Monday, December 31, 2012

Meal Planning for January

So I FINALLY sat down and did it. :) Well, started anyways.

This morning I got out my Meal Ideas list, a pen and a sticky note. I wrote down headings of Beef, Pork, Chicken and Other, and started filling in meals we like or often eat from the Meal Ideas list. I came up with 7 beef ones, 5 pork ones, 7 chicken ones, and 4 other ones. Not too bad. :) That gives us 23 meals already out of 31. There will be a few nights where we will probably have leftovers so I'm a little closer to having something for every night.

Next I'm going to go through the freezers to see what meat and meals I already have, adding whatever I don't to my grocery list that way when something goes on sale I can pick it up.

I'm going to put the sticky note on our family calendar. I'll write down what we eat for supper on the calendar each day and cross them off the sticky as I go. I may sometimes pencil things in ahead of time. I already have tomorrow's (January 1st) meal on the calendar. We're having roast beef as we're having pork dumplings tonight.

Feels good to be a little more organized and starting January off on the right foot. :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Moving Plan

As I mentioned not too long ago, we're looking to move. We need more space inside and out. We're staying in the same area, just farther from the centre of the city and maybe into a little town outside the city.

No matter when we purchase the home, we most likely won't move till at least the Spring so that gives me a few months to declutter, dejunk, organize and prepare. That sounds like a lot of time but I'm sure it will fly by. My plan is to do a little each day (or at least a few times a week). This will mean we won't go over the garbage limit each week. It gives me time to sell or donate stuff. It also means I can get the stuff we're keeping better organized.

Since I mentioned we're moving, I already started planning my attack on our stuff. And bonus, I've already started. :) With Christmas being over, I already took our tree down. It's a little bit early but I had a new bookcase to go in its spot so I was happy to move it. I've got four bins to put our stuff in - two red and two white. My plan is to put all the Christmas stuff into the red ones and the Winter stuff into the white ones. It's mostly already done but I still have some decorations up so it's not quite finished.

With the new bookcase, I've got all our DVDs out finally and filling up space on it. Now the boxes only have VHS movies which I hope to get rid of. And I started on the kids clothes too. I got through all their drawers and found the clothes I had put in the basement. Everything upstairs now either fits them or will fit them. The old stuff is all in the front porch for one more sort and then selling/donating.

It feels good to be making some progress already. I know the stuff I started isn't complete but it's a beginning. Sometimes it's hard to get through stuff with my daughter around since she seems to get more attached to things then my son.

More again soon.....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Oh my! Somehow Christmas is over. I feel like I was just getting things ready and it's gone already. I hope you all had a great one. Was it overwhelming? Did you feel prepared? I sure was glad I broke up a lot of the jobs I had on my list and got something done each day. Definitely made it less overwhelming.

I can't believe it's almost January. Things have been coming together for the new year but I'm still not quite ready. I'm aiming to get stuff finished up this weekend. Will let you all know soon. :)

Happy New Year my dear domestic ones. May 2013 be full of many blessings, peace and organization for all of us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In a word... Distracted!

I have been very distracted lately. There's been a lot going on here and I've been having a hard time keeping balance and finding focus.

We're started looking for a new home and that seems to be all I want to do. It's taking over all my thoughts and I find myself drifting to looking at properties all the time. I found one online and we went to look at it, put an offer in and waited. After a couple back and forths, we didn't get it. I found another one and we saw it today. Another offer in and now we wait. I keep sitting down here at the computer to do something but I somehow end up on websites dealing with our local real estate. I'm really finding it hard to focus on anything else, even Christmas.

I'm going to have to get over it all soon and start focusing on other things. I need to find balance again so I can get things accomplished. I definitely won't be ready to move when we find a place if I don't. ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Big News....

First, it's officially Winter. Okay, not officially, but according to me it is. We've got snow on the ground. The snowploughs were running around last night. And I shoveled off our deck this morning. Sounds like Winter to me. ;)

Second, I have a free day today. Was supposed to play cards today but the hostess has no water in her house so she's got to get that fixed today instead. Oh well, gives me time to do stuff here.

Third, so my plans are always good but don't necessarily work out. I've now got friends coming over on Tuesdays to knit so Technology Tuesday ain't working out too well. But I still want to get stuff done so I'm going to start moving my Task Days around rather than have them assigned to Tuesday and Thursday.

And finally, the real big news... We are moving!!! Not yet, but it's in the works. We're aiming for the Spring or Summer. We've got a realtor and he's on the right track for properties we would be interested in. We've outgrown our house and our yard so we've started looking. No fixer-upper this time, just some paint and flooring and be done. 

So my new plan is this: Two days a week for two focused jobs. One day is going to be focused on Technology - I have commitments and priorities that need to be completed on the computer. The other day will be focused on Moving - I need to get the basement sorted and packed up. I think I'm going to start on the kids' clothes (past and current) and toys since a lot of it will go. The more I can get out of the house, the better.

So time for me to get moving today.... Have a great day!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Organizing my Christmas shopping

I am a list-maker. There, I've said it. I've confessed. In some ways this can hinder me - too many lists, not getting enough crossed off. But other times, being a list-maker is the best thing ever. See, being a list-maker keeps me organized especially at Christmas time.

I prefer typed up lists so that I can edit them and save them for next year. Also it saves on the paper filing. ;) The following year, it's easy to see who I bought for, what I bought, what I spent, etc.

On the first page of my Christmas shopping lists, I have the people I need to shop for and what to get them or at least ideas. Some things will remain on the list every year because we always get them (like an ornament for the tree and our favourite stocking stuffers). Other spots are left blank to fill in as I go. I also make sure to include how much I spent on items as I go so that I stay on budget.

The second page of my Christmas shopping lists has our meal plan for the important days including some breakfasts and lunches, and a miscellaneous shopping list for those extra items I need (like Gingerbread house, candy canes, wrapping paper, etc.).

I've added in something else to my organizing this year. Normally I just keep the receipts in an envelope in case I need to return or exchange something. This year though I'm using a coupon organizer. Last time I picked up one at Michaels I decided to grab an extra one for when  mine wears out. But when I was going to put away my reciepts, I thought of the coupon organizer. Why not use that? I can add my list to it too. AWESOME!!! I've got the receipts organized by store in the sections and keep my list with it. Now next time I go, everything is together. And if I find something better on my next shopping trip, I know where the receipts are to return other items.

Have you shopped yet? How do you keep organized with all the extra stuff you have to buy? Good luck! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Let the Christmas shopping begin!

Yep, that's right! I started my Christmas shopping today and have crossed a few things off the list already. My daughter had a PA Day and was off school so I took the opportunity to have her join me in some shopping. I like to have her pick out presents for people and learn more about giving and not focus so much on herself. Plus it gives me an opportunity to see what she is interested in and add some items to her list. My son spent the morning with my MIL and we all had a good time. I've still got a long list of things to purchase but at least it's a start.

Have you started shopping for Christmas yet? Have you at least made a list and jotted down some ideas?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas - is it a four-letter word???

Okay, the word "Christmas" is way more than four letters, but lots of people feel like it is. That word can bring people a lot of stress because it means a lot of extra work. Extra food to cook, extra events to go to or host, presents to purchase  and wrap, homes to decorate, etc.

This stuff doesn't stress me out for one reason: I'm organized. Well, mostly organized. Over the years, I've learned to write things down: what did we eat, what did I bake, what did I buy, what did we do, what did we enjoy. From these lists, I'm able to prepare for the next Holiday Season. I start Christmas stuff early. After Canadian Thanksgiving (middle of October), my sister and I plan our Christmas baking and get started. I start my shopping list, ask people for ideas for presents, and start budgeting how much I want to spend on each person. I split up the shopping and keep track of what I'm spending. I decorate a little bit at a time and keep the decorations to a few rooms and a minimum, just the stuff we like.

What do you do to make your Holiday Season easier and less stressful?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Computer time - it wasn't the plan for today...

I've been thinking about my schedule lately and how I'm cruizing along with keeping up with the daily household chores pretty well but not making progress on anything else. I want to make more progress on my to do list and live a more balanced life. So I thought I would make an effort on two days a week to do some things I would like to catch up on.

Technology Tuesdays will include working on the computer and the things that relate to that. I do some volunteer work for our women's group at church. Most of that work involves time spent on the computer. I've been struggling to keep up with it so it's no assigned to Tuesdays. As well, there is desk work that always needs doing and overloaded browsers sometimes so hopefully I can work on those too.

To Do List Thursdays will now include working on the Basement that's full of stored items, extra cleaning that I'm not getting done, and sorting stuff like kids' clothes that need doing. Hopefully attacking these areas one day a week, I'll see and feel a difference.

Now I know today isn't Tuesday, but I've been working on desk and computer stuff today. I'm waiting for some input from a few people for a newsletter I need to complete. So I started working on stuff here while I wait and in case it all comes in tomorrow. ;) As well, I haven't been feeling 100% today so it was nice to have some sit down jobs.

What was my progress today? Well, I've updated my Meal Ideas list with those suppers we've eaten and liked. I also got through my FireFox Browser today and looked at all the pages I have saved. Some of them were recipes to save or print, other were information to keep. Now I'm down to just a few that I use regularly. I've also sorted my Supper folders. I have 5 now - Beef dishes, Chicken dishes, Pork dishes, Other, and one called Suppers to Try. My next step is to go through the folders and pick out dishes we eat as well as ones I would like to try and put them into the Suppers to Try folder. This will help in preparation for January. :)

That's it for today. I'm going to try to relax a little before it's time to get rolling again.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I couldn't fall asleep last night...

I was trying to get to sleep last night but just couldn't. I had menu planning on the brain. Why does menu planning bother me so much? Why do I find it so hard to put together a menu ever? So as I was lying there, I realized the following: There are (approximately) 30 days each month. That's 30 suppers. Most of the time we eat beef, chicken and pork meals. That's 3 meats, divided into 30 suppers, means 10 suppers per meat. Well there are other meals to eat too so let's go with 7 per meat. That gives us 21. Add how about 4 nights of leftovers so we're at 25. Add 5 meals of other kinds of suppers. That gives us our 30 meals for the month. That really doesn't sound so bad does it?!?

If you've been following me for a while, you know I started a list of suppers divided up into 4 sections: beef, pork, chicken and others. It needs some updating so that will be my first task in preparation for January. In recipes I've got printed off, they are also divided this way. Task 2 will be to go through my files and orgainze them a little better (I've got a pile that need to go in the right folders).

Task 3 will be to print off recipes from my computer and file them. Task 4 will be to pick the 52 new recipes to try. And the last task before January will be to pick meals for the month including 5 from the new recipes.

I've added all these things to a To Do List in Cozi. Hopefully that will help keep me organized and get stuff done. :) 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


So I've already started by Christmas baking. Every year, my sister and I get together and do it over a few days. But today as we were chatting, we were talking about how we're surrounded by recipes but we only make the same dishes over and over again. We both struggle with being creative when we come to cooking, tending to make what we know and most of our families will eat. My sister said "Why don't you use your blog?" What a great idea!

There are lots of blogs out there where the writer posts their weekly menu plans. I don't want to copy everyone else. I'm not good at menu planning anyways. I tend to just try to figure out something each day rather than planning ahead. It's going to take me a while to get into the recipe zone too. I've got a pile of printed out ones, lots saved on the computer, new showing up in my Google Reader each day, and good old fashioned recipe books. So I'm going to start this with the New Year. Here are the goals:
  • Write down (on the family calendar) meals I want to/plan to/need to make so that it will give me some kind of rough menu plan.
  • Find a new recipe for every week (so 52 recipes) to make for my family and review it.
Wish me luck!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our First Thanksgiving... at home

Yes, we've celebrated Thanksgiving many times before, but this year was the first time we didn't have plans to celebrate some where else. Hubby decided we should cook our own turkey. I was kind of surprised that he wanted to but also excited. One thing about never cooking turkey dinner is you never get the leftovers.

So here's a pic of our daughter helping with making the stuffing.

Here's our turkey after hubby got a plate full for the table.

Here's our "fancy" table full of Thanksgiving goodness.

And dessert, cherry pie. Yum!

Scored a pumpkin pie later in the week for daughter and I to share since the boys don't like pumpkin. ;)

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why I do things the way I do things

We’ve had our little family in our own home for almost 6 years now. I’ve been trying the last little while to get a handle on the domestic part of my existence as a stay-at-home-mom. Some days I do better than others, but I know I’m growing in experience and learning better how to do things. One thing really sticks out in my mind, though: I do things the way I do things on purpose. Here are a few reasons why:

I want my kids to be safe despite my cleaning. I realized quite quickly that I didn’t really know how to clean. What am I supposed to use? How often do I need to clean? With little ones crawling around on the floor, I wanted to be sure my kids wouldn’t get sick from whatever I was using to clean. I have discovered that I can use homemade cleaners instead of buying expensive ones that are full of chemicals.

I like to do things in a certain order so I don’t have to remember every step. Busy moms have a lot on their minds. Having to remember small details can be frustrating and annoying. So instead, I try to do things in the same order every time. For example, when I put a load of laundry into the dryer, I put all the clothes in, then the dryer sheet, turn the dial, clean the lint trap, and hit the button.

I don’t want to feel like I’m cleaning all the time.  Okay, yes I’m home pretty much all day every day. That doesn’t mean I should have to clean all day or even feel like I am. So I’m trying to schedule things, doing a little every day or at least every day that I’m home.

It works for me (at least right now). Just as life doesn’t stay the same, how I do things doesn’t have to stay the same either. What’s working for me right now may not work later on.  And I’m always learning new things and hearing of new ways to do things. I at least try some of them out, keeping what works.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Overloaded - that's how I've been feeling lately. You would think that getting back into a school-centred schedule would be the overwhelming part but it actually wasn't. My kids and I have fallen back into the school schedule with ease. It's everything else that seems to be weighting me down.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things with my volunteer work with the Women's Ministry at my church but I'm feeling a little bogged down with all the stuff I need to catch up on. It all starts with the mass of emails I need to get through. Now granted, they aren't all related to my ministry work but I do need to keep chugging away at the piles of emails.

I am also working on figuring out how to get my house cleaned and go through all the items we have stored. I've got my daily tasks going pretty well. Still need to work on the extra stuff.

And now we're transitioning into a different cooking season. Time for less BBQing, more oven and crockpot cooking. It's making life interesting trying to work it all out, including meal planning, grocery list making and shopping.

And there's my knitting.... Still trying to work out getting it all done and when to do it. I need to get planning what to make for Christmas presents. Oi!

And with all this, I feel overloaded. I will get to the spot where I'm feeling balanced, it's just going to be a journey to get there.

Where are you on your journey to balance? Are you overloaded or got it all under control? Has the Fall helped you start to find your footing again or are you feeling completely out of it?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Good First Day

We've been anticipating this day with excitement and nervousness. After a great Summer,  Bugs (my son) and I had to say good bye to Tookie (my daughter) at school once more. She started Grade 1 today. There was definitely mixed feelings for everyone. The kids have gotten a long so well this Summer. Bugs was a little sad to have his playmate gone leaving him. Tookie wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't sure she was going to like it.

Hubby wasn't able to take Tookie to school so Bugs and I walked her there. We found her new classrom and met her new teacher and the kids who she'll be sharing the year with. Once Tookie felt comfortable (actually very quickly), Bugs and I could go but he didn't want to. "No go. Stay school." It was actually cute to see him lined up there with all the other kids.

Eventually Bugs and I made it home and had a quiet day. He was a little lonely for his big sister so I let him take it easy and had kids shows and movies on most of the time. I got started on some Fall cleaning and organized a bunch of paper .Supper is in the crockpot already. :) And now we're back from picking her up. Back pack is unpacked, lunch stuff ready to be cleaned, no homework yet.

Tookie had a good day. Bugs had a good day. I had a good day. Guess that's all that really matters.... :D

Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer - Week 9

Well, that's it. It's official. Summer is over. Labour Day is Monday and daughter goes back to school on Tuesday. Un-be-liev-able!!

Where did it all go? It still feels like Summer just started for the most part. The kids have been getting along relatively well. They've been having fun playing together and with daughter's friends. My son has been spending time in the garage with Daddy. The monkeys have been playing inside and out, making a mess and getting dirty. Fighting has been at a minimum and they've both been fairly cooperative and helpful.

Yes, that's me celebrating my birthday with my kids at McDonald's no less. Where else would a mom celebrate her birthday?!? I even had fun going down the slide. ;)

As always, after my birthday, I look towards a busy fall. We have back to school to get ready for, routines to get back into, other birthdays to celebrate (hubby's, daughter's, then son's), and holidays to enjoy. I'm sure it will all fly by just as fast.

All my daughter's school supplies have been purchased. Monday will be labeling and prepping day. Can't believe she's going into Grade 1 already. It will definitely be an interesting beginning this year with homework being involved. I really hope she still loves it as much as she has.

Well, off to relax in the last hot weekend of Summer. Hope you enjoy yours too! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Today's the day. I turn 35 today. Can't believe it. How did I get here? 35 isn't really old, but I still don't feel like I know enough to be that age. Shouldn't I be smarter by now? More experienced? Know where I'm headed? Be a domestic diva? 

I've been realizing that age doesn't mean anything. Just because someone is a certain age or older than me, doesn't mean they are "smarter" or have it all together. I have realized that, no matter what age or experience someone has, it's what you learn on your journey that makes you "smart". You don't need to experience everything to learn that some things aren't good or other things are a bad choice. Take in what's around you and what experiences others have had and learn from their choices and consequences.

Not sure what all my birthday or this next year will hold, but I'm hoping for a good one. Hope it's a good one for you too.

Summer - Week 8

What a week! Hubby was off last week so it was a little different. My daughter still has swimming but the boys stayed home together all week. Great news - daughter past all her swimming lessons, completed Preschool 5, and can start in Swimmer 2. :) We're so thrilled. This was the kid who didn't like the water or getting her face wet. She now swims well, puts her head under water, and jumps off the diving board. How cool!

Thursday was a day away for hubby and I. After swimming lessons, my sister and brother-in-law came over and watched the kids while we went with the neighbours for a bike ride. Was a nice kid-less day.

Friday was shopping and a doctor's appointment for daughter after swimming. She's doing great and growing like a weed. And we've picked up all her school supplies (at least till I get a list from the teacher). Planning to find a new shirt for her to wear to school on the first day.

One last week to go before school starts.... I'm going to make it. ;)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Summer - Week 7

I didn't realize till the other day that there are 9 full weeks of Summer this year. How lovely! But still, we're at the end of Week 7 already?!? It amazes me that the time has gone so quick. Many things that I thought we would get accomplished haven't even made it to the start list. When will I get there? I don't know. The important thing is that Summer has been good.

My daughter was back in swimming this week. It sure is nice to get up, get out the door, and have that over with. I don't mind going to swimming. It's just easier to do it first thing and not have to worry about going to it later or not getting anything started because I won't have enough time before swimming.

Nothing else too exciting. I've been trying to catch up with some cleaning and knitting. Really it's been a quiet week with crappy weather. It's still cold out and it's been wet a lot of days. I think I only had shorts on one day. Wonder if the warmer weather will come back.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer - Week 6

This week had more fun visits. :) Sure is nice to do something different.

On Tuesday, I took the kids out to my friend's camp. Boy, was that interesting! The camp has no running water so my daughter found it interesting to see the different ways things have to be done. Water has to be brought in from the lake and then boiled before it can be used for things. They use bottled water for drinking. Instead of a regular toilet, they've had an outhouse, a can with toilet seat on top, and now a compost toilet. My fav is definitely the compost toilet as you don't have to walk out of the camp and you don't have to worry about tipping over the can. The kids had their first swim in a lake too. My daughter adapted very well but my son not so much. He didn't realize you couldn't walk like normal and fell face-first into the water when he tried to move. And he did it again when he tried to turn around and come back to me. Oh my, that was funny! He had a life jacket on so I wasn't worried about any emergencies but my little boy didn't like it at all. Still a fun day even with a little bit of rain.

Friday had a visit from my baby sister. We haven't seen her all Summer so this was a great treat. We had coffee and caught up. It was a cold, wet day so no outside fun but we still had a good time. My daughter convinced us to play Canasta and the two girls beat me. We all had fun trying to remember how to play. (I haven't been playing with my friends either.)

It sure isn't feeling like Summer around here lately. The weather has gotten colder. There's been lots of rain passing through our area too. We've been wearing jeans and needing sweaters. Hubby says it's supposed to get warmer again but I don't believe him. It sure feels like it's over. At least we had a good time enjoying the heat and sunshine when we did have it.

Summer - Week 5

Can't believe I missed posting a review of our Week 5 this Summer. Let's see... what did we do....

There wasn't any swimming lessons this week. They didn't have any lessons for Level 5. We still got up and dressed at a decent time each morning. That's a good routine I've got going for me and the kids.

A few cherry tomatoes have been ready in our garden, but that is it. :( I was hoping that we'd have some luck with the other plants but there hasn't been any. I found out for my friend who's a gardening genius that my zucchini plant needs cross pollination from it's own flowers. (Apparently there are male and female flowers on it.) Nothing is growing on my cucumber plant either besides the little flowers. Looks like I'm going to expand the number of plants I've got to get a better amount vegetables.

We had a good day with a dear friend of mine too. She's no spring chicken anymore but she can keep my kids super busy. She planned some games to play and had awards too. She always has great ways to include the kids in cooking. And we always do a little baking. This time we made some delish chocolate cupcakes.

Onto the next week...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer - Week 4

Getting this note out to you a little late as I was away with hubby this weekend. I've spent the last couple days trying to catch up on housework and unpacking.

My daughter finally passed her swimming level 4 last week. We are all so happy. We've signed her up for the last level (5) but there isn't any this week or next. Hopefully she'll be able to pass that one too. If not, she'll go up to the next set of lessons next Summer. It really is good to have her learn about swimming. She was never to comfortable with water when she was younger. I've noticed big changes in her with being able to take these lessons.

Kids had a great time while we were away. Daughter was at her friend's house for two nights and celebrated a little girl's birthday. My BIL brought his two boys here and watched my son at home. I am so glad that my little boy got along so well without me. I wasn't sure how he would react. This was the first time I had been away from him overnight. And I have a wonderful BIL who had my home all tidied up for me when I got back. :)

And hubby and I had a great time. We drove about 3 hours away on the bike and enjoyed listening to some bands. This was our first time away together without our tiny humans. And it was my first time for a big trip on the bike, as well as my second time sleeping in a tent. I returned home a little sore and sunburned but very happy. It was definitely a successful weekend and we're hoping to be able to so something like this again soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer - Week 3

Another week has flown by already. Sheesh! I can't believe July is almost over. This means Summer is half over too. I just might make it. lol

My daughter is in swimming again. The only thing I like about it being at 9AM is that I've got the rest of the day open. It does make sure we get up and moving each morning too so I guess it's not all bad. She'll finish up Level 4 again next week and hopefully pass it this time. That will leave the rest of the Summer to finish Level 5 and that will be all of the Preschool classes. Son will be able to start them next Summer and Daughter will move up to the next section of swimming lessons if she wants to go.

Nothing else too exciting here. I just haven't felt motivated to do much. Not sure why. Maybe it was so much heat that my energy and motivation got zapped. But I've got no excuses for this upcoming week. Need to get the place tidied up as my BIL will be staying here over the weekend.

Theme days haven't been happening either. :( I was hoping to do them but it just hasn't worked out yet. I haven't felt like doing them on Mondays and every Friday has been different. The kids don't seem to be bored so I guess I haven't needed them. Maybe August will be different.

Off to get on with the day. Need to get myself going. At least the laundry has been started....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer - Week 2

So, I did it - survived another week with two kids. Still no real schedule working out. I guess Summer just to be more relaxed. I want a schedule so I am sure to be a little more productive, but maybe it's not going to happen. Oh well, it's only been 2 weeks.

My daughter didn't pass her swimming. :( She did pretty good, but has a few things to work on. I wasn't really expecting her to pass this first attempt. She hasn't been swimming since last Summer. We don't have a real pool here (just a kiddie pool) and during the school year we're busy enough without having extra things to go to. Besides lessons aren't the cheapest either.

My son and I had a nice day on Friday. Dropped my daughter off at her friends' house after swimming lessons. Son and I went grocery shopping then took it easy the rest of the day. It was one of my favourite days so far.

Time for some more Summer fun.... 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer - Week 1

Well, we did it! We survived Week 1 of Summer. Woo hoo! Isn't that the most important thing? I mean, after my daughter being in school for months, when Summer hits, I wonder how we'll do. Will I be hearing lots of bickering and fighting? With the kids be bored? How will I keep them entertained? Are the three of us going to make it out the door to swimming lessons on time? What am I going to serve for lunch? What about supper? Oi!!! So many questions, so little time.

So Week 1, it pretty much just winging it. My daughter has swimming lessons at 9AM Tuesday to Friday, so it's a quick rush out the door for all of us in the morning. My son and I sit and watch while she's in the pool. Now I am one of those people who don't like to be late and I don't like kids wondering around and getting into trouble. So, I made sure to pack everything ahead of time and leave early. DD was already in her bathing suit so she just needed to get her other stuff off. We were the first ones there and got a great spot to sit in the benches. I brought a bag of stuff for DS to do for the half hour. He has breakfast at the pool. There's colouring to do and cars to play with. That pretty much keeps him busy for the whole time. And he's a good boy anyways. ;) DD is doing great at her lessons and even jumped off the diving board for the first time at the end of the week.

And that was only the start of the days.... After swimming and since we're out already, I tried to do any running around we needed to do. Tuesday we went to Dollarama and picked up a few things we needed like a lock for the locker at the pool. Thursday we went grocery shopping.Then it's time for lunch. :)

Since it's nice out, I like to have the kids eat outside. We've got a section of our deck that stays shaded till about 1PM which is the perfect spot for the kids to have their lunch. I found a plastic tray at Dollarama for $2 (I think it was) and that has come in sooo handy. I can get their stuff on the tray and it makes it a lot easier for carrying the stuff out the door. And since I don't fit at the kids' picnic table, I can use it as my own table.

With it being so hot here (in the low 30C), we spent a lot of time in the water during the late afternoons. I've set up the pool a few times. They used water guns and blew bubbles. And Friday I set up the sprinkler which was a big hit. They seem to love all of it although DS gets tired of going in the pool too many days in a row. Now that I know, we can do a different water activity each day.

On Thursday we made an extra run out to WalMart for this...
No, not the shed or the pool, but my lovely table and chairs. :D I have always wanted something to sit on down by the pool that I could leave there. I was so excited to see the outdoor furniture on clearance when I went grocery shopping, I had to go back to get them. With it being so warm, we're spending a lot of time in the pool. I wanted to have one less thing to set up for pool time. I watched for a while and was able to get the furniture on sale.

This week is going to be cooler so we won't be doing water stuff as much. Hoping to do a little more cleaning and decluttering this week to keep us busy. Stay tuned.... 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Last Day of School

I can't believe it's here already! I'm heading out the door to get my daughter from her last day of school. Wow! Where did the year go?!?

In preparing for the end of school, here is a recent article I wrote:

Oh no! It's summer!

Do you feel that way as the school days are coming to an end? In some ways I do. My daughter is bright and enjoys learning so school is great for her. But Summer means that Mommy has to be organized and run a “summer school”.
Now my summer school isn’t a full-fledged educational study. It’s more of a project-based entertainment plan.
My daughter loves to have projects to do and loves to be helpful. To work on both those things, she and I recently planted a garden.  It’s nothing big but we’re hoping it produces some fruits and vegetables. She enjoyed digging up holes and putting in each plant. She’s been doing some weeding and checking on her plants most days. I’ve been doing the watering in the mornings while she’s at school but that will soon be her job too.
My daughter isn’t really a fan of the water, so we’re putting her in swimming lessons again this summer. She passed the first three levels last summer so we’re hoping she’ll get through the last two. This should take care of a couple hours Monday to Thursday.
Both my little darlings will be helping with the grocery shopping as Daddy will still be at work all summer long. My son is still pretty good to ride in the cart, so that just leaves my daughter walking along beside. We make a mission of searching for the items on the list as we walk throughout the stores and they even get to pick a few things (like the kind of ice cream to get). We’ve also talked about what food we’ll eat during the summer and most days lunch will happen on our deck.
I’m hoping for Fun Fridays too. Since we won’t have to go anywhere on that day, I’m planning themes that we can do. So far on the list we’ve got camp, spa, beach, pajama parties, pirates, and fairies. The idea is to have a theme for the day and activities and food to go with it. Not sure which we’ll get done or if I’ll have to add some more but it can be a work in progress.
What are you doing with your kids this Summer? How will you keep them entertained so your don’t have to hear “Mom, I’m bored!!!”?
Join me here to find out how my kids and I survive the Summer during my quest for Domestic Diva-hood.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Treading Water during and after Turmoil

Yep, that's how I'm feeling - treading water. The house isn't bad, I've been keeping up with most of my ministry work for church, I've been having some fun with my knitting, but I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere. Do you get like this? In a kind of slump or rut?

Despite the family crisis that happened recently that put me into this funk, I realized I have been treading water the whole time. Without a conscious effort, I have still kept up with the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, and a few other things.This Treading Water is a good thing. It means the things I want to do daily and weekly are happening. :) These things have become habits that I can accomplish with little effort or attention.

Now, though, I want to make a move. I want to aim for the shore and get there, not just hangout in the middle of the lake. Know what I mean? So I'm putting together a page to put in my weekly schedule. Every week for me is different because of a few events that get moved around. My plan is to set up a page that I can fill in each week as to what I'm doing. I know lots of people have calendars of different kinds, but I want one page that I can erase at the end of the week and plan for the next one. Hopefully this change will motivate me for a while. :)

What can you do that will help you move towards the shore instead of just treading water in the middle of the lake?

Monday, April 9, 2012

March Un-Madness - a review; and April Showers

Still here! Life has been w-e-i-r-d lately. March caused a lot of upheaval in my family's life and it has trickled into April too. It's soon going to be the middle of then month and I feel like I'm stuck back in my March ideas. I didn't get to as much as I thought I would in March but I still made some great progress and happy with the changes I made that month.

So, moving on....

April Showers

I had this idea that the end of March Un-Madness would lead into April Showers. The idea with April Showers is to begin the actual cleaning. As the weather is getting warmer and I want to have them open, I thought I would start with the windows. Each one needs to have the screen taken off and scrubbed, and both sides of the glass cleaned. I'm hoping that the clean windows will lead to other clean things. ;) And I figured I would start upstairs and work my way down. Hopefully I'll be able to get one or two done a day. No pressure, just going to add this task to my daily plans until it's done.

What can you do for April Showers? How did you do on your March Un-Madness? 

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Un-Madness: March 18-24

Review of March 18-24:
The goal was to work on some Main Floor stuff. As all good planning goes sometimes, I didn't do as much as I wanted. Due to family crisis, some of my ideas went by the wayside. I did, however, get something accomplished. My desk is looking better. I reorganized all our sweaters, jackets, boots and shoes. The kids' toys got done too but still no shelving unit of any kind. Need to keep an eye out for one.

Plan for March 25-31:
  • This is Bonus Week.
  • As it is a busy week, I'm not sure what all I will get done, but I'm going to try to work on each of the floors and try to get stuff done that I didn't get to yet. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

March Un-Madness: March 11-17

Review of March 11-17:
The focus last week was on the kids. Even though it was March Break, I still got a few things accomplished. :) I took my little journal with me and went through the kids' clothes. We boxed up some stuff that doesn't fit anymore or that they just don't want. I wrote down the things they need and the sizes. I also got a new storage system for the Barbies that my daughter keeps in her room. WalMart had a sale on and I found a plastic 3 drawer unit that fits in her closet and holds all the Barbie paraphernalia. This is a much better location for all the stuff as it's right near the Barbie house. We also had time for fun and baking, and a trip to my sister's home and picked up some of my old toys. Never got to anything in the basement but that's okay.

Plan for March 18-24:
  • The focus this week is the main floor. 
  • I would like to work on my desk again. (It's got some piles going on.) Seems like this needs to be a task that gets done more often, or I need to remember to clean up after myself a bit better.
  • I would like to find a better storage solution for the kids' toys that we have here. Might just need a book case or something.
  • There is a bit of miscellaneous stuff hanging around too that needs to be taken care of like mending and ironing.   

Monday, March 12, 2012

March Un-Madness: March 4-10

Plans are great but they don't always work out. :)

Review of March 4-10:
I don't think I had too much on my list but not everything got done. The only thing I got completed last week was the linen closet. I tidied it up, got rid of a few half full bottles by dumping them into others, picked up a few more baskets at the dollar store, and re-organized. I'm happy with how the linen closet turned out, I was just hoping for greater progress last week.

But it's ALL good! When ever we get something accomplished we should smile and be happy that it got done. Time to regroup and move onto this week.

It looks like the decluttering and organizing is going to take all of March. I am planning the actual "deep cleaning" part to start in April. As the month goes on and I move from room to room, I'm taking notes of what I want my "deep cleaning" to include. 

I had a genius idea for an old journal. I had a brand new journal sitting around, not being used for anything. When I attacked the linen closet, I brought it and a pen with me. In the front I started making lists of the items that get grouped together (one group per page). At the back, I started shopping lists (a general list and one for the dollar store). I'm taking this journal with me for the rest of the March Un-Madness so I can continue to organize. It's not too big so it's easy to carry around and it's just such a handy idea.

Plan for March 11-17:
  • The focus this week is on the kids and their stuff.
  • We're having a Fashionista Day to go through my daughter's clothes. Since I didn't get my son's clothes done last week, I hope to do them at the same time.
  • I would like to get through the kids' bedroom. The toys and books need to be decluttered and re-organized.
  • If there is more time, I want to start going through the boxes of kids' stuff in the basement.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March Un-Madness: March 1-3

March Un-Madness is underway! These first few days have been spent with a little decluttering as well as some research and planning.

After Google-ing the topic, Spring Cleaning seems to be just about decluttering, organizing and "deep" cleaning your home. So those three things are my goal for the next little while.

In reality, I don't think I will be done by the end of March. It's going to be a bit of a job. I definitely need to go through the kids' clothes as they have items that are too small or wearing out. I would like to purge some of their toys too. Too many toys just means more mess as they really don't play with them all. I know I need a few more baskets and containers to make some storage areas work better. And well, there's always the basement - still full of too much stuff!

So, I'm just going to take it easy and not stress. The end result is to get the job done, doesn't matter how fast or slow it takes to get there. And this is my first attempt at Spring Cleaning. More of the focus is going to end up on the decluttering I think.

"Deep" Cleaning refers to some things that I don't normally do. It focuses on make sure to clean:
  1. Walls and ceiling
  2. Light fixtures, fans, vents
  3. Windows and blinds
  4. Furniture
  5. Lamps, pictures, knickknacks
I do clean these areas but more focus is needed, making sure to do top to bottom.
Plan for March 4-10:
  • The focus is upstairs (second floor) which consists of two bedrooms, a linen closet, one bathroom, and a hallway.
  • I would like to get through the linen closet and my son's clothes this week.
  • Different containers for storage in the linen closet need to be purchased.
  • Some decluttering of the top of dressers would also be good.

Monday, February 27, 2012

March Un-Madness

Basketball has something called March Madness. As I don't follow basketball, we're not talking about that today. lol What I was thinking about, though, was Spring Cleaning. As March approaches, it seems like Spring Cleaning would be the next step.

I have never had any experience with Spring Cleaning. My mother never did it so I've never learned. But I wonder, is Spring Cleaning wrapped up in some March Madness? Do people go "mad" trying to get their Spring Cleaning done?

I don't think we should ever feel rattled because of our need to clean stuff, even with Spring Cleaning. So I'm taking a March Un-Madness approach and hoping that this works out. My thought was, that with a little planning, I could begin some Spring Cleaning in March and see where it goes. As you know, I'm still new at this domestic stuff and trying to get it all figured out. Whatever I have been doing has been working okay but there is room for improvement.

So here's my March Un-Madness Plan (along with some explanation of my ideas):

March begins the middle of this week then there are 4 full weeks. Don't forget, there's a week with two kids home as my daughter will be off school for March Break. That will affect getting stuff done too.

March 1-3: de-cluttering and de-decorating (I still have some Christmas-y decorations I would like to put away and some other piles that have formed)
March 4-10: concentrate on upstairs (I would like to do some cleaning upstairs that will require moving stuff as well as some decluttering of things that have collected upstairs, mostly clothes that the kids have outgrown)
March 11-17: kids' stuff (I've got boxes of kids stuff in the basement that need to be gone through as well as the stuff in their room and living room)
March 18-24: concentrate on downstairs (I want to work on extra cleaning on the main floor along with a little sorting that needs to be done)
March 25-31: bonus week (this will have to be planned later on, I want to see how far I get with the other weeks, besides there's always the basement) 

So that's the scoop. Hope it works. :) I've got it written down on my calendar for March. Will try to report each Saturday and let you know how it went. If this works as good as I'm hoping, I will plan something like this for every March.

What are you doing for March Un-Madness? Care to join me?

Monday, February 20, 2012

February's a bust!

I had great plans for February. Alas they have all gone down the drain.

Hubby's old car was supposed to be worked on by a guy. The car got moved to his garage and he did a couple of things. But the guy has been shut down for not paying his rent. So it's ended up that hubby decided he would try to get the work done on the car himself. His boss owns the building and it can stay in there till the end of the month.

So I came up with my own genius idea. Since hubby wouldn't be working on the basement for February, I thought I would try to do some more sorting of our stuff down there. You know, get rid of more clutter and rotate some of the kids' toys. Unfortunately we've had a family crisis and I just haven't been able to get down into the basement. I lost all my motivation. I've been trying to work on other stuff so that I'm not behind on my commitments should I be needed by the family. I've been spending extra time with hubby's family.

Instead of beating myself up about the lack of things accomplished this month, I'm letting it go. It's the way life happens sometimes. I have been doing well at keeping up with the regular things around the house through all that's going on. I have to be happy with that. March will soon be here and there is always a new start with a new month. :) 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February already and a new part to the Plan for Balance

I can't believe that February starts tomorrow. Sheesh! January went by really fast. I thought it was going to drag by after all of December's busyness.

So my Daily and Weekly Tasks are coming along pretty well. My plan for February is to add another part. Even as a SAHM, my daily schedule is rarely the same. Some things are routine and have to happen but a lot of it varies. So instead of having a set complete schedule, I've got things that need to be more flexible.

The part I'm adding for February are Tasks Lists for the different parts of our home: Kitchen, Main Floor Bathroom, Upstairs Bathroom, Upstairs, Main Floor and Basement. Some things I've even already done and have been marking down the dates I'm doing them. My goal is to get through each of the lists every month or so. This is all a work-in-process so we'll see how things go. :)

It's a little change which I hope will have big results. What little change can you make for February? 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Change Will Do You Good

Travel in time with me… About 10 or 15 years ago, you turn on the radio and hear Sheryl Crow’s voice singing over the airwaves… “I think a change (a change) will do you good (a change will do you good)….” Do you think that? Will a change do you good in your search for Domestic Diva-hood?
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up cleaning was always a major event to be done right before the arrival of company. As a child, this drove me crazy! From an early age, I thought there had to be a better way.
As an adult with my own home, I know I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to be racing around like a madwoman when people are coming. So I need a change: a change in method, a change in perspective, a change in attitude! As a stay-at-home mom, I should be able to get stuff done during the day so that I can relax in the evening. I am learning to do a little every day: completing the household chores and meeting responsibilities as if I was running a business. I have my daily schedule with work hours. There’s even time for coffee breaks and lunch. :)
So what do you need to change in your journey toward Domestic Diva–hood? It doesn’t have to be big! Oftentimes, a small change makes a huge impact. I’m challenging myself to do more. Follow along with me here to find out what little changes I’m making in the new year to have a difference in my Domestic Diva-hood.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year again

I know it's not New Year's Day again. Thing is my daughter went back to school this morning. Christmas Break is finally over and it's time to get back into our routines.

Working on trying some different things this year. I've followed FlyLady for a while but I never seem to be in the right Zone - my items that need to be cleaned never match up with the Zone of the week. And I've been bad about trying to follow her suggested routines. So.....

First thing I've started is a few lists of things I want to get done - Daily, Weekly and Monthly Tasks. On one page I printed up a checklist for the Daily Tasks, Monday through Friday, and a Weekly Checklist. Also, I'm trying to keep track of when I'm getting things done and what suppers I'm making so I printed out each month on it's own page. On the back of the calendar pages I've got my Monthly Tasks.

My Daily Tasks:
  • SSS main bathroom
  • SSS upstairs bathroom
  • Sweep main floor
  • Clean up kitchen after lunch
  • Clean up kitchen after supper
  • Prep coffee
(SSS means Swish toilet, Swipe sink, Sweep floor)

My Weekly Tasks:
  • Wash coffee maker
  • Dust main floor
  • Dust upstairs
  • Water plants
  • Garbage and compost collection
  • Sweep upstairs
  • Laundry
Both lists have room for a couple extra things that I can mark in that aren't regular things.

My Monthly Tasks really vary each month so it's just a spot to list stuff. I'm going to try to get as much done on that list as possible. When the new month arrives, I can move over whatever isn't done. :)

How are you doing your New Year?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Great Kitchen Cleanout

Starting something else new. I've got a kitchen focused group on Facebook. Sometimes it gets pretty quiet. But today I came up with a new idea. We're going to do a challenge every month, things that we can get done in the kitchen. I'm calling it "The Great Kitchen Cleanout".

January is going to be a Pantry/Freezer Challenge. We're going to work on reorganizing them and using up the stuff we've got stored in there. No point in getting new stuff when we can't fit it in the space we've got. :)

I'm going to try it out first then post the event with instructions on our group page. Hope it works out. Will have to come up with ideas for the rest of the months. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Challenge of the Month: Flat Surface Visibility for January

Decided to try doing a challenge with some Facebook friends. We each picked one flat surface in our homes that are a dumping ground. Our goal for January is to keep that flat surface clean. I picked my desk. Everything gets dropped there. Problem with picking my desk is that I need to organize it some first. A lot of the stuff that gets left on my desk is stuff that needs to go in it. I'm going to try to get it organized by the end of this week and keep it clean for the rest of the month. Wish me luck!

Here's a before picture from yesterday:

So far I did some reorganizing and the Gingerbread House finally got made today.

Anyone else care to join in the Challenge of the Month?