29 July 2016

Back to School Goals!

Summer is fun and all but I love the routines of school time too! Last year was so OFF for us. New school, new morning routine with bus riding, having a baby that slept like a newborn, and a new house in shambles. Most of that is settled now.  I feel like we let so much slide and now I have August to get back on track after almost 2 years of being off our game.  School starts the end of August for us, exactly 1 month from today.. Yikes!
Just a few things I want to have ready before then, some routines in place, some work done.

Put Up Decorations
And be real about what I am keeping, not sure I will need all 6 banners we have in that bin.

Sports Area in Garage

Outfits picked out for middle 2 
While I still can 😭😭

Get a Command Center set up
This is unlikely but I would love for it to be wrapped up, or even started!

Not worrying about any of it this weekend, but hoping Monday is kind!

And I know our after schools are going to be so weird now that we have 1 kiddo who won't be home until a bit later. But figuring out afternoons is on the list to figure out after a month or so. 

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28 July 2016

Chicken, Asparagus and Lemon Pasta

First, if you are looking for a precise recipe, this isn't the place. I don't usually cook that way. I promise this is easy enough you can still manage!

I tend to get a little lazier when it's hot out, and I wasn't thinking about dinner until 4 or so. Checked the fridge and was able to throw this together (and this is why I need to meal plan!)
I sautéed 2 chicken breast, but grilled would be awesome too, in a little butter, sage and pepper. 

While that was happening I cooked some pasta, not my first choice for shape but ya pick your battles and the 6 year old won. 

Cut asparagus and threw it under the broiler with a little butter

Once the chicken was done I pulled it out and set aside, used the same chicken pan to make a little loose white sauce (butter, 1/2 & 1/2 and flour) added some lemon juice and that's it. Once the pasta and asparagus was done I mixed it all together and it was perfect! 
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25 July 2016

Real Life For 6 ~ Meal Planning

This has been on my to do list for months now, since Spring. I haven't really gotten back into it since we moved from our house almost 2 years ago! We aren't getting any less busy and these kids aren't getting any less hungry.

There are some big benefits to meal planning like 
Saving Money & Eating Healthy

 Not sure what method I will use, trying 1 we haven't before. There are a few I love the concept of. 
Weekly Meal Planning and non specific days, just 2 weeks of meals and winging it on the day. 
Having a big list of common meals and seeing what you can make with what you have.  Sadly, that is what we have been doing lately. Not really a plan, more a lack of planning.

Working on a fresh (to us) approach for meal planning and doing the WHOLE MONTH. School starts for us soon and I would love to have a trial month before. We will have 3 kids on 3 different sports teams in September and I have got to make this work or we will never get to eat a real meal together, something that is SO important to us.

No promises on how this will end up. I am no pro! Some things that I will plan for

~Leftovers 1x a week
~Double up on recipes that freeze well
~Family Date Nights out 2x a month

I'm using this blank calendar page and just filled it out for the month.  I've got my list of recipes that I plan on doubling on the side. Next month I will have some freezer meals listed over there, in case we get in a bind one day/night.
I've just used a handy magnet bookmark to hold my calendar in my planner. Easy to take out and make grocery lists from.

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22 July 2016

Working on Productivity

When I first left my job, I was TERRIBLE at getting things done! I felt scattered and was easily distracted, floundering. And this was almost a decade ago, before cell phones could do all that neat stuff they do now! I knew we could do more fun stuff as a family if I could manage my day better.

My job is raising babies and keeping our house cozy. Working on projects here and there and a little work outside the home too.  For you it might be juggling working from home, kids and school. This doesn't have to be just for the stay at home mom/homemaker.

I started to realize all the things I wasn't keeping up on throughout the week. Once I realized how much easier it would be to keep up on stuff I started with LISTS!

So here are some things I've done since then that have made *most* of my days pretty productive. Of course not everyday is that way. We all have rough days, knowing what it takes to get back on track makes those rough days no biggie!

Write It Down
Everything you WANT to get done that day. Make those goals big and give yourself grace, it's ok to leave some undone. Be realistic about what you CAN get done and optimistic about what you want to get done. I do this the night before often.

Pick Your Top 3 Must Do
And then do the most important first. I like to be fully caffeinated when I take on whatever that #1 job (besides taking care of the kids) is that day. I avoid ALL multi tasking for the first 3 tasks. I love multi tasking, but at the same time it's not always the best option for those important tasks.

Being Positive and Self Motivating
I try to start everyday with something positive. I kind of treat my to do list as a job, if I was doing this for someone else and being paid for it, how would I get it done. I didn't have a problem getting my work done at work. I just have to be the one to hold myself accountable. 

Tiny Tasks
Those ones that will take 10-15 minutes but just keep getting pushed aside. I set my timer and just do what I can to knock a few of those out in however long I have before my next thing.

Breaks and Bribes
I am terrible at remembering to take breaks for healthy snacks, but after the first couple important tasks I try to do that. Energy is a must! On especially busy or rough days, I bribe myself with the promise of 10 minutes of my favorite time suck. Pinterest is usually my go to!

When you have things that are continually on your list. Daily, weekly or monthly. You will find it might be easier to add those to a routine. I LOVE the routines I have established after a couple months of focusing and not floundering.  I've been doing about the same thing weekly since becoming a SAHM. It's about time to tweak that though. Life has just changed enough that things aren't quite right for our current routine.

When there are times when I am just not getting it done, I use some of these tips.

If it's been a long stretch of unproductive days, I have to get REALLY serious and evaluate what in the world I am spending my time on! Some people suggest writing down what you did in every hour.  I feel like I would spend so much time writing. I usually know what my time sucks are. Pinterest, Facebook etc.

~I start saying NO to things that aren't a REALLY good match for our family. We skip some of those extra activities.

~I use those sneaky hours that slip away from us more often. Phone calls, and anything else that can be done from the car. So much time waiting in pickup lines and at sports. They add up, I start to make them a bit more useful.

~I also notice that when I am not feeling my best, or after and indulgent weekend of not eating the best, I am way less productive! Staying healthy really helps me.

Feel like you don't know where to start? I love this idea of spending a couple days of being REAL about where your time goes!

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19 July 2016

Real Life for 6.. Getting rid of the EXCESS!

 July is my month to finish purging, for REALSIES this time. Everything. Not a drawer here and there. Everything! I know once school starts I won't have time to do this job the way it should be done. I want all of August to be fun and open, until it's time to get back into school mode.

My FRESH  approach to purging is super simple and short.

1. I remind myself WHY I am purging, sorting, organizing, whatever you want to call it.
 Having less stuff to deal with gives me more time to do what we want.
Pretty sure no one wants to go through their belongings, or spend time dealing with too much stuff, or looking for that 1 thing among all the other things. 
There are so many other things we would rather be doing!

2. The 6 month rule
You know the one! Haven't used it in 6 months, you probably don't need it. *
Obviously there are exceptions. Christmas tree stands and inflatable pools aren't year round things. You get to decide if you want to pick up and move that quesadilla maker again in 3-6 months. You know those exceptions for your things.

When I am feeling burned out or hesitating about an item.
 I remind myself that pretty rooms aren't full of junk, and who doesn't want a pretty room?

And when it's all done, I will be back to my 15 minutes a day rule. Just 10-15 minutes a weekday of organization will keep the clutter problem at bay.

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13 July 2016

Real Life For 6~ Kids Clothes Part 1

 It's about that time when we are bombarded with ads telling us we need to buy our kids NEW clothes. I don't know about you, but our kids still have a ton of clothes from last year that aren't worn out and some even still fit.  As part of our effort to have a fresh perspective on everything, giving kids clothes a new look and doing some reducing, absolutely not buying as much as last year which was already a huge reduction from years past. We obviously didn't need that many if there are 5-6 shirts that were only worn 1 or 2 times. Part of this is due to the struggle with our tween. He is very picky with his clothes all of a sudden, too bad for me because I was still in the habit of buying ahead. T Shirts just won't cut it anymore, he really only likes the athletic style shirts, as much as I don't like them :) choosing my battles on that one.

I am sure there are a few things our kids do actually need for the next school year, socks come to mind, but I can't tell you what that is, or watch for deals on it, if I haven't done a good job of knowing what we have vs. what we NEED (that need vs. want thing is still a work in progress here).

Sooo, first thing first, what do they actually NEED for the next 6 months. This is going to be different for everyone, depending on uniforms, what shoes are or aren't allowed at school, activities, etc.  Make your lists for your family. I am trying to be as harsh as possible and keep things limited.

Here is our list 
Shoes: Athletic, Casual, Rain boots, Dressy for the girly too.
Socks and Underwear: 7 days worth
Pants: 4 Pair of Jeans (our everyday staple) 1 alternate pair, 1 Dress Pants
Shirts:  T-Shirts 7 (long and short sleeve), 2 Dress Shirts
Sweater/Sweatshirts: 3 and at least 1 with a hood
Jacket/Coat: 1 of each, with a hood
Dresses: 3 Casual/1 Dressy
Gym/Sports stuff: 2 full outfits

Now this hasn't changed much since I talked about this 2 years ago here! I haven't really bought a whole lot of anything in the last 2 years, well not for the big kids anyway. I HAVE  done a much better job of sticking to necessities. We still have TOO MUCH. 

Part 2 coming up. How we keep it all organized and easy to access. 

*May contain affiliated links* I participate in Amazon Associates Program occasionally. I won't recommend a product I wasn't myself interested in trying or have tried. I may receive monetary compensation for participating. This does not change the price for you.
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05 July 2016

My Morning Routine & Checklist

 I posted about mornings and how important they are for us. I didn't get specific in my routine, but thought I could, so here it is. This is my ideal SUMMER morning, once school starts it will need some tweaking. And no, not every morning is like this but I wish they were!

When you set your alarm and it seems like such a pain, remember WHY you are doing it. Whatever your WHY is. Mine is alone time to mentally prep for the day and then a little prepping for a smoother day.

 I have mine laminated and it snaps right into my planner with these snazzy little stickers, just in case I am ever ( and let's be real, that is always) on the tired side and need a little reminder about what a smooth morning would look like.

5:00 Rise and Shine/Start Coffee
5:10 Coffee/Bible Reading
5:30 Workout
6:00 Make To Do/To Be Lists
6:15 Shower and dress
6:45 Make Bed & Start Laundry
7:00 Breakfast
7:45 Kid Work
8:00 Power (Half) Hour

Wondering what any of those are? Here is a quick rundown.
Just get up and start my coffee, get dressed
I like to read in the mornings while I have my coffee
I have a few different workouts that are all under 30 minutes, I just pick one.
Check my planner, dinner plans, make my lists. To do, those are obvious. To be, those are sometimes things I need reminders on, be patient, be more present etc. Depending on how things have been going.
Shower and get ready for the day
Once hubby gets up I can make the bed and start a load of laundry
Make breakfast for everyone, eat breakfast
Set the kids up with either some paperwork, chores, a game, art project. Just something for them to do for a dedicated amount of time while I get my Power Half Hour done.
Power Half Hour~ A half hour can feel like NO time or like a long time. I spend that first 30 minutes of the day moving as fast as I can to get the chores of the day done. I can usually get everything (or nearly everything) done in that 30 minutes. Well, besides laundry, because laundry is just never ending! I don't ever want chores to take all day or for it to feel like that is all we do.

How do you do mornings? 
Any schedule or routine? Just wing it day by day?

*May contain affiliated links* I participate in Amazon Associates Program occasionally. I won't recommend a product I wasn't myself interested in trying or have tried. I may receive monetary compensation for participating. This does not change the price for you.
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