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Overhaul Week!!!! Operation Staycation

We’ve had an amazing week. We left town a week ago for North Carolina. We crashed with my father-in-law and his wife for the night. The day started with a breakfast in bed for my husband and his father for an early father’s day celebration. It was convenient really. All of my babies were gone from the daycare this week so I had a vacation and so we left our kids in North Carolina with Grandpa and Gigi. We drove home and dropped the dog off for the evening and repacked our bags. Saturday night we went to a pool party with John’s friends. We had a blast. Sunday we woke up early and had breakfast with his friends… then the work began. My business closes in about 40 days and we spent this week the two of us having a great time and transforming our home from a business into a home. I will only have five days off before my next job will begin. There is a lot of preparation that needs to take place between now and then.

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Our friend Andrew helped us move the treadmill out of our bedroom. It’s been the thing I ram my foot into every morning for two years.

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We finished painting the daycare room from pastel green to a nice tan color. We also moved around the furniture from other parts of the house. The dining room became just a dining room and no longer an office as well.

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We finished Father’s Day with steaks and salad and visit with my dad.

IMG_6131 IMG_6137 IMG_6136 We spent Monday at our other house- stained the fence, stained the wall around the basement steps, fixed some latches and repaired a french drain,  painted the shed trim and put in a layer of mulch. IMG_6135 IMG_6134 IMG_6133   IMG_6132   That was actually pretty exhausting. We went home and rested up before attacking more projects.   Tuesday John and I put up the kids new swing set which we acquired through some friends who were moving to a space it would not fit. If they move again we’ll just give it back. IMG_6150 IMG_6148 IMG_6145   We took the time to tour a local brewery and had dinner at a nice restaurant in town. IMG_6158   We worked steady by Wednesday to redo our ugly gas log fireplace and transform it into awesomeness. We aren’t entirely done with that piece but we are well on our way. We sanded- primed and painted it as well as paint the interior trim in high heat spray paint. IMG_6154IMG_6161 IMG_6160 IMG_6157 IMG_6156IMG_6178 We put up new curtains in the new office. IMG_6152 We potted some plants in our hanging baskets too.   IMG_6164 We gave our our main bathroom an overhaul. Scrubbing from the ceiling to the floor and replacing the shower curtain. IMG_6169 IMG_6170   I did about six loads of laundry and John mowed the lawn. For Father’s Day I got John a new charcoal grill. So we spent two hours putting that together and made dinner with it. IMG_6183 IMG_6184   We rearranged our bedroom and cleaned it up after the treadmill was removed. It was dusty for sure.   IMG_6173 IMG_6174     Thursday I worked on organizing our dining room and getting rid of clutter. He fertilized the grass. We did more laundry. Then we ventured out to enroll our daughter into kindergarten… ::sigh:: that’s an emotional mess right there. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant and went and shopped for some furniture for our dining room. We picked these two fabulous pieces. IMG_6230 IMG_6229   First things first- put the liquor in the cabinet!!! IMG_6234   Then put away china that’s been stored in a box for about five years. Store the linens and serving utensils in a more appropriate place. It’s been a long time coming, but we are happy to have “grown-up stuff”. IMG_6235 We cleaned up the front porch. IMG_6239 John hung up things that needed to be hung for a while now. IMG_6242 IMG_6243   I cleaned out the van and sorted through some things we gathered from helping a family member close out an estate. It was a lot to sort through. I tried that thing where you put landscaping lights in pots upside down to serve as stands. I couldn’t find enough pots so we just drilled holes in the deck to drop the lights in and it gives us a glow all the way around the trim of the deck. Looks pretty awesome. IMG_6244   Today we have spent time cleaning up all the tools we used this week, hanging curtains and doing some final touches on things. IMG_6252 We love our dining area!!! IMG_6246 IMG_6247 IMG_6250   The best part about the whole week is that we accomplished so much and it feels great to feel more settled into our home… and we didn’t yell.. didn’t fight…we enjoyed each others company and got so much done. We picked our the furniture in total agreement with each other. I’m glad we are such compatible people. It makes life so much fun.

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Come on 6 o’clock- Ready for the weekend.

Dan Auerback- Goin’ Home

This week flew by for me, but I am so looking forward to this weekend. We have one kid tonight and none tomorrow. We have many plans and no plans. Since our vacation we pledged to spend more time just the two of us and we really need this weekend. The last time we planned this type of weekend it fell completely through. This Sunday is one of the busiest days of the year for my husband for his job- normally we dread October. He works so much in this month. I’m surprised I actually survived this one without half losing my mind.

Avett Brothers- Pretty Girl from Annapolis

We’re still on our flylady cleaning process and the house has come a long way. It has really helped us to feel relaxed in the home. We’re going to spend some time at home this weekend. We feel the need to escape less. It’s really simple in teaching habits. I would encourage you to at least try her system of cleaning.

Joe Purdy- Can’t Get It Right Today

I really liked my blog suggestion of the week on Rosie the Riveter. I can see several blogs stemming from that one alone. Felt my writing and teaching worlds collide on that one.

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This quote from our daughter was up at daycare this last week. It warmed my heart. It’s something we do purposefully as a family and I love that she acknowledged it. Pretty awesome.

My Thoughts on Organization and Time Management

Being an organized, time managing, and mutli-tasking person.

10 tips to getting stuff done…errr 9

1. Make the investment and get a good phone. My phone (iphone5) contains my contacts, emails, calendar, daily reminders, apps that help with a multitude of things, lists and many other things.

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These are the reminders that pop on my phone that tell me to do things. You can also set things as an alarm. Super helpful.

2. Start routines as a household and stick to them. We have a morning routine that we’re fairly good at keeping to lately. It includes me waking up early to workout, time for both John and I to shower, feeding 3 animals, waking 2 children, getting them dressed, fed and teeth brushed, packing one lunch, starting coffee, feeding ourselves, and straightening the house before my business opens at 7am. Sometimes we’re a little off, but for the most part we get it all done in a moderately calm and friendly manner.

3. Respond immediately to emails and messages and if you can’t write it down or do something to remind yourself to do it later.

4. Lists, lists, lists- grocery lists… I write them in order of which department they are in. Now this seems like a no brainer to many, but if I’m sending John even that list takes him forever. If you have an iphone- I recommend the anylist app. It allows me to make a grocery list and you can check off items while you shop. But the best part about that is that if we decide John is the one to go I can e-mail it to him and he has the list. Making a meal list for the week- having all the calendars open to see what’s going on for the week. It helps you make better meal choices and stop running back and forth to the store (not that we never miss something… this week I ran out of celery of all things) We have a list of wishfuls for every room of the house- this week we put up a new light fixture in the downstairs bathroom. This is helpful for when we’ve found some extra time to just get some things done. I have done family weekly chore calendars and those are fabulous, but hard to get everyone to stick to for the long term. I just make an excel sheet of time of day and what needs to be done. This is good to do heading into the holidays or if you are selling your house. It tends to all land on one person otherwise. When I have overbooked myself it is helpful to make a To Do list of things I must get done by the end of the day.

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Our grocery list from last week.

5. Budgeting- I hate getting slammed with random bills. While we were on vacation this summer someone checking our mail set a bill on the computer and it fell behind the desk. It was a medical bill so out of the norm for 166 bucks. Now since we paid for our vacation entirely in cash and since our washer died the week we returned… we were a little strapped for cash… so it sucked. But John and I hate using credit cards… We have been following Dave Ramsey for years and although it’s not perfect and we still have some lingering debt we’ve been paying for things in cash for years. We like “Wine and Finance” meetings… if you take the time to look at your calendar of bills and budget out your spending over a relaxing evening it makes life a whole lot easier. I also recommend if you and your partner in crime both have a good phone- the EEBA app. It’s an envelope budget system that can be shared between our phones. So we may have 120 in clothes a month and if I go buy $40 pair of shoes I can put that in the phone envelope and now the budget will say we have $80 for the month and John knows what’s left to be spent. It’s super helpful. Also, with all this online accounting money coming in and out electronically overlook everything carefully that you spend. I realized a few months ago that an insurance company that John had changed from was still deleting funds from our account. Now it didn’t draw our attention because it had been the norm for so long. It didn’t raise a red flag until I was writing everything down…

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Note haircuts are under clothing expenses… and the expense called “unexpected sh*t”

6. Calendars- I can not stress this enough. I try to put everything in my phones’ calendar as I get it because otherwise I will forget every doctor’s office and salons’ cute little cards- yeah I will lose that – so I just plug it in immediately and text John or I will forget to tell him. From church to soccer and days off from school I have to write it down or it throws me off big time. I like routines and I like getting things done so if the calendar is set then I don’t feel so bad. I also don’t cancel on my friends as much because of this- I know what I can or can’t do- unless I have to check with John.

7. Communicate- I make calendars 3 to 4 times a year for the daycare. I let the parents know everything from closings, three meals on each day, activities of the week and lists of who brings what food. I send that out as soon as I can and they have weeks if not months of a notice. I do my best to stick to the list and it operates much like a lesson plan I used in my classroom. With John we communicate daily about schedules and routine things and I do my best to keep things up to date by email with the church responsibilities and activities as well as soccer. If I get a soccer e-mail I forward it to John… we have a lot of bases to cover so it feels good when we both feel we’re in the know. I have unlimited texting- thank the Lord! I text clients when I remember something because otherwise I might forget. I want my clients to be well informed and feel good about the organization here. My memory is really terrible… so it’s because I don’t trust myself to remember and I act on it… that’s how I get things done.

8. Do away with clutter- Now if you’ve been to my home either one of three things hits you immediately when you walk in the door. It’s all about perspective. You either think 1- Man she keeps a clean home… considering. 2- Man this house has a lot of stuff in it. 3- This place looks lived in (in a good way). I’m not perfect at this rule but I try when I can. We realized a few weeks ago that our kids were pulling out these blocks in their room- they never actually played with them they just randomly appeared throughout the house. So we got rid of them and it cut so much of the mess down. I also get rid of the kids clothes rather fast… I do this because if it’s stained or what not I don’t want them wearing it out anyways. I also want to keep the laundry rotation at a minimum. If they have more to wear I have a tendency to let it pile up faster. Less to dust… etc. The less clutter the less you feel smothered by stuff.

9. Find the things that throw you off- Last year we realized it took us forever to get Alden to go back upstairs to brush his teeth. It was a huge battle. So I said screw it and bought extra toothbrushes for the kitchen. So he dumps his dishes after breakfast and brushes his teeth there. It helped a ton… something that simple.

This is a list of organizing more than time managing I guess, but when I started brainstorming about this I realized that having things organized in physical form and mental form allows me to get things done faster and more proficiently.

A few time management things that work for me

* Start a load of laundry and dishes before you go to workout. While you are out, they are doing the “home” work for you so they will be done when you get back.

*If the kids keep dragging items out lock it up or get rid of it if it isn’t important. My kids went through a phase where they got out several cups a day.. so I locked them all in the medicine cabinet so they had to ask me for one…

* Buy extra cleaning supplies and store under sinks so you don’t have to lug everything around. You ultimately buy the same amount…

* Plan picnic dinners with tuna, egg, or chicken salad so that your family isn’t getting fast food all the time when you’re an active family. I pack baby carrots, grapes, apples, pears, juice packs or water bottles… no chips or other junk. I may make it look easy, but Monday John had rehearsal and I had a pot luck, Tuesday we had soccer things from 6 to 8:30, Wednesday I had pottery and Thursday we had soccer again until 8:30 or so. That means our family, as a whole entity, had not been together at home since Sunday. Well except for when we were rushing the kids to bed together Tuesday and Thursday at 9pm! Friday we went out to eat, grocery shopped and then put the kids in bed. Today, John had to work all morning until two and then had to leave at five for his evening improv performance. If someone says we’re not busy… they are just silly.

* Preset the coffee maker the day before while you’re stirring dinner. It makes for more peaceful mornings.

* Get places early and then check on e-mails, lists and things via your phone while you’re waiting. I hate being late.

* As a parent, I got in the habit of resting while the children rested… yeah that party is over. I workout while they rest or watch tv.- Stair climbing, squats, jumping jack, crunches… During the big nap time I can plug in the monitor and I run on the treadmill. I found working out doesn’t wake them up as much as if I tried doing the dishes or something.

Noting all of this. I am not perfect…. the van is a complete mess. The basement is interesting. Dusting… yeah that needs to happen and wiping down the walls. When this home is no longer a business next year I may not know what to do with myself! I’ve never lived in this house without it having 4 sets of parents coming in and out all the time. I can’t wait to move the treadmill out of my bedroom and have the office out of my dining room! Everyone surely gets fed and cared for here, but there are aspects for improvement for sure.

I hope you found at least one useful thing to this list!

~April~