As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However, even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.
My first wish…
My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve gone over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.
I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well, that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!
I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!
When I told them what was expected I had included that I expected everyone to use quieter voices. Then I began by making sure to use a quieter voice when speaking to the kids. Sometimes it was a reminder about behavior and other times it was to let them know that there was a special treat waiting for them on the counter.
After a couple of days, maybe more like after missing out on some special treats, they really started to listen when Momma spoke. AMAZING! They are even using quieter voices when speaking to each other. Now we do still have some loud outbursts and they do get loud when playing but that is to be EXPECTED from kids however we will continue to work on ‘inside voices’.
Getting organized was on that Plan Of Action that I made up for helping me to achieve my goals. That is one of those that is an ongoing process and will take a while to achieve. I may never be as truly organized as I’d like to be, I have been in the past but I know it might not happen immediately. I also know that every step forward is progress and makes LIFE so much easier for me.
This past week or so I mostly worked on getting the house back in order after the holiday CHAOS. The decluttering and purging we did as we got the house back in shape has meant that we have fewer things to clean and/or clean around… yay!
I know I had written a post about choosing the right calendar but I never could make up my mind. Call it PROCRASTINATION or INDECISIVENESS but the need for a calendar was IMMEDIATE so I happened upon these at Walmart and they had a desk calendar to match. Do I really need all three? I’m not sure but the medium-sized one I will keep in my homeschool binder as it is good through 2020 and the smaller one will fit perfectly in any bag I carry. The larger calendar works here where I am attempting to make a ‘command center’… it’s a work in progress.
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I also bought some colored pens and I had the highlighters already. I used these to ‘color code’ the calendars so that I can tell at a glance what is going on and who it involves. I started out highlighting the whole ‘day box’ with whatever color but quickly found that our CRAZY schedule means that some days may have 3 or 4 activities:
- Birthdays = Yellow
- Square Dancing = Blue
- Appointments = Green
- Holidays/Important Events = Orange
- School Days/Activities = Pink
Then I began only highlighting one border for the day concerned. Each child has their own color as well:
- William = Orange
- Caitlyn = Green
- Isabella = Purple
- Joey = Red
- Jacob = Blue
- Momma = Pink
The days where we have ideas for things that aren’t set in concrete are either penciled in or will have a sticky note stuck to them so that it can be moved as needed. I learned a long time ago that color-coding makes things so much simpler. This little project took me about an hour to finish up but it is so nice to have it completed. The ‘command center’ is something that I will work on a little here and there.
Healthier eating is on that Plan Of Action as well. I have been trying to keep a stock of healthier fruit and veggie options for snacking. Before Christmas the Hello Fresh people had contacted me about giving them a try again. Well, one of orders came in this week and we gave it a try:
This was the Seared Sirloin Steak and Demi-Glace Sauce with Carmelized Onion Mashed Potatoes and Green Salad. It was pretty good but Mr. Awesome really didn’t care for the salad at all. He did love the mashed potatoes which I have a recipe similar to these that I will hopefully dig out and share soon… adding it to my To-Do list as we speak! We have one more recipe to try and I’ll let you know how it turns out when we get to it.
As far as getting rid of processed foods I haven’t really done anything I can think of this week. Last year I did convert to buying real butter even though it is more expensive than margarine. I have also been trying to use honey as a sweetener whenever possible or at least cutting the sugar content on some of my recipes.
I have been trying to drink more water but our water does have a taste that I’m just not too crazy about. I have been researching the Berkey Water Filters for a few years and I really am considering getting one soon. I’ve read nothing but good reviews about them and this just seems like it will be a good fit for our family.
Freezer cooking was another area on that list. The past week I actually did get a couple of batches of muffins in the freezer. I just made some extra batter and baked them up after I finished my baking on Wednesday mornings. Now we have at least one batch for a quick breakfast or two or maybe even a snack or two. Yay!
My Plan Of Action also included finding ways to cut the time we spend on cleaning. As I mentioned earlier in the post the decluttering and purging we did has cut the time a bit but some schedule/routine changes have really made a difference!
One of the biggest changes that have helped was to block of Mondays and Fridays for cleaning, errands, and appointments. I know that there will be times that we have to do these things on other days but by focusing on the major things for two days we seem to be getting a lot more accomplished.
I’m also desperately trying to get in the habit of using those days for prepping for meals, homeschool, and dances as I can. Every little bit of forethought helps out a lot and I’m sure this habit will get easier as we go through the year.
You can read more about how we put the new schedule to work in our homeschool HERE. This is also creating more time for arts and crafts like the kids had requested. I still haven’t had a chance to get around to my sewing projects but I do plan to get some of them crossed off by the end of the month.
Mommy time was an important thing I wanted to get back in the habit of. As of right now I have been up for over an hour before any kiddos were moving about. <Smile> It is nice to be able to sit and concentrate on things and make my To-Do lists without interruptions. I have found that my mind seems quieter as well and I am having an easier time being able to FOCUS on tasks without feeling like I am RUSHED or being UNPRODUCTIVE.
Getting back into the habit of taking my vitamins is another thing though… I keep forgetting them even though they are right close to my coffee pot. Mr. Awesome just bought me another Keurig as the old one was having some issues. This one is a tad bit fancier but I have found that it is helping me with one of my other goals!
The ‘Hot Water’ feature means that I can make my BREAKFAST when I make my coffee! I am trying to eat Oatmeal in the mornings and will be getting the kids to eat more oatmeal. I did buy a big box of instant oatmeal at Sam’s as it is nice to have on hand but this may end up being one of those I cut out later on… I’m not sure yet. I have however thrown a few packs into the bottom drawer of the organizer beside the coffee pot so I can have them on hand in the mornings.
Now my mornings are running much smoother and my devotional time is so much BETTER! Check out that link for more information about the site that I found for devotions. I am happy to say that I am on track with my ‘Read The Bible In A Year Plan’ … whoo-hoo! I have also printed out a couple of Proverbs 31 studies that I would like to get started on as that is what I really want to strive to be.
Time for devotions
I also have more time for prayers. I haven’t started my prayer journal yet but maybe this week I’ll get it started. That doesn’t stop me from praying though because GOD doesn’t require us to have a journal, routine, or a scheduled time to talk to HIM. I just like to keep track of things I have prayed about and their outcomes so that in ROUGH times I can look back and see what HE has done for me. This usually encourages me and lifts me up when I’m feeling down.
I have been working on paying off bills and finding ways to save money too. The schedule changes have helped us to consolidate our ‘running’ and we can group a few things together like grocery shopping after an appoinment so that we save time and money.
My usual ‘after Christmas panic’ was eliminated this year as I paid cash for most of the gifts I bought. This year I plan to start buying gifts early, a couple at a time, to help eliminate some of the holiday stress. This will also be a lot easier on my budget.
Cutting back on waste and Emergency Preparedness
A couple of things that weren’t on my Plan Of Action were cutting back on waste and emergency preparedness. These are things that I have been working on here and they will help save with money too. We don’t have a garbage service here and I really noticed how much trash we had really quickly after moving here. At one time we were filling a whole trash bag a day. We are now down to a bag every two to three days.
We try to buy more reusable things and reuse some things like ziploc baggies and food containers. I am also trying to buy more non-plastic things. I was so excited to find this Life Without Plastic site. The products are a little pricey but I know in the long run they will be worth it. Amazon also has a wide variety of plastic free food containers that I have had my eye on.
Will we still use disposable plates and cups? Yes, probably but we have really cut down on what we use and only save them for ‘special occasions. The girls have been in the habit of grabbing disposable plates when they make lunch as they HATE washing dishes. Slowly we are getting them out of that habit and maybe if I move the plates to a place they can’t reach as easily it will help.
I have also started to make sure we wash out any plastic milk or juice containers and filling them with water. I then put these in the large freezer so that we will be better prepared for emergencies. Hurricane season will be here before we know it and having a storage of water makes me feel better. Not only will the frozen containers be water we can drink or cook with they will also help to keep our freezers cold if/when the power goes out.
I have also been making sure to save food scraps like the couple of brown bananas that always seem to get passed over in the fruit bowl. The bananas will be used for muffins or bread later on. Extra veggie and meat scraps can be used for broths, soups, and stews. All of these changes will help with saving money in the long run.
So, all in all, I feel like we are doing good with the progress we have made. I still have a lot more to share but my ‘quiet time’ is about over as little feet have begun making their way to the kitchen. Luckily I thought enough ahead to fix their cereal bowls and milk cups when I was fixing my coffee and oatmeal. That means I have a couple of more minutes before we get started on our cleaning routines…
Have a blessed day!