Monthly Archives: June 2013

How To Be A Happy Homemaker In 3 (Mostly) Easy Steps: Step 2

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how to be a happy homemaker in 3 easy steps

In the previous post in this series we talked about how a good attitude could help you become a happy homemaker.  A very important step, sure, but what about something tangible that you can do to help yourself be a happier homemaker?

The second step to become a happier homemaker is:

Make a list.

Oh, I have lists.  I have cleaning lists, shopping lists, daily to-do lists, weekly to-do lists, blogging ideas lists…. Well, you get the idea.  And I’m sure that I’m not alone.  You have a secret stash of lists too, don’t you?

And while these lists are great in theory, sometimes they lose something when real life hits them.    I’m not telling you to stop making a shopping list.  Definitely not!  Just don’t get so bogged down by your lists that you get frustrated and feel defeated when you don’t cross everything off of them.

There is always going to be something to do.  And I know there are a million-and-one things that you’d like to get done on a daily basis.  In a perfect world we would have a nice, neat list completely crossed off at the end of every day.  But how often does that actually happen?  Never for me!

All that the huge impossible daily list did for me was make me feel like a complete and utter failure.  Every day.  It depressed me and made me just want to give up doing anything since I couldn’t do everything.    So finally I changed the way I did things.  {Note:  If the huge list works for you then disregard this post and keep rolling with it!  Do whatever works for you!}

Now what I do is first thing each morning (or the night before if I have time) is sit down and write a smaller, more manageable list of things to do that day.  There are a few tools I use to make that list:

1) Check your calendar.
I have one of those huge monthly desk calendars that hangs on the wall right beside my computer.  I write down everything on it — appointments, parties, birthdays, anniversaries, my menu plans, how much exercise I get each day, and everything else.  I know at a glance what needs to be done that day and write my daily list accordingly.   {Note: If you don’t have a calendar where you write down each family member’s activities and the like, please do yourself a favor and start one.  It doesn’t matter what kind you use and long as you use it.}

2) Check your menu.
I usually check mine a few days in advance as well.  I want to make sure there’s nothing I need to take out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge for a day or two.  I especially check my menu if it’s shopping day.  There is nothing worse than realizing half way through cooking supper that you don’t have an item that you need.  Also, if you can do some prep work for supper earlier in the day — say, during nap times — it’s easier than trying to do everything later when the kids are whining, you’re busy and supper gets burned.  {Note: If you don’t have a weekly or monthly meal plan, please do yourself a favor and try it.  It’s soooo much better than trying to figure out the night of what you’re going to cook for supper.}

3) Check your weekly cleaning routine.
I enjoy knowing that Saturday is the day I wash sheets.  That Friday is reserved for the master suite (bedroom, bathroom and closet) and Wednesday is dusting and vacuuming day.  I like having a routine.  It keeps me from going in circles trying to remember when the last time I washed the towels.  I jot down a few things on my daily to-do list that I know need to be done in order for my house to run more smoothly.

4) Limit the number of things you put on your daily list.
It’s too easy to just write down everything you want to do.  Write down only what has to be done.  Keep it short and simple.  And if you finish everything on your list with time to spare then dance a little jig and either catch up on something else or take a break and relax.  Or both.

There are blogs all over the interwebs who have come up with a daily to-do list printables.  Search for one you like, make your own, or just jot down your list on a piece of scrap paper.  It doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as you’ll use it.

A to-do list is all well and good, but how will it make you a happier homemaker?

Simply put, it helps bring order, organization and routine — and maybe a bit of control — to your life.  If you’re swirling around in chaos and have days that go by without any accomplishments, it doesn’t really make you feel good about yourself.  You suffer, and therefore your family suffers as well.  But if you go into your day with a plan it will make you a more productive, happier person for it.  That does not mean you will always mark everything off of your list, even the smaller and more essential list.  But I know I always get a lot more done if I have a plan.

And that makes me happy.

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Here, here, here and here are a few links to some daily to-do lists that I have found helpful.  There are tons out in the blogosphere so if none of these float your boat keep looking or create your own.  Have fun with it!

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~~ Join me next week for Step 3 on How To Be A Happy Homemaker. ~~

Goals for the Week: June 24 – 30

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Goals for the Week

Here were the goals for last week and how I did on them:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {June: Plan and Incorporate a Morning Routine}.  ~~ I did much better on this goal during the week.
~ Go on a family date.  ~~ Yay!  We had lots of fun horseback riding, among other things.
~ Focus on getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep.  Seriously.  I need help on this.  ~~ I got at least 7 hours all nights except Saturday night, which is a major step up for me.
~ Begin teaching my daughter how to write her name.  ~~ Slowly but surely.  She enjoys learning, so that helps.
~ Find a space in our home that can be dedicated to homeschooling and the supplies.  ~~ Found it; just need to organize it!
~ Research new dishwashers.  Mine bit the dust in a thunderstorm a few weeks ago. 😦  ~~ I found the one I want and now I want to find a good sale on it. lol
~ Exercise 5 days — try a workout DVD I haven’t used in a while.  ~~ DVD didn’t happen again.  But at least I’m exercising!
~ Take an uninterrupted bubble bath….  Ok, ok, I’ll settle for just the bubble bath.  🙂  ~~ This still didn’t happen.  It’s my fault though; I just never thought about it when I had the time!
~ Deep clean floors.  ~~ Started this.  Should (hopefully) finish this week.
~ Clean off my office desk.  ~~ It’s cleaner.  Does that count?

And here are my goals for this week:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {June: Plan and Incorporate a Morning Routine}.
~ Read a book.  I’d like to read Duck Commander one day soon.
~ Begin teaching my daughter our phone number.
~ Weed the garden.  Again.  🙂
~ Clean out and organize our homeschooling space.
~ Make another big batch of baby food to go in the freezer.
~ Exercise 6 days — need to make up some fitness minutes by the end of the month.
~ Work on July’s budget.
~ Deep clean floors.
~ Make out July’s menu plan.

What are your goals for the week?

What’s Been Cookin’ in the Kitchen

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source: freedigitalphotos.net

source: freedigitalphotos.net

Several months ago I talked about some recipes I wanted to try.  And while I have tried a few on that list, I keep finding others that seem to call to me to fix them first!

I’m all about quick, easy, tasty and child-friendly.  And I’m sure most of you are as well, so I’ve rated each recipe according to these key elements.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin ~ Everything is better with bacon!  And this, this was some good stuff.  I wanted to try it because we rarely have pork tenderloin and it’s something my husband really likes.  I don’t make it often because I didn’t have a good recipe for it (the others seemed to dry out the pork) but now I don’t have that excuse.  I also had some stuffing left over, and next time I think I’m going to try and cook the extra separately.  I really liked the stuffing in its own right.  After the pork had cooked for about 50 minutes I put it on the top shelf in my oven and turned the broiler on high for a few minutes, just to crisp up the bacon a little more (I really like crispy bacon).  I had it in the oven a bit longer than the recipe called for because I had a separate pan of veggies (carrots, onions, potatoes) roasting at the same time.  {Which I completely recommend, by the by.  The roasted veggies went along fabulously with the pork.}
* Quickness ~~ Not so much; it has to cook about 45 mins, plus prep time took about 20-30 minutes. (It would have taken less time but I’m particular about the way I chop veggies. Yeah, I know… I have a problem.) So this probably wouldn’t make an easy weeknight meal.
* Easiness ~~ Pretty easy; stuffing the pork was a bit messy (but aren’t all the best things?). And I found that the bacon secured with toothpicks worked well to hold it together.
* Tastiness ~~ Definitely tasty! It is probably my favorite pork tenderloin recipe. Not that I’ve tried a lot. But still.
* Child friendliness ~~ My daughter wouldn’t eat the stuffing (I think it was too onion-y) but she LOVED the pork.  Although she did keep calling it chicken. lol

Sopapilla Cheesecake ~ A friend of mine made this recently and I fell in love with it.  Cheesecake is my absolute fave dessert anyway but paired with cinnamon and crescent rolls it’s to die for.  Definitely NOT something I can make often, especially if I want to lose weight this year.  But it’s a great treat and really doesn’t take much time at all.  In fact, you don’t even have to wait for it to cool… it was good to me both warm and cold!
* Quickness ~~ It comes together very quickly as long as you remember to let the cream cheese sit out for a while before you want to make this dessert.  The longest (and hardest) part is waiting on it to come out of the oven.  It smells so good!
* Easiness ~~ It was a piece of cake (cheesecake, that is! :)) to make.  Pillsbury even make crescent roll dough that is seamless which would make it even easier.
* Tastiness ~~ Oh… so, so tasty.  Probably too tasty…
* Child friendliness ~~ Lots of refined sugars which would probably leave your child on a sugar high.  I personally didn’t give my child any (kind of hypocritical of me, I know) but I’m sure it would be a favorite.

Twice Baked Taco Potatoes ~ I saw this recipe months ago on Money Saving Mom’s website and finally got around to making them myself.  I was not disappointed!
* Quickness ~~  Depends on your idea of quick.  Hands on time in the kitchen was pretty minimal.  But baking the potatoes takes some time (unless you cheat and do them in the microwave like I did!).
* Easiness ~~ Very easy.  It’s basically combining two meals into one.  And they’re freezable!  Bonus!  Make up a huge batch and freeze them; then just defrost what you need and microwave for a minute!
* Tastiness ~~ My husband and I really enjoyed them.  I would make them again.
* Child friendliness ~~ If your child likes baked potatoes and tacos I’m sure this will be a winner.  (Mine likes neither. lol)

Gluten Free and Grain Free Peanut Butter Muffins ~ I had to find a wheat free and gluten free recipe for muffins.  I did not want to have to buy some kind of flour that I’d never use again which eventually lead me to these beauties.
* Quickness ~~ For muffins/cupcakes I these took about a normal amount of time.  It takes a while for the egg whites to stiffen, but as long as you know that going into it, it’s not too bad.
* Easiness ~~ I was hesitant about trying these (I’m a cooker, not a baker; and my last endeavor with whipping egg whites was not pretty) but they turned out pretty good!  They were a bit flat, but maybe I didn’t beat the egg whites long enough after all. lol
* Tastiness ~~ These were surprisingly good, I thought, especially since they didn’t have flour in them at all.  I didn’t expect them to have a muffin texture, if you know what I mean.  I will point out that they were way better right out of the oven than they were the day after, although heating them for a few seconds did help.  Also, I added some dark chocolate chips to the tops before baking… delish!
* Child friendliness ~~ My daughter loved these (especially right out of the oven).  And they were really healthy!

That’s all for now!  Does anyone have a recipe that I just have to try?  I’m always open to suggestions!

How To Be A Happy Homemaker In 3 (Mostly) Easy Steps: Step 1

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how to be a happy homemaker in 3 easy steps

Housewife.
Homemaker.
Home executive.
Stay at home mom.

There are several words used to describe the same profession.  And let’s face it, this profession isn’t very glamorous.  It’s not fancy or high paying.  You rarely (if ever) get a day off.  Some days you don’t even seem to get a single minute to yourself.  Most days it’s a completely thankless job.  It’s tiring, exhausting and can even be downright unpleasant.

So why would anyone want to be a homemaker?

Oh, believe me, there are days I ask myself this same question.  Times when I haven’t accomplished a single thing all day and the house looks like a tornado went through it.  Times when I’m just so tired and feel so alone and when all I want is some adult conversation or time to breathe.  And maybe even to be able to go to the bathroom without every.single.tiny.person in the house needing me at that moment…  Oh, yeah.  I’ve had days like that.  Every stay at home parent has had days like that.

But I wouldn’t trade my days at home with my sweet, infuriating, wonderful, exasperating children with any other job on this planet.  When I think about the responsibility — the blessing — I have been given it just stuns and humbles me.  I have been able to watch my children smile their first smile.  I have been there for first steps, first words, first kisses and hugs.  I have watched them learn and grow and develop little personalities.  I am here to teach them right from wrong.  To show them by example.  To teach them about God and His love.  To be their nurturer, encourager, friend and mother.   I am able to bless my family by providing the safe, clean and loving environment in which we live.

That is why I wanted to be a homemaker.  A happy homemaker.

Is it easy?  No way.  It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life.  When I found out that I would be able to stay home with my daughter, I started making all of these plans.  I remember thinking about all of the time I would have to be crafty, finish projects, make delicious meals from scratch every day, volunteer more at the church, finish researching my family tree, have a perfectly clean house, catch up on my scrapbooking… the list went on and on.  I mean, I would be able to stay at home with one little baby.  Why wouldn’t I have time to do all of those things??

And now, three years later, I’m still waiting on the day when all of those things finally happen.

But that’s ok.  The crafts can wait until I can do them with my daughter.  And maybe my son will one day enjoy researching our genealogy together.   And I figure I’ll get that perfectly clean house when I’m in heaven.

But until then I’m going to be a happy homemaker in spite of it all.

It isn’t easy.  And it would be a lie to say that I’m happy all of the time.  But I have joy!  And you can too.

So here is the first step to become a happier homemaker:

Check your attitude.

If you have a bad attitude it will affect the rest of your family.  Your tone will help set the attitude of everyone around you.  The old adage “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is certainly true.  Sometimes it’s not easy to smile but it will definitely make a difference!

So how can we change our attitudes?

1) Don’t be a martyr.

Probably one of the biggest gripes homemakers have is the constant cleaning.  We all know that cleaning house isn’t exactly fun, but if you look at it as a way to bless your family (and yourself!) then it’s much easier to be joyful about it.  Be thankful you have a home to clean and a family to serve.  You can show your love for your family by the things you do for them.  And if you’re waiting on big thank you’s and help from everyone else… well, you might be blessed with those things, but you might also be waiting a long time for it.  Being a grump and a martyr about doing housework does nothing but hurt you!

2) Talk to God.

Ask God to help you change your attitude.  Talk to Him when you’re feeling angry, upset or otherwise have a bad attitude.  Ask Him to show you ways to combat the negativity you may feel and work through it.  This helps me when nothing else can.

3) Just breathe.

Yup, simple as that.  A few slow, deep breaths and a mental count to ten (or twenty) can sometimes keep a tense situation from turning into a Mommy Meltdown.  Remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes and get your head back on straight.  You know, before you start screaming at the kids or banging your head against the wall.  Your blood pressure will thank you for it.

And sometimes, yes, sometimes you just snap at your kids before you even think about breathing or praying.  (Ask me how I know.)  In those times just remember to give yourself grace.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Apologize and move on.

Because, mama, those same kiddos that feed off of your bad attitude also watch and see how you handle those situations.  They’re always watching; always learning from you.  Teach them well.

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~~ Join me next week for Step 2 on How To Be A Happy Homemaker. ~~

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This post is linked up at:

heartsforhome

A Pinch of Joy

Goals for the Week: June 17 – 23

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Goals for the Week

{For some reason this didn’t post yesterday.  Better late than never, right?}

Here were the goals for last week and how I did on them:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {June: Plan and Incorporate a Morning Routine}.  ~~ Totally bombed on it this week.  Need to regroup and try again.
Read a couple of chapters of Slave.
~ Focus on getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep.  ~~ Probably averaged 6 hours a night.
Begin teaching my daughter how to write her name.  ~~ We did begin.  She’s working on the first two letters!
Go to the toddler reading hour at our local library.
~ Work on upcoming weekly blog series.
~ Exercise 5 days — try a workout DVD I haven’t used in a while.  ~~ Didn’t use a DVD.
~ Take an uninterrupted bubble bath….  Ok, ok, I’ll settle for just the bubble bath.  🙂
~ Review May’s budget.  Finalize June’s budget.
~ Clean off my office desk and catch up on filing papers ~~ My desk is under here somewhere, right?

And here are the goals for this week:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {June: Plan and Incorporate a Morning Routine}.
~ Go on a family date.
~ Focus on getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep.  Seriously.  I need help on this.
~ Begin teaching my daughter how to write her name.
~ Find a space in our home that can be dedicated to homeschooling and the supplies.
~ Research new dishwashers.  Mine bit the dust in a thunderstorm a few weeks ago. 😦
~ Exercise 5 days — try a workout DVD I haven’t used in a while.
~ Take an uninterrupted bubble bath….  Ok, ok, I’ll settle for just the bubble bath.  🙂
~ Deep clean floors.
~ Clean off my office desk.

What are your goals for the week?

Goals for the Week: June 10 – 16

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Goals for the Week

Here were the goals for last week and how I did on them:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {June: Plan and Incorporate a Morning Routine}
~ Catch up on reading through the Bible in a year.
~ Focus on getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep.  ~~ I did this about half of the time.  I realize that I go to bed too late and the kids get up too early!
~ Take the kids to watch their first movie in theaters!  ~~ We had a lot of fun!  I plan on doing it again soon.
~ Find a local church that is hosting VBS along with the dates/times.  ~~ Found one for next month!
~ Work on upcoming weekly blog series.  ~~ Coming along on this.
~ Exercise 5 days — at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day and strength training 3 days.
~ Give myself a mani/pedi… I am waaaay overdue.  ~~ My tootsies look much better!
~ Review May’s budget.  Finalize June’s budget.  ~~ Yeah, it just didn’t all get done. 
~ Clean off my office desk and catch up on filing papers.  ~~ Again, didn’t all get done but I did make progress.

And here are the goals for this week:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {June: Plan and Incorporate a Morning Routine}.
~ Read a couple of chapters of Slave.
~ Focus on getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep.
~ Begin teaching my daughter how to write her name.
~ Go to the toddler reading hour at our local library.
~ Work on upcoming weekly blog series.
~ Exercise 5 days — try a workout DVD I haven’t used in a while.
~ Take an uninterrupted bubble bath….  Ok, ok, I’ll settle for just the bubble bath.  🙂
~ Review May’s budget.  Finalize June’s budget.
~ Clean off my office desk and catch up on filing papers.

What are your goals for the week?

Goals for the Week: June 3 – 9

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Goals for the Week

I missed a week of goal planning!  Argh!  And let me tell you, I know that I did by the unproductive week I’ve had.  So I’m back in the swing of things and ready to start the week off right with some goal planning!

Here were the goals for week before last week and how I did on them:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {May: Less Procrastinating; More Doing!
~ Catch up on reading through the Bible in a year.
~ Make a few freezer meals.
~ Read at least one e-book.
Start going over lesson plans for preK.
Make and freeze extra baby food.
~ Exercise 5 days — at least 20 minutes of aerobic activity each day and core strength training 3 days.  ~ I’m researching core exercises now.  Will work on this.
~ Transplant the remaining carrot seedlings.
Weed the garden.
~ Deep clean the guest bathroom.  (So much fun.)

And here are the goals for this week:

~ Continue daily the Habit of the Month {June: Plan and Incorporate a Morning Routine}
~ Catch up on reading through the Bible in a year.
~ Focus on getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep.
~ Take the kids to watch their first movie in theaters!
~ Find a local church that is hosting VBS along with the dates/times.  (Our home church is over a 3 hr round-trip… we can only go on Sundays.)
~ Work on upcoming weekly blog series.
~ Exercise 5 days — at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day and strength training 3 days.
~ Give myself a mani/pedi… I am waaaay overdue.
~ Review May’s budget.  Finalize June’s budget.
~ Clean off my office desk and catch up on filing papers.

What are your goals for the week?

12 Habits for 2013 {May Recap}

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12 Habits for 2013

January’s habit was:  Daily Bible study.
How I’m doing:  I was doing pretty great with this one… until my Bible study ended.  I must make this more of a priority by getting up earlier and getting it done first thing in the morning.  Every morning.

February’s habit was:  Exercise daily (even if it’s just 10 minutes).
How I’m doing:  I’ve done quite well with this one for this month.  I think I missed two days during the whole month.

March’s habit was:  Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water daily.
How I’m doing:  Rockin’ the water intake.  I tend to drink at least 8 glasses daily; sometimes 10 – 12 a day.

April’s habit was:  Be early or on time for everything.
How I’m doing:  I tend to do ok on this one now.  I just had to get a routine down and figure out exactly how much time I need each time to get myself and two kiddos ready.  And remember to add extra time for meltdowns or missing sippy cups. 😉

May’s habit wasLess procrastinating, more doing!
How I did: I am happy to say that I’m feeling pretty good about the strides I’ve made on this habit during the month.  I tackled several major things that I’ve been putting off and feel soooo much better for it.  My motto for the month:  Just suck it up and do it now!

June’s habit will bePlan and incorporate a morning routine.
I was going to focus on my evening routine this month, but I realized that I need more help on my morning routine right now.  So, for the first week I will be looking at what I do now in the mornings and how long it takes to do those things.  Then I’ll figure out what actually needs to be done to make my morning go a bit smoother and come up with a new routine.  Finally, I’ll take that routine and incorporate it into our lives and tweak as neccessary.  Simple, right? 🙂

June Fitness Challenge

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source: freedigitalphotos.net

source: freedigitalphotos.net

Last month I determined that at this point in my life (while I’m breastfeeding) I am just not able to exercise as intensely as I need to be able to lose a lot of weight.  And I get so frustrated when the scale doesn’t budge and the inches don’t dissapear.  It makes me want to give up.  I mean, what’s the point, right?  Why do all of this stuff if I can’t see the reward in doing it?

So I completely re-evaluated my goals and had a nice long talk with myself.  Because even if I can’t see any results on the scale, I know I have more energy when I eat well.  Even when my pants still fit the same at least I know I’m also giving my son the nutrients he needs when I eat well.  So that makes it worth it.

I decided not to have a pound/inch loss goal.  For right now I would just focus on getting fit.

And here were May’s fitness goals:

~ 1,000 fitness minutes — yup, I’m going for it!
~ At least 31 different strength training moves; but of course I’ll repeat some through the month
~ An outdoor activity at least once a week
~ Walk an average of 6 miles per week

And here is how I did on them:

~ 1,300 fitness minutes
~ At least 18 different strength training moves (forgot to jot them down some days)
~ An outdoor activity at least once a week (usually twice or more)
~ Walked an average of 5 miles per week

I feel quite pleased with the progress I made this month.  I signed up for an online challenge which helped motivate me to exercise more and eat healthier.  I wasn’t as concerned with the numbers on the scale (I did weigh myself once a week for the challenge) and apparently all I needed to do was stop worrying about the numbers on the scale.  I lost 4.2 pounds and half an inch each in my bust and abdomen.  Yay for me!!  I’m super pumped about the abdomen loss!  Like most women, especially after giving birth, I’ve got quite a pooch that I’d really rather not have ever again (unless I get pregnant again, of course).

So since I’m on a roll, so to speak, I’ve kind of ramped up my goals for the month of June.  And here they are:

~ 1,500 fitness minutes
~ Strength training at least three days a week
~ Find a better core workout and concentrate on that 2 – 3 times a week
~ More time on the elliptical — at least twice a week

I have found that my core is quite weak.  I realize that having a c-section will have had something to do with that but it’s past time that I started strengthening it again.  I need to find exercises that are suitable for me (“regular” core exercises like crunches seem to hurt more than help since the surgery) and work on that.

Here’s to a healthy and happy month!