Tag Archives: workspace

Dancing barefoot in the kitchen

Yep, that’s how I am most days, barefoot, and that’s where I am most of the time, the kitchen. Why? Well that’s how I am most comfortable and that is where most of the activities in our house are centered around. I do keep a pair of flip flops at each door in case I need to run out for something like the mail man or chasing a pig outta the yard. For the most part I am barefooted though.

I’ve heard all the barefoot and pregnant jokes when I was married and pregnant. I’ve read the ‘dangers’ of going barefooted, especially the stuff you can catch from the ground. (I do usually wear shoes outside.) I have broken a few toes because of being barefooted and I’ve stepped on more Legos than you could ever imagine. The fact that there are still Legos in my house is a true testimony to the power of forgiveness!

The kitchen is the heart of our home. I really enjoy cooking so I am always trying out new recipes or letting the kids help me fix a snack or a meal. It is usually filled with good aromas coming from the crock pot or the oven. I always have sweet tea or hot coffee ready for anyone who comes to visit. Most days we can even rustle up a piece of pie or slice of cake too. If you come hungry I’m sure can find something in the fridge that can satisfy your hunger too.

The island is fairly good size for an older mobile home and it is used for everything from schoolwork, bread making, sewing projects, and vacuum repair. It is also the place where a lot of visiting takes place. The younger kids and Grandpa have claimed the playroom and the older kids have pretty much claimed the living room. So Momma has claimed the kitchen. When I have visitors, which isn’t that often, we usually sit or stand around the island to chat.

This island was also the center of activity during wedding preparations for my oldest daughter’s wedding in June. (See Who can you count on? for more about that.) My family and friends all gathered around this island to prepare the food and decorations for the wedding and reception. We shared lots of stories, caught up on news, and had a wonderful time. We made many memories around this old island with its peeling cabinets and chipped counter-top.

Our kitchen is a dine-in kitchen as we converted the formal dining area to a bedroom for my special needs son. We have a big kitchen table with benches. I love this table and I had prayed for a table big enough for all of us to sit around. My then husband and I went to the flea market, the first and only time I’ve been, and on our way out I spotted this table back in a corner. We found the seller and asked about the price and the cost to deliver it. Well, it was way more than what we had on us and over the budget I had set for a table. I was sure that it would be gone before we saved the money so reluctantly we left and came home.

A few weeks later he had went back to the flea market. He came home sooner than I had expected and he was really excited. He asked me to help him carry out the two tables we had in the kitchen. I wondered what he had gotten and soon I found out. A pickup pulled in with the most beautiful kitchen table on the back. (Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.) The man had seen him walking around and had asked him if we had found a table yet. Within a few minutes the table was bought for the exact amount that I had saved and set back for our table.The kids were so excited to eat their first meal together. Before this we had two smaller tables for the kids to eat at.

That is a good memory and when I look at this table I am reminded of that day and how happy we were. It also reminds me of how God always provides us with what we need and many things we want. (See Are you needy? for more examples.)

Now the table is used for school work, art projects, meals, dinosaur adventures, monster truck rallies, play-dough sculpting, and so much more. It has the marks of being well-used and sometimes I contemplate having it refinished but I kinda like the character it has.

Our kitchen also has my roll top desk which is where I happen to be sitting, barefooted, at the moment. This is where a lot of my work gets done. I do a lot of planning for meals, school, budgets, outings, and other activities that must happen. I also take care of the bills and other household related things here too.

My kitchen is pretty much open to the playroom where the kids spend a good amount of time. I can cook, work on projects, make a grocery list, or just browse the internet for my next project while keeping an eye on them. I can also hear everything going on in the play yard from the kitchen.

If my kids come in looking for me they will usually come to the kitchen first. They know that is where Momma can normally be found. They also know that is where snacks and other goodies can be found. Unfortunately our cat knows this too and has developed the bad habit of jumping on the counters which we have been trying to discourage with a spray bottle of water.

When my kids have made some discovery outside or have created some interesting architectural structure that I need to come see they will come looking for me. They will bring my flip flops with them because they know Momma probably won’t have her shoes on. They keep me from having an excuse.

Another thing we have been doing is playing music throughout the day. There is just something about music that can calm the soul. It can reach deep inside a person and make their heart happy. It is not uncommon to walk in to the kitchen and find me dancing around while cooking or cleaning. If the kids come in and laugh then I will grab them and ‘force’ them to dance also. Sometimes a whiny kid will be ‘forced’ into dancing, as well. This has become a fun outlet that is an immediate cure for the ‘grouchies’. We all know that grouchies can’t survive for long around music, dancing, or laughter.

I want my kids to have good, consistent memories of their childhood. If seeing Momma dancing barefoot in the kitchen is a memory that is forever etched in their minds then I’m happy. If they break into a smile every time they hear ‘Walking in the Sunshine’ then I’ve succeeded at this mission. (This is also a proven cure for the grouchies that was passed along to me by a dear friend.)

So how long has it been since you’ve danced barefoot in the kitchen? Why don’t you give it a try and see what happens?

If it’s not the kids, it’s the cat….

We all know how it is to be working really intently on a project only to get distracted by something or someone. I know my kids never seem to need anything until I am working on bills, my blog, paperwork, or if I get a phone call. A phone call in itself can be a major distraction depending on the timing of it.

When we are doing our school work in the mornings I try my best to keep the distractions to a bare minimum. It never fails that someone will come in and get the kids stirred up or the cat will sneak in and start tickling someone’s feet. Maybe the phone will ring and the kids will take it as a signal to go crazy.

I try to handle important calls and paperwork during nap time when things are generally a bit quieter and calmer here. Sometimes I get side tracked with one of the million other things on my To-Do list. Sometimes I get into a conversation with a friend via text or messenger. Sometimes I start checking emails or log onto my Facebook for a quick peek and one thing leads to another and I end up accomplishing nothing. These are all distractions.

While many distractions could be avoided and sometimes they can cause us to waste precious time, they are not always a bad thing.

On occasion I have been really busy and working really hard on something when one of the kids comes up just to say ‘I love you’. Of course, they usually want something when they do this but I never get tired of hearing those three words. It reminds me that I do need breaks and they need attention and hugs, lots of hugs.

Sometimes I sneak to my room to work on something while the kids are playing in the yard outside of my window. Maybe I get caught up just watching them play and wondering how they have grown up so fast. Then I’ll notice that someone’s pants are a little short and decide to check for sales. Or I’ll remember that someone else needed something so I’ll try to look into that.

If it’s not the kids, it’s the cat. I’ll get all comfy and situated and the cat will come in. He will start by rubbing on my foot, then my leg, then he will jump on the bed. He will make his way across the nightstand to sit on my lap. If the computer happens to be in my lap then he will sit on the computer. He wants my attention.

I know its hard when you have deadlines to meet or something that is really pressing on you to get finished. It is so easy to just say, ‘No, I can’t right now.’ or ‘I’m too busy for that.’. We need to step back for a moment sometimes and ask ourselves if what we are working is really that important.

Is it gonna matter in 5 years that I didn’t get this blog post finished on time? Will it really be the end of the world if I don’t check all of my emails right now?

Occasional distractions can be a welcome relief from the stress of our often overwhelming duties and responsibilities. They can actually help our brains to relax a little and help get our creative juices flowing. Have you ever been stuck on a problem of some sort and walked away from it for a bit only to come back with fresh eyes and have a solution pop up out of nowhere? I have.

I’m not saying that we should give in to every distraction but every now and then its OK to let yourself get distracted. I usually try to keep a list of things that need to get done. My daily list is kept on my FlyHelper app. I also have a weekly and monthly list on there as well. So for the days that I am not focused and get distracted by every little thing I can refer back to the lists to keep me on track.

I also keep a file on my desk for things that need my attention. These include bills, reimbursements to file for various items, school materials to check into, appointments to make, and other things that invariably make their way into my already full lap. These are the items that I try to work on during quiet times.

My desk is situated on a kitchen wall adjacent to the playroom. The playroom is where the kids spend probably 80% or more of their time when they are in the house. This works out good for me as I can keep an eye on them while also working on important things that may need to get finished. I can do my bills, phone calls, menu planning, grocery lists, shopping lists, and even clip coupons from this one area. This may not work for everyone but it does for us. I currently have a roll top desk so I can leave my current project out on the desktop and just pull the lid closed so no one messes with it.

If I have big projects to work on I try to break them down into smaller tasks that I can work on in shorter chunks of time. Many times I am able to get them finished much quicker than anticipated but just the idea of knowing that I can get to a stopping point helps keep me focused.

For instance, one of the couches in the playroom needs replaced but I haven’t had the money or time to go shopping for a new one. The cushions had so many holes that they would leak stuffing everywhere and on anyone who sat on it. We had put a throw on the couch which didn’t stay put for very long with so many kids around. The only other solution was to make some covers for the cushions.

I knew that meant dragging out the sewing machine, the sewing box, and finding some material. Well, I found some material at a thrift store and I set it in an easily accessible place. Then the next time I was in the closet I managed to pull out the sewing machine and the sewing box and set them in a place where I could get to them easily.

One day I had a little free time so I decided just to pull the material out and get it cut to size. That went much quicker than I had expected and the kids were playing quietly with big sister so I decided to proceed with assembling everything. In less than an hour I had each of the cushions covered, fluffed, and put back on the couch. I had also vacuumed up the mess and washed the throw that had been on the couch.

Maybe you are sending out Christmas cards? Break it up into small chunks like buying the cards and stamps, gathering the addresses, signing the cards and sealing them in the envelopes, addressing the envelopes, then mailing them. Or do them in small batches.

Just remember that as life happens distractions will be an inevitable thing. Try to weed out the ones that you can and embrace the ones you can’t. Take each moment, each hour, each day in stride and stay focused on your goals. Don’t let the distractions keep you from your goals but don’t let obtaining your goals cause you to miss out on life and your family.