Viewing category: organization

How am I spending my time?

Little Beethoven had a violin concert last weekend.

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The End.

 

This was going to be all I was going to write for these few photos. Why? Because there was no time to write anything else. And therein lies the problem. I never seem to have time for anything. Ever. But why is that? How am I spending my time? Is it on what really matters? Time is our most precious commodity.

I was thinking about this very thing, and carrying  typical mom and wife guilt, when I stumbled upon a sermon on YouTube (of all places) that said  (and of course I am paraphrasing because no time to cross reference) essentially… we spend 80% of our time doing meaningless, grind-type, going through the motions type work. The remaining 20% is spent on doing things that bring us energy, allow us to be creative, and drive our passion.

What would life be like if we could flip flop this and spend 80% of our time doing things that bring us joy, tap into our creative side, and the other 20% going through the motions with the meaningless motions.  Makes you wonder, right. Oh, how life would be so different. I am not quite sure how to achieve this because,.. you guessed it… it was late and no time left to finish watching (that and it then prompted me to subscribe to the YouTube channel to continue watching).

One of the things I can do to, at the very least, put me on the right path, is learn to say no. On occasion. Let’s start there. Learning to say no– on occasion.

I’d love to help but I am over-committed already.

As much as she would like to be there, our family already has plans that day.

It sounds like it’s going to be so much fun, I am sorry we will have to miss it.

Sorry, but I won’t be able to make it.

 

That wasn’t nearly as hard as I had imagined. If only I could stop saying it in front of the mirror and try saying it in real life.

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We raced to sweet Kenley’s first Winter Orchestra concert- after a tennis match but before an evening work event.

 

As I often have to remind myself, this too shall pass. This running around, never having quite enough time, always feel like a ball is dropping-business. It will, it will, if I think it enough it will.
For now? For now I’ll keep on trying to squeeze a little blog post here and there. Even if the thoughts aren’t cohesive and my spelling sucks.

 

I’ll keep setting reminders on my iPhone to fill prescriptions, load money in kid’s lunch accounts, and buy my cousin a baby gift.

I’ll keep pushing the envelop to see how late I can stay up, and how early I can rise, and still get everything done without getting so tired I can’t function.

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This one had no trouble slowing down to sit quietly, still and listen intently to the music.

 

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For now? I’ll slow my pace down, re-evaluate how I spend my time, and make sure I’m focusing on the people that mean the most to me. All of whom are under my roof with me at this very moment.

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2015: The Year of Simplicity

2015: The Year of Simplicity

When I haven’t posted anything in a while, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.  I just turned on Pandora and the Christian Contemporary Christmas station is still playing. Yes, I suppose it’s been a good week or so.

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Simplified: applesauce and water

 

As with most situations in my life, I’ll start by making a list.

 

My goal in 2015 was/is to simplify our lives.  With both parents now working full time with 3 young and active children this is key.  Here’s some tweaks I’ve made to try to do just that.

 

1.  Move the girls off-campus after school activities, on-campus.  It’s too hard trying to leave work/school to drive them to off campus activities, particularly when their school offers sports, arts, academics and everything in between.  We started with Kenley enrolling in two after-school art classes beginning this week. Britton may, or may not, continue with her Monday afternoon ballet class.  Life is about choices, and we’re still working through those choices.

2.  Workouts have conveniently returned. Bless my sweet hubby’s heart– the man gave me an indoor gym for Christmas! We now have an elliptical, flat screen TV, mat, towels, an assortment of weighted dumb bells, jump ropes and steps in our heated/cooled garage. No more running (or lack thereof)  in the early morning dark, looking over my shoulder.  This means I can exercise before work (5:30 am) which makes me less grouchy, less fluffy and much happier.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

3. Scaling down from two jobs to one.  Waking up at 5:20 a.m. to help my sweet Mama with her publicity/social media, has come to an end. I had to make a choice- a little extra pocket change or exercise,  Once again, a choice to simplify was made.

 

Simplified: return of the nap

Simplified: return of the nap

4. My oven has a delayed start- who knew. We welcome the smell of baked potatoes, bread and the such when we arrive home at nights now.

5.  Lunches will always be a working lunch from now on.  I’ve come to accept that making the 30 minute round-trip drive home for lunch is worth it. I manage to toss a load of laundry into the dryer, clean kitchen dishes, run dishwasher, make beds, let Poochie outside, wipe counters and start dinner. Oh, I eat lunch too.  This is a give-you-indigestion kind of lunch hour but the benefit of walking into a clean and prepped home at the end a long day is well worth the cost.

 

Simplified: Making sure they learn how to be a good friend- starting at home.

Simplified: Making sure they learn how to be a good friend- starting at home.

6. Giving myself some slack at dinner time.  Once a week, if we eat leftovers or even worse… drive through dinner… the Dinner Police are not going to arrest me.  In fact, they probably won’t even notice.  There’s no reason for me to cook 7 nights a week.  Setting my expectation bar a tad lower makes me breathe easier (and my children smile– who doesn’t love  an impromptu Chic Fil A for dinner).  Whew, glad I got that off my chest (although I still cringe when we eat anything out during the week).

7. Prep, prep, then when I’m done, prep some more. Lunches, for the most part, get packed the night before. Outfits for the entire week (including myself) are laid out on Sundays.  Meals, no questions asked, need to be planned in advance. There’s no such thing as winging it when I’m preparing 75 meals/work week for my crew.  As my friend Autumn pointed out recently, if I am willing to sacrifice two-three hours on Sunday to prepare, the week will run much smoother. She was right.

 

Britton and friends over the Christmas break.

Simplified: friends

 

Simplified: online shopping (First (successful) Joss &Main purchase. Outdoor carriage lights)

Simplified: online shopping (First (successful) Joss &Main purchase. Outdoor carriage lights)

Simplified, simplified, simplified. It gonna have to work.

2015: The Year of Simplicity

No preppin' for the Poochie Mama.

Simplified: homemade haircuts return for the Poochie Mama (I’m sporting a new do too– bangs!)

Life Hack {for those school mornings}

I’ve heard it all now.  It’s called a life hack.

 

(We’ve all heard of an Ikea Hack, but a Life Hack? Really?)  Whatever you want to call it- it works.

School/work mornings can go one of two ways. Chaotic or slightly less chaotic.  Lately I’ve been on a quest to make it more of the latter.

 

life hack via grateful simplicity

 

Here’s what has been working for us:

 

1. Paper plates 

Thank you Susan! Why I never thought of using paper plates in the morning beats me.  But it’s a game changer. No more leaving a sink full of dirty breakfast dishes as we make a mad dash out the door in the morning.  It all goes in the trash- it may make the environmentally conscious cringe but it makes this mama rather happy.

 

2. Selective Menu

Which brings me to the second thing– which goes on on those paper plates.  Food.  No more making three different meals for three kids (plus feeding two animals and a Mr. Robinson). Everyone gets the same thing– cereal. Trader Joe’s pop tart or cheese toast – take it or leave it.  (On a paper plate preferably)

 

3. Make Ahead Cold Lunches

Like most “duh” ideas, this one was found on Pinterest (of course).  I put a week’s worth of cold lunch box items (ready to grab cheese sticks, Danimal yogurts, applesauce, 10 ziplock bags worth of grapes, etc). in a big Tupperware in my  fridge and grabbed what I needed in the morning and threw them in gently placed them in the girl’s lunchboxes.  (The same goes for pantry snacks but we’ve had a large basket specifically for snack-ish items for a while now).

 

4. Setting Out Clothes and Bags the Night Before

Now that we all ride into school AND work (they are one and the same) together in the mornings, as Britton recently pointed out “we usually get to school when the sun is rising and often times leave when it is setting.”  7:30 am departure time gets here quick, no matter how early I rise. My kiddos have always had to lay out their clothes the night before (as does Mama) and pack their PE bag, tennis bag, soccer clothes, etc.  The bag goes by the door and so far we’ve only left the PE bag in the car once (so close, yet so far away).

 

I’m sure there are many more (like setting coffee maker the night before– but really, who wouldn’t do that?) but these are the main ones that have a real impact.  That’s all I got.  What else can I be doing to help the morning chaos? Suggestions?

That week we had frozen waffles, drive through and cereal for dinner

And that’s just how  it goes.  Even when there is a well planned menu plan, some weeks it’s more of a frozen waffles, drive through and cereal for dinner.

 

As much I would like to have an thoughtful, articulated and meaningful post, it’s more like polka dotted thoughts.

For instance, today is the first home Florida State University football game (if you don’t know who FSU is, uh hum the 2013 National Champions) Instead of going to the rainy game, I am doing my part to support my alma mater by purchasing this Blue Hen golden chief bracelet. If you haven’t checked out their online store, you should.  My sister’s friend started this online store and is the curator (after a successful career at QVC!)

 

Lounging via grateful simplicity

 

 

Britton had her first Cross Country meet at 8:00 am this morning.  Yes, that is “a.m.”  We had three goals in mind.

  1. Show up when you say you are going to show up.
  2. Give it your best.
  3. Finish.

We are happy to report, although nervous, she completed all three.  Good rules in life as well. While we aren’t exactly the show-up-to-a-sporting-event bright-and-early-Saturday-morning kind of family, we all enjoyed it and had a good time.  I lugged the water, chair, iPhone camera and 2 year old sweaty little brother (little sister too!).  He was quite the cheerleader.  I wish I had run more in high school- now’s my chance to live vicariously through my oldest daughter.

 

 

With a rainy day Saturday afternoon comes Curious George and lounging.  A perfect combination.

A realistic meal plan

A while ago I loaded 12 months worth of meals on my iPhone (directions found here)- complete with ingredients and recipes. It still comes in handy although our crew (i.e.- me) has become tired of those same meals I fear.

Now that I am working full time I need meals that can slow cook or can be made quickly when we all arrive home hungry and tired in the afternoons.  A realistic meal plan.

 

This should get me a jump start over the next month:

 

A Realistic Meal Plan via grateful simplicity

 

 

Sunday, August 24th –  Nana’s mac n’ cheese

Monday, August 25th –  Extra Cheesy Grill Cheese Sandwich and Dressed Up Tomato Soup

Tuesday, August 26th –  Kenley’s favorite spaghetti and meatballs and mild, linked Italian sausage (good for leftovers)

Wednesday, August 27th  – Wednesday Wing Night 

Thursday, August 28thTaco Soup (less the beans)

Friday, August 29th – Simplest Roast Chicken Ever with Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf

Saturday, August 30th – Charcoal chicken on the grill with Grilled Rainbow Peppers

 

Sunday, August 31st- Southern Living’s Beach Shrimp with toasty French Bread

Monday, September 1st - Breakfast for dinner

Tuesday, September 2nd – Grilled Chicken with White BBQ Sauce,  ready made buttermilk biscuits, and Summer Vegetable Kabobs 

Wednesday, September 3rd –  Cheese stuffed hamburgers and a bag of frozen sweet potato fries

Thursday- September 4th –  Eat out!

Friday, September 5th –  Homemade pizza

Saturday, September 6th –  Grilled Lemon Chicken (Dessert: sweet and saltines )

 

 

A Realistic Meal Plan via grateful simplicity

 

Sunday, September 7thSalmon baked in foil,

Monday, September 8th –  lasagna rolls with spinach

Tuesday – September 9th –  Chicken pot pie from Fresh market (x 2)

Wednesday, September 10th - Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Thursday, September 11th- Cheesy stuffed shells with my secret tomato sauce via Cooking Light 

Friday, September 12th –  Hamburger Steak with Sweet Onion Mushroom Gravy (Britton’s favorite!)

Saturday, September 13th –  Eat Out!

 

Sunday, September 14th –  Lemon Pork Chops with Quinoa Salad and Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette 

Monday, September 15th – Rotisserie Chicken, organic spinach and instant Wild Rice

Tuesday, September 16th –  Shrimp, Watermelon and Feta Salad

Wednesday, September 17th – Pork Chops with Carolina Rub with Strawberry Tomato Salad

Thursday, September 18th – Grilled BBQ thighs, bagged Ceasar salad, garlic mashed potatoes and buttered french loaf

Friday, September 19th –  Night off

Saturday, September 20th –  Chicken BLT Salad

A Realistic Meal Plan via grateful simplicity

 

Sunday, September 21st –  BLT Panzanella Salad

Monday, September 22nd – Barbecued Pork Quesadillas with grilled Corn on the Cob (Dessert: Smoothie Pops)

Tuesday, September 23rd –  Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peach-Lime Salsa

Wednesday, September 24th-  Turkey Club Sandwiches with Herb Mayonnaise

Thursday, September 25th-  Garden Style Lasagna

Friday, September 26th –   Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

Saturday, September 27th – Chicken Thighs with Cilantro Sauce

 

A Realistic Meal Plan via grateful simplicity

 

Now I’ve just got to stick to it by having ingredients handy on Sunday evenings.