Monthly Archives: November 2009

November Goal: Rough Draft

The following list is a start to what I plan to incorporate into my days.  Some of this I’ve done before and just need to dust off…some of it will be new to me.

Make some time for myself before the day starts.  I’m still trying to figure out if it is too much to try to fit a trip to the gym in at 5:30am or use the time for a short bit of yoga or something and some Bible time…

  • Get completely ready (hair & makeup too) before first kids come @ 6:45.
  • Have a dinner plan in place.
  • Make  pocket lists for work time and off hours.  Then post them inside a kitchen cabinet.  Then look at them.
  • Put my flylady lists back into commission.  I customized zone lists and a weekly cleaning list a couple of years ago.
  • Create morning and evening routines that are simple and healthy.
  • Go to bed by 10 pm on weeknights and shoot for 11 pm on weekends.
  • Stop working at 8 pm
  • Clean up the kitchen and turn off the light in there after supper.

Also I plan to give my kids a little more as far as chores.  We don’t have set chore lists but the kids help out when/where needed.

I also plan to go back to assigning some tasks to certain days.  Laundry will be done on Mondays and Thursdays and I will do bookkeeping on Tuesday evenings.

So it’s a start.  And it’s almost 10 pm on a work night so I suppose I better go get ready for bed.



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November Goal: Challenges

As I’m thinking about this new routine I want, I’m trying to keep the challenges in mind.  Maybe planning for those ineveitable road blocks will help.  While  anything unexpected can turn into a “challenge” for a planner like me, I am trying to look at the main challenges I see.

Separating work and personal lives. Working long hours at home makes it hard to stop working sometimes.  It’s easy to look at those toys and decide they need cleaned and switched out for others at 7 pm on a Thursday night.  Because you really wanted to do it last weekend.  Knowing the baby is teething and the toddlers are crabby with colds can mean you fix a casserole tonight for lunch tomorrow so you don’t have to be in the kitchen too much tomorrow.   Feeling like you work all the time is a definite recipe for burn out.  And it sucks the fun out of family time.

Indulging in time wasters to escape. I could watch tv all evening every evening.  Easily.  I love shows like CSI and the Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Cold Case…you get the idea.  I also like sitcoms.  I’m not much for reality tv, thank goodness.  So you can see that this is a great way to escape.  And I have a partner in crime too, since my hubby loves tv as much or more.  I can also waste untold hours online.  Think of what I could accomplish if I just turned off the tv and did something.  I will say that I’ve made a small stride in the right direction.  I refuse to watch any of the new shows out this season (except Accidentally on Purpose because I loved Dharma & Greg) and so Tuesday evenings are totally open.

Not having clear goals. Without a clear map of what I want to do and when it is easy to stumble through the days, feeling more on top of things some and clueless others.

Unpredictable things that fall into the day (and usually involve kids). Planning a lovely evening of a fun project after a nice dinner isn’t going to matter when one kid comes home with a page of science experiments that need completed by tomorrow and the other really wants to go to the basketball game in an hour.  Or your husband calls to say that he forgot he had a meeting that evening.  Or the kids were monkeys all day and you’ve had no quiet time at all to catch up on the mess.  There are just going to be times when you need a Plan B.



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Company Girl Coffee 11.13.09

coffee girls

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I’ve posted.  What a tough week.  Work as been all-consuming this week and that is hard sometimes.  If you’ve been here much you may know that I run a daycare in my home.  I have kids here about 10.5 hours a day, almost 55 hours a week.  I’ve also put in a few extra hours reading up on preschool sleep patterns and needs, a couple hours doing some extra sanitizing after a child got pink eye, a few hours of the regular cleaning/sanitizing, and some extra bookkeeping/tax work & lesson planning  for a few more hours.  I think I’m at close to 80 hours this last week.  I have good families and fun kids but 8 kids under 3.5 years old can be challenging sometimes.  Today I only have two little ones so this nap time should be some guaranteed quiet time and I welcome that.

Also this week the door on the upright freezer was left open for a day.  I found it during work hours of course so that made it hard for me to put my attention there.  It did get all cleaned out and only one kitchen garbage bag full of food went to the garbage.  While it looks so much better and I’m glad it is cleaned out, the timing could’ve been better.

I’ve tried to keep up on the daily challenges I check in on and honestly, it feels like little else is getting accomplished.  This weekend I plan to spend a day sewing.  My basket of projects is getting full so I am anxious to get to that.  I ripped apart a bunch of old corduroys and jeans this week so that I can turn them into some big floor pillows for my tweens to hang out on in the family room. There are baby things to make for daycare…like bibs and play mats.  I like crafty weekends and that is exactly what I am planning.  Some crafts and catch up on other household things.

While this week or so got away from me, I am not discouraged.  I am still working on that November goal of getting a new working routine going…slow and steady wins the race, right?  And last night I did pamper myself a little.  I had a hair appointment so now I’ve got a little new fall color, cleaned up brows and a fresh trim.  When I got home I ignored the craft project I should’ve prepped and gave myself a good pedicure instead.

Now that nap time is almost over I should get a little straightening up done.  Welcome company girls! I am so glad you stopped by.  While I’m not a coffee drinker, I’d be happy to dust off the coffee maker my MIL insists I keep on hand.  Or I’ll make you a cup of tea.  Because I love to visit!


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November Goal: Expectations

To make this a more thoughtful process, I suppose I should look at my expectations for a new routine.  What is it I truly want to accomplish?  What is important to me?  Really, what are my goals?

I want to feel some sense of control. Do you ever have that feeling like you are bouncing from thing to thing?  You start one project and all of a sudden you can’t remember the last time you watered the plants?  Sometimes I feel like I’m living my own If You Give a Pig a Pancake book.  Maybe something like If You Give a Mom a Mission. I’m looking to avoid that feeling.

It is important that I find a realistic balance. The perfectionist in me tends to fall into the all or nothing camp.  So much piles up because I just don’t have time to do it properly.  This is where the daily challenges come in handy.  I feel like I accomplished something without over-planning it.  I want to be able to have a more relaxed attitude about housework.

Making room for fun is an extension of that realistic balance.  I think my family would appreciate that.

So I hope to set up some morning, work & evening routines that put a rhythm in my days.  In the coming days I’ll take a look at the challenges I face and how to combat those challenges.  I’ll also look at what has worked in the past.    Maybe next week this time I’ll be starting some new routines.  Wouldn’t that be something!

I’d love to hear what has worked for you.  How do you strike a balance between work & play?

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Caroline Ingalls, June Cleaver & Mrs. Jones

When I feel a pull to simplify I sometimes reread the Laura Ingalls books.  Flipping channels on TV can sometimes land me on Leave It To Beaver, wondering how I’m going wrong to not have my act together like June.

While it’s certainly OK to feel drawn to another era, I think it is also important to remember that some of those depictions we’re so familiar with are no doubt romanticized.  Do you really think Caroline would see her life the way we do?  How about June?  So, what about that friend that always looks like she has it together?  Would she say so?

Some of these comparisons I make to iconic homemakers of the past are beginning to look like a cross-era “keeping up with the Joneses” and I’m not sure I’m happy about that.  The message is clear: trying to keep up with the Joneses is a futile exercise, both expensive and inauthentic.

So can it also be said that using famous homemakers of the past is similarly complicated?  Can it cause undo stress and frustration?  I’m beginning to think so.

I don’t think it is in my best interest to compare myself to anyone else.  In fact Galatians 6:4 says:

Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.

So I’ll forge ahead on my own.  Trying to learn from past homemakers without trying to duplicate their lives.  Learning the concepts and making them my own. Using what works for a particular season and leaving the rest behind. Maybe some of what doesn’t fit now will seem just right during the next season of my life.

The hardest part will be doing this without comparing my success, without looking through those rose-colored glasses at past examples.  They aren’t me, so I can’t be them. And that needs to be OK.

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November Goals

A new month is here and I have high hopes for a great start to the Holiday season.   This month, I hope to get a new routine established for myself.  I enjoy my role as home-maker and I enjoy working with the kids in my child care, but I’ll be honest…sometimes it is crazy having people here, coming and going, upwards of 55 hours a week.  Balancing my own family schedule on top of that adds more juggling.  When I’ve got a rhythm to my days, both in housework and child care, I am much happier.

Over the summer I took a long road trip with my mom, then just a couple weeks later I took off another week to spend with my husband and kids.  Since mid-August I can’t seem to find my rhythm for more than a few days.

I’ve been thinking about it in the context of the person who plateaus with their fitness goals.  The recipe for continued success is often to shake things up.  It is said that our bodies get used to a certain routine and so results slow down.

Can this happen with our daily routines too?  Do we get so used to the routine that we get lax about getting things done?  Do we find subtle changes in our lives that make parts of our old routine ineffective?

Since September I’ve been relaxing my schedule & expectations a bit.  I am getting things done in fits and starts.  Not as satisfying as I’d like.  I’ve been following along with 100 days to Christmas, Organized Christmas, Home Sanctuary and a bit of FlyLady.  I like the spontaneity of the daily challenges that each put forth.

I used to be a faithful FlyLady follower…I made up my own Zone checklists in a postcard size and along with my customized weekly checklist I would stay on track.  I liked knowing that my whole house got some cleaning attention each month.  It was very good while it lasted.  I want some of that back.

So for now I plan to work in the FlyLady zone of the week, do some of the other daily challenges out there and try to fit in some regular exercise.  I know it seems like a lot to bite off right before the holidays but I think a new routine in place will actually contribute to a more relaxed holiday season.

Follow along…I’ll be blogging what I’m trying and how it’s going.  I also plan to do a weekly post on things I’m thankful for because it is almost Thanksgiving.

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