Sunday, February 7, 2010

what we've been doing...

i realize that i haven't blogged in a month...
it was actually a semi-conscious decision.
i kept looking around my house & thinking, "what business do i have being on my computer when i have this much unpacking, cleaning, organizing, menu-planning, shopping & de-cluttering to do??
not to mention playing with my children, spending time with my husband, caring for my friends, reading my Bible study lessons and preparing curriculum for my job? nope- no blogging until my life is under control."

so instead of blogging, i played on Facebook & read other people's blogs.
HA!
so much for being smart & disciplined!

actually, i did find some things online that have been helpful for me as we settle into our new home. i knew that i needed a system for menu-planning and cleaning that i could stick to while i tackled our unfinished home improvement projects & room full of unpacked boxes.
that's right: 2 entire rooms full of things still in boxes.
small rooms, but still... yuck.

so i started with the menu-planning.
i have made (small, feeble) attempts at this over the last 2 years. my friend Jane Ellis is always an inspiration for me in this effort- she works very hard to plan ahead & limit her grocery trips and her budget while still providing yummy meals for her family. she has even given me an entire month's worth of recipes before, complete with a calendar & helpful tips! love her! i took some ideas i found from her, as well as a few from my friend Jill, who also shares her menus on her blog.

so here's what i did:
7 breakfast & 7 lunches all assigned to days in the week based on
what we do those days.
for example:
Monday- Breakfast= Muffins
Lunch= Mac n Cheese

Tuesday- Breakfast= Toast (with toppings)
Lunch= Sandwiches (variable ingredients)

every monday is ALWAYS the same for breakfast & lunch.
so is tuesday, etc.
SIMPLIFY!

makes sense, right?
as a family, we don't eat more than about 10 different breakfast foods, anyway. rotating them through the week just lets me feel confident that i have something we like on hand & i can prepare it without having to think too much before my coffee kicks in! same with lunches... my girls are pretty consistent in what they like to eat, so i can rotate these 7 meals & everyone's happy!
add fruit with breakfast, a veggie with lunch... DONE.

dinners i did a little differently:
Monday= Chicken
Tuesday= Vegetarian
Wednesday= Beef or Pork
Thursday= Breakfast for dinner
Friday= Homemade Pizza
Saturday= Pasta
Sunday= Crockpot

dinners are different because i actually DO like to cook, and we do like variety in our diets! i also wanted to be sure i was keeping our budget under control- meat every night gets expensive, not to mention unhealthy! plus, i want to encourage our kids to try new foods.
7:00 in the morning is not the time to try new foods, but dinnertime is perfect for a little taste-testing.
or screaming & pouting, depending on who you ask.

so menu planning taken care of... on to the next task! how am i ever going to finish these painting & other DIY projects, unpacking our house, making it pretty & inviting, AND keep it clean all at the same time?

i went back to a resource i had glanced at years ago, but never really investigated & put to good use: FLYLADY.net

have you ever looked around on her site?
i'll be honest: she's a teensy bit cheesy.
lots of cute acronyms & fun little phrases, like "FLY babies" &
"27 Fling Boogie."
i'm not knocking it- cheesy is great.
i just had to get past my initial aversion to the cuteness & see what's underneath: a solid plan to help busy women (or men) maintain their homes & help their families.

i have adopted a few of her techniques & adapted others to fit my personality & our family's needs... and it's working!
matt even remarked the other day that our house seemed cleaner! i think he was worried i would take offense, but hey- clean is clean, and i'll take it!

here's what i have done:
i started a "Home Journal."
(Flylady calls hers a 'control journal,' but i prefer 'home.'
just a personal preference! everything in them is essentially the same)

in my notebook are the following:
1. Menu Plans for the month
2. Morning Routine
3. Evening Routine
4. Daily Schedules (different each day)
*this is still a work in progress, but the basics are there & each day includes a section of the house that i clean according to #5
5. Room by Room cleaning lists

sounds simple- and it actually is, strangely enough! i'm a decently organized person, so it didn't take me long to adapt FlyLady's lists to my own needs.

i already described my menu plans, so i'll give you a snapshot of #2 & #3:
these are things that i do every morning without fail and every evening without fail.

every morning (after feeding pets, running, etc):
1. shower & wipe down the bathroom quickly
2. get completely dressed
3. make bed
4. gather laundry from all 3 bedrooms &
take it straight to the washer
5. empty the dishwasher
6. check menu plan & feed the family

yes, this does leave some things out... i didn't think it was necessary to mention that i have to change julia's diaper, empty caroline's potty, grab my toothbrush out of julia's mouth, tell caroline she can't wear a sundress to school when it's 30 degrees outside, keep julia from putting her blanket in the toilet, etc.

the list includes the basics of keeping my morning
simple, smooth & family-focused.
if laundry is already going & the dishes are clean, i can sit at the table & tell 'fairy princess' stories over breakfast with the girls.
FUN!

my evening routine has a similar focus:
1. think about tomorrow: lay out kids' clothes, make lunches, etc.
2. gather items that need to go to school, work, etc &
put them by the door.
3. hit the 'hotspots,' which means clear these areas &
put stuff where it belongs:
family room
dining room/foyer
mudroom/my desk
KITCHEN*
*this is the most important one for me... a clean, sweet smelling kitchen makes me happy! i put away food, clean the counters, wipe down appliances, shine the sink (you HAVE to read about this on Flylady.net- i can't describe it better), layout clean (pretty) dishtowels, and run the dishwasher.

sounds like a lot to do... but since i've been doing it every day for a few weeks, it takes literally 15-20 minutes to do ALL of that. and i wake up to a clean, de-cluttered home and i'm ready to move on with my day.
lovely.

having these 'little' tasks taken care of leaves me free to unpack a few boxes each day or paint a wall...
or my entire foyer in 2 days, which was no small project!
i have made great progress toward the settling of our home, which feels great. and even in the midst of unpacking & settling, it is still a comfortable place for my family to live and i'm not embarrassed to have friends over... yes, there is still some dog hair on the floor. yes, caroline still strips completely naked every time she goes to the potty, leaving her undies laying everywhere. but it's not chaos, which is nice!

i realize this has become a long, boring post... if i cared about being a 'good blogger,' i would have broken this up into little chunks & added pictures & witty remarks. too bad! HA!




2 comments:

MMGK said...

you are so organized. i wish i could be that organized! maybe i'll check out her site and get inspired. wonder if she has a tweaked version for working moms.
-mary michael

Anna said...

love this post and LOVE the fly lady concept! i'd never get a room picked up or cleaned if i hadnt read her stuff! and shine that kitchen sink baby! thanks for sharing your ideas! so helpful and encouraging! :)