Monday, January 31, 2011

Home Management Binder

I joined the weekly challenge at A Bowl Full of Lemons. The challenge this week is to create a household management binder. I was unable to participate in ABFoL's 21 Days to Getting Organized Challenge because I just couldn't complete any of those tasks in one day. I do hope to do each of those challenges, it's just going to take me more time. I might actually get to finish this challenge because I get the whole week and I already have one started.

I had a plain blue 1" Avery binder with several sections that help me keep my family and home (kind of) organized. I went ahead and used the challenge as a good excuse to buy a cute binder. Normally, I would not spend that kind of money on a binder (I'm too cheap) but I do love office supplies and went ahead and splurged. Toni suggested we look at Target for cute but inexpensive binders and that's where I found mine. I bought a 1" binder and a 2" binder.

I moved everything from my old binder to my new binder and from here I will add to and subtract from mine as necessary. I know I have some outdated information in mine and am hoping to get some ideas on important things to add.

Menu Plan Monday

I'm going to link to Menu Plan Monday for the first time today. Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at Org Junkie. I am not linking up because I think I have anything special to offer. I'm linking up because I don't have anything special to offer. I try my best, but cooking and menu planning is not something I am good at. I know Laura says her life has changed because of menu planning. That is not the case for me. It has made deciding what's for dinner much easier. I also am much more prepared for dinnertime because I have taken some time to plan ahead. I'm linking up because often when I look at the menu plans on Menu Plan Mondays I feel inadequate. My hope with linking up is to show other moms a menu plan doesn't have to be anything special, and that's ok.

Sunday-Crock Pot Pizza
Monday-Baked Potato Soup
Thursday-Salmon in Foil (from Meal Makeover Moms)
Friday-Homemade Pizza
Saturday-??Husband is supposed to cook (but usually doesn't)

The above plan shows one of my weaknesses, vegetables and other side dishes. I always have frozen veggies and I try to remember to pick up something fresh to use during the week. I always have apples and applesauce. I try to steam a veggie or cut up a piece of fruit, or both, each night.

Wow, this sounds even more pathetic than I thought. Oh, well. It has been and could be worse.


Sundays are another day pretty free from scheduled chores. The things I need to do every Sunday are:
1. Give kids their allowance. (Yes, I have to write it down or else it doesn't get done.)
2. Pay bills due the upcoming week.
3. Check & update my calendars and to do list.

That's it. I also tend to do my grocery shopping on Sundays.

Yesterday, I gave the kids their allowances in the morning. I grocery shopped after church. I slacked a little on my dailies. I did the dishes but did not vacuum. Since January is winding down I worked on a January task. I cleaned a little bit of the fridge. I made a pretty involved (pretty involved for me) meal and had a meeting after dinner. I usually pay the bills and update my calendar after the kids go to bed. After I got back from the meeting I just didn't feel like doing that. So, I didn't get the bills paid or the calendar updated. I did check the bills and calendar before I went to bed and we'll be ok IF I do them today.

I better go do that.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I try to keep Saturdays pretty free from assigned tasks. The only two tasks I want to be sure are done during the weekend is having everyone empty their shoes out of the shoe basket and a swish & swipe. That way if we have plans, I don't feel like I'm falling behind. If we don't have plans then I can tackle a bigger project, catch up, or just hang out. Sometime during the weekend someone in the family does a swish & swipe. The first weekend of the month it's my husband, the second it's myself, the third it's my daughter, the fourth it's my son. We have been doing it this way for a couple months and the kids have actually been really cooperative. My daughter, who is 6, does a pretty good job. I accept with my son that he probably won't do a very good job...yet. What I'm doing is allowing him to get a little practice. If I do it on Tuesday and Thursday of that week it doesn't matter if it's not done very well on Saturday. My husband has yet to swish & swipe but, to be fair, I only mentioned it once and either haven't reminded him on his weekend or he was gone.

Today I did my dailies but none of the weekend tasks got completed. The kids had a lot of extra jobs to complete (due to their horrible bedtime behavior this week) and I wanted to tackle a big job. The oven. I have never cleaned the oven in this house. I don't remember ever cleaning any oven. One of my favorite podcasts is Vicky and Jen. In one of the recent episodes Jen said she never cleaned an oven. Vicky thought she meant used the self cleaner. She repeated, she had never cleaned an oven. I thought, "Me either, is that a big deal?" About that same time some of the junk in the bottom of the oven actually caught fire. Yes, I had a fire in my oven. I realized I had to do something. Being the procrastinator I am, I didn't do it right away. Then I saw two blog posts on A Bowl Full of Lemons about cleaning the oven using this Shaklee product, Scour Off. I'm trying to be greener so this Scour Off product sounded like a good idea. Plus, Toni gives you free shipping on your first order so I thought, why not?

I got the product on Thursday and couldn't wait to use it. Today was the day.

You need to know that earlier in the week I had already worked on the oven a little. That means, believe it or not, it actually looked worse than this. Here are the before pictures:

The white at the bottom of the oven is the baking soda I used to put out the fire.

While the door looks bad here, it was worse earlier in the week. The window was much more covered.

This is the oven thermometer. It's very hard to read. I don't know how this happened, though. Nothing ever spilled on it. I guess the disgust from the rest of the oven just seeped onto it.

Here are the after pictures:

Not perfect, but much better.

My son said, I didn't know we had a mirror on there. (The window looks like a mirror because you can't see out of it as well as you can see in.)

This is the really impressive part. The picture isn't clear because I couldn't use my flash but you get the idea. I'm guessing my oven would have cleaned up much easier if the yuck hadn't been baked on for so many years.

My after pictures don't look quite as good as this from Clean Mama or this from A Bowl Full of Lemons but I'm just taking a wild guess that Toni and Clean Mama have cleaned their oven some time in the last ten years. Also, I ran out of Scour Off. I started applying on the sides and back, which I now know was a mistake. I should have started on the worst part first. Plus, I ran out of time. I had to leave before I was finished. I'm going to get some more and try to finish it up. I'm a little obsessive so while it was ok with me not to clean my oven for ten years, now I feel the need to get it spotless right away.

Get up already!

One of the non-negotiables for many of the super organized is to get up before everyone in the house and get yourself ready. I know flylady thinks it is really important to get yourself completely ready every day. She even believes you should get dressed "to the shoes." That goes a little too far for me. What does make a difference for me is doing my make-up. For a few years there I didn't wear much make-up. That was something I was able to do when I was young. I had nice skin and didn't need make-up. I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened but at some point that changed. There have been many, many times I have looked in the mirror and thought, "I can't believe I went out in public looking like this." When I look in the mirror on those days it's a little bit of a shock because that is not what I thought I looked like. I imagine I look like I did ten years ago. Smooth, bright skin. No wrinkles or puffs or dark circles or spots. When my daughter was a couple years old I remember thinking that I didn't want that (non-make-up) face to be the one she remembered. I wanted to look better.

Within the last year I realized I needed to put make-up on just about every day, especially if I am leaving the house. Not only do I look better, I feel better. I don't wear a lot of make-up. I wear some mineral make-up to even out my color, a little bit of eye shadow, mascara and blush. It doesn't take me very long to do it, so that's not the issue. My eyes tear very easy so I have to wear waterproof mascara. In order to get that off, I have to use mascara remover. I use Clinique's Take the Day Off. As I am writing this it doesn't seem like a very good reason to avoid putting on make-up but it is a bit of work to get it off. I was doing really well for a while. Then the last month or so I've put it on less and less. When I don't do my make-up I tend toward wearing huge, old, baggy sweats and t-shirts. That does not make me feel good. Earlier this week (when I had to pick up my daughter from school with "the pink eye" as she calls it) I started thinking that I need to get back into the routine.

Yesterday morning, knowing I was going to be running errands, I did my make up. Thank goodness!! The assistant principal from my daughter's school was at our bus stop. (That is another story and I am not happy about it. No, she doesn't usually ride the bus to school.) It's not just that I want to look my best to make a good impression on those at my daughter's school (luckily Monday I was able to slip in and out without much interaction.) I want to get a job at that school within the next few years. I would have been horrified had I been in my big, horrible sweats and no make-up. I am taking this as a warning. Get up and get dressed. It doesn't take that long and it makes a huge difference.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Friday is my bedroom/hall/entry day. On Fridays, I alternate between dusting my bedroom, the hall, the entry and the office/spare room. It's probably not often enough and if my Fridays continue to be as easy as today, I'll have to change that. Fridays are also the one weekday I only have the two year old in the morning so it is also the day I run errands. I got up late today so I didn't even get my dailies completed before we had to leave to meet the bus and then drop off at preschool. The two year old and I ran a lot of errands and on the way home he fell asleep. I do not mess with naps, so there was no vacuuming happening here (that's one daily that didn't get completed today.) I finished the dishes and tidying up pretty quickly. My four year old was at a friends so I had a quiet house and time to myself and I wasn't sure what to to. I should've just sat around and read a book or watched tv but I wanted to take advantage of the time. I decided to handle some things on my to do list I had been putting off. I hate making phone calls and get way behind on emails so I handled lots of that stuff today. In the end, I got to mark some things off my to do list and just enjoyed an easy afternoon.

Tonight, it was the boy's turn

So, the bedtime battle tonight was with my son. When it comes to bedtime struggles, he is not usually the one who gives me a hard time. He and I have our own issues but bedtime is not one of them. This afternoon the little boy who gets off the bus with my daughter came over and stayed for dinner. Around 7:30 I could tell it had been too long. (I guess I should follow the advice on the We are THAT family blog, leave when you are having fun.) I gave them all dessert and we took the friend home. Getting in the van was an issue, the girl blocked the boy, he got mad and hit her. Then, he tried to hit me, twice. When he does that to me he doesn't hit me like he hits her. He just sort of taps me or swings, just to see what I will do. After we got back home he kept going. We headed to the bathroom to brush teeth. He swung again and again. So, I started walking him to his room. Naturally, he stopped walking so I would have to pull him. He got up to walk down the steps and swung at me, again. That pushed me over the edge. I held him by the shoulders and said in a mean mommy voice, "You do not hit me." I held him by both hands and drug him to his room and left him there. It worked, he got his reaction. All in all, I know the way I reacted wasn't that bad. It could have been much worse. Still, I expect more from myself. I need to keep it under control. Bedtime with the girl was great. (They tend to do that, when one really sets me off, the other is super good.) Next time, I'm going to try giving him a hug. Even if it doesn't work I'll feel much better at least trying that.

I love Wal-Mart, I hate Wal-Mart

Today I ran some errands and needed to get some essentials. I don't know about anyone else, but for me I feel like there are two options. Target and Wal-Mart. I have several of both stores around where I live. So, pretty much wherever I am I can choose between the two. I used to go mainly to Wal-Mart. One of the places I lived was right down the street from one. So, I'd go to the grocery store for my groceries and then head to Wal-Mart for other essentials, like cotton balls, toothpaste, etc. My mom is a Wal-Mart lover. She'll tell you she goes almost every day. The Wal-Mart by her house recent became a supercenter so she's kinda in heaven. I'm kinda anti-Wal-Mart. This change happened after hearing stories about how they treat their workers, like by scheduling them for hours that equal one too few for Wal-Mart to have to provide them with healthcare. Or, how they make deals with companies that require the company to sell their goods at a certain price to Wal-Mart (to guarantee they can sell the products at a low price to consumers) or else Wal-Mart won't carry their product. That makes it difficult for smaller stores to compete. Or, how Wal-Mart has come into a town and essentially caused smaller businesses that have been in the town forever to close down. I believe in the power of the purse. I know I cast a vote every time I spend a dollar. For example, by buying organic I'm letting grocery stores know that organic is important to me. So, given a choice, I try to avoid Wal-Mart. I don't judge anyone else. Nor do I think everyone shoud live by that standard. Having said all that. Wal-Mart has everything. Recently, I stopped by Wal-Mart when I was by my parent's house (Target is not close to them) to get a few things and picked up this microfiber mitt. I wanted to get another one today so I headed to Wal-Mart. I needed to get several other things so went ahead and got them there instead of also hitting Target. After my Wal-Mart visit I didn't need to stop by the grocery store on my way home. When I have a two year old in tow, having one less place to stop is huge. So, of course, now I feel guilty having compromised myself in order to save a little time and money. After a visit like today I am reminded why Wal-Mart is so huge and successful. They make it so easy and so cheap. For me, who tries to be super frugal it's a real quandary. Hmm, what to do?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bedtime battles

I am so tired of having bedtime battles. I hate to end the day with struggle between myself and my children. My daughter and I, especially, have some hard times. This is not a new challenge for us. I remember thinking several years ago, around the time she moved into her big girl bed, that I needed to figure out a better way to do bedtime. I didn't want her to remember back to her childhood and have bedtime be a negative memory. I wanted (and still want) bedtime to be an enjoyable time where we read and snuggle and just soak each other up. Often that is the way it is. That means often it is not. I think my daughter must enjoy irritating me. (I know all the psychology. It may be that she is trying to get negative attention because at least it is attention. I know I get to choose how I react. Blah, blah, blah.) It starts with teeth brushing. I will be sitting with her toothbrush in my hand, ready to put it in her mouth and she spins and walks away to do something else. It is usually something like blowing her nose. It is so frustrating and she knows it. I try to ignore it and she keeps going and going until I say something. I'll be trying to do something (maybe brushing her teeth again) and she'll try to make herself yawn. It's like she wants me to sit and wait for her and she doesn't care if it makes me mad. I can't figure out what that does for her. It drives me crazy. Then we head to her room to read in her bed. I'll be waiting in her bed for her as she wanders around and piddles and dawdles. Again making me wait on her. I've started taking some inspiration from Love and Logic and the more time she walks around, the less time there is for books because I leave the room at the same time every night. It's a logical consequence but she doesn't seem to get it. She used to call me back to her bed, just as I was walking out the door. Finally, the rule became when I leave I'm not coming back so don't call me. Of course, she tested me and I had to walk out and hear her cry but she doesn't call me back anymore. Then there's the reading. I remember my mom talking about it being such torture when my younger brother and sister started to read. Listening to my daughter read doesn't bother me. If she would just flippin' read. She actually is a pretty good reader and is making great progress. I don't understand why she messes around and stops and talks about something else.

Ok, I just needed to vent. The last several nights were actually pretty good. I remember thinking how enjoyable they were. I know part of it is I'm wiped out by the end of the day. It's probably the worst when I am on my own for dinner, bath and bedtime. When my husband is home he does dishes while I start baths. When he's not here everything is a little later and that stresses me out. I probably should do dinner earlier so I feel less press for time. Hmm, I'll have to try that. Now, time for me to go to bed.


Thursdays are my bathrooms day. Every Thursday I swish & swipe and change the bathroom towels. Once a month I make sure I wipe down the shelves and pictures in each bathroom. Once a month is probably not enough for most people but for me it's an improvement. If I feel I need to (or can) add another day I have that option.

Today I did my dailies and Thursday tasks. I was finished by around 10. The baby was sleeping and the two bigger boys were playing quietly downstairs. I was feeling all proud of my self and like the house was in pretty good shape. There is some paperwork stuff I need to work on so I figured I'd do that during afternoon naps. I needed to finish today's laundry so I walked downstairs. This is what I saw:

I know they are just little boys and this is what they do. The two year old especially likes to just take things out and leave them out. But I was a little deflated when I first saw it. Plus, what I don't understand is why the chair is upside down. Oh well. I guess it's two steps forward, one step back.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Wednesdays are my family room day. On Wednesdays I dust the family room. My family room is connected to the kitchen/dining area in what I guess could be called the "great room" though that's a little deceptive. It's a little small to call it "great." So, when I say family room I also mean the kitchen/dining area. The other activities of the day determine how thoroughly I dust. Last week, I didn't do such a great job, so I made up for it today. I also clean the floors every other Wednesday. Today was one of the floor cleaning Wednesdays. We have laminate floors through the upper level (we have a split level.) I use a Shark floor steamer--I LOVE it.

Today I did my dailies & Wednesday tasks and still had a little time and energy left so I added a couple January jobs. Today's January jobs were cleaning the light fixture above the sink, cleaning the ceiling fan in the kitchen and wiping off the top of the fridge. All three of those jobs are ones I would never get to until I happened to see how gross they were, or someone else saw how gross they were. I much prefer to do it this way to avoid embarrassment (because someone else saw it) or disappointment in myself.

Can so&so come over?

I wanted to link up to Works for Me Wednesday today for the first time. I wrote my post about a laundry tip and headed over to We Are That Family to try to figure out how to participate. Then I saw that Kristen's post is titled "Parenting Outside the House" and immediately my tip came to mind. I am by no means a parenting expert and will not claim to be. (I believed I was much more of an expert before I had children. It's funny how once I had those babies I was put in my place.) This practice did actually start before I had children. I am the oldest of four. The two youngest are thirteen and fifteen years younger than me. While I wasn't a parent to them, I was more than just a big sister. It used to drive me crazy when my brother and sister would ask my mom if a friend could come over while the friend was standing there. It puts everyone in an awkward position. As a parent, it still drives me crazy. In my house, the rule is "If you ask in front of your friend, the answer is no." We still have some work to do, though. While my daughter (who is 6) won't ask in front of her friend, she will ask me to leave the room so she can ask me. So it's not perfect, but it's a good start.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Every Tuesday I swish & swipe. I don't know where I heard of that first, flylady, sidetracked home executives (shes), or the messies manual, but the name is perfect. I also disinfect the kitchen and empty the trash. I have a spray bottle with vinegar and tea tree oil for disinfecting. I spray and wipe the kitchen table, placemats, counters, sink and trash can. I also empty all the trash cans around the house because tomorrow is trash day. Tuesdays are also my kitchen day. That means I can either organize or deep clean some part of the kitchen.

Today I did my dailies and my Tuesday tasks. Looking at the list I don't feel super productive. Then I realize in addition to those things I fed two kids breakfast, got one ready for school, got one of my kids and a spare on the bus, took four kids (ages 4, 4, 2 & 6 months--one of my own and three spares) up to the school with me to get my daughter (with pink eye), fed three kids snack and lunch, fed the baby twice, cleaned up the lunch dishes, changed five diapers and one outfit, got the spare off the bus, fed four kids afternoon snack, carried the baby around in the sling for about an hour, made dinner, cleaned the dinner dishes, gave one shower, one bath, dried one little girl's hair and got two kids ready for bed. Whew. No wonder I'm wiped out at the end of the day. I know as a mom I forget that all the childcare things I do are my most important work. Sometimes I feel if I don't get very much done around the house I haven't been productive. I have to remind myself that those are not the most important things. The little people around here are. (And they are A LOT of work!)


I'm laying in bed last night, having a hard time falling asleep, when I barely hear music. I sort of freeze and think, "What in the world?" I turn off my fan (I use for white noise) and listen. I hear Paul McCartney singing "My Love" and it sounds like it's coming from the kitchen. I'm a little freaked out but know I have to go check it out. I slowly get up and head into the hall. I turned on the hall light (I guess to warn the intruder I was coming) and slowly start walking down the hall. I guess I have seen too many horror movies because I expect to see Hannibal Lecter or someone standing there waiting for me. My iPod was in the docking station and had turned on. I looked at the little clock and realized an alarm was set. I thought, "That's weird, how did the alarm get set for 11:43 p.m.?" Then I realized the alarm was our morning alarm set to 8:20 to let us know to get coats on and get out of the house. So, I have no explanation for why the music turned on. Weird. As I headed back to my room I saw that the office door was closed. Again, thinking back to horror movies I was a little scared of what I'd find if I opened it. I had to open it, though because if someone was in there it would be better to find them now, right. So, I slowly opened it. Of course, there was no one in there. I remembered I closed the door earlier to keep the dog out. Even after everything checked out I was a little freaked out and jumpy when I went back to bed. I'm supposed to be the grown up in this house? I wonder what my parents would have done when I was little. If they thought these weird kinds of things I'm glad I didn't know.

Did I mention we have two dogs that were out in that room? Did I mention that we have an alarm? Surely I'm not the only person who does things like this, right?

Monday, January 24, 2011


Mondays are my catch-up day. I did my daily tasks (vacuum, dishes, made my bed, one load of laundry--though I didn't put the laundry away) and the weekly task of washing sheets (though I only did my daughter's sheets, I never believed I would wash all of our sheets each week.) I didn't need to catch up on any tasks from last week so today I was able to do some of my January tasks. Today I worked in the kitchen. I cleaned the stove top, drip pans, inside the oven (just a bit), and front of the fridge. I need to work on the oven a little more, okay a lot more, and the stove isn't perfect but it will keep getting better and better. If I didn't have my January calendar I would never have done those things at all. The stove would continue to get more disgusting and I would be embarrassed if anyone ever looked in my oven. We have lived here ten years and I don't think I have ever cleaned inside my oven. I waited so long that the self cleaning feature on my oven no longer works. I also cleaned the screens in the range hood. That I am sure I never did and they were gross. They are not on my list, but I will add them.

Here is the before:

In my defense, I never see these. The only reason I noticed them today is I was cleaning the underside of the hood and felt something sticky. It was the rubbery tabs used to pull them out. I'm trying to be greener so I used vinegar first and scrubbed like crazy with a plastic scrubby and my Pampered Chef kitchen brush. Not such a good idea because the gunk that came off the screens needed to be picked off the brush. Then I used orange glo and an old toothbrush. I was really happy with the results:

Sometimes I feel pathetic that I am so proud of something like this. It would seem insignificant to some people but to me it's something I would not have normally done. It's just another step in getting this house to where I would like it to be.

Is being a clutter bug genetic?

We worked on my daughter's room on Saturday. The dresser is really the biggest problem right now. Here is the before picture:

The difference between her and me is that she thinks this is ok. Lots of the stuff up there she put there intentionally (like that chick dressed like a bunny.) I'm trying to teach her to be more tidy so she doesn't struggle with it as much as I have as an adult. So, we cleared the top off, dusted and picked only the things most important to her to display. I tried to explain that you can't see the stuff that is important to her (like the photos) while all the other stuff is piled on the dresser.

Here's the after:

The monkey and pink blanket are what she sleeps with at night--and has since she was very little. She had to have them in that bowl, because that is their "bed." The Littlest Pet Shop hamster in front (which is a McDonald's toy) HAD to be there because there are some stickers on the dresser that are her food (I had put them elsewhere and she noticed they were gone and insisted they be returned.) The paper people in the upper right hand corner are puppets made by her best friend and there is no way she is getting rid of those. Wow, this kid is going to be tough. I have my work cut out for me.

Office update

Here is the office:

I know it won't win any design awards. (Even if I had unlimited time I wouldn't be able create something award worthy. Maybe if I had unlimited money I could pay someone to.) At least I will no longer be embarrassed if someone sees it.

I know the lampshade is crooked, there are baby toys on the floor, books are piled behind the pillows and diapers and wipes are on the chair but for me, it doesn't get much better than this.

New Favorite Blog

I have a new favorite blog. Not necessarily my most favorite but added to my list of favorites (I still LOVE Nony at A Slob Comes Clean.) A bowl full of lemons. She has been hosting an organizing challenge (21 Days to getting organized) and while I am not able to follow the challenge every day I do plan on doing most of the tasks. I'll be posting on that, when I get to them.


I have several issues when it comes to clutter. It's hard for me to get rid of things for several reasons: I paid good money for it. Someone gave it to me. There is nothing wrong with it. It's valuable (I could sell it on ebay or craig's list.) It's cute. I might need it some day. I might be able to use it some day. These are excuses familiar to many people. I have worked very hard to rid my house of a lot of clutter regardless of those excuses. I think I have done very well.

I recently donated four bags of stuff. In those bags were many items that I could have kept because of the above excuses. Actually, there were some things in those bags I had been keeping for those reasons. Specifically I can think of some purses that were really cute. They were bought on clearance but never used. I kept thinking I would use them later, like when I didn't need to carry so much stuff for my kids. I didn't. I thought I'd sell them on ebay. I didn't. So, I finally got rid of them. I've been going through the house a little at a time and getting rid of things. I donated five bags of clothes last fall. Five bags. I am not someone who has a lot of clothes. I do not have a huge closet nor do I spend much money on clothes, yet I was still able to get rid of five bags. I am so glad I did.

So, I know I can let go of things. One problem I have when letting go occurs because I am trying to be green. It is very hard for me to throw anything not broken in the trash. I just think about it sitting in a landfill and I can't do it. I donate everything I can. Somethings you just can't donate, like the random blue barrette. I don't know where it came from but surely someone could use it, right? Sometimes I can't even throw broken things in the trash. Right now I have a magnet of the statue of liberty that fell off the fridge and broke. I thought I could glue it back together. I haven't.

I'm going to do it though. I'm going to just toss those things. It's junk whether it's here or in the trash. If I hold on to it, it is still going to be junk that is not going to be used. Right?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Day #3

So, yesterday was a perfect snow day. Today, not so much. The kids were whiney and difficult. I didn't react to it very well. Now they are in bed and I'm laying here feeling badly about overreacting. It really wasn't that bad but I got irritated and frustrated and they could tell. Actually, my daughter probably acted worse because she could see how I felt. I wish I could just not let it bother me. The whining, fake crying, crabbing at me just gets me grouchy. It gave me a headache and I didn't even want to be around them anymore. Once again, I feel guilty feeling and saying that. But, I said I was going to be honest in this blog and that's honestly how I felt. Luckily, tomorrow is a new day and I get a chance to try again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Mama's Boy II

A few days ago I took my son into our school district's early childhood center to have his four year old screening. After the screening they send the parents and kids out and one of the evaluators comes out to talk to each of us. I could tell when she sat down next to me and put her hands on the file it was not going to be as simple as I thought. I expected to be told he was bright and had very good gross motor skills. Instead she talked about him maybe having some sensory issues. I could tell she was trying to be very gentle, I guess you never can tell how a parent is going to take something like this, especially when they come in thinking everything is fine. I was ok. I actually kind of surprised myself. When I was told he would need glasses because his eyesight was very poor in one of his eyes, I got very upset. Maybe that's why I dealt with this so well. I've already been through the emotions I felt when I first found out my beautiful child was not perfect. What is bothering me is that he is struggling with something and I do not know how to help him. For someone like me, who likes to be in control, this is very difficult.

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Snow Day Do Over

We had a lot of snow Wednesday night so Thursday was a snow day for my kids and my husband (and for the parents of all the kids I watch.) I was determined not to let the day slip away this time. So, at breakfast I announced my plan. I wanted for us to get some stuff done around the house and then all watch a movie together in the afternoon. After I got both kids bundled up, my husband took them outside to shovel the driveway. I took my shower, got ready for the day and got started. I was able to get my regular Thursday stuff done (swish and swipe, dishes, two loads of laundry, master bathtub), and catch up on some of the things I've missed. (It's amazing what I can get done if I don't have extra toddlers and babies to care for :)

I was finished with all my cleaning & organizing by lunch and after the lunch dishes were finished we all watched a movie together. That is my idea of a perfect snow day.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My cousin stopped by yesterday to pick up her nephew. I was good with that, the house was pretty picked up. Then she asked to use the bathroom. It was Tuesday so I was supposed to swish & swipe. I just didn't feel like it yesterday. Why can't people use my bathroom on days I swish and swipe? It was in ok shape, it had been swished and swiped on Saturday by my daughter (she's only 6 but she does a pretty good job.) Oh, well. It was still in better shape than it was a year ago. I guess the lesson is that I need to follow my schedule EVERY DAY because you never know what's going to happen (or who might stop by.)

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Office project

A I mentioned earlier, I worked on the office/spare room mess a little on Tuesday, the snow day. I didn't really spend much time. Mostly I had to put some things where they belonged or find a home for some things. Last night my daughter was really having some coughing issues. She has asthma that is triggered when she gets a cold. She's been recovering from a cold for a while so her cough is still lingering, especially at night. I began wondering if something in her room could be triggering it. (I know I'm grasping for straws but I feel like I have to try something.) So, she's downstairs hacking away and I asked my husband what he thought about having her sleep in the office. He mentioned that he coughed more in her room and it couldn't hurt to try it. So, I went and got her and took her to the office--because I could. It no longer looked like this.

The bed was clear, the baby gear was better contained and moved off the bed. To someone who's tidy this is no big deal. To me, it felt great because only last week I couldn't bring her to the office in the middle of the night. I'm just going to keep chipping away at this place and I'll get there!

Mama's Boy

I've known my son (4 years old) was a mama's boy for a while. He's always preferred his Mommy over everyone, always. That's fine by me. Since I've been back from my week away (which I won't do again for a long time) either he's keeping closer to me, or I'm just noticing it more. Every day he comes to me 10-15 times, at least, and randomly either gives me a kiss, or hug, or tells me he loves me, or any combination of the three. I don't know how to explain what it does to me but I imagine my heart growing like the Grinch's does. Then, it kind of melts and travels through my body. I'm more than happy to have a mama's boy, and I think he's happy to be one.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Follow the calendar

Today I've been walking around not knowing what to do with myself. My routine is out of whack because after preschool drop-off I ran some errands instead of coming home and doing my dailies. Then, when my son got home the boys (my son, an extra 6 month old and an extra 2 year old) and I went to the mall to spend some of my Gymbucks. (Why in the world would I take three young boys to the mall? I was told Gymboree has been giving out Gymbucks for six months so I was worried that if I waited the pickins would be slim. I won't do it again.) When we got back it was a little after 1. I've been walking around, picking things up, moving them, putting some stuff away but not really doing much of anything. I need to follow the calendar I have for cleaning even if I can't start when I usually do. Or, chalk up the day as a loss and take the afternoon off and hang out with my son. I'd feel better about that (and he'd love it) than feeling lost and useless.

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Project Clutter

I had four bags of stuff picked up today to be donated. Four bags of stuff I won't miss. Yae!!

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It's time for time

I recently blogged about my most recent motivation to get my clutter under control immediately. Last weekend I was given a reason to get control of my time, now.

On Saturday I was supposed to participate in a 12.4 mile run (it's actually a race but since my goal is to finish and not race I call it a run.) My running partner called to say she was out so I decided not to go alone. Consequently, I had several hours I wasn't expecting to have. My son gets up super early so he and I laid in bed for a while. I knew I was now going to be able to attend a Girl Scout event I thought I would have to miss. We needed to be there between 8:45 and 9. When I walked into my bathroom to take a shower I looked and it was 8:00! In order to get there we would have to leave by 8:45. Not good. I can get a shower and get myself ready in 45 minutes, but just barely. I also had to make sure my daughter was ready by then (and she is s-l-o-w.) So, I asked my husband to get her ready and I got in the shower. He got her ready (a story for another day) and we left right at 8:45. Down the street we had to turn around because she forgot her tunic. So, we were late (we would've been late anyway.) I had no cell phone (because it died two weeks ago) and was really worried because the troops weren't supposed to go in until everyone was there. Luckily, they went in without us. Unluckily, we ran into someone who was running the program who had a little fit because our troop went in without everyone (yet another story.) We got there just a little late but it was not good. Did I mention I'm the leader? I was embarrassed and frustrated (with myself, my daughter and that nasty woman I ran into.)

The worst part is that I had plenty of time. My son woke me up long before 7 so I had plenty of time to get ready, eat, get my daughter ready and get there in time. How does that happen? It happens to me all the time. I have more than enough time but am barely making it out the door in time (or not making it in time.) I have to rush and then get frustrated and upset with my kids and they get stressed and upset. It's not good. I've been thinking a lot about how to fix this. I figure there are two things I need to do. First, I need to figure out what time I need to be somewhere and work backward. So, knowing I needed to leave by 8:45 I should've been ready by 8:30 (or earlier) so I needed to get in the shower by 7:30. Second, I need to leave myself a cushion of time. Instead of planning on leaving by 8:45 because we could make it (although just barely) in 15 minutes. I should plan on being there by 8:45 meaning I should leave by 8:25. That way I'm giving myself extra time to get there as well as getting there a little early.

I can do this.

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dishwasher problem

I came into the kitchen to get some medicine my daughter needed before bed and the dishwasher had soap bubbles pouring out of it. My husband was coming out of my son's room as I was heading back into my daughter's room. I asked what kind of soap he put in. He asked what it mattered. I explained that if it wasn't dishwasher detergent it wouldn't work correctly. He said he thought it said dishwasher detergent. I finished putting my daughter to bed and when I went into the kitchen it was apparent he cleaned up the bubbles and tried to do something inside the dishwasher. He apparently hadn't used dishwasher detergent (my guess is that it was dish liquid.) This is not the first time this has happened. How frustrating.

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Snow Day

5:38-we get the call, Snow Day!

6:30-the boy is up

8:00-the girl is up

8:30-the husband is still asleep
(must be nice)

3:00-husband and son head out to shovel the driveway

What happened to the day? I wanted us to all watch a movie after lunch. After the boys got back in it was too late. I worked on the office in the morning, so that was good. I got some stuff done but don't feel like we made the "snow day" special. Hmmm. Got to get a grip on my time.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Personal Improvement Projects (PIPs)

When I was a teacher a PIP was a professional improvement plan, I was never assigned one of those. For now, my PIPs are going to be my personal improvement projects, the things I'm going to work on this year. This list is just the beginning, I'm sure I will be adding to or changing it as time goes on.

1. House
I want to create a routine for cleaning and organizing my home and keeping it that way.

2. Time
I want to gain better control of the clock and calendar.

3. Money
I want to stay on budget, reduce debt, save more, use coupons effectively, be frugal and spend wisely.

4. Family
I want to spend personal time with each kid and help them learn to be responsible around house. I want to spend adult time with my husband.

5. Food
I want to meal plan every week, try new recipes each month, get the kids helping me prepare the meals and eat better by reducing the amount of packaged food and preservatives.

I have to conquer this clutter-NOW

Why now? Let me explain.

The other night, just after midnight, I hear my daughter calling (in a bit of a singing voice) "Mommmeee, oh, Mommmeee." So, I headed to her room. I didn't think she was sick because of the way she was calling me. When I opened the door, I could smell the puke. Apparently, she was laying on her stomach (maybe all curled up) and had a coughing fit bad enough to make her throw up. I helped her out of her jammies, took the yucky sheets off her bed and put clean ones on. I was thinking she could just come into the spare room, except, it looks like this:

I could have cleared the bed off quickly enough but she seemed fine staying in her room. Before I fell asleep, as I was thinking about it, I felt terrible. If the spare bed wasn't such a mess I might just have suggested she come in there. She really probably sleeps better in her own bed but I hate that the choice of whether or not to use the spare bed was complicated by my clutter. Then, the next morning I realized there was a wet spot on her bed, under her pillow. I had left the mattress cover on when changing the sheets (I don't know why, because it was 12:30 in the morning?) and apparently it was wet. I don't think it bothered her because it was under the pillow but it bothered me. More guilt. It's one thing for my clutter to effect my life but I HATE that it might have effected my child.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Just begin

Because I was so overwhelmed with the mess that was my house on Tuesday, I didn't even look at the weekly and monthly jobs I needed to do until yesterday. I was afraid I would feel even more overwhelmed and behind. I finally looked yesterday and---it was no big deal. There were two small jobs yesterday (changing the bathroom towels and swishing and swiping) and one more involved job (master shower.) I had both finished in no time so I had time to do some of the seasonal tasks I assigned to January. Today I made up for a job I missed on Wednesday (dusting the family room) and completed today's job (dusting the master bedroom.) I'm so proud of myself for my calendar of jobs. If I hadn't had that calendar I probably wouldn't have gotten to the dusting and I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten to the seasonal jobs.

I know for some people (those who are naturally tidy) it probably seems unnecessary to have things like "change bathroom towels" on a list. For someone like me, if I don't have it on a list, the bathroom towels don't get changed until I start wondering when the last time was that I changed the towels. By then it has been way too long.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Messy Mommy, Messy Kids

Why do my kids think it is ok to leave a room like this?

Maybe because our office/spare room looks like this

and this

and this

and our baker's rack looks like this

and the top of the dog crate looks like this

We are going to work on this.

updated purpose

Last year I began tinkering with the idea of writing a blog. I'm home during the day with my son and several other children. I saw the blog as a way to get thoughts out of my head that I would have said to people I worked with. Sort of a way of talking to an adult (even if that adult is myself.) I posted a couple of times at the end of the year. Then, I found Nony. Nony writes a blog, A Slob Comes Clean. She started her blog to make herself accountable while trying to overcome her slobdom. So much of what she writes about completely makes sense to me. I went through most of her posts and am inspired. There are several things I want to work on this year. Over the next few weeks I hope to outline those things and organize myself and this blog to help me keep track of all of that work, as well as get out some random thoughts.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bit by bit

I recently came home from being away for a week. In case you (my invisible readers) think I'm someone with the means to just take a weeks vacation right after Christmas, so you don't get the wrong idea, let me explain. I was on a trip with my husband (a high school teacher) and 34 of his students. My mom and a couple of my friends took care of my kids during that time. So, we got in late late late Monday night. I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me being gone for a week and having my mom keep the kids here some of the time. I mentioned in an earlier post one of the things I want to work on this year is cleaning and organizing. I spent some time in late 2010 coming up with a schedule for daily, weekly, monthly, twice yearly & yearly cleaning or other chores. I was so looking forward to getting a fresh start in January. Then we had Christmas and I thought it was a good idea to leave two days after Christmas for a week (in case you can't tell I'm being scarastic). Try as I might I was not able to do as much as I hoped before I left. All the Christmas decorations are still up, many Christmas gifts still need to be put away. In addition to that I wasn't here to do my regular cleaning last week AND my mom was here with my kids for a week making it a little messier. I felt so defeated before I began this morning. I also didn't realize that I was going to have an extra four year old boy, five year old boy, two year old boy and six month old boy in addtion to my four year old boy and six year old girl. Part of that problem is my lack of control over my calendar. I decided that I would just take it one step at a time, work little by little and be happy with small progress. So, after breakfast I started with some tasks that would make me feel better. I did the dishes and vacuumed. Vacuuming is one of my daily tasks that is rarely missed. I feel so much better if I vacuum. Then I decided to start in the kitchen and use a method I read about in one of the cleaning/organizing books I borrowed from the library last year. I believe they call it the Mount Vernon method. The crew that cleans Mount Vernon starts in the corner of a room and cleans their way around the room then moves on to the next room. I started in one corner of my kitchen and worked around. It didn't start off as bad as it could have but looking at it I saw there was a bunch of stuff that just needed to be put away.

Here are my before pictures. What you can't see is that every surface needs to be wiped, including the sink. As I said, it's not as bad as it could have been or as bad as it has been.

I did it. By the end of the day my counters were cleared & wiped. The table was cleared & wiped. Everything was put where it belonged.

To someone who is naturally tidy this probably is not impressive. To me it feels great. I feel a little pathetic that I'm so proud of myself for what seems like such little work but I know I'm going to have to take baby steps and if I keep working slow and steady, bit by bit, I will get it all done.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year--a resolution?

I am not one who gets excited about New Year's resolutions. I have made them in the past. I'm sure some I've kept and some I haven't. I know there are some things I want to work on this year. A big one is to get some kind of schedule or routine for getting and keeping my house clean. I recently found an awesome blog (a slob comes clean) and I can relate so much to her. I have been on this little mission of getting my house together for much of the last year. I've had some successes and some things that were not successful (I don't consider them failures, they just didn't work.) I feel like I am constantly cleaning or organizing or something. There's always something to do so I don't ever just sit. That has to stop. I'm home much of the time with my children, yet don't feel I spend enough time with them. My son, my youngest, will start kindergarten in the fall. I may be going back to work. I want to take advantage of the time we have until then. What I feel like I need to do is get a few things finished each day and then stop. I'm not calling this a resolution, at least not yet. I want to come up with a specific way to measure my progress. (Play with the kids "more" isn't specific enough.) I'm hoping documenting my journey in this blog will help me measure my progress. Over the next week or so I plan to add a few more changes I hope to work on. Then I can organize my blogging in a way to keep track of those.

My new favorite blog

I found my new favorite blog. A slob comes clean. The blogger is a mom of young children who is not naturally tidy. I've been reading it for several days and feel like she and I could be long lost sisters. She, like me, is just not naturally tidy. Her blog is a record of her journey to get her house in order. I've said before, as I read other blogs I'm often impressed by what I see but it usually makes me feel inadequate. This blog discusses a topic that either most women can't relate to, or we just don't talk about. I'm working my way through her blog from her first posts to her most recent. I've been working on many of the same issues for the past several months and will figure out how to track them in this blog, somewhere. As usual, there is something she is good at that I wish I were. Actually, there are two. She's good at menu planning and couponing. Hmm, maybe I need to find the something I'm really good at.