Monday, January 28, 2013

Working Weekend DONE!

Happy Monday! What's the plan for the week? Here, I will be following my usual routine and plugging away at the things that need to get done around the house. Oh, and entering my THIRD TRIMESTER!!! Super excited!

We got a TON of stuff done this weekend. My husband is the BEST and built up these cabinet systems for the boys' closets on Saturday.

Doesn't look like much but check out the transformation! I only got a picture of one of the closets before but the afters are just amazing! We are both happy to have this project done and to have their toys out of sight!
BEFORE Closet #1
AFTER Closet #1
AFTER Closet #2

AFTER Bedroom #1
AFTER Bedroom #2

A couple of other areas I tackled while home alone Friday and Saturday: the boys' book shelves in their rooms and their desk area. Here are some pics:
AFTER bookshelf
BEFORE of one of the bookshelves

DESK AREA all organized!

The bookshelves and desk area were easy, it was just a matter of taking the time and a garbage bag and 15 minutes an area to get them organized. Why oh why do kids hoard the way they do?!
Phew! It was a super busy weekend with projects but also very satisfying to make some progress. I couldn't have done it without my husband to build and install and help. He's great. We really enjoy working alongside each other. Makes doing stuff like this all that more fun!

One other thing that I HAVE to share with you that I discovered in my organizing is this:

I'm not sure why I never thought of this before but we have all these Lego instruction books laying ALL over the place and I had this shoebox laying around and voila! A place to store the Lego instructions!
That was a long post! I hope you made it through to the end and maybe got some inspiration/ motivation  to do some organizing of your own! If you need ideas, please leave a comment and I'll see if I can help!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh Dear Friday...

Most definitely not my favorite day of the week. Especially the Fridays when the boys leave for the weekend. When I say goodbye to the boys before school, I know I won't see them again until the following Tuesday after school. And when the bus comes at 3:30 and I hear all the kids yelling and happy to play and none come bursting through our front door... and all weekend long as neighbor kids come and ring the door bell, knock on the door, looking for the boys to play with. I miss them so much when they're not here.

Ah, well... enough of that. I do have plenty to do to keep me busy. Lets take a look at how the week went before I get into that, though.

I stayed pretty much on track as far as my workouts and cleaning go. I did miss my workout on Tuesday because the boys had a snow day and we just played all day. I didn't get my nap that day and barely made it through the evening. Wow. Sometimes I feel so guilty for napping every day but geesh, after that, I realize I really need it.

Yesterday, I had to do my workout earlier in the day because I was volunteering in a classroom at 2:00 and I don't like to go to my gym in the morning (they have daycare until 1:00 so it's really busy then). After long thinking and debating, I finally found a workout that I can do at home! My favorites are a bit too much for me at the time so I remembered back to after I had Connor and thought about what I was doing for a workout then and remembered the Walk at Home workouts by Leslie Sansone. I walked my butt off for 46 minutes and it felt so good! It goes fast, too. She incorporates upper body and different steps to call on different leg muscles, as opposed to just regular walking motion. It was great! That's going to be my go to workout for the days when I can't make it to the gym and also in the summer when the weather is too bad (hot or rainy) to work out outside (the boys don't like the daycare at the gym so we workout together, riding bikes/ walking/ running/ soccer). It's a great workout that's lower impact and easy to do at home!

We have a ton of stuff to do around the house over the next 15 weeks (FIFTEEN!!!) Just a brief summary- carpet the basement, organize appliance parts, clean out the baby's room which is currently an office, move the desk into our bedroom (or downstairs, we're not 100% sure which would be best) and the giant tv from our bedroom to the basement, set up baby's room. We are also putting closet shelving in the boys' rooms which I would like done sooner rather than later but it certainly doesn't have to be done in preparation for the baby! Here are some before pics, just for the fun of it:

Future Baby Room- All Those Boxes are Appliance Parts!
(And That's Just a Portion of Them!)

Giant TV in Our Room, I Think This Would Be a Good Spot for the Desk.

Basement- Carpet Purchased but Needs Laid,
Baby Stuff Will Go Upstairs
Workout Equipment Will be Set Up in Corner

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us. I should probably quit typing and get crackalackin'. On today's list: pick up house, clean boys' bedrooms, gym, work on organizing appliance parts. Oh dear Friday... I do not care for you but I will make the best of this day the Lord has given me.

Thank you, Jesus, for my family, our health, the baby on the way, and our beautiful home that my wonderful husband built! Help me to use my gifts and talents to glorify You and to make the best out of EVERY day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tasty Concoction

I just whipped up this tasty concoction and had to share!

It's shredded chicken, black beans, sliced black olives, cooked lentils, avocado, and salsa for "dressing".

All it's missing is a spinach tortilla to roll it up in! Guess I'll have to get some so I can do that tomorrow. For now, this is quite alright without the tortilla.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Organizing My Week

Christmas break really threw me for a loop but I've been working on getting back on track the last couple of weeks and this week, I'm going to do it by golly!

As I was thinking about my week and what I have and want to do, I thought I would share with you a little bit about how I organize my time. I know I've shared this individually with some people who have found it very helpful so here's for the rest of you who haven't heard it yet.

I try to start my day with devotions/ Bible time/ some sort of quiet time talking to God and listening. Then, I move on to housework and in the afternoons, I do errands, volunteer at the school, go to the gym. And I almost always manage to squeeze a nap in. Here's the basic gist of what it looks like:

Let me point out three key components of this. First, you'll notice that I don't have one day set aside to "clean house". I find it's more manageable if I focus on one area per day. The up side is it's pretty easy to keep up on. The downside is that my house is rarely all clean all at the same time! The second component to this is I try to keep my classroom volunteering on the same two days of the week, Monday and Thursday. This helps me to not over commit and also to leave time on other days for other things. Thirdly, I don't have laundry on my calendar. As most of you know, laundry is a perpetually never ending chore. I find it's easiest to keep up on if I do 1-2 loads a day, from hamper to drawer. Wash it, fold it, put it away every time. That way, it doesn't pile up all over the place. The one thing I need to work on here is the put it away aspect. I don't have a problem keeping up on washing or folding but for some reason, putting away really stumps me. Same for unloading the dishwasher.

Speaking of dishes, I TRY to load and run the dishwasher and run it every evening then unload it in the morning. This keeps the dishes from piling up and the kitchen looking nice.

The things I need to focus on this week: going to the gym 3-4 times and keeping up on my daily housework. Today went well; here's to the rest of the week staying on track!

What do you do that works for you? What could I help you to improve on?

To ENcourage, not to DIScourage

My oldest turned nine last week and I had a couple of what I consider pretty big moments in the events surrounding his birthday.

I am NOT a very creative person. I find all kind of things I'd like to do but pulling them off is usually less than pretty. I don't know... maybe it usually turns out okay but definitely not above mediocre. Of course, this is MY view of it. Others, I think see it differently. So, I'm going to share a bit of what I did and what I learned from it. As you read, though, remember that this is to encourage and not to discourage!!! I read so many blogs that leave me feeling "less than" and quite defeated and that is NOT what I want people to take away from this blog!

First, he wanted to take a treat to school for his birthday. So, one day I was browsing Pinterest and he saw this pin and declared that he wanted to take these Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats. Only he wanted them in a ball shape. ((deep breath)) Ok, we can do this... So, I bought the ingredients for Rice Krispies and some sprinkles and chocolate. (He was none the wiser that there was actually supposed to be cake batter in the recipe and that I chose to omit that!) I made up a batch of Krispies, stirred in some sprinkles, sprayed the boys' and husband's hands with cooking spray, and let them make up the balls. After they were cooled, I drizzled with chocolate, added more sprinkles, and put them in some cute cupcake liners, set them in a baggie and tied a ribbon on top. So easy and while I'm the worlds sloppiest, gloppiest chocolate drizzler, they turned out pretty good looking (and tasted good, too!)

Most definitely not as awesome looking as some I saw on Pinterest but he was happy and we all had fun doing it and really, it's THOSE things that matter. Who cares if I think they're just mediocre?
The other thing I did was make a collage of football pictures for him. He had wanted a poster of himself but the photographer was charging an arm and a leg for that so I decided to use my legs, go to the store for some supplies, and use my hands attached to my arms to assemble this:
Again, nothing spectacular, it took me all of five minutes to put together and he was absolutely THRILLED about it.
Like I said before, I wanted to write this post to encourage my readers. So here's what I took away from these experiences and what I want to share with you: We are all fearfully and wonderfully made and our heavenly Father loves us just the way we are. We should not try to be as good as so and so or do things the same as the next person. We are all different and for very good reason. It's good, I think, to look to others for encouragement and inspiration but to also not be defeated when we're not as good as them or can't pull off the same feat at the same level they did.
Craftiness is NOT my strong point, I can show you a bazillion people who are better at crafting than I am but you know what, I shouldn't let that stop me from doing things like this once in a while. I just need to make it simpler, make it fun, and be happy with the result. After all, what good does it do to make a child's birthday treat or present and feel stressed and bummed out over it?
Also, it's really not about ME. Who cares what I think about these two things I did? It was for my son's birthday, I was doing it to show love and service to him and glorify God in the process. It is my hope that this is what was accomplished. In whatever you do, do it for God's glory and to show love to others and you can't go wrong! (A lesson that's taken me a long time to learn but I think I'm finally getting it!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm Late! I'm Late!

I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions but I do always consider things I can work on while I listen to others make their resolutions.

It wasn't too long after the 1st (the 5th, to be exact), and I was headed to a baby shower that my new in-laws were throwing and I was bringing the main dish and I was running LATE. I thought "that's it, this is ridiculous. I need to quit being late. That's going to be what I focus on this year."

One thing I cannot stand is always running late and being rushed. I like to be on time. I think it's respectful of others and it doesn't stress me out. I feel like everything I do, everywhere I go, I'm running late. But not any more. I'm working on this in myself this year and so far, so good. 

We just finished our second week back to school and the boys were up and ready and on the bus EVERY day. Woo hoo!

I think back to my volunteering commitments, helping family out, etc. and I cannot think of a time when I was running late yet this year. This week, I was 15 minutes early to Bible study. WOW!

For me, there are two key components to being on time:
First, I need to allow myself more time by getting up earlier. Particularly on Sunday mornings. It takes me an hour to get ready but I also have two kids to get ready and a husband I have to wake up ten times (love you, dear!) There is so much more to getting ready in the mornings than ME getting MYSELF ready. I need to remember this and take that into consideration.

Also, I need to be careful not to over commit, not to try to fit one more thing in. I always think oh, I've got 10 minutes, I can stop here, too. But we all know what we think is going to take 10 minutes will, most likely, take much longer.

Yesterday, for instance, I was on my way to help my brother's wife and I told her I'd be there around 11:00. She didn't actually have to leave her house until 11:30 but I wanted to snuggle my new nephew for a few before she left. On the way, I thought I would stop quick into Panera to get something for lunch. I walked in and they appeared to be understaffed, the ones who were working looked frazzled, and there were about four people in line in front of me. I had to make a choice: get my lunch and likely be to my sister-in-laws just before she needed to leave or leave and get there when I told her I would be. It was hard to leave my Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich craving there and walk out but I did it. And really, I felt very good about the decision.

Aside from the fact that I wasn't stressed about not being there when I told her I would be, I got to snuggle this super gorgeous baby boy. What could be more important than that?!

What are you working on to improve in yourself right now? How can I encourage you on your journey?