Last Week in my life :)

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Just a little bit of bragging and some Before & After pictures from last week!
Last week, FlyLady’s Zone of the week was the master bedroom.  
 My bedroom was in serious need of some TLC. I’m a bit ashamed to show you these, but I think many of you can probably relate!

Uhm… yeah, that’s my Master Bedroom. This room can quickly become a disaster in my life. It’s not a place that needs to be “company ready”, because Company, if any is had, would have no need to go in there. It becomes the “Stash and Dash” area. To busy to put laundry away? Stash it in the bedroom. Not sure where to put something, or too lazy to put it away? Stash it in the bedroom. As you can see, this hasn’t really worked out!  Also, I couldn’t even GET to my closet!

So anyways, I set to work on my bedroom. I took on a “no pressure” type attitude, letting go of perfectionism and just accepting that ANYTHING would be an improvement on what it was. And guess what? It only took about 2 hours to get the majority of that mess cleaned up! Afterwards, I wondered why I had put it off for so long!   Look! I can see the floor!! AND I can get to my closet! The clothes are all hung up and/or folded and put away. The boxes are back where they belong! The top of my dresser is now a perfect place to do my daily devotions or meditations.

FlyLady helped too! With her zone projects and “Fly Missions”, I was able to get more done than just cleaning up the mess. She had some great suggestions that only took 15 minutes (or less) a day and really helped me Bless my Bedroom!
On Monday I cleaned out under the bed and vaccuumed the whole room.
On Tuesday I cleaned out my sock drawer, threw away old socks and organized it. I even bought myself new socks and did the same with hubby’s sock drawer!
On Wednesday I spent more time clearing away clutter on the night stands and tops of dressers.
On Thursday I dusted the room, even wiped down the tops of the door jambs, wiped the doorknobs, windowsills, etc.
On Friday I pretty much had my bedroom nice and clean, so I focused on the small bathroom that is adjacent to the bedroom. I gave that room a good scrubbing and put stuff away that needed to be put away. Now when I go in my bedroom I really feel like it is a relaxing area, both for begnning and ending my day!
My bathroom, before –
and about 30 minutes later…. after putting everything away, taking out the trash, scrubbing the toilet and shining the countertops and sink;
It’s funny the things we take for granted, and the way that we minimize the importance of having a clean, sacred space to rest. This week, the work I did here in my bedroom was not just a cleansing of the room where I sleep, but it was a major blessing for myself! Giving myself a peaceful environment to sleep, read, rest, get dressed, etc, was a HUGE affirmation of self-love. It gave me a major boost that I really needed!
On another note, I also had a great time using my coupons and checking the sales papers this week!  I brought my grocery bill for the week down by about $30.oo by watching sales and using some coupons.  I also went to Walgreens and picked up a few things ….

I got all this for $16!

Walgreens Coupon Trip 1/25/2011
Subtotal $38.17
Total paid – $20.91
plus Walgreens Register Rewards $4.00

(If you calculate in the $4 they gave me back in Register Rewards then my actual total was $16.90!!)

2 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios, sale plus coupons = $1.50 each
2 Red Baron pizzas sale plus coupon = $2.00 each
Mens Socks $6.99 buy 1 get 1 Free
Kleenex sale .89 each
Kraft Mayo, sale plus coupon = $1.24
Jello sale plus coupon = .50 cents each
Bowl Fresh sale plus coupon = .50 cents each
Pediacare sale $5.99 plus $4 back in Register Rewards = $1.99
Soda & Chips for Xander – not on sale LOL but he was a good boy while I was shopping 🙂

Coupon Savings – $8.46
Register Rewards used froms last week $9
Walgreens Sales Savings – $20.05

Total savings $37.31

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A busy October

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Wow.  It’s been awhile since I have posted a blog here.  I know there have been several times over the past couple months when I have thought, “I should blog about this”, or “I really need to update my blog”, but I just never seemed to find the time or proper motivation.  October turned out to be a very busy month for me.  It included a hospital visit, three birthdays, and Halloween…. among other things.

Here’s the synopsis of the last 2 weeks of October, as told and recorded by my Facebook status updates;

Oct. 17 – Just got home from the emergency room with Alyssa 😦 The kids broke a window and she got cut very badly around 8 pm. She got 12 stitches on her right arm and 2 stitches on her left wrist. She was very brave at the hospital ♥
Oct. 18 – Awww, Alyssa wants to help me wash the dishes but she can’t because she can’t get her bandages and stitches wet yet.
Oct. 18 – What’s for dinner? I’m making baked potatoes with everything on them! Cheese, bacon, chives, tomatoes, and sour cream, yum yum!! And fresh salad too. Mackenzi’s friend is staying for dinner, he keeps complimenting me on my dinner, and it’s not even ready yet! LOL! and he also helped me wash the dishes 🙂
Oct. 20 – A cool rainy day here in the desert. And you know us desert creatures are so wimpy… I’m looking for my jacket so I won’t get the shivers while walking to the store… and it’s 65 degrees out!
Oct. 20 – Worked off my frustrations with some yard work. Found all kinds of creepy critters living under the pile of old cardboard boxes (which should have been thrown out months ago). Found a nest of geckos and several hatched gecko eggs… cool! Now I need a shower.
Oct. 21 – “As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.” ~Terri Guillemets
Oct. 21 – Click “Like” if you have ever gone to clean a child’s bedroom and felt like you were going to have a heart attack because you were so *MAD* at the state of their room and belongings! Or had to bite your lip to keep from yelling and cursing at them… LOL
Oct. 22 – “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”  -George Washington Carver
Oct. 22 – Feeling domestic… made eggs and biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Changed Alyssa’s bandages, gave Mackenzi some tea and vitamins (she’s feeling icky), Started laundry, gave Xander a bath, and have been listening to kid’s music and folding laundry with Alyssa!
Oct. 22 – Had craft time with the kids 🙂 You remember those little plastic beads and pegboards that you melt together with an iron? We made those, it was fun! Now back to the housework….
Oct. 25 – Had “game night” with the family… played Yahtzee with hubby and the kids. In the middle of the game Xander fell off his chair and we all had a good laugh… wish I had it on video!
Oct. 26 – Today volunteering at the school; Coloring! That was fun! (Colored some pictures for some word games for a 1st grade class) Now I’m home, I’m tired, and not very motivated… I think I’ll just read for awhile….
Oct. 26 – Mmm.. hubby’s birthday dinner; Grilled NY Steaks with bleu cheese butter and carmelized onions. Green Beans and Salad with ranch & bacon bits & more bleu cheese. Chocolate cake for dessert, if I’m not too stuffed!!
Oct. 27 – Happy Birthday to my son Xander!! You are amazing! Can hardly believe you’re 5 years old today!!
Oct. 28 – Xander needs a haircut!  Where are those clippers??  C’mere boy!
Oct. 30 – Sooo tired, but so excited! Tomorrow morning going to my parent’s house to celebrate my dad’s birthday with my aunts and uncles! Then after spending time with the family it will be time for trick-or-treating and Halloween!!
Oct. 31 – Scaring kids is FUN!

All in all, October was busy, but fun.  Other than the trip to the emergency room with Alyssa… that was NOT fun!  She’s doing fine now, BTW.  Her stitches were removed on Nov. 1st and she has no infection and minimal scarring.  Xander had a great birthday; I still can’t believe he is 5 years old now!!  On Halloween we went to my parent’s house for the day and several aunts and uncles from dad’s side of the family came in from out of state to suprise dad for his birthday.  It was so great to see everyone again!!  Then we came home and I took the kids trick-or treating while the husband stayed home and handed out candy and scared a bunch of little kids silly!  I was home for the last hour or so of kids coming to the door, so I got to watch my husband lurking and lurching through the yard dressed as a zombie and sending some kids running and screaming down the street!

Anyways, I just thought I would give an update, attempt to make some sort of blog post.  I’m gonna try to get back into my blogging again… it just depends on if my November is just as busy as October was!

Morning / Evening Routines

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It’s time once again to re-vamp my Routines.  My old routines haven’t been working for me any more, and I realized that on different days I need different routines because of my work schedule and the kid’s school schedule.

In my last post, My Big Rocks, I talked about priorities… and learning to fit the “Big” things in before the little things.  I would love to do it all, but I realize that is pretty unrealistic.  Among my list of priorities I listed “Morning and Evening Routines”, because – thanks to FlyLady – I have realized that these are crucial to running a household; and maintaining sanity!

So… here goes.. these are my New and Improved “Morning and Evening Routines!”

Morning Routine (Daily)

  • Get up @ 6:15 am
  • Get Dressed
  • Kids Dressed to Shoes
  • Make Beds
  • Breakfast / Coffee
  • Feed the cats
  • Brush Hair / Brush Kid’s Hair
  • Brush Teeth / Brush Kid’s Teeth
  • Check Backpacks

Walk Alyssa to bus stop @ 7:08 am (Walk to school @ 7:35 on Tuesdays)

Morning Routine Part 2 (Mon – Fri)

  • Clear Kitchen table and countertops
  • Wash breakfast dishes
  • Have Mackenzi read out loud
  • Gather Laundry from Bathroom and Bedrooms
  • Start load of laundry for the day

Mackenzi walk to school @ 8:00 am (Leave at 7:35 on Tuesdays)

——————————————————————-

Evening Routine (Sun. – Thurs.)

  • Rescue Living Room
  • Put out clothes for tomorrow
  • Kids Brush teeth/hair
  • Hot Spot Firedrill (Computer desk, homework desk, etc.)
  • Check Backpacks
  • Read to kids / prayers / Kid’s bedtime (8:30 pm)
Evening Routine Part 2 (Sun. – Thurs)
  • Rescue Kitchen (Clear table / countertops, wash dishes, sweep, take out trash)
  • Feed cats / Clean out Litter Box
  • Bathroom Rescue
  • Brush Teeth and Hair
  • Take Vitamins / Drink water
  •  

After Work Evening Routine (Friday & Saturday)
  • Change clothes
  • Rescue Kitchen (Clear table / countertops, wash dishes, sweep, take out trash)
  • Feed cats / clean out litter box
  • Brush teeth and hair
  • Take Vitamins / wash face

So, my hope is; that by fitting my morning and evening routines around our work/school schedule I will be able to stick to them a little better.  Also, if I make these routines a priority, this gets a few things out of the way on a daily basis – like washing the dishes, laundry, and quick room rescues… and I will have more time to fit other things into my day (rather than spending the whole day cleaning!). 

I hope that since I have different night routines on my work days than on other days, this will encourage me to keep at it.  In the past, I look at the big evening list after coming home from work –  feel too tired and overwhelmed, and just don’t do any of it.  By giving myself fewer things to do on the nights I know I will be tired, I’m doing myself a huge favor.  Also, breaking down the routines into part 1 and part 2 really seem to make them more manageable.

Wish me luck!  Here’s to Enthusiasm and Inspiration!

My Big Rocks

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I saw this video posted on Facebook today.  I loved the message behind it, and the way that it is illustrated here.  So it got me thinking about my priorities.  I am usually like the lady here, trying to shove the big stones in with the pebbles, and then feeling frustrated because they won’t all fit.  I have always understood this concept, and I recognize the need to prioritize.  But my problem lies in deciding what my priorities really are.  As a perfectionist I tend to think that EVERYTHING is important.  So I spend my days sweating over all the “little stuff”, and then still feel like a failure because I didn’t get around to something important like paying a bill or reading to the kids.

So this video inspired me to sit down and make a list of my Priorities.  These are my “Big Rocks”.  If I can shape my schedules and routines around these, and fit the little things in the spaces in between… well… it might work.  Might be another last ditch effort to attain the ever elusive organization that I was born without… but it can’t hurt!

(These are in no particular order)

  • Home Organization (Bills, Budget, Menu Planning)
  • Kid’s Education (Reading to the kids, helping with homework, preschooling at home with Xander)
  • Work
  • Marriage (spending time with Hubby)
  • Getting Organized (getting rid of clutter, scheduling, filing)
  • Family Time (fun, arts and crafts, outings, movies, etc.)
  • Spiritual Growth and Personal Time
  • Morning and Evening Routines
  • Health and Hygene
  • Friends and Extended Family

So.. I didn’t include “Cleaning / Chores” in my list of priorities… but let’s face it, I’m gonna do that whether it’s on the list or not.  Also, if I consider that a “Big Rock”… it will be like all those little pebbles taking up space and I’ll have to leave out some of the other big rocks.  I DID include Morning and Evening Routines, because I have found that without these… the housework will build up really fast and things will really get out of control. 

So, it’s a start.  I have my list, now when I’m wondering what to do; if I just remind myself “Big Rocks First”, I think I’ll be on the right track!

Tackle It Tuesday; Mommy on the Go

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I’m posting this week’s Tackle It Tuesday post a bit late.. and after you read more you will see why.  This post can also be rhetorically titled “What DIDN’T she do today?”

First of all, today was the 2nd day that my girls are back in school.  So we were all up and getting ready by 6:30 am.  By 7:30 we were out the door, walking to the schools.  (It’s about .72 miles to the school from my house, according to MapQuest.  So one round trip is about a mile and a half… good excersize, if only it wasn’t so darn HOT!)  Anyways, the reason I walked them both to school is because I wanted to go to this meeting for volunteers at the Elementary school, which started at 8.
The meeting was fun!  I was there with around 20 other moms, in the teachers lounge.  They had coffee and snacks.  First, the Parent Liason of the school gave us some information about being a school volunteer, and some other classes they have available for parents.  (There is a Parenting/Child Safety class they offer thru Arizona Kith and Kin… I signed up… it sounds really interesting… plus they give away some free stuff!)  Anyways, after that she told us that every Tuesday we are welcome to come to the Teacher’s Lounge at 8:00 to help.  In the back of the room there were piles of things that teachers needed help with…. papers that needed to be cut, glued, stapled, or laminated for use in the classrooms.  So we all just found ourselves a project and got to work!  It was fun just hanging out with some other moms and working on these projects.  (Despite the language barrier… several moms there only spoke Spanish; I am hoping to make some friends and return on Tuesdays when I can!)  We left around 11:00. 

Once I got home, I was amazed and suprised to find that I felt MOTIVATED to do some housework!  I think the time out of the house did me good!  Here’s what happened next;

11:40 – 12:10 – cleared and wiped the countertops, scrubbed the stove top, washed the dishes, started soaking the stove top burner pans

12:25 – 12:55 – swept the kitchen floor, mopped the kitchen floor, scrubbed the stove top burner pans and put them back on the stove, took the bottom crisper drawers out of the fridge and started soaking them, sprayed cleaning solution on the bottom shelves of the fridge (it’s really gross down there!) Then I made Cheese and Avacado sandwiches for lunch.

1:15 – 1:45 – CLEANED OUT THE FRIDGE! EEEWWW! But better now!!! I also took out the trash!

2:00 – 2:30 – put away the clean dishes, sprayed air freshener, lit scented candle, picked up toys and junk in livingroom, straightened living room.

2:38 – went to the bus stop to pick up one kid, then drove a few blocks to pick up the other kid.  Thank goodness my husband got home early today and I was able to drive to pick them up, rather than walking that mile and a half again!  It was 105 and Humid!

3:15 – started making a menu plan and grocery list while *attempting* to help Kenzi with her homework.  Math is NOT my strong point.  —> Husband to the rescue!  By 4:30 I was ready to go grocery shopping.
Next I came home, unpacked the groceries, and cooked dinner.  Good thing I had cleaned out that fridge BEFORE going grocery shopping!

Now it’s 8:00 pm.  The temperature has dropped and a storm is rolling in.  I still need to wash the dishes and give the kids their baths before I can really call it quits.  I think I could call this WHOLE DAY a “Tackle It Tuesday Project”, but really the “project” that I’m proud of is my clean fridge.  Remember that Weird Al Yankovich song “Livin’ In The Fridge”?… yeah…. well…

Last week hubby decided to thaw a frozen turkey in the fridge.  He’ll probably kill me if he sees I posted this.  But how else would anyone know how great a job I did when they look at it now and see this?…

So shiny and blood-free, the way a fridge should be.  Unless this is an episode of TruBlood.  In which case, I need to stock up!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Tired

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TIRED.

This ever-working, always-moving, on-the-go
mother
is tired.
My core aches and even when I
stop to rest,
I feel the Earth is moving still-
spinning, orbitting.
It will pass me by if I don’t move with it.
Look, another year
another candle on
another birthday cake,
and children run, laugh, scream
and pass me by.
Stop.
Let me hold you,
look at you,
cradle you one more time
before I’m too tired
to remember.
If I could stop the Earth’s rotation
and just float
with you in my arms,
sleeping and laughing and smiling
I would never grow
tired.

Falling apart; it’s cyclical

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My interest in things has always been somewhat cyclical.  I will have an idea, work on a plan, obsess for a while… maybe even get something done, but after a while I get bored…. or overwhelmed, and suddenly I’m not “into it” anymore.  Usually this is because I think of a new project or goal (or two or three) and just get totally overwhelmed.  I am the Queen of unfinished projects.

I’ve come to realize that one of the biggest things that brings me down is my perfectionism.  “If I can’t do it ALL, and do it PERFECTLY, then why bother?”  For some reason my sense of self-worth gets tangled up in my projects, and when I realize I have fallen off track, the depression sets in.

I just don’t know HOW some people do it.  Especially mothers.  You know, those “perfect moms” who manage to do all the great mommy stuff like; homework/studying with the kids, taking the kids to the park/library,  going to school functions or meetings, AND taking their kids to cheerleading or baseball or youth group or whatever it is their kids are involved in.  On top of this they also do the grocery shopping, menu planning, cooking, and cleaning, and while their houses might not be spotless, they aren’t any worse off than my house… probably much better on most days.

For me,  just keeping the house “livable” and the kids fed is pretty much the extent that I can handle.  I’m constantly fighting with the pile of laundry that I spitefully call “Mount Washmore”.  Getting the groceries planned, bought, and put away sucks more life out of me than anyone knows.  Most days, just keeping the kitchen clean enough to eat out of and the livingroom clean enough to “live” in stretches me impossibly thin.  The thought of adding in homework, reading to the kids, or taking them ANYWHERE; well that’s just crazy talk.  Then there’s keeping the kids clean, fed, uninjured, and occupied.  I just don’t have it in me to do it all.

Not that I never do any of the other things.  It’s just, I don’t feel like I do enough.  I often come up with these great “plans” and schedules… for the kids, but mostly for myself.  These schedules have ways in which I can fit in the housework AND the studying, AND the fun.  All goes well for 1 week, maybe two.  Then the schedule starts to falter; no – I start to falter.  I cut something out.  Then another.  Either the housework gets neglected, or I don’t help the kids study or do crafts with them.  Then, the whole thing is scrapped and I do nothing for a few days straight.  It was just too much.  Either the kids, or the house.  How can I choose?  Sure, the kids are more important than a clean house.  But if they don’t have a clear place to study or read, and can’t find their school supplies, or can’t eat dinner until some dishes are washed, that’s not good for them either.

Today, I realize there are only 2 weeks till school starts.  In the beginning of summer, I had great plans for making sure the kids studied all summer.  Kenzi was going to do math every day, Alyssa was going to practice her sight words.  I even had preschool activities for Xander.  That lasted about three weeks into summer.  After we stopped, I kept telling myself,  “We’ll start again next week.”  But somehow that never happened.  “All or nothing”  has gotten me nowhere.

This is all part of a cyclical pattern with me.  I will suddenly realize I’m slacking in one area, pick up the slack, then lose momentum and fall apart.  Then I find a huge store of motivation within me, and it starts again.   Right now I’m on the “falling apart” end of the spectrum, feeling mostly overwhelmed to the point where just washing the dishes seems like too much work.  Next week, I’ll probably be buzzing around like Super-Mom, doing insane amounts of housework every day as well as making plans and schedules for homework after school and all the fun, wonderful, important things I want to do for and with my family.

I’ve decided on a theme song for my life;

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