Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Children Are Very Scary.

Seriously.  I am in a picture with my kids!
I read a post on a blog I really like reading the other day, about how familes are breaking down.  I was in a fevered stupor when I read it.  And I had a few thoughts....

1.  I was not wanting kids.  I worked for a pediatrician right after I got married and it REALLY didn't make me want to have kids.  I'd seen childbirth I knew a big heap of how awful having children could be.  How your life changed.  I really wasn't sure I wanted any part in it.  I'm grateful for the church and good people around me as well as the spirit that guided me to take the big leap.  It wasn't one I longed for my whole life though, I will fully admit it.  I don't think there is anything wrong with that.  I don't know if there really is a natrual inclination to have children.  There is an inclination to have sex, but those two don't always go together anymore.  Drew is a lucky man in that regard. ;)

2.  I had kids and I realized how different it was then babysitting or working with them.  I realized I had a human to mold and breed.  Sure, it's a lot of responsibility but it's a lot of fun to have a somewhat blank canvas to make what you want to make it.

3.  Kids, in fact, are a lot of work.  I have extreme hormone changes with each one.  I barely make it to the two week checkup.  It isn't fun.  I have a healthy repsect for newborns but I hard tome adoring them until they can smile at me.  I don't tend to think they cost a lot, although they do.  I think the estimates on how much they DO cost are inflated.  If you work to have kids on the cheap you can do it.

4.  Marriage is also a lot of work.  It's not easy to not get divorced, and it's even worse when you have to get divorced.  But it's a wonderful thing when it's working.  And it's nice ot know that the work you're putting into the relationship is truly doing something great for both you and your kids.

I am just not sure anymore.  I don't think we do anyone a favor by acting like our lives our fairytales that children are blissful and sweet.  I also don't think we do anyone a favor by griping about how hard it is (most of all our children, I really don't want mine to THINK they are a burden, even if they oftentimes are).

I just want to say that I think it's fine that I didn't want children, and I think it's fine to listen to your inner spirit as to the point that it's right for you to have them.  Drew and I didn't have kids for a couple of years after we got married.  I got a lot of flack about that, but to them I say "shut it".  Honestly, I wasn't ready to have a child before them.  I am 100% glad I waited.

I also want to say that having children is different then nieces, nephews, children in your building, or a dog.  You can't imagine how great or bad it will be -- you just have to jump.  It will be the most wonderful thing you've ever done.  It will also be the hardest.  I hate how those two things come together.  I guess it wouldn't be so great if it was always bliss.  Bliss does get tiring, doesn't it?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Using Valentines to your Educational Advantage

I am by no means above bribery.  Pretty well in all areas of my life.  Kids, working out, weight loss, marriage.  It's just an incentive.  We all need incentives, right?

So a part of my reading portion is providing small candies in exchange for them doing tough stuff.  Like sounding out words.  Let's be clear.  Learning to read can be difficult and having a little treat for doing a good job can sometimes make it seem less hard.

I was running low on skittles (P's candy of choice) and I had on the grocery list to get something with her at the store.  We went down the isle and I realized valentines day is almost here.  HELLO.  Cheap hearts.  I mean, it's all of P's favorite colors.

And then I pulled them out the first day and I realized there's a lot to do with them!

1.  Bribery.  Duh.  P gets a candy for every 3 words she sounds out on these sound out cards I made up.  She also gets one for all the sight words she can name.  It's usually around 10/day.  Give it up for sugar for keeping lessons a happy time!  Sometimes we can trade them in for a cookie or something.

2.  Counting.  One of my favorite preschool games is using some big dice that I got from the dollar store.  You roll them twice and then count out candies to represent each roll and then add them all up.  As they get a little bigger we write out he problems together on a white board.

3.  Reading.  This is where the hearts really are cool.  We've read the sayings on here.  Sure, they are uber lame, and some of them we can hardly read at all, BUT they have really short words on them that are usually easy to sound out.  Plus, she now knows how to speak in text.  She r smart.

4.  Matching.  She loves grouping skittles into the same colors.  We can do that with the hearts too, but we can also match the sayings.  That way she's looking at the words and matching them with other words.  GENIUS!

In other news, every time I see these candies they BEG to be put on a sugar cookie.  Stop me.  Stop me now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Few Thoughts at 4:44...

that's 4:44 am.  Sad, but true.

I finally got whatever S and P had previous to me.  Drew got it too.  Pure bliss.  Let's just say that I've watched quite a lot of Downton.  You know, in case I missed anything the first time.

But I did have a few thoughts.

1.  I woke up this morning coughing my eyeballs out.  I have a really hard time with medicine anymore.  Guifenissin in any form makes me REALLY drowsy, Delsym gives me the runs, codine makes my nose itch like there are bugs crawling all over it.  So, I went with vapo rub on my feet with socks.  It did seem to help.  Or the drink of water I got while I was up helped.  Who really knows.

2.  I am starting to feel better.  There was a point on Sunday where I thought this might be the end of me but I pulled through.  Did I mention I also can't take Advil because it rips my stomach apart.  Tylenol every 4 hours sure is fun.  But, as I'm starting to feel better I glance at my to do list.  I will have to say that I love my chore plans until something goes awry.  I feel constant pressure to get the things done on the chart.  I remember after P was born I couldn't let anything drop.  I am getting better about slimming it down when I need to but I really feel like that stuff DOES need to be done weekly.  Wish me luck. :)

3.  As I sit here drinking fresh (and I am talking FRESH, like the oranges were on her tree yesterday) orange juice squeezed by a dear friend I am left to remember how amazing my life is.  Congested or not.  It's hard to feel too bad about your lot when things like that happen.

Isn't it?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Things That Are Going Wrong

Do you ever want to vomit when you read my blog.
The cleaning schedules
The lessons with P
The Organizing.
Pft!
I mean, who is this woman?  Acts like she can get it all done.

And I can.

On my blog.

Real life, not so much.

Let's name the things that are going wrong.

1.  P got lessons once last week.  Just didn't have it in me with a sick kid.
2. Spencer's rash/fever/blech got the best of me.  I almost took him to the doctor.  That's bad.
3.  I had like 4 hours of PTO meetings last week that made me want to cry.  Not to mention carnival ramping up.  Why did I step into all this?
4.  My stove cleaner isn't working well and it's really bothering me.
5.  With C in the musical I have no idea if he's coming or going or when he's home.  I hope I don't lose track of him.
6.  When you're around sick kinds long enough you're end-up pretty sure you're going to die too.  I didn't, I just thought I would.
7.  Our washing machine or dryer keeps eating buttons.  Like, I have no idea where they went, eating buttons.  WHERE DO THEY GO?  SPIT THEM OUT!
8.  Our computer turns into a place where everyone drops their stuff, including me and it drives me insane.
9.  I love Downton Abby, I wish it was on every day.  It's a good thing I never got into soap operas
10.  Sometimes I just wipe down the tub instead of steam it.  Shhh... it's our little secret.

So, let it suffice it to say that life isn't always roses and candy canes here.  Just trying to slog through life like the rest of you.  Sometimes I'm running at top steam, and sometimes I'm just idling.  What speed are you at?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Naked Cleaning.

It's not what you think.
Well, maybe it is.
But I doubt it.

First off.  A couple of thoughts:

a)  I used to talk lots about my life as a mom on this blog.  I just don't do that much anymore.  Sure, I give brief overviews sometimes but I mostly talk about how AMAZING I am {blech, blech} and how much I get done and how pretty I am.  Wait, not about how pretty I am.  That's another blog.  Anyway, I need to include more real life moments.  I like it in elementary school how they take a small moment and "blow it up big" in a narrative piece.  I need to do that more.  I will miss that later.

b)  I just don't want to be one of those moms who says that she will miss every little ounce of having young children.  They are lying.  If they went back 30 years to themselves I am 100% sure there are moments they could do without.  YES.  I will miss these kids.  I'm trying to drink in every last moment with Princess P as my tiny whiny but man oh man...  Let's just say today was one of those moments.

I got up early, after a night of someone coughing and crying.  Princess P is the worst sleeper.  She always has been.  That girl wants to WORK me a lot of the time.  Drives me crazy.  Main problem is that I don't really know when something's wrong or when she's just WORKING me.  She has cried wolf too many times, let this be a lesson to 3 year olds out there.

BUT, I am determined to workout.  I'm going to get strong this year.  My Firm DVD didn't work on Monday so I threw in an old VHS.  I throw that take in again and it's not working.  After some fiddling, I pull it out and see the tape has snaped.  oh. yay.  I pull out DVD that didn't work on Monday and it works today.  This particular DVD has a part where you have their 14 inch step and do step aerboics on it.  Nothing crazy, just your basic step, but it is REEEdiculous.  I find myself ala Jilian after it wanting to throw up.  I feel myself fainting.  I lay on the couch.  I watch crazy Stepford Firm women and wonder why I want to get strong.  I get a drink of water, I lay on my bed for a couple of minutes and feel better so I finish up the workout.  DANG IT, I am GOING to be STRONG.  Take that.

I head upstairs, I read my scriptures.  I'm struck by the stories Joseph Smith tells of his own weaknesses.  I am SO grateful that he did, I'm sure that's not easy but it is a good lesson for all of us in repentance and how we ALL have weakenesses.

I jump in the shower (frankly, I'm pretty sure I looked at Facebook a minute before this, but I'd like to think I knew the day was going to spiral downward quickly and just got a jump on personal hygiene  and I quickly shower.  Today is a no-hair-wash kind of day (I only wash my hair twice a week).  I get out and as I'm wrapping the towel around myself and I hear hacking.  Sure, it's coughing but it's also gagging.  The gagging continues.  I weigh my options but I run into Paige's room just in time to see her cough up all the mucous her sweet little body had put into her stomach all night.  All over her comforter.  Yay!  I grab her (towel falling off) and haul her into the bathroom (which, thankfully isn't far) and set her up to worship the toilet for a bit.  I run back in her room to see what the damage is, with washcloth in hand to wipe up what I can.  Secretly praying I won't have to wash the comforter.  I was wrong.

I head back to my burning up princess P and she just wants to be held.  Regardless of the fact that I'm totally wet with no clothes on.  "Mamma, I need you" I pick her up and I feel happy she is warm because I am freezing at this point.  I haul her, and a throw-up bin (you know the kind they all had a bath in the hospital) into my room so I can at least put some clothes on.  She cries the entire time I get dressed.  Oh the humanity of not holding her.

I take her downstairs and get her a sippy cup.  No milk this morning, but I'm pretty sure this is a cold and not the stomach flu.  I guess time will tell.  I pop a tylenol in her (she calls it medicina para dolor).  I revel in her hot little pink cheeks.  Sometimes kids are cute when they're sick.  Especially once you have clothes on.

I give her a few minutes of cuddle but then I really want to brush my teeth.  I ask her if I can run upstairs and she says yes. I brush my teeth and make my bed.  Spencer is taking his temperature now, hopeful he can head to school.  His temp yesterday wasn't above 100.4, so I am VERY hopeful as well (he was so helpful, in fact, last night he asked Drew for a blessing so he'd be able to go to school today).  I remind Conner to get out of bed.  I get some tween lip which I choose to ignore.  I go in Princess P's room and see that the comforter can't be saved, I also smelled pee when I put her on the couch.  Turns out she did wet her bed last night.  I get all the sheets and comforter.  I head to the wash.  Down the stairs just in time to see what mucous was LEFT in her stomach come out on our living room rug (1000 square feet of tile, if not more, on this floor and she finds the RUG to throw up on).  I grab some rags and wipe it off.  Somehow thankful for the congealing characteristics of mucous and that most of it comes right up.  I remind her to throw up in her bin next time.  She holds bin close, like a stuffed animal.  At the same time Conner is coming at me telling me there is nothing to have for lunch, he has no idea what goes in a sandwich, his life is exceedingly difficult.  I want to throw the rags in his face.  I don't.

I throw in the sheets and comforter.  Not really sure our washer can handle all of it, but I shove anyway.

Princess P continues to cough, a lot.  I think back to the old times where we could just give robitussin or some good ol' triaminic.  I'm not sure what to do for her.  I hate it when I cough and cough.  I remember back to something I pinned on pintrest about vicks on their feet.  I realize today is grocery shopping day.  I really need to go.  Tomorrow I'll have 3 kids home.  In the midst of all this, Spencer declares his Temp is 97.6 -- HORRAY it's a school day!  We are both thrilled.  I wish I had taken the time to talk about how lucky he was to get a blessing.  I didn't.  I didn't even think about it.

I'm mulling taking a sick kid to Walmart.  I don't want her touching the cart, or getting so upset that she throws up (which is what happened last time too).  I realize I can put her in my backpack and haul her around the store that way.  I ask her, she says she's feeling better (thank you Tylenol) and she wants to ride on my back.  Horray, a plan.  I take her, and her ammonia-smelling PJ's upstairs and get her dressed.  She provides very little help but to tell me she is cold.

I make myself some oatmeal.  It will be a good 1/2 an hour before I'm "allowed" to eat it.  I need to get S out the door and C needs reminding that he can't sit like a Paige on a couch and watch TV.  He sits down.  I'm trying to do my 10 minute tidy because I know I need to fit it in when I can.  P is happily watching the today show.  I text Drew.  I don't get a response.  I am not surprised.

Spend some time on the couch with P making sure we're going to be able to make it to Walmart.  She seems to be fine one minute and not so fine the next.  I say a quick mom prayer.

I get up and tidy up the kitchen a little and then remember I have oatmeal and that I worked out to the point of vomitus almost an hour ago.  I need fuel.  I shovel it in and take my vitamins.  Thankful that I bought some Vitamin D and B's at Costco last week.  I'm hoping their immune-boosting qualities will get me through.  So far, so good (Spencer had a rash, followed by a fever, followed by a cough last week... yucky germ fest that is my house).

Conner is finally ready, but he doesn't have shoes on.  I pack P up and put her in the car.  I put her throw up bin in there and I throw a ziploc in my purse to ward off evil vomiting forces.  I find the baby backpack and throw it next to her too.  {WHAT AM I THINKING}  Conner tries to walk over all the stuff next to P instead of get in on his own side {WHAT IS HE THINING}.  And we're off.  I drop Conner off to school and his waterbottle somehow smacks him in the head on his way out of the van.  I ask why he doesn't use his water bottle pocket.  He says it doesn't work and walks off.

We head to Walmart.  I am glad I haven't given/sold this backpack yet.  It's come in handy a few times.  The weight limit will be good for P until she's 12.  P is happy as pie in that backpack.  She's pointing out stuff in the store.  I am wondering why I worked out this morning I do about 30 squats with an extra 28 pounds on my back picking up stuff.  Hopeful the scale will appreciate it tomorrow.

Somehow this ends-up being my largest Walmart trip in a while.  A lot of great sales and I got my vicks vaporub.  Also some tylenol.  Love the Walmart drug bottles that are 88 cents each.  Water is on sale too.  I have found myself nervous about our water storage after a class at church.  Most of it is outside.  Glad to put some under the stairs.  Princes is doing great in the backpack.  Happy I made this choice, but tiring quickly of her on my back.

The rest of the day fades into all the other days.  I am no longer naked cleaning up vomit.  I plopped my baby on the couch to watch Youtube Disney movies and she falls asleep during Fantasia.  I love napping Princess P and I haul her up to her room with a kiss.  I think about sanitizing my lips afterwards.

So thankful for these little children that fill my days but I really would like to make my life a little more MY life.  It's like walking a tightrope.  Naked.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Favorites Friday: Griddle

I asked my mom for a griddle for Christmas.

We had a nice cast iron one we used to use in CA with our gas stove (I seriously miss that cooktop -- there is no gas plumbed into our subdivision so I am stuck with electric forever here).  Then, I bought another one that could be used on the ceramic cooktop but with the uneven burners it was just a mess.

So I asked my mom for one for Christmas.

And she didn't disappoint.

You know how you feel like you're stuck making french toast forever while your family enjoys it over at the table.  By the time you're done they've all gone and are screaming through the house and you have to gobble yours up quick?

You can get 12 pancakes/ french toast or an entire thing of bacon on this thing.  Pure heaven.  I thought it'd be hard to clean what with its giant size but it hasn't been bad at all (as long as you have a faucet that comes out like the rest of the civilized America).  Anyway, I love it.  It makes cooking breakfast so much easier.

And that is a happy thing.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mom. You are Killing Me With Plastic.

We've had something at our house.  I have no idea what it is.  Princess P goes in and out but Spencer's been out since Sunday.
{sigh}
Rash, fever, sort of a cough, more fever, runny nose, complaints of joints, more fever.
It's super fun.
Such a fan of viruses.
I even had an appt. for the doctor but I chose to cancel it.  We're tough people, and I don't think an antibitotic is going to fix this.

But back to the fevers.
I'm not a big fan of taking temperatures.  It doesn't do much more then tell you that you do, in fact, have a fever and you are sick, but I am crossing my fingers that this mr middle can head back to school sometime soon.
So, we take it.  And I don't always trust axillary.  He REALLY doesn't like it pointing into his pits and he's kind of a mess about it.
Fast forward to an oral temperature.
Apparently it is abuse.  You would have thought I ripped his eyeballs out and then went for his other sockets, oh man.  The misery!  MOM, YOU ARE KILLING ME WITH THE TASTE OF PLASTIC IN MY MOUTH!!!!

I really should get a video (mind you, he is 8) of big crocodile tears running down his little face while he's trying to keep his mouth shut around the plastic that is killing him.

So, what kind of thermometer do you use?  I've heard lots of fancy stuff about the forehead kind... Maybe I should invest.

Wait, it looks like I can use my HSA to buy one of these things.  Maybe I should... I hate to kill my kid with plastic....  Torn between these two.  The one that takes the temperature of a room sounds pretty cool...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Primary Hacker Lesson 4: Joseph Smith's Childhood

This week's lesson is about how Joseph Smith grew up.

I got a few things out of the lesson.

a)  Help the kids to understand how different things were when Joseph grew-up
b)  Help the kids to understand that Joseph had a lot of hard things in his life, that by going through them he became the man he was.

I'm trying to find a good youtube clip of some church movie about Joseph Smith growing up.  Just so we can talk about how he cooked with a fire, had to help farm, stuff like that.  No luck as of yet.

I am going to read a Pinnochio story.  I was mostly looking for a story about a kid who does hard things and becomes better because of it.  I settled on Pinnochio mostly because I was tired of looking.  But we're going to focus on how his choices have consequences, and then we'll talk about Joseph's choices as well. 

We'll talk so more about how Josephs' growing up and about his leg.

Then I printed off these little booklets I found on sugardoodle.  My girls so far don't make it too far into a lesson before they are DONE so coloring is good.  I know girls love little books so that's good.

What are you doing?

**I teach the 4 year olds (mostly all girls every week so far), and my class is mostly VERY young.  Only one will be going to Kindergarten next year.  I find the lessons to be WAY over their heads so I'm adjusting them.  I have found that when I try to read as many stories as the lesson has or talk too much they zone out and no one is happy at the end of Primary.  A picture book was my saving grace last week.

A Few Good Grocery Ads

A lot of good sales this week.  Here's a little bit of what I saw that I'm getting this week (price-matching at Walmart)

Safeway
Cheetos 1.49 9-10.5oz -- limit 4
Motts 6 pack applesauces or DelMonte 4 pack fruit 1.79 -- limit 4
Ken's Salad Dressing 99 cents -- limit 1
A&W 49 cents -- limit 1

Basha's
10# potatoes 99 cents
18 ct eggs 1.88

Albertsons
Chex Mix, Ghardettos, Bugles 7.5-8.75 oz 1$ (found a coupon at bettycrocker.com
Milk 1.67

Fry's
Wholly Guacamole 99 cents (7-10 ox) (a lot of the frys deals are must buy 10 mix and match)
Easy Mac 49 cents
BC mac and cheese 5.6oz 49 cents
Rotel tomatoes 49 cents (great deal)
Arrowhead 3L water 49 cents
Bush's Beans 49 cents
Little Debbie 6-12 ct 99 cents
Cheese 6-8 oz 1.99

**The beans and the Rotel are a great thing for food storage.  An easy way to make soup or something.
*A lot of the stuff on here is for sack lunches as I go through it... cheetos, applesauce, Chex mix, Easy Mac, Little Debbie
You can always find great grocery deals here at the Pinching your Pennies!

What's Up Wednesday

Hmm... what's up.
Let's see.

Drew is insane.  He has so much on his plate I'm just trying to take up as little space as possible.  ASU, the school musical, recruiting for next year, his regular ol' job, scouting stuff.  Sheesh!  The guy's busy!

El Presidante is in the school musical (tickets are 7 bucks and it's coming up towards the end of February, let me know if you want tickets, if you're local -- no pressure.  They sell out every time, I guess kids come from all around to be in this Jr High just for the musical experience -- it's supposed to be amazing).  It's the Music Man and I am pretty thrilled he decided to try out.  It's taking up a lot of his spare time, along with scouting.  That means a little less mischief.  No shame in that.

Mr Middle is doing a science project with all our green tomatoes.  Turns out they're not ripening much at all.
Should make for a fun board.  Monochromatic is in this year, right?

Princess P is working hard on reading.  She found some princess books at the library that are level 2, and she's barely a level one so she has made up her mind to get to level 2, and fast. :)  Cute little girl.  She loves going to the daycare when I do my parenting class.  She loves being a sunbeam.  She loves going to a friends house when I work.  She doesn't like going to bed "but I'm not ready yet mom" {big Disney princess eyes}

I'm just corraling these things into some sort of progression.  I am LOVING the weather.  It was far too cold here for a while but things have perked up recently.  I actually had the AC on in my car yesterday.  Starting to gear up for the carnival and I'm reminding myself not to do it next year.

Life is particularly good right now.  I just need to step back and enjoy it all.

How about you?  What's up at your house?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Name is Hilary, and I Love Amazon Prime.

Oh man do I love my Amazon Prime.  I love getting stuff so fast, I love watching the movies and all that jazz.

I had lusted after it for a while but then I realized that Drew is a STUDENT.  Go figure!?

So, we paid half and get all the great stuff.  Including him ordering his textbooks through them (and this may come as a shock but Drew needs quick shipping when he orders textbooks, not the type to get them 3 months in advance -- also, his teachers usually post the textbooks after school has started, it's like their in ca-hoots with the bookstore, but that's a blog for another day).

If you have a .edu address you can get student Amazon prime too!

All the great stuff, half the price.

That's right, streaming, free books on your Kindle, free 2 day shipping -- just for 39 bucks/year.

PLUS, if you sign up you can get just the free shipping for free for 6 months.  So, might as well get on that wagon, am I right?

In an effort to make full disclosure that is a paid link.  BUT we do love our amazon student, and I wish I'd known more about it earlier, I would've signed up way back then. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Looking Back

I went to lunch with a good friend who's recently made a big transition.

And she isn't the biggest fan.

It's sad how few photos there are of me at this stage in my l
life, this is me and Conner at a little class.
And I was hurled back to 2001.

We had just moved to California and I cried an awful lot.

I missed my family, I couldn't make friends to save my life and every time I tried they immediately moved.  I was working at a new hospital with new surroundings and a huge cultural change from where I was.

I hated it.  I absolutely hated it, and I wondered how long we'd be there.  Our big plan was a couple of years.

It probably took me a good 2 years to integrate.

In my defense I was working full/part time for a lot of the first year and I just am not cut  out to parent and work like that.  Even with just one child I call that my lost year, I don't remember much of it.

But then I wondered to myself what made this trip different.  I have had a few crying zag's (anyone remember when I was bawling my eyes out in Relief Society -- that's the main one that comes to mind, I also got tearful at the kids school almost every time we went the first year).  I guess the trick was me.  And me knowing that my kids couldn't have a mom who wished she was someplace else.

I think California helped a lot too.  I learned how to make new friends, and be OK with the fact that they might move, and glad that we had the time that we did.  I also think the internet has helped because I can still get support from old friends, when life isn't quite the dream I was hoping for.  Turns out, life isn't their dream either.

So, when I face new transitions, I guess having faced other ones in the past makes it easier.  What makes it easier for you?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Standing Up



Standing up for what you believe can be hard.  But it is true.  I'm grateful for a 14 year old boy who would stand up for what he knew was true.  I hope to instill that in my boys.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Organizing: Laundry Room


First off, I am so thankful my laundry room isn't in my garage, as it was for 10 years in CA.  I don't miss stepping out to change it.  Although, I am also very thankful to HAVE a laundry at my house.  I did plenty of years without it also.

Anyway, we have a smallish laundry room.  Do I wish it had a sink and some delicious counter tops?  Yes.  I do.  But I am living without them.

The previous owners put in good shelves that stand a lot of weight, so I'm very happy about that.  You all know I love me some shelves.


For the longest time I didn't have it really organized.  But one day I got a bee in my bonnet, and then I've just refined it from there.

It seems like the key is making "spaces" for everything.  Things you want to store, and then figure out a space for it.  I have a few spaces here:
So, the main thing is to decide what you need to hold and then try and get spaces that work.  Oh, I forgot.  There's a little container next to the food bags (on the left -- it's an old ice cube box for a fridge) that holds all our glues.  Like, super glue and things like that.  Things I REALLY want out of reach.
On top of the washing machine I really try to just keep the things I really use for washing.  And a lot of vinegar.  I haven't found a better spot for that.

Anyway, that's my laundry room.  I think long/large shelves like that can be daunting until you just figure out what you need to store and compartmentalize them in your head.

Do you have a space like that?  Blog about it, inquiring minds....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Playroom Organizing

When we moved here I felt the choirs of heaven open up as I walked into what I was going to make our playroom.  Lots of space, and plenty of room to bank of cabinets.  Oh. JOY.  I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

But even with all that "space" we still rotate toys.

Here's what one set looks like.

 
The bottom 3 shelves are fair game, bu the top 2 shelves are not.  They are not to gt into them.  You'll also see I've thrown a bunch of toys up there and they aren't particularly as tidy as I would like them.  I also don't tend to pack the lower shelves FULL of toys.  I want to keep it plenty of room to put them away so that's not the reason they're all out all over the floor.  No bueno.  I swap the toys about every month or so.  P has a separate smaller cabinet that gets switched out every month.  And then every 2-3 months I switch out the larger banks of cabinets (there are 2 others that look like this one above).
 
And in other news, with so many toys why aren't my kids ALWAYS in that playroom playing to their hearts content?  WHY I ASK YOU!? :)
 
 
** MomHack -- since we created these shelves ourselves I made sure that bins would fit in them.  The woman who did our measuring initially was going to make them too small to put the bins in, but I requested they be a few inches larger.  Genius.  Me.  Genius.  Ok, maybe only a few times a year. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sunflowers from Sadness

A couple of years ago my amazing aunt started a grief center in the Salt Lake Valley.

It is a family grief center based around faith (not just the LDS faith, any faith), that can help, kids especially, deal with what they're going through.

This beautiful center came out of pure tradgedy when 17 years ago yesterday when my uncle was killed in a plane crash.  She posted a video on their facebook page about sunflowers that is really great.



Sunflowers after devastation.

Grief comes in many forms, but if you know a family that could use their services please send them to their web page.

Drowning in Kids Clothes

Wednesdays is my day to go through clothes.  My clothes is a whole other bag of chips.  I'm always wishing I'd lose more weight and look better in things.

But kids clothes are something I just feel like I'm drowning in.  I've come-up systems for each child that seem to work.

First off, for Princess P.

I had these blue bins when she was little, under her crib, and they worked really well. I'd just label what size the clothes in it were and when I would go through one size I'd just rotate it to the back and re-label.

And then we took away her crib (insert crying).

I've still had a hard time figuring out the system.  It's important that I try to pre-buy her clothes as I get many of them as hand me downs or from Goodwill.  For instance, right now she is wearing 3T.  The bins we have are holding 4T, 5T and 6 (btw, what the heck is 6x?).  That way, after a trip to Goodwill I can just throw the clothes in the right bins and be done with it.  I try to take note what's in her bins every few months.  Just so I don't over-buy at a certain age.  Also, I have a bin for clothes that are too small and those go to a friend when it gets full.  Sure is a good feeling to get rid of clothes!

Question:  How many shirts/pants do you think a 3/4 year old needs?  For some reason i think 10.  Thoughts?

Mr Middle is another bag of chips.  El Presidante is about 2 sizes ahead of him but often tends to wear clothes long after they are too small so it's kind of a crapshoot.  So, I just came-up with 3 bins.  One for pants (also includes shorts), shirts (both short and long) and Pajamas.  That way, when he's out of something I can just open the bin and pull out what he's needing.  He also has a bin of "too small" clothes which, when it is full, I go through and pick out things that P could possible wear and put them in the right bins.

Question:  Do your girls wear many/any of your boy clothes?  We re-wear pajamas and sweatshirts... maybe...

For El Preidante I just hang up clothes that we get that are too large and put them at the back of his closet.  Then, when he's out we look in there.  Frankly, now that he is in charge of his own clothing this doesn't happen too often but sometimes I buy him a few things along the way.  I'm nice like that.

What's your clothes system?  I'm not sure mine makes me feel any less like I am drowning in clothes, but it is what it is.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PrimaryHacker

Ok, no fancy logo for this one, but each year I forget how LITTLE the kids are that come into my primary class.  I teach the four year olds, and my class is pretty small this year.  Almost all the kids won't be attending Kindergarten next year because their birthdates are so late.

I really need to provide more activities and less sitting.

And I am 80% sure they didn't have tiny 4 year olds in mind when they wrote this lesson manual.

Anyway, this week it's about comparing road signs with commandments. I wanted to talk a little bit about the REAL road signs...

and then the church has a little road signs of their own that we can color in.

But, I thought you guys might like my real road signs to print as use as you wish.

Voila.

 
I am also going to try and find a picture book that at least has some loose tie into what we're talking about.  I did a regular story from the lesson manual last week and my girls just about died of boredom.  We can't have that now, can we.  This is the one I'm using this week.  Mostly because kids love Mercer Mayer, but also that it's about a kid who doesn't do the "right" stuff. :)
 
I'd love to hear what you're doing in primary to keep those kiddos engaged.  Do tell!


MomHacker: Grocery Shopping



Grocery shopping is something moms do.  I would guess my husband does about 3% of our grocery shopping.  If that.  I may have trust issues in this department... shocking.  You can read more about my budget here.

Just like cleaning, you have to get grocery shopping to work for you.  YOU need to find a way to make it WORK for you.  My system works for me.

I will say that if you're in a position that you are either new to the "grocery game" or really need to build up your food storage I highly recommend the site "Deals to Meals."  It is great and they really do a good job of the ads around here (I live in AZ, in case you're wondering).  This is what I used when I moved here.  I wasn't aware of the prices in this area (and they are different) and it was a big help to figure out the stores.  Also, when we moved I really needed to build-up my food storage, so I was trying to get a lot of different items.**ETA:  since writing this, a lot of great free apps like Grocery Smart have popped up, you certainly don't have to pay to get this service, but it might not be as pretty/easy.

So, now that I'm not as big into the "building" mode I do the ad perusing myself.  Here's a few simple tips:

1.  You need to figure out your target price.  I started making a "price book" a long time ago (I'd guess about 8 years).  For the first month or so it was mostly me flipping back and forth trying to find out what good prices were.  It takes 6-8 weeks for stores to cycle through their sale items, so it's a great way to really find out what a good price is.  I also did a trip to Costco without kids to find out their pricing on things.  I wrote a lot of stuff down, and I'm sure I looked crazy, so don't be afraid to look crazy.

2.  Save the ads, go through them during your favorite reality series.  It can't be Downton Abbey -- something that doesn't need your full attention, but make it your "me" time.  I remind my kids that they like to eat so LEAVE. ME. ALONE. :)

3.  I go through all the ads and I even pick up one online.  I figure I might as well.

4.  I just write down the price on food that is at a good price (so, initially you're going to write a lot more -- you'll start to figure out the target price).  I write down more then I'm going to buy usually.

** Previous to all of this I have written down items that we need from our food storage.  Items that we REALLY need just go on the grocery list.  Items that aren't quite as necessary go on a list to scan for a good price on (you can read more about this below).

5.  I then pull out a grocery list.  I write down the items we need (this is usually pretty limited, as I try to keep a stock on hand of things we "need" so I can wait to buy stuff til' it's on sale).  Then I go to the crazy coupon lady and search for coupons on the items that are on sale.  So, let's say I'm going to buy Hillshire farms sausage.  I'll just search for (control+f) "Hillshire" and see if there are any coupons.  I do have a small coupon book that I got from the dollar store that stores coupons I get in the mail or with the paper.  We don't actually subscribe to a paper so these coupons are pretty limited at this point.

Momhacker
6.  Walmart price matches.  And no, you don't need an ad.  So, I see salad is on sale at Basha's, it goes on the list.  Chili is on sale at Fry's, it goes on the list.  I have a little "code" I use on the list to show which store has it on sale and I write the price next to it.

** this can be scary.  What, you just walk up to the cashier and say "Fry's has chili for 88 cents"?  I watched this video before I started, and yes -- it is just this easy (he doesn't actually price match AT the store til' the end):




It is seriously just that easy.  I don't bring ads.  They specify you dont need them and when they've questioned me they've always had the ads nearby so I'd rather not carry them with me.  I do write down the ounces  for the sale as that's REALLY important.  You need to exactly match what's on sale.

** Honesty is imperative with this policy.  I don't want to it to change, I LOVE not having to go store to store to stay under budget so I'm sure that I'm price matching the right way.  Please make sure you do too!  Honestly, I don't get questioned a lot but I look pretty prepared.  I not only have stuff written down on my grocery list, but I also bring my little price notebook to refer to (which has ounces written down) in my bag in case I need it.

**I used to make my meal plans off what was on sale.  And I still do that, to a point.  It's often based on what produce is on sale (Food City has great produce deals, and I have to look at their ad online as I don't get it at my house).  Now it tends to be on what's well stocked (or over-stocked) in my pantry.  I also head to Trader Joe's, Sprouts or Costco for much of my produce.  Not a huge fan of the Walmart produce isle.

Here's what my pantry stock looks like:


So, as you can see I go through my pantry once a month.  I highlight items in red that we NEED.  I will buy those on my next trip.  Items in orange are things I should probably get at some point during the month.  I scan the ads especially for these items.  Yellows are other ones I should also keep an eye on.

I still buy items that aren't highlighted.  I don't usually highlight until at least 1/2 of my supply is gone.  When stuff is on a good sale I want to fill up my "want" amount.  I try not to go over unless the sale is AMAZING and I do have some overflow room if I really think it's necessary.  Over-buying is a big issue for me so having a set number really helps me stay in my budget.

My "need" column depends on a couple of things.  a) How much we truly go through and actually need, this sometimes fluctuates so I will change the number if I feel like we're not going through the stock like we used to.  b)How much room we have.  I'd get like 100 cans of beans if I had enough room.  I just don't, so I've put a number that takes into account our need and the space.

My husband even set-up the excel list so that it takes the "want" and minuses the "have" and comes up with the "need" automatically.  If anyone wants this file please email me.  I'd be happy to send it to you.

Also, if you would like some help on target prices let me know what items you're wondering about and I'll do another post about that.

Grocery shopping can save you a LOT of money if you take a little time to do it right.  MomHack it.

**I did an update to my plan, that isn't as thorough, but shows a little bit about going through the pantry and how I work that into my grocery routine.  I also did a series on my target pricing here.

**So many people wanted me excel file I just made a new post here.  You'll find the google drive link there.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kitchen Organizing

Organizing is so important.  I think it's more important then cleaning.  I've been inspired by a lot of great u-tube videos.  If everything has a home then it's easy to get it back there.

So, I thought I might give you a little pictorial of a few organizing products.

Monday is, of course, all about the kitchen.  I was continuing my clockwise whirl around the kitchen for organizing.  Last week I'd done the fridge and this time I shifted to the right of that and my annoying little cabinet.  It's kind of been my junk cabinet since we moved in.  I wasn't really sure what to do with it.   Honestly, the kitchen hasn't had a whole lot done to it SINCE we moved in (and I put a lot of stuff away in a similar way that we had it in CA -- in a MUCH smaller kitchen so I'd be able to find it) so I'm excited to try and put some skills I've found watching youtube organization videos to use.

Without further adieu.  Our junk cabinet:

 
Ok, so the top shelf was thermoses for the kids lunch.  Why these are on the top so totally out of reach I have no idea but that's where they were (honetly, that's because that's where they were in CA).  I also put some extra cans for grease up there and also a jar for candle wax that has lost its scent.
 
The second shelf was stuff for P's lessons.  Totally random and not in a good order at all.
 
The bottom shelf was a catch all incluidng a few office supplies (we have an office but a lot of my "work" gets done upstairs so I need a few things.  Seeds, a few rnadom spices and thermometers.  Totally random.
 
I pulled it all out.
 
 
This isn't even all  of it.  A lot of things I knew weren't going to go back in it ended-up on our island so I could put them away.
 
And on a side note, why do I have bubbles in almost every crack and crevice in this house?  It's like I might have a bubble emergency.  Annoying.
 
I thought about my space and how I could best use it.  The top shelf still has the one thermos that actually works (kids don't often take hot stuff so that' snot much of an issue).  I threw out the other two (HORRAY!)
 
The second shelf I combined P's lesson stuff (this isn't near all her lesson stuff, I also have a bin on trop of the fridge but this is just the run-off. and the office supplies.  I found that little tote at Goodwill a while ago.  It helps corral the office supplies.
 
Then, because spices are being an issue in the cabinet next door I moved them here.  I like having the spices next to the stove as I usually add them as I cook.  I found that little drawer thing at the Container store a few years ago when the spice issue totally got out of hand at our other house.  It's pretty handy.

 
And that's that.  It took me about 15 minutes to do this whole thing.  Maybe a few more to find the homes for the stuff I was moving out of there.  I also got the fridge cleaned out, the stove cleaned and the sink wiped out in my 20 minutes I was dovoting to the kitchen.
 
I, sadly, find a lot of  joy in organizing stuff around my house.  I like systems that work -- a lot.  I'm a huge sprinkler fan because you can set it and forget it.  Same goes with good organizing systems in your house.  They kinda run themselves.  It's a happy thing. :)
 
Some of my favorite Youtube organizing channels are:
 
Alejandra on Home Organizing
 
Do you have any other favorite Youtube organizers?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekly Cleaning: Sundays

Sunday is our day of rest.  That doesn't mean we get to turn our house into a sty though, which seems to be the case for my kids.

So, we still do the 10 minute tidy.  Their main focus on this time is their room.

They clean out their backpacks.  Sure, it would be great to do this on Saturday but it seems to just end up on Sundays.

After church I change out the stuff in our Sunday bags.  I rotate through a few books for Princess P.  It just keeps things more fun if she has new stuff every week.  Also, we end-up bringing less.

That's about it.

I just enjoy that Sundays isn't my day to scream at everyone to clean.

Because I've gotta gear-up for Monday. :)

So, what do you think?  Would some of this heavily OCD system work for you?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekly Cleaning: Saturdays

Saturday is a special day, it's the day we get ready for Sunday...

It's also my day to WHIP my family in GEAR.  As I lay on the couch under my heated blanket.  Ok, maybe not so much.

Weekly Jobs:
  • Balance the checkbook
  • 20 minute tidy -- similar to a 10 minute tidy, but longer and I tend to spend more time on projects I neglect all week.
  • Help kids in playroom for 5 minutes
  • Clean garage for 5-10 minutes (the official room for this day is the garage)
  • Change the sheets on all the beds
  • Allowance for the kids (we follow a family bank model I found at the Power of Moms)
Wash:  Sheets

Rotating Jobs: 
  • Food storage check (I'm planning on a food storage post later this week so I'll post about this then) -- this is done every 4 weeks.
  • Long term food storage check (mostly #10 cans for serious emergency, although I do rotate through some of them) -- done about every 6 months
  • Clean the car -- mothly'ish -- this includes vacuuming and washing.
  • Budget check -- done every quarter.  Since I'm already balancing the checkbook, this is a good time to review how we've done and things we need to change.

Kids jobs:
  • Get their room "mom clean" (which is a higher standard of clean then their own, and involves looking in their closets, behind the bed and that their desk and top of their drawers is tidy)
  • Conner spot-vacuums the playroom and living room
  • Spencer vacuums the tile
  • Clean-out the car.  Most of this is junk they've brought in at some point during the week, not quite as vital as I don't carpool to school anymore but it's good stuff either way
  • Weed -- each child has a section of the yard and they can weed at any point during the week, I just tend to check it on Saturdays).

I just like getting the house totally clean one day a week.  And by clean, I mostly mean everything gets put away.  My house is never "totally clean" as I don't have a maid and I'm constantly rotating through the jobs, but I think it almost always looks "presentable" and on Saturdays once all the jobs are done I do feel a happy sigh rise up in my thoat. :)

The Saturday load usually takes about an hour, and then the rest of the day is free for me to lay on the couch under my heated blanket (snort).

Friday, January 11, 2013

What does Jesus Want YOU For

Because he wants this one for a Sunbeam.


 And I can't blame him, she's pretty bright and shiny...


She certainly showed bright in Primary my little Sunbeam girl.  My last sunbeam... {silent tear}


Cleaning Schedule: Fridays

Friday's is living room/laundry room day/dining room (which is actually where our computer is right now).

The 10 minute tidy is often putting stuff away in the living room and most things pretty well have a spot that doesn't require a whole lot of organization.  I tend to set a timer for about 10 minutes and just clean and organize in these areas.  I switch out the few books that P has in the living room.  I only like to keep 10 or so here but I try to switch them out weekly so she's getting a variety.

I also try to organize stuff in my laundry room.  I have most of my cleaning products and paper products in there, on top of all the laundry items.  It's not very big (but it's not in the garage so I pretty well adore it!).  I also try to clean out the washing machine with either bleach or vinegar (I try to rotate) every month, as well as clean out the vent on my dryer of lint.

I usually grocery shop on Fridays.

I try to get pictures off whatever cameras I've used that week to store on our hard drive.

I check our google calendar (which is pretty much what runs my life) to make sure stuff that needs to transfer to our family calendar is doing so.

Monthly I check the watering schedule and put it right for the month we're in.

Wash:  I wash just colors on this day.

Kids Jobs:

  • S vacuums the stairs with our small vacuum
  • C dusts


See, the week tapers off.  Compare this to Monday's post.  I'm just tired by Fridays.  I also often have school stuff I'm doing or playgroup for P on Fridays.  I try to make it my "fun" day (even if that just involves going to playgroup).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cleaning Schedule: Thursdays

Thursdays is my "downstairs rooms" days.  We mostly live on 2 levels of our house (it's a split level, it sounds bigger then it is), and the other level has an office, a guest room and a playroom (which will one day be turned into the TV room).

So, one week I focus on the playroom.  I mostly switch out toys (we have two sets of cabinets down there and I bring toys from the higher cabinets down to the lower ones and bring other toys up -- I'm a huge fan of not having a lot of toys out, but switching them).  I pretty well set a timer of 20 minutes and just clean what I can.  The playroom is pretty well the kids domain to keep clean, but sometimes their version of "clean" and my version of clean sometimes differ.  Go figure.

The other week I do filing in the office and then set a timer for 5-20 minutes (I often work on Thursdays so it really depends on when I need to be there and how I'm doing getting us out the door) to organize stuff in there.  The office kind of turns into a catch-all and I am slowly downsizing my scrapboking stuff.  I really need to work on that part a little better.

Wash:  I wash kids clothes and whites (same as Monday)

Kids Jobs:

  • S fixes the books (makes them look tidy on the shelves)
  • C sorts the laundry
You'll notice the jobs are starting to get less and less.  My will to clean wanes as the week continues.  Thursdays is my lightest day as I often work this day and while I can get a fair amount done before I go I can't go all crazy-like.

I mean, more then I already am. :)



Wednesday, January 09, 2013

MomHacker: Writing

I just went to a little writing thing at our elementary school.

On a sidenote, we pay over 10k for people to come teach our teachers how to help our kids write.  And like 6 parents showed up to the meeting they present for the parents.

{blech}

I digress.  The meeting was about informational writing and personally, I kind of had an eye roll... but at the beginning of the meeting she presented how testing tests our kids (and while I am pretty well against testing our kids they are a fact of life and I do want my kids to do well on them).

Sure, there might be a fiction piece, but the rest are informational piece.  Did anyone read an excerpt from Harry Potter on the SAT's or was it something about plant photosynthesis.

I hate photosynthesis.  Sure it keeps me alive, but I almost died over in college.

I am side-tracking.

Anyway, our kids NEED to learn how to ingest informational writing.  They need to know how how to get information from a book and spit it back out again.  And here I am reading fiction piece after fiction piece to them.  Frankly, because they're fun.  But, I need to throw some informational pieces in there.  And the best way to learn about something is to write about it, in my book.

Anyway, so my MomHack for the day is to get some informational books next time you're at the library.  Your kids will thank you for it (ok, they won't but it's still a good thing).

Do you read informational to your kids?  The teacher also brought some examples of narrative informational which helps give information but is also fun at the same time.  Like this book:

Weekly Cleaning: Wednesdays

Wednesdays is my bedroom days.

And since all our bedrooms are carpeted, that turns into vacuuming day too.

Weekly Jobs:  Vacuum (I am lame, but I kind of rotate through what gets completely moved and vacuumed under.  I'm not really sure how dirty the carpet under P's desk or my hamper gets so I kind of rotate in my mind what needs to be moved and what I can just zip around).

Wash:  I wash the bathmats every 3 weeks on Wednesdays.  I used to wash them weekly but I found that their color and rubber backing were being ruined, so I changed to every 3 weeks.  I kind of hate our bath mats, does anyone have a brand that they love?  I bought some memory foam ones but they're awful to clean and I'm just left unhappy with our bathmat situation.  Maybe they just need to be a yearly purchase and I need to let it go.  I also wash bras on Wednesdays.

Kids Jobs: 
  • S vacuums his room (which he shares with C) and the upstairs hallway
  • C vacuums the playroom and the downstairs hallway.

Rotating jobs: I clean/organize...
  • Master bedroom closet
  • My drawers
  • The kids drawers (each has its own week) -- up until lately I've just had the boys drop their drawers on my bed (that sounded bad) and I organized them for them but I think they need a clue as to how to organize their drawers.  In their/my defense their beauru is totally falling apart and far too small for their needs but until I find a goodie at Goodwill or at a garage sale it will need to do.  If anyone wants to sell a dresser let me know!
  • The bathroom drawers
I subscribe to an organizing channel on youtube, and one of her drawer organizing videos was pretty life-changing:



Isn't she smart?  I am kind of in love with her.  You should watch more of her videos.  I don't actually use her "tool" (but I'd like to) but by putting my t-shirts in my drawer liket hat I am able to pack a whole lot more in!

I make my grocery list on Wednesdays.  This is about a half hour job, depending on the ads (I try to do the ads on Tuesday but the delivery schedule is pretty random, so it usually just gets done when they come).

I do S's piano lessons on Wednesdays.  Don't ask....

Wednesday's "extra" time is also spent working on our family movie or our yearly scrapbook (which is now digital).  In a perfect world I'd also finish up my paper scrapbooking which I have vowed to do through 2010, which I am probably through about June 2009.  I really need to do this as I will feel much better about getting rid/consolidating my scrapbook supplies after that.  Maybe that can be one of my new resolutions.

I very rarely work on Wednesdays so it's nice to have something "assigned" to put my extra time to instead of laying on the couch watching trashy TV shows (which I am likely to do, I won't lie).  Does the "extra" work always get done.  But since it's on my to do list it gets done more then it would if it wasn't on there.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Weekly Cleaning: Tuesdays

Tuesdays is my bathroom day.  I'm still pretty fired up on Tuesdays.  Ready to tackle a moderate amount of work.  My Tuesday work does vary quite a bit but here's the basics:

Weekly Jobs:  Clean the bathrooms -- I pretty well just use antibacterial wipes for this job.  I think they're just as good as any cleaner I have used in the past.  A lot of what's needing cleaning is my hair so it takes a few of them, but I think they do as good a job as anything else.  I usually use the Costco variety, unless I've found another variety for cheap.

Kids Jobs:
  •  C cleans his bathroom, top to bottom it's all him -- and I do inspect, I need this boy to learn how to clean a bathroom (he also changes out the towels in his bathroom)!
  • S cleans the guest bathroom, I do the toilet (although he wipes the toilet I don't yet trust him with toilet cleaner)
Wash:  I was towels (handy, so I can just change out the towels while I'm cleaning the bathrooms) and colored clothes (just mine and Drew's) on Tuesdays

Rotating Jobs:
  • Clean my tub (with the steamer, unless I'm really tired and then I just wipe it down)
  • Clean the mirrors (probably should happen more often, but I'm lazy -- if only the antibacterial wipes did a better job at cleaning mirrors -- in my defense we have giant mirrors in all our bathrooms and except for about a foot around each sink they look alright)
  • Clean out the linen/medicine cabinet
  • Clean my shower
  • Clean the kids tub
  • Clean the guest tub
  • Steam the bathroom counters (this week the kids will wipe around the tub in their specified room instead of cleaning their counters)
  • Steam the bathroom floors
I somehow calendered these out.  I think steaming the counters, the mirrors and the floor happen every 4 weeks each and somehow the other 4 rotate around them.  I don't know, but it works.  Thank you astrid (I actually used to use Producteev, which has a handy dandy calendar function where you can see the calendar and your tasks assigned, I wish Astrid had this)!  I actually organize the bathrooms with my Wednesday jobs so Tuesdays is all about cleaning.

Princess P loves to get a wipe and help me rub stuff down (I usually just give her a washcloth as I am too cheap to give her a real wipe).  I usually have her do the tip of the bathtub in whatever room I'm working in.  I don't really care if she gets it spotless, but any dust can be picked up by her rag).

Tuesdays I also do any mending that needs doing.  This is 90% sewing on scout patches (BLECH) or buttons that were missing.  I like having a day to just get it done, and I usually just leave the stuff on my sewing cabinet until it needs fixin'.

Anyway, that's my Tuesday.  I sometimes work Tuesdays so this is a job that can be scaled down (not steaming, just wipe down the "area" that I'm assigned) as needs be.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Mom-Hacking #1: Fasting


I added LifeHacker to my flipboard.  I really like how they break down a few things to show you how to make them easier.  Turns out, they aren't particularly hacking MY life.  A lot of techno-stuff and maybe a few more man-oriented stuff. 

Turns out I need a mom-hacker. :)  I need someone to show me things they've done to make things easier in THEIR job (and I do say job, mothering is 100% a job -- the pay and benefits are negotiable).

So, one of my problems was kids on fast Sunday.  The hunger, the whining.  Conner would turn into a beast.  He also would often forget that fast Sunday was the next day (even though I have it in my astrid to remind everyone) and then really be screwed by not eating much the night before.

So, I made fasting cookies on Saturday night.  We all helped out and made some delicious cookies from my pintrest board.

I pretty well let Conner eat until he was full (he's pretty good at that, and I don't allow binges on cookies and the like very often) and I didn't hear a single complaint yesterday.  He may have had like 4 or 5 cookies.  If anyone's seen Conner you'd know that the boy doesn't need to be calorie counting.

But it got me to think that fasting requires preparation.  You really need to think about what you need (or those around you need) at that point in time.  And part of the fast needs to be filling your tank sufficiently the night before.  Conner and I even talked about fasting as we scooped cookies.

Anyway, that's what I mom-hacked recently.  What did you mom-hack?

Weekly Cleaning: Mondays

Mondays are a fun filled day for me.  I feel a rev'd up from the weekend.  I don't actually do a whole lot of cleaning on the weekends but on Monday I am ready to tackle the world (again, your system would need to take into account when YOU feel that way).  Monday is all about the kitchen.  Weekly jobs include: 
  • Clean the stove
  • Clean out the fridge
  • Sweep and mop
  • Plan the menu for the week
  • Clean out my inbox
  • Plan Family Home Evening (see they're not all cleaning jobs)
Wash:  I wash whites and kids clothes on Monday.  Conner sorts out their clothes and puts all the whites together and I do them all together.  I do all the kids clothes together, but this is getting to be a larger wash load and I may need to re-consider...  I'd love to hear anyone else's wash load plans.
 
Kids Jobs:
  • C cleans the counters with an antibacterial wipe (that's right, move EVERYTHING and wipe UNDER it)
  • S cleans the front of the stove, as well as some windows and our glass in our living room furniture.
 
Now the nitty gritty.  Usually how my Monday morning runs is like this:  I do my 10 minute tidy and then I then put 20 minutes on a timer.  I then do the kitchen.  I clean the stove (we have a ceramic stove, so it really needs to be done with its own special cleaner once a week -- I don't love it, but what's a girl to do?), I clean out the fridge, I do a rub down of the sink.  Then I am on a rotation around the kitchen to then organize stuff in there for the remianing minutes.  Sometimes I have a drawer/cabinet that just is screaming to be organized, so I will fix it, but sometimes I just keep plugging my way around the kitchen (clockwise) pulling stuff out, cleaning it and then putting it all back in.  For instance, I just did the whole fridge.  I brought out all the shelves and cleaned them off, and wiped down the sides.  It took me like 4 weeks to finish the whole thing but I feel like the 20 minutes is doable so I just stick to that.  Then I did the freezer, and the next week I did the cabinet above the fridge.  Next I'll move onto the cabinets to the right of the fridge.  Unless, of course, my pots and pans cabinet is causing me angst, and then I'll do it, instead.  The key is getting the things that HAVE to ("have to" is more in my mind, but a super dirty stove drives me nuts, as does a cluttered fridge) be done first and then organizing with the time I have left.  Sticking to the 20 minute limit makes it seem less overwhelming and doable.  So, it works for me.  I bet you're sitting here thinking that 20 minutes wouldn't even make a dent in your kitchen, but I bet if you did it weekly and really stuck to it you'd notice a difference.  You might need to start with an hour to get you at a decent starting point, but then start 20 minutes each week.  Just make sure you're focused on those 20 minutes (I often do this while P is eaing so we can chitty chat but I can stay focused on what I'm doing as she's occupied). 


 
Then, after throwing in some laundry or doing lessons with Princess P I get her playing on her own or (gasp) watching TV I sweep and mop.  Once a month I steam mop the whole thing.  This is, infact, my steam mop.  I used to have a shark one that I REALLY loved, but the steam jets kept getting clogged so I returned it.  I also love how versatile this thing is.  You'll see it used a lot in my continuing weekly plans.  The other 3 weeks I just use my rubbermaid mop.  The steam mop is kind of a lot of work to get out and make work and all that jazz, so hence me only doing it once a month.  I do think it does more for the grout then the rubbermaid mop so I keep doing it once a month.  We have a LOT of tile.  I'm guessing at least 1000 square feet, so this is a pretty big job.  I know, some of you with mansions have it worse off but by the time I'm doing mopping our tile I am DONE.  H-E-double hockey sticks, DONE. :)

 
Repeating jobs:
A clean sink is just a happy thing.  Not sure
why, but it totally is. :)
  • Clean the sink -- I deep clean the sink with comet every 4 weeks, thowing out the sponge when I'm done, because a wipe down of the sink is done every week I'm able to just throw this into the 20 minute tidy.
  • Clean the microwave -- I boil about 3 cups of water with baking soda for about 5 minutes in the microwave, let it sit and then clean out the whole thing with the steam that's left over.  Then, I was the rotating dish and clean off the front.  This does a great job of cleaning it without having to use any cleansers around where I prepare food.  I usually put this in the microwave while I'm doing the 20 minute tidy and then clean the microwave after my timer rings.  I also use the baking soda water with some vinegar to clean out my drains of the sink.
  • Steam the counters.  Once a month, Conner gets out of his job of cleaning the counters and I steam clean them and the backsplash. 

So, by the time all THAT is done I'm ready for some more "administrative" tasks.  I sit down and plan my menu.  I have a little magnetic post-it note thing in my fridge that has the days of the week and I just plop something in every day.  We don't always eat it ON that day but that gives me 7 items that we have ingredients for that we can make during the week.  Then, each morning I just pick something off the list, get whatever we need out of the freezer and run with it.  I try to do one night of chicken, one night of fish, a mexican night and Sunday is usually a crock pot meal.  Pizza (in its varying forms) is almost always on the menu.  Also, because I don't make dinner every night of the week (on the night I work, Drew doesn't follow my plan, he comes up with his own thing) I usually have some "leftovers" to put on the next week.  We also usually go out to eat one night during the week.  It's my saving grace. :)

I also go through my inbox.  It's a place that kids put notes during the week (they know if the note needs to be returned ASAP to give it to me in person, but if it's something that can wait, it goes in the inbox) or I throw stuff that needs to be followed up on.  Right now it has a ton of envelopes from Christmas cards.  I like to make sure that addresses haven't changed so I change them in my address book if need be.

All during the day I'm mulling over a fun plan for FHE (Family Home Evening).  We each have a responsibility and it's nice to not be in charge of the lesson every week but I try to do whatever my job is during the day so at least once facet of FHE is well prepared and thought out.  One problem now is that Drew has class on Monday evenings, so I'm not sure what night we're going to do FHE... but we will be doing it.  That's not a question.

So, that's my Mondays.  Often some bread making slides it way into the morning.  I really try to be home on Mondays so I can get a jump on the week, so it's a good day to make bread.

So, what's your day that you really feel like you could tackle the world?  Try to put a lot of stuff on that day so you feel accomplished. :)
 



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