Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Work Home and Family - Getting It All Done

The question I get asked all the time when people find out what we have on our 'plate' at our house, is "How on earth do you get it all done?"

The short answer is, I don't.  Not by a long shot.

Yes, the kids help and they love to help and they're getting to the point now where they can be a pretty darn good help. 

Yes, John helps a lot too - and I really don't know what I'd do if he didn't. 

The piles of clutter (behind Buddy there in the picture) are finally gone. But it was a long, long process - over a year to be exact.  And we're still finding hidey-holes of clutter and have to keep on top of it to not have stacks of random homeless items end up all over the house. Our bedroom and the guest room seem to be the magnets for those two things - the guest room since we don't use it all the time and our room because the kids don't go in there.  We're a work in progress and we know that.  And we'll keep working on it.

Some things I've learned about "Getting It All Done" over the last couple of years:

* Have a plan.  Then work the plan.  Not having a plan is bad.  Not working the plan doesn't work either. And plan ahead.  Not just for right now or today, but this week and any upcoming big events too.

* What are your priorities?  For us in terms of housework it's food, clothing, and clean flat spaces - tables and beds mostly.  After that we like to have space to keep things like the bathroom and the sheets clean and the house picked up.  Then it's cleaning the rest of the house.  Outside it's the basics - mowing and shoveling, everything else is gravy - and I do like my flowers so there's lots of "gravy". :)   In any case, we know what can slide and what can't in terms of chores.  This applies to work and school too.  For all of us.

* Give everyone something to do.  The kids have assigned chores - right now Buddy washes the dishes (with John) and Missy sweeps.  I wash and fold the laundry, Buddy shorts and Missy and Buddy are responsible for putting away their own clothes.  The kids set the table and help John or I with dinner prep, which we rotate depending on the day.  I do the ironing. John handles trash, recycling, mowing, weed whipping and snow shoveling. My list could go on, but you get the idea. There's no surprises.  Same said for schoolwork and time to do it.

* Have a back up plan.  And have a backup plan for the backup plan.  Unexpected events, a later evening or unexpected sicknesses can wreak chaos with the most organized plan.  Easy backup meals, extra toiletries, extra school and work uniforms and the like can make life a lot less stressful.

* Give yourself grace.  This is the one that I struggle with the most along with a lot of "shoulds" - self imposed "shoulds" of course.  I'm working to realize that in this season of life at our house there are things that just aren't going to happen - a large vegetable garden for instance. I'm so grateful that we have a wonderful Farmer's Market and a CSA that we can get our produce from very inexpensively in that regard.  There are many, many other things too, but that's just an example. 

What are some things you've learned about "getting it all done"?  I'd love to hear!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Goals for the Week of June 24th

This month got off to a very, very busy start! 

The first week of June was also the kids last week of school, the week I'd designated for writing, and the week my folks left for their home out of state!  It was also the week that one of our Jazzercise instructors was diagnosed with a serious medical condition (and couldn't teach), that 2 other friends got married, my cousin was in town from out of state, and we didn't have childcare for 2 days!  Whew!

Then we got sick - 3 of the four of us, John started summer intensives, a dear friend died and John officiated at a funeral, the remaining pastor at our home congregation (who I had been going to speak with) left to take another call elsewhere, they decided to completely rearrange the office I'm in at work (including new carpet, painting, and furniture), and I broke my 4th toe on my right foot (and then taught 2 classes at Jazzercise on it!). 

And now this week starts our 9 weeks of marathon travel for John's preaching each weekend (and sometimes during the week too).

Now I'm tired.
And ready for life to get back to whatever "normal" is around here!  :)

That said, my week writing was wonderful and I now have a very concise list of things that I need to do, things that I need to talk to my adviser about and I got over 50 pages written.  Even better than that, I actually feel like I can finish this whole PhD thing. I was started to feel very discouraged about it, so I am very relieved that I am at this point now. 

So, here are my goals for this week:

* Finish outlining my first units for each class I'm teaching.
* Write up a list of things I need to make (or have the shop make) for my new class. 

* Email 3 professors
* Finish going through interview transcripts  
* Cross 2 other things off my dissertation to-do list 

* Set for first class/teach class
* Set for second class/teach class
* Learn new Glut routine
* Learn new Opener
* Finish setting up paperwork for new classes (whoot - very excited about this!) 

* 1 hr weeding
* Catch up ironing
* Finish cleaning out our bedroom
* Label bins in Buddy's room 
* 1 hr sewing/mending
* Finish planting my annuals

* Read at least 30 minutes with each kid 5x this week
* Library trip
* Finish travel game tin for kiddos
* At home Date night with John
* Family Night - Lesson on John the Baptist (Friday)
* Make cookies with the kiddos
* Make Fruit Pockets with the kiddos
* Work on solidifying our morning routine
* Work on solidifying our chore routine
* Write list of clothes to pick up from Uniform Swap at school
* Attend the Uniform Swap at the kids' school
* Make sure John and the kiddos get their hair cuts done! 

* Continue memorizing the Sermon on the Mount
* Review John's Sermon for Wednesday
* Review John's Sermon for Sunday
* Finish Lutheran World Relief Quilt Top (return to church)
* Have everything ready to go for Wednesday and Sunday
* Send two sympathy cards to friends who lost loved ones last week
* Paint my toenails (I never seem to get to this!)
* Get my hair cut (this never seems to get done either)
* Cut myself a flower bouquet from our garden for the kitchen table
* Blog 5x this week :)

What are you goals this week?  Go to Money Saving Mom to be inspired and share your goals for the week!

Menu Plan Monday - Week of June 24th, 2012

Yumm....I love summer salads!  I mean really love.

My mom used to make these when I was a kid and I turned my nose up so high.  I mean, really, who makes a salad and puts tuna on it? Or salmon? Or chicken? 

Then about 3 years ago when we started growing lettuce in earnest I realized the wisdom of these things: dinner goes together in about 4 minutes, we get all kinds of goodies in one dish, no pots and pans to wash and we use up leftover meat!  A win-win all the way around!

I even put tuna on one and told my husband "I'm turning into my mother."  He said, "It's okay. I like your mother!" **GRIN** 

Anyway, we are now getting produce from our CSA and it is definitely spring/early summer in the upper-Midwest garden produce department!  So salads galore here!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, June 24th:
  Brunch:  Baked Eggs, Sausages, and Lemon-Raspberry Coffee Cake*
  Snack:  Caramel-Almond Popcorn*
  Dinner: Pork Chops, Roasted Potatoes, Salad, Fruit

Monday, June 25th:
   Breakfast: Leftover Coffee Cake
   Lunch: Hot for the Kiddos, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner:  Spicy Black Bean Burritos*, Fruit

Tuesday, June 26th:
   Breakfast: Fruit Pockets*
   Lunch: Hot for Kiddos, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Fruit Pockets
   Dinner:  BBQ Chicken Legs, Salad, Fruit

Wednesday, June 27th:
  Breakfast:  Smoothies, PB Toast
  Lunch: Hot for Kiddos, Leftovers for Adults
  Snack: Yogurt
  Dinner: Pot Luck at Church: Bring Fruit Salad

Thursday, June 28th:
  Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
  Lunch: Hot for Kiddos, Leftovers for Adults
  Snack:  Fruit Pockets
  Dinner: Shrimp Stir Fry, Rice, Melon

Friday, June 29th:
   Breakfast: PB Toast,Strawberries
   Lunch: Hot for Kiddos, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Caramel-Almond Popcorn
   Dinner:  Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks, Salad

Saturday, June 30th:
   Breakfast: Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Fruit
   Lunch: Salad with Tuna
   Snack: Homemade Gingerbread Cutout Cookies
   Dinner: Grilled Salmon and Vegetables, Fruit
   At home Date Night Desert:  Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

All of the *s mean that we're trying some new recipes this week!  The Fruit Pockets and Caramel-Almond Popcorn came from the kids' cookbook that Missy got for her birthday.  The Spicy Black Bean Burritos and Lemon-Raspberry Coffee Cake came from magazines.  The Coffee Cake is yummy and is a keeper!  We got fresh raspberries from our CSA and lemons were on sale, so it was a prefect time to try it!  I'm hoping the others are just as good!

What are you eating this week?  Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! to share and be inspired!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Summer!

 Yummy garden produce....

 Super yummy salads...

 Sand castles in the backyard...

 And at the beach...

My pretty flowers...

Backyard bonfires...


Pretty summer dresses (for me and the Missy)....

Time with my family...

What more can I ask for?  
Truly, these are a few of my favorite things!