Monday, April 26, 2010

On Household Matters...

I’m on a mission to get our household running like a well-oiled machine before nursing classes start at the end of August. It seems like every time I go through a season of life when I am overwhelmed, the state of our house reflects that & looks like a tornado hit it. I am not embarrassed to admit that I’m not the best housekeeper to begin with (okay, maybe I’m a little embarrassed to admit that). My house is not one that you can just drop by unannounced & expect it to be presentable enough for company. Though I have the best intentions, I fail in execution. But, when I am overwhelmed, the house looks even worse than normal, with piles everywhere and everyone playing a sort of Russian roulette every day with whether they will have clean clothes to wear or dishes to eat on or food to eat for that matter. Sad, isn’t it? Granted this sad state of affairs has only happened a few times. One that comes to mind is the weeks that I was plagued with all-day nausea in the first part of my pregnancy with Ella (before I gave in to my doctor & starting taking anti-nausea medicine). I am determined to not let that happen again. One of the ways I’m heading off that situation now is by implementing some checklists & chore charts for all of us (except Ella – although I'm teaching her to clean up after herself & help with simple tasks, I think it’s a little early for a checklist for her).

Anyhow, the point of this post is to share some of things I’m using/planning on using in the hopes they might help someone else and also in the hopes that I’ll follow through since I’ve written it down & put it out there.

Household Chores: Motivated Moms has several different versions of planners. I’m using the full page per week one (the first one on the list).

Wesley’s checklists: This is something we tried for a bit right after Ella was born. It seemed to work okay then. Amazingly Wesley actually requested that I make these for him again the other day. I thought it was both funny & endearing that he wanted a checklist – evidence that he must be my child after all. If you are interested in my template just email me.

Meal Planner: E-Mealz. I used this for about 6 months when Ella was an infant & liked it overall. Some of the meals were a little unusual for our tastes (and I would say we’re not picky eaters), but I loved not having to think up meals & already having a shopping list made out for me. I’m planning on using this in conjunction with some of our family favorites that I can make in batches & freeze (things like PW’s Chicken Spaghetti) or that can be made in the crockpot without too much work (like this recipe for a whole chicken that we can make into two meals by having taco soup the next day).

And, lastly, printing out my calendar from Entourage (the version of Outlook for Mac) each month to post at home so it will have game schedules, my classes, birthdays, etc. already on it & all I will have to fill in is the day to day things that come up.

I also have big plans to go through every nook & cranny of our house during the break between my spring classes (last final is May 12th) & my summer class (starts July 13th) and get rid of a bunch of junk + get the rest of the stuff organized. I’ve already gone through one desk, one dresser, part of one storage closet & started on my scrapbooking closet/area. Then, during the two week break I’ll have between the end of my summer class & the start of nursing school I’m planning on getting some projects I’ve been working on for a loonngg time wrapped up – namely Wesley’s baby book (almost ten years in the making & I’ve completely started over twice) & finishing a quilt that I started in a quilting class I took in the summer of 2003 that I ‘gave’ to my sister, Megan, for Christmas that year in pieces (I had all the blocks made & some of the quilting done) – she has been reminding me to finish it for her almost every time I see her. I think I might have good excuses for not getting it done yet. Some of the big ones are moving twice, getting engaged/planning a wedding/getting married, buying a house, finishing two degrees + starting another, starting a new job, remodeling our one bathroom, having a baby (all in the last seven years, but not necessarily in that order).

Credit for finding the meal planner & household chores list goes to Susan Wyatt. I found both those from her sharing them on her blog.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

4 people 12 times

I love Tara Whitney's photography. I visit her site & her blog on occasion for inspiration. She is doing something so neat with her family of six. Once a month she's taking a group shot & jotting down some things about her family from that month - what they've been doing, listening to, favorite dinner of the month, etc.

I have not had much time in the past year or two (let's be honest, I haven't had time since little miss Ella came along) to do much in the way of scrapbooking. And, in the last year since I started back to school I haven't done much in the way of blogging either. So, my solution is to copy Tara's idea for my little family of four. Anthony, consider yourself warned.

With any luck I'll be able to keep up with it for the next year then print it out into a little coffee table book, sort of like a yearbook for our family.

And, because I think posts look funny without a picture, here's one I took of Ella & I a couple weeks ago with my iPhone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ella & the train

Ella LOVES trains. It started with her receiving "The Little Engine That Could" book from the Reading Railroad program they have here in Tennessee (she gets a free book each month until she turns five). That book became her favorite, and she carried it around with her everywhere.
We live near a train track & now every time one goes by she runs to the storm door to watch it. Anthony sometimes shows her train videos on youtube to keep her entertained. It works magically until he tells her they're all done watching them.
We just happened to be outside playing a week or so ago & one came by. You can see in the first few seconds of the video how excited she gets about them.