Wednesday, February 28, 2018

High Ambitions Check-In: Day 2

I think yesterday and today were the single most time consuming portions of my list, barring laundry. Somehow today just never found a good groove. Possibly because I used a portion of my productive time (aka Silas's nap) to shower and do my makeup before church tonight. 

But even this morning and early afternoon there were near constant interruptions from my off-spring. Not that those are bad; meeting their needs and caring for them is far above any organized refrigerator for sure! 

Anyhoo, here is a fresh "before" of my work today: the cram-full fridge. We had even emptied some containers of leftovers yesterday for lunch. It really needed some help.

I started by emptying the entire top shelf. Charity helped me carry things from the fridge to the counter. Surprisingly there were only 2 discard items!

A jar of salsa that had gotten lost, and a bit of goat milk that had gone stale. Not too bad for all that was up there!

After wiping the sop shelf and putting everything back in an orderly fashion, I emptied the middle shelf. 

I tossed a random bottle of salad dressing that I'm not sure how we came to have it and we have never used it... so time to get rid of it. Some ancient homemade chocolate syrup and Nutella went bye-bye. Neither one has an eternal shelf life and apparently we don't use them enough for me to make them! (Ok, we could eat more Nutella but I like my pants to fit. Even if they are currently maternity pants!) Some past-their-prime pancakes and leftover veggie mix that I've decided we like fresh but not really leftover (obvious much?). 

Then I clumped together the meat & cheese drawer with the doors. This is where the dinosaurs came out!! Marinade that was eons old and obviously not so wow as to be finished. Tahini from... an embarrassingly long time ago. It looked fine but... I'm not my mom, so it left. Homemade Olive Garden salad dressing that I decided was past it's prime, garlic bread spread that had grown a beard, some of Charity's "snacks" that she puts in baggies to save for later (and forgets), and I purged our fast food condiment collection.

I know the lighting is terrible, but this is my "after" picture. 

What I discovered:
3 open jars of olives
(They are a pregnancy craving I randomly get.)
1 jar of applesauce AND 1 jar of cooked apples. I try to only have 1 open at a time.
3 jars of Bread & Butter Pickles!!! Yes, the fridge had become a black hole, I guess.
2 jars of dill pickles; 1 for eating and 1 for making a beef roast. Adding that to next week's menu!

I also realized I have a problem. I love fresh fruit (not a problem). I have this strange idea that I/we need to ration it out and eat only a little at a time (this is the problem). As a result, we end up with a lot of dried berries. 🙈 I need to get past that mentality and just enjoy the delicious fruit!! Right now I have some aged blackberries that I will probably toss into a cobbler tomorrow.

The doors mostly needed rearranged and put back in order.

We like cheese. :) One of my time-frugals right now is buying sliced cheese. We like quality cheese, but I struggle with old-school, "how I grew up" practices. Not that buying bricks of cheese is a problem! It's not!! But there is nothing wrong with buying sliced cheese, especially when it saves me having to slice umpteen pieces of cheese for sandwiches. (For some reason I'm the only one who can slice cheese evenly in this house. Even Daniel freely admits this.)

So yeah. This wasn't a hugely obvious part of the list. Definitely not a task creating loads of visual progress, but a clean and organized fridge is a nice thing. 

Tomorrow is my last day before our busy weekend starts. My realistic side says to not hold my breath on getting a lot more done. The dreamer, high ambitious side of me says "but most of those tasks except laundry are short, quick tasks" so maybe I can get several accomplished. 

Time will tell! Come back for the third and final recap tomorrow night, or more likely, sometime Friday. 

High Ambitions Check-In: Day 1

This morning I wrote about my very lofty goals for all I would like to [ideally] accomplish this week before our very busy weekend. 

{I also realized this evening that I need to squeeze in making a birthday cake for Sylvia!}

Anyway, since it is basically the center of my household (figuratively, definitely not literally!), I took the first bite of my elephant-sized project in the kitchen. 

As a reminder, here is the before. Lots of big dirty dishes, and some things that needed hand-washed. Plus generic clutter that mysteriously appears on flat surfaces.

This is the opposite side of the kitchen where things just... try to live!!! It's like this section of counter has a bright, neon sign over it, labelling the space as "Homeless Stuff Shelter, OPEN 24/7, No Time Limit"

Well, without a permit from ME, that unauthorized set-up wasn't going to last another day if I could help it!!

After breakfast and memory verse/quiet time, everyone worked on their before school chore. I work hard at rhythms and routines so we can one day run more smoothly! Someday...

Charity unloaded most of the dishwasher, and the first minute I had, I finished unloading what she couldn't and loaded that puppy back up and got it going! One of my "frugalities" in this season of life is RUN. THE. DISHWASHER. as much as I possibly can, and handwash as LITTLE as I can. I know this spits in the eye of what many would consider frugal, but this is how I can use my time most wisely and efficiently. 5 minutes loading the dishwasher vs. 10-30 handwashing? I will definitely opt for the 5 minutes, freeing up 5-25 minutes to do something like... oh, teach a math lesson, change a diaper, wipe a bottom, get someone a drink, work on food, answer 72 questions... or anything else. 

I might even use 1 of those now free minutes to redirect this little rascal from disecting my clothespins one at a time to playing with TOYS. (I never believed the girl/boy personality difference until this guy became mobile. Oh. My. Word. He is Dennis the Menace and Jeffey from The Family Circus rolled into one, and he's only 14 months old!)

Anyway, in spurts and spits, I ran the dishwasher twice and washed the handwashables in 2 different chunks of time. Both of those made a huge dent in the mountain of "dirty, big dishes". A bit longer of putting away and cleaning up, and this side of the kitchen counters was clean! Not spotless and not magazine perfect (eggs need put in the fridge, cups for the day on the counter, Silas's powdered goat milk where it is handy for daily use...), but orderly, clean, and neat. Mission accomplished for this spot!

By this time it was mid afternoon and nearing time to leave for swimming lessons. I had a little time to whittle at the homeless-stuff collection, and then that had to pause. 

After swimming lessons we picked up Taco Bell for supper (I didn't plan my supper plans quite well enough, we were short of leftovers and people were going to be very hungry by the time we got home). I have figured out how people go broke not making their own food! Yikes! But it was good and filling and the best option for the situation.

After supper, baths and bedtime, I tackled the rest of this side of the kitchen. It really wasn't time consuming as it was just a lot of odds and ends that needed put where it belonged. 

Again, not magazine perfect. Egg cartons waiting to go back to my MIL, an item to be mailed, a smashed tissue box (somehow tissue boxes never keep their shape these days), and don't pay attention to the random ribbon that held a Christmas decoration that got stolen to use as a kitchen toy. 😄 (It was a decoupoaged cookie sheet, and Charity "needed" a cookie sheet for her cooking! I think I'm actually the one that grabbed it down for her in a quick moment.) But again, straightened and neat counters were my goals. 

I even cleared off "my space", which is visible in the bottom left of this picture. It can pile hiiiigh with anything related to me that the girls don't know where to put. And maybe I dejunk my pocketbook there on occasion as I am running out the door and suddenly don't want to lug around 725 receipts and Sunday School papers. 🙈

Not pictured, but I did spend a chunk of time tonight working in the office on "taxes"... or, getting things ready for taxes. Business ownership isn't for the faint of heart, that's for sure! Especially when the computer program blips out a couple of times and other random things that make me exclaim "THIS is why I prefer paper and pencil!", to which Daniel replied, "but this is really SO much faster!" He's right. When all is working smoothly, no computer or operator blips, it is faster and easier.

So, that is that for today! Tomorrow I will see what happens and post again with my progress! 

Do you ever get a wild-haired idea to suddenly stop everything and clean the WHOLE HOUSE? Tell me I'm not the only one!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

High Ambitions: Speed Cleaning the Whole House

Normally I would want to tackle a big project starting on a Monday, but yesterday was pretty much a wash between MOPS in the morning, rushing through lunch and then 2 doctor appointments for the girls, followed by a trip to the shoe store for Susannah. It turned out that trip was only 2 shoe sizes looong over-due!! She now has sparkling new dress shoes and tennis shoes that aren't threatening to burst at the toes! 
Add in that due to not sleeping great for a few nights, I was completely exhausted by halfway through the day so I mustered through supper and an early bedtime for everyone (everyone was tired!), and fell into bed myself about 2 hours before I usually do. I slept great allll night long and have renewed spirit today. 

Thus my high ambitions to get the whole house surface cleaned between today and Thursday (we have a full weekend). While I ate breakfast, oversaw the start of school, drank a massive mug of coffee, changed a dirty diaper, kept Silas from playing in the office or pulling the plugs out of outlets {why that is one of his favorite bad things to do, I'll never know}, I made a list. Then I re-wrote it neatly on a clean page in a nearly-used note-book, because moms use notebooks until they die and a neatly written list on a clean sheet of paper is just more... tackle-able?

Here is what I want to accomplish this week. The reality will be how much I can actually do between school, mama-ing everyone, piano and swimming lessons, feeding my family, diapers, instructing, quality time, dicipline, encouraging, redirecting, laundry... and I could go on. If you have kids you know. 😉

The kitchen is my Big Deal space. If the kitchen is clean, I can deal with just about anything else. So it always comes first when it comes to cleaning. Honestly it has been a while (read: a week?) since I gave it a good, thorough surface cleaning and somehow it clutters back up before I can change a diaper or give a bath.

But here it is in it's current non-glorious state: dishes (mostly big stuff that piles up like elephants in a bathroom stall)...

...and then the counter that collects stuff. Stuff like bunny rabbits multiply. Stuff that gets dropped mid-whatever when I have to stop, drop, and roll... with whatever incident needs dealt with right. now.

My poor fridge. 😂 I don't think there are too many fossils in here, but it definitely needs some cleaning out and reorganizing. It is always like playing fridge-jenga after a Costco trip (which was last week). 

{See Silas? He is saying his famous line, "Eh! Eh! Eh!", telling me that he wants one of everything.}

So... this is my starting place! I will post back tonight with a progress report! If I aim high, hopefully I won't land too low!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Week The Sink Broke

I really wanted to title this post "Holy Week" or "Holy Sink, man!" but decided to go with something a little more... appropriate. Oh wow, was this past week everything on the rollercoaster and then some! I know that my life is never dull, but God in his goodness allows events that keep me reminded that I don't have it all together and I can't do it all on my own strength and will-power. 

Case in point, this past Monday evening. Daniel had a work related conference out of town (out of state, actually) and needed to leave Monday evening. I'm a big girl, I single-parent a lot of all-dayers often, this shouldn't seem a big deal. But knowing he was leaving and wouldn't be home even at the tail end of the day had me a wee bit on edge even though I tried to keep it all supressed and ignored. 

The day was going fairly decent if I remember correctly. It had taken a bit of the morning and early afternoon to get the girls over their weekend slump and back into "it is time to do school, you need to do it well, staying focused, and not goofing off, withOUT me standing here reminding you every pencil stroke."

I was in the kitchen making dinner and heard 2 of the girls goofing off. Not a huge deal, though the toothpaste being smeared recreationally earlier on the day should have clued me in to their antic-abilities that day.  Except I was half distracted by dinner, wondering when Daniel would be home from work and secretly wishing either I could whisk away with him (to the Gaylord Conference Center & Resort, no less!!), or that he really wasn't actually leaving. Since neither of those was actually happening, I was just acting as though everything was fine and dandy and... what pregnancy hormones have me all over the place? 😛

Then I heard timidly-frantic voices talking about the sink. Things like "we didn't mean to!", "a crack started and then a hole!", and "it's broken!!" Immediately my mama-brain kicked into red-alert mode and my antennas went way up as I wondered "what on earth???"

By this time, which was actually just seconds, one of the vandals had run into the kitchen talking a frantic mile a minute. I decided whatever it was, I wasn't going to act on my first inclination which was to BLOW UP. "Whatever has happened has happened and no amount of voiced frustration, anger, or disappointment in this moment will do any good," I told myself as I walked toward the bathroom, still not quite believing that the sink could possibly be broken (hooowww???).

But, what to my wondeeing eyes should appear... but a sink. With a hole shattered in it. For real. With my husband, the solid rock emotions guy, not home from work yet and leaving for 24-ish hours soon after he would get home. *breathe in, breathe out, repeat*

I very, very briefly quizzed the 2 offenders on how the sink got the hole in it, which I couldn't quite understand even after they both said the same thing. What they said sounded like the dumbest idea ever. But, dumb thibgs happen so I just said we were going to close the bathroom door and leave it for now. I locked the door so no one would "mistakenly" happen to go in there to assess the damage and... who knows what else. 

I freaked out a message to Daniel, who was by that time on his way home. He suggested duct tape, I decided it was in everyone's best interest for me to stay focused on dinner and keeping the hyenas from further home reno-demo since we aren't in the demo stage of any renovation projects right now!!

Daniel got home, put duct tape over the hole in the sink for a temporary "fix", we ate dinner, he packed his bag and left, and I shuttled all the sweet children into their beds. And then I wished for a really tall glass of wine!! Actually, I think I crawled in bed and read a blog or something. The sink still has it's duct-tape band-aid, I've since learned more of how it got broken (which was still foolish but makes more sense), and Daniel and I joked about tearing the whole bathroom down to start the next stage of our house addition/renovation project. 

This guy right here? When he wakes up before I am ready for the day, I bring him into the bathroom with me and he plays with my bobby-pin holder. For a while. Until he decides to go crawling through our wet walk-in shower. 🙃

Our week ended on a much higher note than it began, thankfully!! Friends of ours were married and we attended the wedding. Being the ages they are, weddings are practically watching a live fairy-tale for the girls!! They were very excited to say the least.

Charity was the most excited about the dancing that was mentioned on the invitation. All three girls spent daaaaays talking about which friend they were each going to dance with, but Charity always came back around to saying she would dance with Daddy. 

When they invited any daughters and their dads to join the bride and her dad on the father-daughter dance, I gave Daniel a nudge. "You should ask Charity."
"Charity, would you like to go dance?" 

This was the start of their first "dance". My mama-heart just didn't know what to feel!!!

She loved the dancing and danced many times with Daniel. Neither Susannah or Sylvia wanted to dance, but Charity did. Later in the evening Daniel said he was having "flash-forwards"... I admit I kinda was too. She will be grown up and the bride dancing the father-daughter dance all too soon!!

And that wraps up our week. From sinks to weddings. Two exciting events on two very opposite ends of the emotional scale!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Various Sunday Sundries

I am writing a blog post for the first time in a long time! I have been wanting to blog again and have posts whiz through my brain usually once or twice a day, but finding/making/takong the time to actually write just never gets above the must do's of the day. I finally decided to just do it. Whenever, whatever, and however long or short, it doesn't matter.

Susannah making her lunch.
 Life has been a roller-coaster of normalcy and "we will survive!" this past week and a half.  We were getting into a good rhythm for our every day with chores, school, and all the other things that go with daily homeschool/homemaking. Then... a stomach virus invaded and everything went haywire.

Sylvia made lunch for herself and Charity one day when I was busy ... with something, I don't remember!

 Thankfully it stayed contained to the younger two. The rest of us were drinking our grapejuice with activated charcoal faithfully, and we escaped!! But 3-ish days of trying to keep school going for the well crowd, the mountains of sick laundry PLUS regular laundry, the sick crowd needing extea TLC, and well... the house quickly returned to upheaval-ed state.

Charity has officially joined the daily chore crowd, rotating which room is her room to clean* and vacuum.
*"clean" has different definitions based on each person's abilities. 

Yesterday, Saturday, we were all home all. day. long. Guess how much it *felt* like had been accomplished when I crawled in bed that night? Not a lot, really. But the reality is that Sylvia and I made our bread for the week (2 batches, 6 loaves), and even though we use the Kitchen Aid mixer it still takes a big chunk of time.

The girls *did* pick up and vacuum floors and even cleaned the main bathroom. (again, "clean" has many definitions but it WAS cleanER than before!)

Silas, 13 months, has earned a nick-name of Mr. Long-fingers. If he can manage to reach it, he will pull it down from wherever it is and dig into it. Like... someone's Christmas candy they didn't put up high enough!

I am looking forward to a new school week starting tomorrow, with everyone healthy and well, and on top of our game!