If you use the links below to purchase books of your own, we’ll earn Amazon credit–at no cost to you–to reinvest in more books for next year!
If you use the links below to purchase books of your own, we’ll earn Amazon credit–at no cost to you–to reinvest in more books for next year!
A mom’s typical day can change a lot. As I look back on posts I’ve written about my days, I often read through them and think, “That would never work now.” It’s fun to document our lives and today I thought I’d take the opportunity to share our typical day at home – or at least how it looks for now. Today also happened to be Valentine’s day as well, so there’s a few fun activities thrown in that I’d like to remember.
My day usually starts very early – like 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. It’s definitely not that I’m really disciplined enough to wake up that early. I don’t own an alarm clock and don’t need to set one on my phone either. See, this little one in my belly likes his room and he’s perfectly content upon letting me know when it gets a little cramped in there. It’s usually about this time that he starts pushing on the bladder, I make my trip to the bathroom and then I’m up for the day. This is actually a great thing right now since I just started designing full time and I’ve always got a ton of work to do. This morning I was able to check my emails, respond to a few clients, install a WordPress theme, send a mockup out, and work on a current project’s demo site. I do all this from bed as my two little rascals sleep peacefully right beside me.
About 7:00 and Wade (22 months) starts stirring. I hear some congestion in his chest and lift him up to help it clear. He gags and coughs up mucus all over his side of the bed. I should have known it was coming – he got a hold of his big brother’s buttered toast last night and snagged a few bites before I caught on. Dairy is not his friend. Another load of laundry to add to the pile, but for now I just scoot everyone over so they can get some more rest. Wade falls off back to sleep and I wrap up the work I was doing to head into the kitchen.
I start some Breathe Easy tea with raw honey for Wade, a cup of coffee for me, and sit down at the dining room table to put together today’s activities. It’s Valentine’s Day, so there’s lots of hearts and pink and red and purple. We won’t do much curriculum work today since I’ve got some themed activities already lined up. As I’m wrapping up my preparations, the boys quietly walk into the kitchen looking for morning cuddles. I always ask them the same two questions: “Did you sleep well?” and “Did you have sweet dreams?” Ronnie always replies with “uh-huh” and Wade gives a pitiful “nooo…” I know good and well he got awesome sleep, but I think he likes the sympathy. One day he’ll figure out that I’ll cuddle him up anyway without the pity party.
Ronnie (4) gets sight of his school activities and starts asking questions, so I know now that I’ve got to get on the ball and get the day going. After starting some laundry and a quick diaper change, I throw together breakfast: peanut butter on toasted sourdough bread, raspberries, and a clementine. Ronnie gets a probiotic smoothie and a small cup of juice with cod liver oil in it (we’re trying to heal some cavities) and Wade gets his herbal tea. We all sit together to eat, brush our teeth, and clean up a bit before starting our lessons.
We start off by discussing Valentine’s day, talking a bit about why and how we show love, and then read a few books we managed to pick up at the library last week. Then it was on to the fun stuff.
To take a break from all the girly heartsy cutesy stuff, we broke out an activity from this month’s Kiwi Crate. Ronnie followed the instructions to make a comet, set up some rings, and the boys played together trying to score points like on a skee-ball game. This gave me time to put away the supplies we were done with, change over the laundry, check email/facebook, and set up some more activities.
We’ve worked on patterns a lot in the past, but we haven’t ever defined them as an AB, ABB, or ABC pattern until today. To get things started with this activity, we watched a couple of youtube videos to introduce the idea (this one and this one) and he picked up on it right away. Instead of coloring the page like the directions asked, we used his hearts to make the patterns.
As a winding down activity, I had Ronnie do a puzzle with a sensory twist. Of course, he’s very familiar with his letters, but having to pull them out of a bucket of beans just satisfies his sensory-seeking side for some reason. You can see how Wade (almost 2) just kind of hangs around and “helps” every now and then. At this point, I throw on A Charlie Brown Valentine as a special treat, but the kids end up playing in the living room and entertaining themselves while I put away all the supplies we were done with and whipped up a quick lunch.
Mine doesn’t look as cool as the lunches on pinterest, but I did attempt the hotdog hearts – organic dogs and grass-fed cheddar, of course! On the side, we had strawberries, cucumbers, sauerkraut, and diced tomatoes (only on Wade’s – not shown).
After lunch, the boys helped me clean up the table and then they settled in the living room for some quiet time. Wade watched a little bit of Dumbo on Netflix while Ronnie played some computer games. Ronnie sometimes plays outside or in his room quietly at this time, but today he enjoyed the down time parallel to me. This gave me the opportunity to fold the 3 loads of laundry waiting for me (ick!), check some emails, load up the ThredUp bag that came with our BabbaCo box, and write half of this post. By the time I was done, Wade had fallen asleep on my lap and Ronnie was fixing himself a snack. I silently did a fist pump because Wade has a difficult time falling asleep during the day when we’re not out and about driving around town. Strap him in a car seat and he falls right to sleep but hanging out at home, he fights it. We’re home 2-3 days a week, so sometimes he skips his naps altogether. Thankfully, he sleeps really well at night or else I’d be worried.
With Wade asleep and Ronnie starting to look for something new to do, we decided to open up our new Math-U-See curriculum that got delivered earlier in the morning by our very friendly FedEx lady. He blew through lesson 1 and began lesson 2 before I cut him off. He really didn’t want to stop, but it was getting to be that time of the day where I couldn’t devote as much attention to what we were doing. Wade woke up in a fuss and it was time to start supper.
My bold plan to put a pot of bone broth on to simmer all day didn’t turn out – I forgot. Oops. So, a quickie dinner of pineapple teriyaki meatballs, rice and peas, and sweet potato fries seemed like a good alternative. As I’m pulling out the ingredients, my mom calls and asks if we can come over so she can give the kids their Valentines. I’m thankful my family is understanding of our dietary needs, so she treats the boys to books and crayons with cute v-day cards. I also love that my family lives right down the street and we see them a couple nights a week! So, I pack up our supper and the kids and we head on over. As soon as we arrive, I fix the kids plates because I know it won’t be long before they are wrestling in the living room with their cousin (3). I engulf myself in some much needed adult conversation with Mom, Dad, and my sister while my brother tries to keep the kids from destroying the other room. Eventually, he gives up and retires to his bedroom. Not too much longer and I realize we really need to go. It’s almost bedtime and the kids are getting a little out of control. Just as we’re all packed up, my other brother and sister-in-law walk through the door with my precious little baby nephew (1 month). I fight the urge to stay, but soak up a few moments looking at him before we finally leave.
On the way home, I let the kids call their dad back since he called right as we were leaving – and after a 5 minute conversation, we were in our driveway so I laid out the plan so Ronnie knows what to expect. It’s the same thing every night, but reminding him seems to help things go smoothly. He comes in, takes off his shoes and jacket, grabs the kindle and heads to his room for down time. It’s a good thing the kids got baths last night because there just isn’t time right now. A bath every other day seems to work for us and their sensitive skin. I get Wade changed into his jammies and, after putting our freshly washed sheets back on, we lay in bed reading books for a while. Wade just stopped nursing last month, so these cuddle moments are especially important for him right now. We usually watch Colbert and Jon Stewart from the night before on Hulu and he’ll fall asleep against my big belly.
Once Wade was good and asleep, I crept out of the room to check on Ronnie and help him with a bedtime snack. He was very specific – two boiled eggs and 5 strawberries. Okay, bud. You got it.
As he chowed down, I finally remembered to pick my chicken carcass and throw it in the crockpot with some veggies to simmer down into a bone broth. Should be good and gelatiny by morning. After my last kitchen clean-up of the day, I look over at Ronnie who has finished his snack and is engulfed into an episode of Caillou on the kindle. We brush our teeth and he heads off to bed without complaint. Thank goodness tonight is an easy one – that’s not the case every night! At some point, he’ll creep back into bed with me but its nice for him to have his own space for most of the night.
It’s already 9:45. I plop down on my bed with my laptop on the nightstand to finish this post. I’ll probably be up for an hour or two more to work a bit, respond to emails, and catch up on Facebook and Instagram to see what everyone else did for Valentine’s day.
And, this is our typical day at home – about 2-3 days a week. For the rest of the week it’s errands, church, grocery shopping, homeschool co-op, playdates, special trips to museums, parks, and interesting local events. Some days, I have to work all afternoon so the kids play outside or together in their rooms full of imagination-inspiring toys. And some days we just pack up and head to the beach to relax and enjoy the view. The kids spend a day each week with their dad, so I treat myself to a full day of designing at my favorite Starbucks or Panera (or both!).
Usually about this time every night, I reminisce about times when I could actually take a nap while pregnant. In fact, I slept most of the time during my first pregnancy. Now, I may lay down for an hour every now and then, but there are no naps. Somehow, I still have the energy. I think about the days when my house was really truly clean – when the carpets weren’t stained (darned cream carpets!), the hard floors weren’t sticky, and there were no little boy pee puddles on the toilet seat. And I faintly remember a time when I didn’t just plum forget to take a shower (like today!?). I wonder if my life would be so much easier if I went about things in a more conventional way. But, then I laugh and realize how much I truly madly deeply love my life and the people in it.
Sure, I am now a single, attachment-parenting, homeschooling, full-time work-at-home mom in her third trimester of her third pregnancy. I often feel inadequate – it’s a lot of work. But, how else could I live the flexible and present life I aspire to live? I’m not there yet, but each day I’m closer than I was yesterday.
Okay, we’re well into the middle of November and I haven’t even shared our Halloween craftiness yet. I’ve been working like a mad woman lately and between designing, child-rearing, thanksgiving supper planning, and Christmas shopping, time has slipped right out from under my nose. Well, no time for long explanations. Here’s the short and dirty…
We made some Halloween treat bags for Ronnie’s preschool class using this free printable. My computer decided the orange parts should be pink, so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “eh, we’ll give those to the girls.” It seemed to work out okay. Our goal for the treats inside was simple: no crap. Okay, the plastic flashlights and the frostie coupons could be considered crap, but at least there’s no high-fructose corn syrup or red #40 in the bag.
We opted for the Trunk or Treat celebration at the church this year and the boys went as owls. How cute are they? I was so inspired by this tutorial I found on pinterest that I just had to recreate it. Of course, I don’t sew, so I broke out the glue to put these bad boys together. With some linen and a mixture of felt and fleece, these actually turned out okay. We added these adorable crocheted owl hats by Amy K to finish off the look.
Stay tuned for more holiday fun! I’ve got lots of DIY projects in the works. 🙂
This weekend we celebrate the dawn of a new year. Hello 2011! I’m so excited about what’s to come of my life and my family during the next 12 months that I can hardly stand it. But, before I move on to all dreams and hopes for the coming year, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on this past year. A lot happened in 2010. So much so that I can honestly say I’m totally a different person than I was on January 1. Let’s reminisce:
So, what’s next? Last year, I laid out all these goals that I wanted to accomplish, but most things fell flat before the halfway point. This year I have one goal in mind: consume less and live more.
I’m pretty flexible about how I want to go about accomplishing my one goal this year, but I have a few ideas:
So, there it is. That’s the plan. It WILL change. I now know myself well enough to get that. But, its a framework. Its the path I want to take this year and I’m going for it. What is your goal for 2011?
Did you notice my new look?
I’ve mentioned before how I love minimalism. I’ve been making many drastic changes around my home to become more of a minimalist and so now I wanted to clean up my blog to reflect the same principles. Since I last set some minimalist goals back in May, I have accomplished quite a bit:
The road to minimalism is definitely a long one, but I’m getting there. There’s still quite a bit I’m working on, like:
I really don’t know where the time has gone. This year is already flying by me. With Rob being gone for JRTC training and Ronnie’s recent birthday, I’ve really gotten myself off track with my daily tasks and responsibilities. Now that those big events are over with, its time to put on my big girl panties and start to be productive again. I’ve been finding myself literally losing time. I looked up at the clock the other night and realized it was already 3:00am. I was pissed at myself for staying up so late. My plan is to start to get back on track with a daily routine this week. Its already Tuesday and I have yet to start this, but I’m hoping tomorrow will allow for it. Our new routine will look something like this:
7:00[ish]: wake up, watch cartoons, check email
8:30: morning dash
9:00: therapy or learning time
10:00: walk or errands
11:00: free play or continued errands
12:00: lunch, check email – do not get sucked into design work!
12:30: nap time, hulu time, school work
3:00: free play or outside play
4:00: afternoon dash
5:00: start supper, work on a small project
6:00: supper & family bible time
6:30: bath time & family time
7:30: Ronnie’s bed time, Rob’s free time, Shay’s work/design time
10:00: Lights out!
I’ve really got to get my design time in check. I’ve been staying up way too late and working throughout the day. The problem is that I get inspired and don’t want to lose it, but then I find myself neglecting other things in order to do it. I know my clients appreciate fast turnaround times, but I’ve got to tone it down. If I work from 7:30 – 10:00 every night, that’s 17.5 hours a week. I’d say that’s plenty for working part-time, considering the fact that I’m checking my emails and responding to clients throughout the day as well.
If I can get a routine down this week, I’m going to take another stab at potty training next week. Really, we’ve got everything we need to do it, I just need the undivided time and the ability to not leave the house for a whole week. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂
I guess that’s all for now…
Photo from *Ann Gordon
One of the best things you can do to be more productive is to get into the rhythm of a daily routine. A routine doesn’t have to be strict – its purpose is only to serve as a general guideline for how your day should go. I rarely ever do everything on my routine right on time. We all know we’ve got to have a little give in our schedule to allow for all the little distractions of our day. Although, it does help to sit down and create an outline of what you need to get done and when. You’ll find that you actually have more extra time in your day while getting more done. Here’s what our daily routine looks like:
When I was in college, I was going to school full-time and had two part-time jobs, so the time I actually had off was precious. Take away the time I spent studying and there wasn’t much left. Because of my hectic schedule, I had to have things perfect all the time. I needed to know exactly where everything was and have a serene peaceful place to concentrate. But when did I have time to clean? I quickly came to the realization that I needed to get things done fast and so the “dash” system was born. The idea behind this quick system is that you choose a time, once or twice a day, and do everything you need to get done as quickly as possible. Basically, you’re dashing around the house to get it all done. Of course, living on my own in a little apartment only warranted 20 minutes of dashing. Now, I spend at least 1 hour twice a day. It may all get destroyed five minutes after I’m done, but my house was actually clean for five minutes. I also conveniently complete my afternoon dash just before my husband walks through the door – I like him to come home to a clean house. Here’s my “dash” schedule:
Morning Dash (around 8:30am – just after breakfast)
Afternoon Dash (around 4:00pm – just before I start supper and my husband walks through the door)
To keep on top of the things that don’t need to be done everyday, I use a weekly tasks system. I complete these tasks along with my morning dash so I get them done before I get sidetracked through my day.
“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -Mark Twain
Simple Mom has a great article on this technique. Get those dreaded chores out of the way so you can enjoy your day. Here’s my weekly task schedule:
The last tip I have is probably the most important. You have to know that you’re not going to do it perfectly all the time. Some weeks are better than others and that’s okay. Find out what works for you and stick to that. If you’ve got little ones running around, there’s no way that your house is always going to be clean and picked up. Just do what you can and don’t get discouraged. Even if you follow all of my guidelines, you’ll probably have a slump from time to time. I do. I needed this week to get my house back in order. But now that I have a clean slate, I can maintain it for a while without getting overwhelmed.
I hope my tips were helpful! If anyone has anything to add, please do so in a comment. 🙂
So, its finally time for the finishing touches. You’ve all been working hard this week getting your home cleaner. I’m proud of our progress, but there’s just a bit more to do. Got your music up loud? (I’m currently listening to my “Party in the USA” station!)
Thanks for following along with me. Sometimes, it really makes a difference to go through and do it all. Now, you can just focus on maintaining your clean home – check back tomorrow for details!
Time to finally clean up that home office (or desk, if you don’t have a room dedicated to it).
If you’re not sure if something should be kept or discarded, here’s a few tips:
photo from renedepaula
Get ready to tackle your living and dining areas. Is your music up loud enough to pump you up?? Alright then, here we go…
Photo from brooklyn
Today, let’s focus on bedrooms, laundry, and linens. Crank up that music and let’s get started!
Photo from jek in the box
Today, we’re starting off in the kitchen. In most places, the kitchen is the heart of the home, so it seems fitting to get things on track there first. To kick things off, turn on some music. You can go to pandora.com and start a radio station with your favorite music – something that’s going to get you pumped up! Here we go…
Photo from pantagrapher
For now, we’re going to move on to the bathroom(s), but we’ll be back in the kitchen to finish up a few things in a minute.
Step back and look at what you’ve accomplished. Are you proud of yourself? See you for a new challenge tomorrow!
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes get into a cleaning rut. As much as I try to make sure my house is taken care of, I just can’t seem to get on top of it sometimes. I am challenging you, along with myself, to complete a handful of tasks every day this week to get your house back on track! Each day, we’ll be focusing on certain rooms, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be doing everything in that room on that particular day – we may come back to a task later in the week. I’m all about efficiency, and I’d rather pull out my duster once a week rather than every day.
You’ll need to set aside 2 hours every day and gather a few supplies. Grab a bucket and fill it with these items:
Additionally, you need:
Ready to get started?
photo from Jaymie K
One of my favorite bloggers, Tsh Oxenreider, recently wrote an article on (in)courage titled Your Family: the Best Company to Work For. This article embodies my views exactly on motherhood and home management. I love how she points out that some of us have “bonus” jobs, but our true profession is that of home management. Our homes should run like businesses and, when you realize how important your job really is, you take it seriously and take pride in your work.
Here’s some posts from across the web that I found particularly interesting today:
Staying organized is vital to successful professional motherhood. Use this printable daily planner to keep things on track.
Here’s my example:
Before I could really go into our goals for 2010, I first needed to look at my goals for 2009 to see what I accomplished and what I missed.
Out of 18 goals, I completed 12 of them. That’s 67%. Ouch, I think that would be a “D” if this were a test. Now, for 2010…
These are the blog posts across the web that I found particularly interesting this week:
Simple Mom: 1 Week Till Christmas: Prepare to be a Guest in Someone Else’s Home
Hostess with the Mostess: REAL PARTY: Ornament-Inspired Holiday
Lifehacker: Hide Your Cat’s Litter Box in Furniture
Small Notebook: The Lost Rule of Organizing
Living Locurto: Holiday Treat Recipe & Free Printable Gift
Nashville Makeup Artist: To Brush or Not to Brush?
Web App Storm: Ten Top Holiday Apps to Get You in the Spirit
Zen Habits: How to Be Mindful During the Holidays
All around the world, mothers and wives play an integral role in the function and flow of any family. Chances are, if you’re the matriarch of the family, you are the one that manages the home. I, for one, am proud to be a home manager.
Notice I did not use that dreaded SAHM phrase. While some people wear that title proudly, I feel it minimizes the importance of my job and it brings a negative connotation to what I do. “Ooooh, you’re a stay-at-home mom? I wish I had it easy like that.” Boy, you are seriously mistaken! Unfortunately, this is still the image that mom’s have. In fact, my own husband falls into the misconception from time to time. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how busy and frazzled I was with everything I needed do. The conversation went something like this:
Him: “Why don’t you have enough time? Why don’t you do this stuff instead of watching TV all day?”
Me: “Do you really think that’s what I do all day?”
Him: “That’s what I would do.”
This misinterpretation of what we actually do surrounds us, and sometimes we find ourselves believing it. I am here to stand up and tell you not to believe a word of it. You are the Queen of Your Castle and I’m here to tell you why!
When you think of a castle, what comes to mind? Take away the fairy tale connection, and you probably would say something along the lines of a very large stone building that fortresses a royal family. In fact, one definition of a castle is “a retreat safe against intrusion or invasion.” Your home is your retreat, right? Your safe haven. No matter what happens in the world, you know you can go home and feel safe. My husband is an army infantryman and he works long hours. But, he knows that when he finally comes home, its an army-free zone. There’s no one getting on his case and telling him what to do. No PT, no ranges, no uniform. This is his retreat. And its my job to make it as comfortable as I can for him.
In every family, we all have our roles. Since I am the girl who loves fantasy and chivalry, I choose to view our roles as that of a royal family. My husband is the king and I am the queen. Our children are princes and princesses, who will eventually take over the kingdom. Webster defines a queen as ” a woman eminent in rank, power, or attractions.” I don’t know about you, but in this castle, I have a lot of rank and power and I’d like to think I’m attractive.
As a home manager, it is my responsibility and privilege to clean, decorate, and arrange my home how I see fit. I make most of the decisions regarding our son, simply because I am his caregiver 90% of the time. I determine when and what we eat because I buy the groceries and cook our meals. I make our weekend plans because I’m dedicated to keeping our family busy, spending time together. Essentially, I am the queen. Only one other person outranks me in this royal family – and that’s MY king.
“She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise”
– Proverbs 31:27-28
Do you realize what you’re worth? According to salary.com, if being a stay-at-home mom earned you a salary, you’d be making around $138,094 annually! Working moms would average close to $85,938 in addition to the annual salary from their day job. There’s a reason why that number is so high – its because you do a lot!
The feminist movement of the 60s and 70s inspired women to “do it all.” Because of these feminists’ sacrifice, women are now able to choose whether they want to work out of the home or work in the home. It is really something special that we now have that choice, and its ours to make depending upon what our families’ needs are. Unfortunately, this movement has also diminished the view on mothers who only work in the home. Somehow people forgot that its in our very nature to be domestic. Well, most of us anyway. I am happy to say that this dynamic is shifting yet again. I think a lot women are tired of trying to “do it all” and are ready to resume the domestic role of wife and mother above all else.
The purpose of this website is to empower home managers (SAHMs and working moms alike) to take their job seriously. Treat this role just as if you had a fancy office with a view. Increase productivity, bring in revenue, cut costs, and network all along the way.
make beef stroganoff
make egg salad for rob’s lunches
fold all the new laundry that’s piled at the end of the bed
4. attempt to clean out the car (?? – might be too cold!)………uh uh.
find a free online marketing/design class
tidy the house and clean the toilets
7. do lessons 43 and 45 for computer hardware class
8. gather up unused christmas deco to go to storage