As I said above, this time-management thing is a work in progress, but this gives me a good guideline.

For this week, we were to cut, combine and delegate tasks. I can't cut anything, I already do less than the minimum. And I can't really delegate anything--my Hubby does a ton of work and right now we have a good division of labor going on that works for both of us. {Although, I would LOVE to have a cleaning service come once per month, that would be awesome, but currently that is not in our finances.} I'm thinking that combining could be a good thing for me (music while I organize, letting the kids sort laundry with me) to help me combine playing with cleaning, and relaxing with projects, from those categories above.

Okay, that's where I'm at this week. Tons of work left to do. Oh another thing I did was buy an extra toilet brush so it can stay in our upstairs bathroom, so I can clean the toilet whenever I notice a ring, without having to make a big plan of when to clean and drag my bucket of supplies upstairs. Haha, baby steps!

This post is linked to the wonderful One Year to a {More} Organized Life on Unsolicited Advice. Go over and join in!