Helped by the Unexpected

Have you ever had one of those days, that nothing goes right?  Sure, we all have.  Yesterday was that day for me.  I’m a pretty optimistic person, but I think we all have a little dread in our hearts when Monday rolls around.

I woke up yesterday at 4:15 to the sound of my eldest son blowing his nose.  Nice alarm clock, don’t you think?  I never went back to sleep after that, finally getting out of bed at 5:30.

That was unexpected.

unexpected screws up

I like to plan my day and normally adhere pretty well to my schedule, but when you start your day in an unexpected way, at an unexpected time, it sort of sets the tone for the day.  Not exactly a good tone either.  But trying to remain positive, I found some motivation and strength somewhere deep inside.  Coffee may have played a role in that, but motivation and strength, nonetheless.

I went to work on laundry, chores and was making good progress on my “to-do” list.  All the while, dropping about everything I touched, to the point I thought I should not look at anything, because it might just throw itself on the floor, to save it the suspense of who’s next.

Then I remembered I had to make a phone call about some personal matters.  Ugh.  Two hours later after a torturous conversation and a ridiculous amount of time filling out online forms, my schedule went right out the window.

So now it’s only lunch time, I’ve picked up nearly everything in the house. Twice.  I’m stressed about something completely out of my control.

~sigh~

Does this ever happen to you?  Thankfully last night was the monthly homemaker’s meeting.  The topic for discussion?  Stress management.  What could be more fitting?

We talked about the different types of stress and how to cope with it.  Even though we didn’t talk specifically about my stressor, we discussed stresses that are out of our control.  I found it so helpful.

It’s good to be reminded that you can’t do everything, some things are beyond your control, and no one is perfect.

unexpected lesson

Everyone experiences stress.  EVERYONE.  Young, old, single, married, it shows no discrimination.

For me a big stress is the unexpected.  I am doing so much better with it, mostly due to being a mom.  Once a child is in your life, the unexpected just becomes the norm.  When you have four children, like I do, having something expected happen, becomes the crazy.

Just remember you’re not alone.

Stress can do so much to you body and mind without us being aware of it.  It can hurt us and our relationships with those we love.  It can cause illness.

Don’t let it take control.  Little bits of stress (like my day Monday), can add up before you know it.  Talk about it, take a walk, read a book, find a way that works for you, but relieve that stress.

Here are a couple of links about stress if you are interested…

Stress Management – Learn to Prevent and Reduce Stress

Stress Management – Healthy Lifestyle

How do you relieve stress?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Similar posts:

A Mother’s Worry

No Mommy’s Perfect

Thanks for stopping by! ~Kim~

Goals? Let’s Get Real…

So hopefully you caught last week’s post about what goals I sort of reached last year.  (In case you missed it, check it out here!)

I wasn’t as successful last year as I had hoped.  It seems from reading other’s blogs, this can be common.  It’s a new year, it’s exciting, and goals are set with all good intentions of follow-through, but in the end normal life gets in the way.  I thought I set fairly realistic goals for 2013.  Honestly, they pretty much were, my inner procrastinator, although I made great improvements, still found a way to mess things up.  Also, the goals I set in 2013, will continue.  A lot of them were improvements that needed to be made to my life/family and will be an on-going process.

That being said, on to 2014.  It is 2014, you know?  So let’s break it down…….

HOME

Making things homey – We have lived in our home, since it was built in 2002.  Which, although seems like yesterday, it was actually 12 years ago.  Wow, ok.  So I guess it’s time to decorate?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have bare walls, but there is no method to the madness. You have no idea how haphazard my house feels.  I have ideas. Boy, do I! But starting has always been my problem.  Especially knowing where to start.

So this is my plan.

I intend to concentrate on one room a month.  I am aware that some parts of the project may not get completed within the month, like if I need someone else’s help (ie hubby).  But for the most part, I should be able to arrange, organize, paint, decorate, etc. a room each month until my house is “finished.”  Because both my office and the boys’ bedroom was on my list for last year, they are first on the list, starting off with the office.  If all goes well, then I will be able to share before and after pictures with you, once each room is completed.  I’m really excited about this goal!

SELF

As you may know, I had a sweet baby girl last March.  With my first three kids I did a pretty good job of getting back into some sort of workout routine.  This time, not so much.  Last week was the first week that I worked out consistently since before I was pregnant. ~sigh~  Mainly because I just didn’t make myself do it, and because of my affinity for food.  Oh, and I hate exercise. I shouldn’t say “hate,” but there is an astounding amount of things I’d rather do…watching paint dry, for instance. Of course I know I’d feel better, have more energy, that it’s a healthy choice, but unlike many, I’m not so much worried about my weight, as fitting into my clothes.  Clothes are expensive, exercise is free.  So it’s a lot cheaper to get back in shape and fit into the ones I already have!

No measurements have been taken, I’ll know I succeeded when I can finally put on my favorite pair of jeans and not have to use the jaws of life to get them off.

I’m glad that I’ve already started my journey to a healthier self. My two older boys even asked that I wake them up early on Saturday to exercise with me! (That reminds me that our actions are a very effective way to teach. Practice what you preach!)

Alright, so just because I am only now sharing my goals with you, doesn’t mean I haven’t begun. As I mentioned, the first room up, is the office. I have a picture in my head of what my it will look like. I have enlisted my amazing husband to build shelves on one wall. I have paint to buy and a frame for a vintage print I purchased. It’s going to look totally different, I can’t wait!!

So this year, two goals. Big goals, though. I feel more confident with what I have chosen for this year. Excited too!!
What about you? Did you set any goals for 2014? Do share!

Save Time, Make a Menu

More time has passed since my last post than I would have liked. My computer is giving me fits and I am hoping to get a new one soon, but until I do, pictures are going to be missing from my posts ~sigh~ …  So please bear with me!

The time that I would have used to type up my post, I have been using for planning instead.  I have started a list of topics I can write about. Recipes, the project I’ve dropped hints about, our vegetable garden, etc….all which will benefit greatly from being accompanied by photos!

Because I didn’t want to wait any longer to talk to you all, I decided to give you some tips on planning a menu for your family. I have to admit, in years past, I have decided to do a menu, but my lack of organization made it difficult and I quickly fell back into old routines. This year my goal is to get my act together, so to speak.  I have been taking steps to be a little more organized in both my time and my house in general.  As part of my weekly schedule, I have set aside Thursday as my meal planning/grocery list making day.   So how do I make a menu?  I’m so glad you asked!

meal time

1.) Organize your recipes.  The cook books are easy, keep them in one spot, and always return them when you are finished.  The loose recipes, on the other hand, take a little more time.  You could organize them in a binder or in a recipe box.  I prefer the box and use 4×6 index cards, but that’s just a personal thing, you will need to do what works for you.  Regardless of how you store them, I highly suggest typing them up and printing them so that they are easier to read.  If you use a binder, slip them in a sheet protector, if you use index cards, try laminating them.  This makes them easy to wipe clean and as a result they will last longer.  For a few more tips on organizing recipes go here.

2.) Make a list of all the recipes your family enjoys.  Notice I said all the ones they enjoy, not all the ones that you have!   This is the most time-consuming step, but it makes the menu planning so much easier.  The list can be on a piece of scratch paper or you can type it out on your computer.  Make it as simple or fancy as you like. (Right now mine is on notebook paper, but I intend on typing it out once I finalize my weekly schedule).  The list should include the recipe name, location, and page number if applicable.  For example :

Chinese Chicken Stir-Fry (Cook it Quick, p. 102)

Stuffed Chicken Breasts (recipe box)

Including the location may seem silly, but it saves more time than your realize. It also enables someone else to find your recipes in the event you are unable to cook.

3.) Evaluate your schedule and plan your menu.

First look at your calendar and decide what evenings are exceptionally busy for your family.  Those are the nights you plan a quick and easy meal, use the crock pot, or schedule that evening as leftover night (given you will have leftovers by that day of the week!).

Next decide what evenings you would have time to prepare a more complicated meal.  This is the perfect time to try that new recipe or to make that favorite comfort food your family loves.

At this time, also figure out what day(s), if any, you will be dining out.  My family doesn’t normally know when we will eat out, but if we do, it is typically on a Friday or Saturday evening.  So I plan meals for those days that would be made from my kitchen staples, and nothing that would use a special or highly perishable ingredient.

Use your recipe list you made in the previous step to help you make the menu.  Having the list will help you remember meals that you may not have prepared in a while, giving you more variety to your menu!

I make my menu on a Thursday for the upcoming Friday – Thursday.  Here is an example of what mine may be for any given week:

Friday:  Meatloaf (recipe box), fried potatoes, green beans

Saturday:  Spaghetti & meatballs (recipe box)

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie (recipe box)

Monday:  Crock Pot Pasta Fagioli Soup (recipe box)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Cast Iron Burger (recipe box) peas,  french fries

Thursday:  Pizza (Mennonite Cook Book, p 302)

If you make a meal and there is a lot (more than you’d want to eat as leftovers), freeze it as a quick meal for another week.  In the event you eat out or have an unexpected change in plans, no worries, just postpone preparing that meal until the following week.  Just don’t forget, especially if you purchased perishable ingredients!

4.) Make your grocery list.  Add to your grocery list any ingredient you need to prepare the meals for the upcoming menu.  Another tip is to keep your grocery list handy throughout the week (my family’s is on the refrigerator).  As you use something or run out of anything, add it to your list immediately.  This will help in saving time and will keep you from forgetting to buy something at the store.  It also helps to go to the grocery store the same day each week.  I make my menu and grocery list on Thursdays, shop on Fridays.  At first I thought this wouldn’t work, and I can honestly say that I started this in January, and the only days I missed were when I just had my baby.  Once you get into the routine, it’s so much easier than you expect.

Once you have a menu, how/if you display it is up to you.  I highly recommend hanging it somewhere so the family can easily see it and you avoid the “what’s for supper” question.  You could search Pinterest for some inspiration for a fancy way to display your menu.  Currently mine is written on a piece of paper held by a magnet to our dry erase board in the kitchen.  Not fancy, but efficient.  Displaying it in a more eye-pleasing manner is on my ever-growing  to-do list!

If you decide to give menu planning a try, and I hope you do, I would advise you to start with one week at a time.  Once you become comfortable you could always increase that to two weeks, three, or even a month.  Since I started doing this, I no longer have to worry about what I’m going to make for supper.  Strangely enough, I also have not had near as many complaints about what we have to eat!!  I’m not guaranteeing the same results for you, but it sure makes it worth trying, right? Let me know how that turns out!

Do you have any menu planning tips you’d like to share?  Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

This Year, I Will……

What is it about the beginning of a new year that gives us the urge to change? With the striking of midnight, we are all given a fresh start, a clean slate, maybe even a “do over” in a sense. With that in mind….

I haven’t posted earlier about making a resolution because, honestly, I don’t really like the word “resolution.” It sounds too official. I also wanted time to think about my goals for this year. So many of my goals normally involve my housekeeping habits. I also tend to go overboard, setting myself up for failure. I like the idea of achieving my list of goals, but, to make matters worse, I am a bit of a procrastinator. Okay, I AM a procrastinator. There I said it. I’m the “why do it now, when I can wait until tomorrow,” kind of person (hmmm, I think I may have found one of my goals for this year).

Considering the above statements revelations,  I have decided that this year I will set more realistic goals.  I think it will work to break them into three categories:  Family & Faith, Home, Hobbies.  That should cover almost everything I want to accomplish (at least I hope so!).

 Family & Faith

This is of course the most important aspect of my life, it contains all that I love most ❤

1. Bible Study – both for myself and my children.

This is actually a repeat goal for the last 3 years or so.  Last year was the first I succeeded, but in ’13 I intend to complete my second year through the entire bible.  How?  I found this awesome podcast called the Daily Audio Bible.  They are on iTunes, or you can find their website here.  I can’t say enough how amazing it is.  It has already changed my life and my views of things, I can’t wait to make another journey through the Good Book!

Bible study for my children is a goal I am building on from last year.  Last year I would write a verse on our dry erase board (chore/daily schedule board), that we have in the kitchen.  My boys are very eager to learn the verse along with how to look it up in the bible.  This year I would like to add lessons on some of the easier to understand stories from scripture.

2.  Study time with W

W is my youngest son.  He is going to be five in April.  I want to set aside time to study the identification and writing of his letters and numbers.  He will start kindergarten this fall and I want him to be ready.  Plus he loves playing “school” so this might be my easiest goal of the year!

3.  Be an available wife/mom

This is also an ongoing goal.  I want to limit the times I say “in a minute, ” “I am busy,” or “not now,” when I am needed.  Sounds simple, right?  Think about how often you say a phrase like this to someone.  I know I am guilty.  I know there will be times it is unavoidable, but these are the most important people in my life.  If I can stop what I am doing and help them, won’t that help them feel important?  Most of the time, the help they need only takes a few minutes, and they are worth all the time in the world!

Home

My husband and I built our own home and have lived in it for almost 11 years now.  My how time flies!

1.  Organization

With three boys, ages 8, 6, & 4 (and baby 4 on the way), things can get cluttered.  FAST.  Every room has a unique need for organization.  My main focus this year will be our Office/Toy Room. FYI, if you ever think of combining these two things in one room, I have one word for you:  DON’T!!  It is pure chaos.  I will also focus on my boys’ rooms.  Some times I think our toys multiply over night, because we run out of places to store them.  So there will be a lot of purging taking place in the first few weeks/months of this year.  Having less to organize & a finding a place for what we do keep will make my next goal even easier…..

2. Cleaning Schedule

Having less things to put away (thanks to the above goal), should make cleaning time less.  I hope.  Plus the boys are getting old enough to help a little more.  Yay!  I am going to work on implementing a cleaning schedule that is easier to maintain than the one I tried in the past.  My friend at The happy, homeschooling, Hoosier housewife, shared a website called justmommies with her followers.  They have a daily/weekly/monthly cleaning schedule that is a great place to start.  I also found The FlyLady to be a great resource for cleaning schedules and tips.  I plan on taking aspects from both and creating a schedule that works for me.  I hope later this year to share what I come up with!

Hobbies

Let’s start with saying I have too many.  If I began listing them all, you would think I’ve lost my mind.  I am hoping with the accomplishment of the above “Home” goals, I will make better use of my time, and, as a result, have more time for my hobbies!  I have one main, big, gigantic, huge goal.  Did I mention it’s B-I-G?!?  Drum roll, please…..

#1 SCRAPBOOKING!!!!!

Ok, that may have been a bit excessive.  Maybe.  Just a little.  But I take a bazillion pictures each year.  This figure is not exaggerated, it is an exact count.  Scientific even.  😉  I have to get caught up scrapping the pics I have taken and quick.  I make good progress for a while, then slack off and end up further behind.  (eh hem, can you say procrastinate????)  I need WILL get caught up this year.  I will do so, by setting aside time each week to scrapbook.

 

My final goal is to quit procrastinating.  Procrastination has been a habit of mine for as long as I can remember.  This does not really fit into any of the categories I listed, but it is a goal. Probably one of the most important, because with this accomplished, I can achieve the rest of my goals so much easier.  Plus I will be setting a better example for my family.

 

So there you have it.  FINALLY, my goals for 2013!  That in itself is an accomplishment, don’t you think?  Writing them out for all to see makes it seem more important.  Gives me more accountability.  I hope at the end of this year, I can write a post detailing how I reached all my goals!

What about you?  Have you set any goals for 2013?  I would love if you would share a couple with me!

Oh! I almost forgot!  You can now visit Creating My Niche on Facebook, by clicking here!