Monday, March 8, 2010

Is this thing still on?

I hope to get back to blogging really soon. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Home Management: Creating a Morning Routine

Well, how are we doing? Did you create a Night Routine? Did anyone try to use it and made it to bed at a decent time last night? How many woke up to a clean kitchen that was ready for you to make breakfast? A house that was picked up and was a joy to walk into this morning?

It takes discipline to do your night routine every night, but after awhile the joy you feel in the morning when you have a head start on your day will provide the motivation to continue.

The next part of our schedule that I want to look at is your morning routine.

Your morning routine should not be hearing the baby cry and uttering a few choice words as you force yourself to go pick her up. Or, your preschooler comes into your room and you blindly stumble into the living room, turn on Dora (or something) while you settle into the couch and go back to sleep. After an hour, or so, your child tells you she’s hungry and you grumble as you grab a pop-tart for her, or maybe you try to be healthy and unwrap a granola bar and toss it to her, then you fill up her mega size sippy cup with apple juice and then go lay back on the couch and try to sleep a little longer. You wake up when you realize the TV is on, but your little one is somewhere, and she is a little too quiet…

This should never consistently be what occurs in your home. Reality check, I know this can happen from time to time. Mommies don’t stay healthy all the time, but your illness should be the only reason this happens.

I have found that even when I am really sick that I can still manage to tweak out a decent morning. It’s all because I have my routines and they are such a part of me now, that I don’t give it a second thought and truthfully, they are rather effortless now too. I think my body has a memory built up into it so that it does those things automatically.

Your morning routine should have 3 parts to it:

Here comes the Sun
What’s going On?

Married ladies I want to talk to you for a moment. Specifically, I’m talking to those with a husband who works the traditional day shift, but if your husband works another shift you can use this advice and fit it into your situation. Ask your husband what role he wants you to play in his getting ready for work. If he wants you to get up and make him breakfast before he leaves and that breakfast includes the works: eggs, sausage, etc. then by all means ladies, get up and do that!

After all, this is the man you married, and he deserves to be treated like a king before he leaves. If this means you get up at 4AM with him, then you need to do it. Work it into your night routine if you have to. I’ve even seen some recipes that you can get ready the night before (like French toast) and pop into the oven in the morning. If this is what he wants, please do it with a good attitude and not hold it against him.

Part one of your Morning routine is what I call Here comes the Sun.

What time does your family wake up? What would it take for you to be up and ready to greet them in the morning with a good cheerful attitude? For me, I want to have my devotions and prayer time finished and my shower taken before my children wake up. Maybe you want to put some time into an exercise video before the wee ones get up. You need to figure out what kind of time you need for this and subtract from the time your family wakes.

I usually need half an hour for devotions and prayer time and then another 15 minutes for the shower. My children can wake anywhere between 6:45 and 7:30, mostly they wake around 7:15. I try to wake up at 6:30 to get my day going.

(Please remember to be reasonable with yourself, are you really going to get up at 5AM to have your quiet time with God, do an exercise video, and have your shower taken? If you are motivated enough to do this, then by all mean go for it! If that’s what you want to do, but you have trained yourself to sleep in everyday, then work up to it, don’t expect to be able to change all of a sudden. You will flop on your face, feel like a failure and your desire for a schedule is going to be chalked up to the attitude of, “I tried that, I can’t do it.” Don’t set yourself up to fail!! Remember, your life changes and evolves all the time and so your schedule must change too to fit you.)

When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is read my Bible. I try to hit at least 3 chapters of whatever book of the Bible I’m currently reading (right now I’m in 1 Corinthians). Have you made this a discipline in your life? Do you need a place to start? There are a few Bible reading programs on the internet such as this. Sometimes you can find a checklist in your Bible on what to read to accomplish ready the Bible in a year. Or if you are just starting out getting into the discipline of reading your Bible, try reading a chapter of Proverbs everyday. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so read the chapter that corresponds with the day.

After reading in the Bible, I take time out to pray. As a new Christian, people would always ask me, “Are you having your quiet time?” and I had no clue what they meant and when I did I had no idea what I was supposed to say or do.

I found this prayer written by Elisabeth Eliot Gren and decided to make her prayer my own. This little prayer served me well in the beginning of my walk with the Lord and I pray that it becomes a blessing to you and that you can start the discipline of praying from it.

Loving Lord and Heavenly Father,

I offer up today all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, and all that I suffer, to be yours today and yours forever.

Give me the grace, Lord, to do all that I know of your holy will.

Purify my heart, sanctify my thinking, correct my desires.

Teach me, in all of today’s work and trouble and joy, to respond with honest praise, simple trust, and instant obedience, that my like may be in truth a living sacrifice, by the power of your Holy Spirit and in the name of your son Jesus Christ, my master and my all.


(Elisabeth Eliot Gren Gateway to Joy PO Box 82500 Lincoln, NE 68501)

Of course, you should only pray that if you understand it, and you mean it. Do not ever just pray rote prayers just to check it off of your list.

My boys are usually in bed, but what do I do if one gets up during my quiet time? I let them know that mommy is having her quiet time with God. If I’m reading my Bible, I hand them their children’s Bible to “read” until I’m finished. My oldest son now has his own quiet time and often I see the lamp click on in the living room while I'm having my quiet time (they do watch everything we do). If I’m praying I put them in my lap and we pray together. Don’t stop your quiet time! It’s important that your children see you have your quiet time.

After my quiet time, I jump in the shower. When I’m done I get dressed and leave my hair in a towel. I then go to my washing machine and start it and put in the first load of the morning. When I have that load in, then I go and fix my hair and my face. If I don’t have anywhere to go that morning, I just moisturize my face and do my hair. Usually the children are up by then.

Then Princess Pea helps me make my bed by handing me the pillows from the floor and my boys do their own room chores.

Part one : Here comes the Sun breaks down to:

o Devotions, prayer time

o Shower

o Laundry in

o Fix Hair and Face

o Make beds

Go ahead and add it to your Master Schedule:

We are now ready to get some breakfast. If you’ve done your Night Routine then your kitchen is clean and ready to go. If you didn’t unload your dishwasher you might need to do that. Go ahead and start a good, healthy breakfast for your family. It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal every morning. I try to reserve something special like that for the weekends. We normally have oatmeal, boiled eggs, peanut butter toast, yogurt parfaits etc. through the week.

If we are in a hurry, I’ll make peanut butter toast and serve it on a napkin or paper towel so that clean up is quick. Go ahead and think of breakfasts that you can make for each day of the week.:

Monday: Oatmeal

Tuesday: Boiled Eggs and Fresh Fruit

Wednesday: Muffins, boiled eggs, and Milk

Thursday: Yogurt Parfaits with granola and fresh fruit

Friday: Oatmeal

Saturday: Special like pancakes

Sunday: Oatmeal, or PB toast

While our food is cooking I go ahead and check on part three: What’s going On? I check my calendar, my to do list from last night that I started and add to it if I need to, I think about my dinner for the evening and if I need to buy anything or set out anything to thaw.

When breakfast is ready we sit down as a family to eat it. When we are done everyone helps clean up. The boys do their table chores. Then when we are done I send them to their rooms to get dressed (clothes laid out the night before if possible).

When they are done dressing, it’s about time for my washer to finish. Princess Pea helps me put wet clothes into the dryer while the boys gather up their nightclothes to add to the laundry baskets and get ready for the day.

Tada! We are ready for the day and it’s normally about 9:00. That’s my target time to get everything in my morning routine finished.

To recap

Part Two: Breakfast

Empty Dishwasher
Start Breakfast

Part Three: What’s going On?

Check Calendar
Continue to do list
Dinner Decisions
Eat Breakfast
Laundry Reboot
Kids ready for the day

So plug that into your Master Schedule:

Okay, I think that is enough for today. Look how much more of your master schedule you filled in!

Okay, by now you might be wondering what are you supposed to do with all of these papers and schedules you’ve accumulated. I use a three ring binder with page covers to keep mine in. That way as I’ve finished a chore I can mark it off with a dry-erase marker and at night I can take a tissue and wipe it clean. Do what your budget allows you to do. You can get one of those folders with two pockets and a place to put in notebook paper. I saw those the other day for around 10¢.
Home Management Homework

Write out a Morning Routine
Try to do a Night Routine
Get your notes and schedules organized and in one place
Smooch your husband like you haven’t seen him for a week when he comes home from work! Knock his socks off ladies!!

As always, leave comments, questions, or suggestions for me

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Buying a New TV this Season?

Are you planning on purchasing (or giving) a flat screen TV this Christmas Season? Are you looking at buying (or giving) an LCD or maybe even a Plasma TV?

Get. the. protection. plan. Especially if you have small children in your home!

One hit on the screen can render your brand new TV completely worthless with no way to fix it.

You can guess how I know! We even keep ours in a TV cabinet.

If we'd bought the protection plan our TV would have been replaced instead of sitting outside in our shed.

(It's in the shed because my husband can't bear to throw it away, yet.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Home Management: Creating a Night Time Routine

I hope THIS post got you thinking about your mealtimes, what time you eat, how much time you need to prepare, and how much clean up time you need to allot for each meal. I also hope you put some thought into what you want your children to be doing while you are busy with cooking (and it shouldn’t be the TV, either).

You should have three areas of your Master Schedule filled in: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now we are going to use those blocks of time to denote our Morning routine, our Afternoon routine, and our Night Routine. The most important of these routines is your night routine. A well-planned night routine is almost like a gift for the next day that you give yourself.

Your Night Routine consists of four steps:

Operation Get the House in Order
Think about Tomorrow
Focus on your Family
Focus on Yourself

Let’s get organized by starting with step number four first. Let’s go against convention, after all these are OUR schedules, right?

Time to be honest, are you getting enough sleep at night? Can you get out of bed in the morning fairly refreshed? We are all at different seasons in our lives and we each require different amounts of sleep to get us through. What does your body tell you? As Wives/Moms we set the tone for our home, and if you are too tired to deal with what you need to deal with, is your home going to be on pitch or is it going to be flat?

Think about what your body requires and pick a bedtime to suit it.

My lights out time is 10:30, what is yours?

For me, I require a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. My time for lights out is 10:30. That is what works the best for me since I wake about 6:30ish. When I first set my bedtime for 10:30 I would hop into bed, crack open my Bible or whatever book I was reading at the time and read until 11:15 (or maybe later). It didn’t take my body long to signal to me that was too late. I had to tweak my schedule and give myself half-hour to forty-five minutes to read before I turned out the lights. This means that I need to have everything finished and in my bed with my book at 10:00, at the latest.

Do you have something special you like to do before bedtime, journal, or pray, whatever it is give yourself time to do it, and still hit your lights out target time. I am ready and in bed with my book by 10PM.

How long does it take you to do your hygiene routine to get ready for bed? The hygiene routine or whatever you want to call it, is brushing your teeth, flossing, washing your face, etc before bed. If you are not sure, go ahead and time yourself tonight.

It takes me about 15 minutes. So with that in mind, I set my target time to get me, personally, ready for bed starting at 9:45. I know that I need to have steps 1-3 in my Night Routine completed before 9:45.

So let’s review…

What time is your Lights Out time? ________ (10:30, for me)


How long do I need to read, pray, journal before bed? ________ (30 minutes)


How long does it take me to do my hygiene routine? _________(15 minutes)


Your Target Time (9:45)

Write down your target time. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Great job! Now that we have step four: Focus on Yourself completed, let’s back up to step number one: Operation Get the House in Order.

Step Number One can begin as soon as dinner is over. Go ahead and get those dinner messes over with. This should be a whole family affair. If your child can walk they can help get meals cleaned up. My boys scrape their plates and take them to the counter, and then the six-year-old wipes the chairs and the eight-year-old sweeps up the floor. They both participate in putting away condiments if we’ve used any. They also gather up the placemats and put them in the laundry.

Ladies, train your children to help you. Start them early when they think it is fun to help Mom, don’t tell them they are too small and then turn around and expect them to want to help you at 13.

I’m blessed, my husband is willing to help out in this area and he puts all of the leftovers into containers for me and puts them into the fridge.

Do you have a dishwasher? Get her loaded up and run her for the evening. Otherwise, get your dishes done as quickly as you can. Try to wash up as many of your pots and pans that you can as you cook. If you used a cutting board to cut up some veggies, why not while they are sautéing, wash up the cutting board and knives. Keep washing until all you have to wash when dinner is over is your serving bowls, utensils, plates, and glasses.

Wipe down your tabletop, and return the centerpiece to the table. Wipe off your countertops and stovetop. Wipe out your microwave if you need to. When you are finished toss your dishtowel and cloth into the laundry basket and lay out a fresh set for tomorrow morning. I can usually get all of this done in my home in about 30 minutes. It makes my mornings go by so much better when my kitchen is straightened the night before.

As for the rest of the house, before bedtime take 15 to 20 minutes to just get things picked up and returned to their place. Have children return any of their toys that are out to their rooms or wherever they are kept, books that are out put back on the bookshelf. You know the old motto, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Make this a fun time for your children, have races to see who can clean the quickest. I’ve even given my boys tongs from the kitchen and had them use the tongs to pick up with…they called them robot hands. Be creative, and everyone should be involved.

On to Step Two: Think about Tomorrow. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make tomorrow go more smoothly?” Well, first you need to check tomorrow. Do you have any appointments, movies or library books due, do you have a game or music lessons? Go ahead and gather that stuff together and have it ready by the door. Do you need to pack your husband a lunch? Get it packed and into the fridge. Get as much done tonight that you can for tomorrow.

I have my meals planned for a week at a time. One of my most valuable uses of time is to go ahead and check my recipe for the next day’s dinner. Do I have all my ingredients? Do I need to let anything thaw?

I keep one of those little yellow notepads by my fridge and anything that I need to remember to do for the next day I start jotting down a to do list. Did we use all of the peanut butter and need more? Put that on a running list you keep on the refrigerator door.

Do you know what you are wearing in the morning? Does it need ironed? Do you have pantyhose? Keep asking yourself, “What can I do?’

Anything to make your day better, do it!!

Step Three: Focus on your Family ask your family if they need anything for in the morning. It’s not normally anything too major. Often my husband will ask for me to make some phone calls for him, or check on some prices for him. Etc. My boys usually don't ask for anything outstanding to do, but often I’ll get asked if we can go for a walk, or play a game tomorrow. It gives them something to look forward to.

Okay, you remember your target time? I want you to figure how long before your target time you need before to get your night routine completed. Because I still have to get my children ready for bed I start my Night Routine around 8PM. I actually try to have my kitchen ready to go after dinner and then I do the rest of the steps about 8.

I want you to now write up a Night Time Routine for yourself. Figure out your target time and work up to it starting with Step One.

It might look something like this:

Step One: Operation get the house in order. “A place for everything and everything in it’s Place” Start picking up the house. Ask kids if they need anything for tomorrow.
Bathe kids, brush their teeth, potty, prayers, and lights out by 8:30

Step Two: Think about tomorrow, “What can I do to make tomorrow run more smoothly?” Check calendar, check recipe etc.

Step Three: Focus on the Family “Do you need anything honey?”

Step Four: Focus on Yourself. The Hygiene Routine

Then go ahead and plug it into your Master Schedule

Congratulations! Over a third of your Master Schedule is finished!!

I know this looks overwhelming but you can do this. Remember a good Night Routine is like a gift you give yourself in the morning. Managing your home is your responsibility, you have to do it anyway, so why not do it well?

As always, leave comments, questions, or suggestions for me.

~Home Management Homework~

Work on my Night Routine, I owe it to myself and my family to be organized
Work it into my Master Schedule