Monday, August 23, 2010

Pre-work and Mid-Day Routine, Week 4...

Working from home makes it difficult sometimes to determine when the work day begins and ends. In order to try to create some lineation between the two parts of my day, I created a pre-work routine.
It's also difficult during daycare hours to take a break to work on any household chores. I have contracted with my clients that I will care for their children, not clean my house. It's not like caring for your own children in your house, I don't feel comfortable leaving the daycare kiddos alone to focus on my housework. However, a clean area is vital for the children to play. So, during daycare hours I can clean those things that are specific to the daycare...such as the daycare windows, sweep the daycare floor, wash dishes, tidy the bathroom, etc. It's only during naptime that I have time to branch out and do other household duties. Unfortunately, before I set up my bedtime and morning routines, I rarely had the energy to focus on those chores during the free time at nap.

So this week I focused on my pre-work and mid-day routines. I also added a load of laundry to my morning.
Monday: Morning Routine
Start Laundry

Pre-Work Routine: Sweep daycare floors - it's difficult to sweep around toddling little ones, plus the vacuum can scare some, so I try to do this before they arrive. It does need done daily due to my dogs and their overabundance of hair :)

Mid-Day Routine:
Dry Laundry - fold and put away

Bedtime Routine

Tuesday: Morning Routine
Start laundry

Pre-Work Routine: Sweep daycare floors
Tidy desktoop - nuff said, working from a clean desktop allows for a clear head. Plus, I'm less likely to lose important papers for the kiddos, checks from parents or the invoices and receipts I pass out.

Mid-Day Routine:
Dry Laundry - fold and put away
Litterbox scoop - I added this extra task simply because I typically do the dishes...just sometimes not everyday during I wanted to feel as though I was adding something...and this does need done everyday with two cats.

Bedtime Routine

Wednesday: Morning Routine
Start Laundry

Pre-Work Routine: Sweep floors
Tidy desktop
Check Lesson Plans and change date - check the lessons for circle time with the dckiddos that day, change the date on the calendar board

Mid-Day Routine:
Dry Laundry - fold and put away
Litterbox Scoop
Clear Dog Piles in yard -- I do this everyday as well, but usually when we get outside after snack, and I really should do it BEFORE we go outside to play.

Bedtime Routine

Thursday: Morning Routine
Start Laundry

Pre-Work Routine: Sweep floors
Tidy desktop
Check Lesson Plan and change date

Mid-Day Routine:
Dry Laundry - fold and put away
Litterbox scoop
Clear dog piles
Do a 15 minute declutter session - take 15 minutes and declutter in a mess nest.

Bedtime Routine

Friday: Morning Routine
Start Laundry

Pre-Work Routine: sweep floors
tidy desktop
check lesson plans and change date

Mid-Day Routine
Dry Laundry - fold and put away
Litterbox scoop
Clear dog piles
15 min declutter
Check emails

Bedtime Routine

Morning Routine
Start Laundry
Grocery Shoppig - store and Farmer's Market

Mid-Day Routine:
Dry Laundry - fold and put away
Litterbox scoop
Clear dog piles
15 minute declutter
check emails

Bedtime Routine

Sunday: Morning Routine

Mid-Day: WEEKLY HOUSE CLEAN- 1 hour (10 minutes per task)
empty trash
wash mirrors and doors
change sheets
purge magazines/catalogs

Spend time creating games and activities to do with the children during daycare.

Bedtime Routine

Friday, August 20, 2010

Morning Routine Week 3...

In order to make a change, you must first determine what it is that isn't working and what you want to be different.

The next phase of my day to address following the bedtime the morning routine. Makes sense right?! Sometimes there is a logical pattern to these things, lol!

Week one was devoted to gaining much needed sleep and developing a routine for going to bed on time. Week two was devoted to developing my bedtime routine and creating a habit.

Notes on the bedtime routine: for me it was more about the personal-care aspect rather than the cleaning aspects...but I've been noticing it's easier each night to empty and shine the sink. And those 5 minute mess nest cleanings seem to multiply and what once was a giant mound of paperwork, shoes, towels, etc. are no more than anthills or completely gone! 5 minutes is better than no minutes and little by little I am getting there.

Developing the morning routine was a bit more difficult than the bedtime routine. I do a ton of different things in the morning...and I didn't see at first how to manage adding a task each day that made sense. For the morning routine, it was important that I made sure that whatever I was doing prior to beginning my daycare day would be able to be accomplished between the alarm and the doorbell. I assigned time-frames to each task...not to rush me through, but to allow me enough time to have a relaxed morning, not one full of rushing, stressing and craziness!
Here's what I came up with:

Monday: Shower, dress including shoes, do my hair and make-up.

No-brainer right? Of course, I already shower each day, but now that I have my clothes already picked out, I can dress quickly. Doing my hair and make-up seemed at first to be a bit over the top, cuz really do toddlers really care about what I look like? As long as I'm fun, and play with them...does it matter? It apparently matters to me. I feel different when my hair is 'did' and my 'face is on'. I feel like I'm making a viable contribution to my home because I AM going to work. I mean really, who doesn't like to look good?!

Tuesday: Shower, dress including shoes, do hair and make-up

Spray, Swish and Swipe

Spraying the shower with daily shower cleaner after every use is a good way to keep mildew and soap scum at bay. It only takes a minute while the shower is steamy, not only that but I swish the toilet bowl with a tiny bit of all-purpose cleaner and a toilet brush, then I wipe the counters, sink and mirror with a micro-fiber cloth and bit of all-purpose cleaner. Doing this daily keeps the grime and gunk from even building up! Now, when it's time for a deep clean, it'll take that much less time since half your work is already done!

Wednesday: 20 Minute Movement

Shower, Dress including shoes, Do Hair and face

Spray, Swish and Swipe

With no formal exercise time for me throughout the day, a vigurous refusal to pay for a gym membership, and little time. 20 minutes is all I've got right now to spare for exercise. Yes, I know it's important to exercise for a variety of reasons, but I've never liked it (hate to sweat, ya know!?) However, from what I understand exercise in the morning can really set your day up right, increase your metabolism and help me lose weight. I plan to do yoga videos or borrow a friend's zumba workout videos. Eventually, I hope to add time in the evening to walk the dogs...and between the extra energy of the proper amount of sleep at night, and the added boost from daily exercise in the morning, something tells me it won't be long before the dogs and I are huffing along after dinner.

Thursday: 20 Min Movement

Shower, Dress including shoes, Do Hair and face

Spray, Swish and Swipe

Coffee and breakfast, take vitamin.

My daily breakfast is usually a couple cups of coffee and that's it until my tummy is rumbling too loudly too ignore and then maybe a granola bar. Not a good start to the day. I'm finding now that I'm getting up on time, and actually feeling better sleep-wise I can really tell when I need to eat. I menu-plan every week for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner every day, mostly for the daycare, but why can't I eat what I serve them for breakfast? They are healthy, nutritiously balanced meals and could give me the extra oomph I need in the AM. Plus, now I can serve my hubby a healthy balanced meal to make his military job that much easier and we can eat together...more time with DH...nice!

Friday: 20 Min Movement

Shower, Dress including shoes, Do Hair and face

Spray, Swish and Swipe

Coffee and breakfast, take vitamin

Check Planner

Again Attachment Planning at it's best! Taking this baby with me everywhere, remember? Taking a few minutes in the morning to plan my day, while eating a healthful meal, perfect! Takes no time at all since I check my planner at night...but it does give me a reminder that I need to iron that shirt for dinner tonight with friends, take the hamburger out of the freezer for spaghetti with meat sauce, remind DH that it's trash night, etc.

So, now I've been alarmed, exercised, showered, dressed, shoed, dolled-up, fed, caffeinated, and planned. By the end of the week, I was getting used to doing all of these things. I still have to remind myself. I have sheets of paper outlining my routine for the day in my planner, so when I'm checking my planner, I'm reminded and I can go do the task quickly. I have had moments where I just don't want to...but I try to remind myself, it's about the dishes, or the mess nest, or whatever I'm not wanting to's about the feeling of accomplishment, the pride in a clean home, the ability AND TIME to do other things and share them wholeheartedly with my family.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bedtime Routine Weeks 1-2:

In order to make a change, you must first determine what it is that isn't working and what you want to be different.

First on my list, I wanted more energy. Full Stop. I'm exhausted ALL.THE.TIME. I have no desire to do anything after work...and recently no desire to really do much DURING work. I have never been a morning person, but when you have your first daycare child dropped off at 6:30 most mornings, it doesn't really matter whether you are or not.

"Funny sidenote: I've had an early morning shift job (typically starting at 6am or 6:30am) for the past oh...8-9 you'd think I'd be used to this. But I've begun to notice that working from home makes the transition between work and home that much more difficult. The no-commute is nice, but there's not delineation in your time to tell you it's now work not home time. Even though I have a dedicated daycare space...I'm still home. Food for thought, maybe?

Going to bed at 10pm works for my hubs...he gets up at 6am and then has his breakfast made for him (or would like it so!)while he takes 20 minutes to shower, shave, and dress in his uniform and jet out the door by 6:45am. However, I'm rarely ready to drift asleep, although I'm exhausted, I usually end up pushing it until 10:30 - 11:00PM. I TRY to get up with the alarm at 5:30am...but usually end up sleeping through the alarm until 6am...then I'm rushing MY shower to make sure hubs has breakfast, lunch, and clean clothes to wear. Forget about my clothes...they don't matter...all I do is play all day. Hair doesn't get combed, no make-up, barely enough coffee in me when the doorbell rings for the first drop-off. Can you tell I HATE my mornings?

The first step to a better morning is to create a peaceful night. That includes adding routines to make bedtime a breeze...bedtime routines aren't just for children...we all can benefit from a few habits to calm us down. My first order of change is my bedtime. No more 10:30 - 11:00PM's 9:00PM to bed, and 9:30PM lights out for me, thanks. Hitting the bed at 9:00 gives me time to relax, journal for a few minutes, watch a bit of tv, read an article I've been wanting to read, read a chapter of a book, or get some cuddle time with the hubby. It gives my head time to unwind, and my body time to relax...all good prep for a good night's sleep. 9:30pm to 5:30am is 8 hours sleep. I don't know yet if I need a full 8 hours or less/more, but it's a decent place to start! With a good night's sleep in me, my day can start a little brighter and perhaps a little less grumpily!

The next step on my bedtime routine is the pre-bed activities. I listed out what things I could do at night that would help make my mornings a bit easier. Then I broke it down

into steps before bed. Then I assigned a day to add them to my routine. The first to be added was the task to be completed JUST before climbing into the sack.

Monday: Wash face/brush teeth

While not specifically helpful to my mornings, it feels good to have clean teeth and face before bed. Plus, it helps to keep your oral hygiene in check and you can really ward off wrinkles by washing the day's grit and applying a good facial moisturizer every night! It's relaxing too!

Tuesday: Choosing an outfit for the morning.

Wash Face/Brush Teeth

It might seem silly to pick out a pair of jeans/shorts and a t-shirt every night for the morning, after all I don't work in the corporate world anymore. BUT it is helpful to have a chosen outfit hanging out for putting on in the morning. ESPECIALLY when I get up before hubs, I can just grab the hanger and head for the shower without turning on the lights and waking him up. (good wifey points!!)

Wednesday: Check my planner

Choose an outfit for the morning

Wash Face/Brush Teeth

Attachment planning remember, it's beside my bed. I make note of any appointments I have the next day, phone calls I need to make, I jot down any ideas I have in my head for activities with the dc kids, and errands I may need to run the next day. It helps me choose my clothes appropriately, and allows me to have fewer worries about what tomorrow might bring...hence allowing for a more peaceful nights sleep!

Thursday: Empty and shine the sink.

Check my planner

Choose an outfit for the morning

Wash Face/Brush Teeth

Dinner dishes are done (or not.) Take 10 minutes to put dirties in the dishwasher, put the clean ones away, and wipe down your sink and surrounding area! Spray some Windex in there and rub away! Usually, while I'm at it, I do the surrounding counter space, and the window and sill above too! Why not since I have the Windex out?! It is so nice to go to bed seeing that shining sink and knowing when I wake up it'll be shining up at me!

Friday: 5 minute de-clutter in a mess nest

Empty and shine the sink.

Check my planner

Choose an outfit for the morning

Wash Face/Brush Teeth

A mess nest is an area that seems to grow clutter...where the mail gets tossed, where you clean out your purse and throw the misc items or receipts, where dh comes home and throws his keys, phone and random work items, the nightstands, the coffee table, the kitchen table, junk drawer, etc. etc. 5 minutes a day REALLY will help keep your home calm and clutter-free. I may only be a week in, but I've already noticed a difference in how I look at those piles of bills to be paid or that tangle of grocery receipts. I've caught myself taking them where they belong, before I even PLACE them on the counter, table, etc.

The very last thing I do, before I roll over and go to sleep is tell my husband I love him and something he did that day that made me happy, feel loved, or just helped out! It's important to remember to give loving comments to those special people in your life. Verbally appreciating the things people say and do not only makes them feel important, loved, and appreciated, it's been helpful in reminding me of my blessings and what I already have so much of in my life!

I started this process 3 weeks ago. I did a whole week of going to bed on time, then added one extra task a day... I try to add only one task at a time and only on weekdays. I still follow the routine during the weekends, including the wake and bed times, but I don't add anything new because Saturday is Fun Family Day and Sunday is reserved for Church and Extended Family.

I know I have a whole mess of work ahead of me! And now that I'm rested and feel rejuvenated, I'm ready for it!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Outlook...

This year has been a experiment for me to become better organized, happier and cleaner in my home. I've always been messy. I recently learned HOW to clean...although not very well. Being newly married and wanting to please my hubby and create a safe and clean home for us, my daycare kidlets and any future babes we may have, it's really become vital for me to learn what to do! I've been searching and searching and scheduling and scheduling and while I am better...I'm no where near where I'd love to be.
It's frustrating and slow and unbearably hard to rework almost 28 years of living. That said, I've been trying a new system over the past few weeks and it seems (so far, very far to go!) to be working. Here's from the beginning up until today :)

I've been receiving emails from for about 9-12 months but it seemed too simple to work, and honestly her program didn't cover exactly what I needed it to. However, her philosophy seemed to be what I needed to hear because I kept coming back to it time after time.

So, I took some time about a month ago to read through the website, and see what it is she writes about, reading some of the emailed testimonials, and looking over her routine and detailed cleaning checklists. I read through her "Beginner Baby Steps" but wasn't 100% sure that they would work for me, so I took the concept she was promoting and incorporated some of my own needs and ideas.

First I took a look inside to discover some of my negatives: A lack of motivation, a strong desire to procrastinate, extreme dislike to sweat, and an undeniable aversion to cleaning anything, oh and a hubby who is less than handy and has all of the above issues as well. What this means is that dishes are less likely to get done, unless we do them together, the lawn doesn't get mowed unless we do it together, the laundry NEVER gets put away (it's clean, just in laundry baskets all over the house.) and cleaning the floors...forget about it. My schedule (like most working people) doesn't allow for a lot of cleaning time during the day. PLUS having 4-6 kiddos in the house at one time (that I am responsible for and are not related to me) makes it impossible to leave them and go clean a bathroom, kitchen, vacuum a carpet, etc. So, my available hours for cleaning, prepping, hygiene, sleeping, planning, etc are limited.

I also made it a point to look at some of my positives: I have been working on my spending and shopping habits, namely spending a ton of money on crap or needless items (typically for organizing, lol.) and becoming more able to part with things, so the clutter in our home has been reducing nearly every week with the trash pick up. YAY ME!! And, I have become MUCH better at learning to put things away when I'm done with them. Yeah, I know, I teach kids about it all day long, but after hearing my nagging voice all day, I've learned how to tune her out 'after hours'! I also LOVE to feel organized and have a "plan." This has translated into excessive scheduling in the past, over worked routines, too-detailed checklists, and micro-managing.

What I have decided to do, based on advice from Lara Gallagher at (in an archived post, I believe from 2007) and FlyLady at and Molly at My Happy House is this:

1. I have started "attachment planning." Similar to Attachment Parenting it includes co-sleeping, planner-wearing, and spending every possible second with the planner at every moment of every day. I have always tried to carry it with me when I leave the house on errands, but seriously I have been carrying this thing into the bathroom when I shower (not into the shower...that'd be weird! LOL), sitting it on my nightstand at night, taking it outside when we go out for outdoor playtime, to the grocery store, out to dinner, at DH's work picnic, on a Bachelorette party, etc. etc. etc. Do I need it every second of every day, no...but I've been glad to have it on several occasions. Such as when I made plans for dinner on Friday, when I scheduled a follow up nail appointment at the spa (during the Bachelorette party), while shopping so I could write down an idea for something to use in the daycare space (instead of buying it and it not working out, thereby spending money and time I don't have to waste.)
My precious planner.
2. Next, I ripped up, shredded, threw away and disassembled my routines, cleaning checklists, and Home Management Binder! Yes my beautiful book...was taken apart to start over from scratch! I plan to take this 2 1/2" binder:
Old Home Management Binder
will be transformed into this 1" binder:
New Home Management Binder
The only parts that made it into the new book without editing are the miscellaneous section (for menus, township news, trash pick-up schedules, etc.) the contacts section (my address book) and the projects section (since we have so many projects on the near horizon, I need that to stay how it is.)
Areas to be edited and revised are the schedules section, routines section, menu planning section, and the checklists sections. Gone are the school section (school for me) daycare section and the budget section. I don't have pics to show you yet, because it's a work in progress. Each section will be updated slowly and revised and edited as I make routines, changes, and perhaps additions.
3. Also in the works is my routine building. Habits and routines take TIME to build. They can't happen overnight. They can't be hard or (at times) even logical. They have to be what works for you and what is DOABLE for you and your family. Something FlyLady has taught me is that in order for your family (in this case my hubs) to follow along the ordered path you must first lead by example. Case in point: If I want each dish rinsed and placed into the dishwasher right away, rather than wallow in the sink until there's a sink full, then I must show him how to do it by doing it myself. Or: if I want the laundry put away immediately after folding, then I must start by putting it away right away. If I want the shower stall sprayed with cleaner after every shower, I must ask him to do this, place the cleaner in a convenient area and SPRAY it myself after every shower. It takes faith, leadership and determination to keep a clean and happy house, not screaming, blaming and being an overwhelmed, nagging shrew of a wife (<-- Me :-(!!!) (Will post later about how exactly I am doing this :)!) I am journaling every night to allow some room for letting go of negativity, acceptance of the joys I already have in my life, and reflection on my habits, and the budding "new me!"
4.Finally, I've done a lot of soul searching and come to grips with some of my negative habits and character traits hence my confessions post. I've come clean to my hubby about some of the negativity I store inside...such as my abhorrence of cleaning, my jealousy of friends' good things or successes, and my resentment of his lazy attitude and joy in time-wasting activities (video games, mainly.) I've also asked for his help. What a revolution...asking for help. Never realized how much a sincere plea for assistance could be a turning point.
Who woulda thought that a, "Please would you help me do some things around the house?" would result in positive feedback more so than a, "ARGH! DO YOU HAVE TO LEAVE ALL YOUR CRAP ALL OVER THE HOUSE FOR ME TO CLEAN UP!!! YOU'RE A GROWN MAN..PUT YOUR SOCKS IN THE HAMPER!" Hmmm....eye-opening.
We've had a moratorium on excessive video game playing (for him) and mind-numbing tv watching (for me). We have 7 tv shows that are recorded on the dvr and these are the ONLY ones we are allowed to watch. He's doing really well on the no video game front...but I'm failing miserably on the tv-watching front. It's hard, man! REALLY hard! That is all up the beginning of September, so this habit MUST be the next one to break.
As I said, so far so good! I'll be updating as I go...What about you? What do you do to allow yourself more free time and a life free of stress and chaos?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Today, I felt the need to confess things I hate about myself...
  1. I hate to clean...not really a revelation, but I hate to clean because I feel it's beneath me.
  2. I am jealous of my brother's girlfriend because she's pregnant.
  3. I'm lazy.
  4. I get angry when people I don't think deserve good things GET good things. (Not related to #2)
  5. I'm very judgemental and don't hide it very well.

My husband is such a good person (Happy Birthday a day late, my handsome hubby) and he truly makes me want to be a better person, but the green monster of jealousy and the ugliness of hatred makes this hard for me to do.

The things I want in life are so special and miraculous and I am starting to believe God won't grant me my deepest wishes unless I can purge some of the hate I carry around in my heart.

Perhaps this is the first step to creating a welcoming and healing heart for myself.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Office is Done-zo...well almost...

The office is done! Not decorated, but clean, orderly and functional! YAY!!!

I am so proud of DH and myself! We buckled down (lost our way for a week or so) and got through it all. PLUS we didn't end up with a bunch of stuff just moved to another room. We sorted and filed and shredded and packed and tossed our hearts out!

Way to go honey! And a pat on the back for me too!

Here are the befores...

(The desk area with nothing organized...except the computer!)

(The little corner beside the desk...chock full of papers and papers and papers)
(And the "nerd closet" With random boxes, guns, and other items threwn in or strewn about. Actually, this wasn't half bad. Considering this is almost all of DH's gaming stuff.)
And the afters...(The clean and orderly desk! Only ONE little pile of paperwork to be filed...Dh's of pile is neatly hidden from view!)
(The wierd little corner is wierd no more. Re-purposing an old bookshelf into a dvd shelf and a two drawer filing cabinet back beside the desk...and voila...organized! It took 2 hours to go through Dh's DVD collection to slim it down to fit on this shelf. He had a problem...a big problem! LOL)

(And the new guest bed...well one of two. Eventualy, this will be replaced by a sleeper loveseat, if I can ever find one reasonably priced! Anyone know of anywhere to look? Please let me know!)

So, there you have inside project COMPLETED! YAY for us! How about you, did you finish any new projects lately?