Thursday, April 19, 2018

Catch-Up Week: Day 4

 A picture of cute Willie to add interest to this post!:-)

Today wasn't quite as productive as yesterday.

I took the liberty of sleeping in a bit and finishing another library book! So my routine was a bit off. But that's ok sometimes too. ;-)

Here's what I accomplished this morning:
  • Hauled trash and recycling to dump.
  • Folded and put away all laundry from yesterday's washing. 
  • Collected a pile of papers/junk mail and threw them away. 
  • Made fruit dip. Today I mixed some leftover cream cheese frosting with some freshly whipped cream and it turned out very tasty. Andy was excited about it!
I meet with a friend on Thursday nights to share our insights from the week's Bible reading so did that tonight. No other housework tonight besides cleaning up kitchen and running the dishwasher.

I just got back from walking Willie and am ready to shower and go to bed.

Have a good night, everyone!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Catch-Up Week: Day 3

Hope everyone has had a good Wednesday!

I did three loads of laundry first thing. I've been hanging up most of our clothing to dry instead of running the dryer. I have a rod for clothes on hangers in the laundry room, then the rest go on two free-standing drying racks. I keep one of the drying racks in the tub of our guest bathroom! It's out of the way there and we don't use this room much on a regular basis. I also hang stuff on the shower curtain rod in there. We had an extra shower rod so I put that above the tub and I can hang laundry there too. Today I put the second drying rack in the guest bathroom too. As you can see, it was full but did the job!

We had a birthday luncheon for a coworker today so we all brought some kind of food to share. Another coworker and I did a fruit tray together as our contribution. She brought cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberries and I brought apples, grapes and fruit dip. I whipped up this "real food" fruit dip from Heavenly Homemakers. The bowl was scraped clean and the small amount I left at home for Andy to eat was also gone by evening! So I guess it was a hit. I have enough ingredients left to make another batch of fruit dip tomorrow as we have some leftover fruit to eat it with.

Other accomplishments today include:
  • Calling to cancel an appointment for next week. 
  • Placing an online order.
  • Vacuuming all the floors. 
  • Dusting.
  • Spending 10 minutes picking up trash around the house, including breaking down some cardboard boxes to go to dump tomorrow.
  • Organizing my shirt drawer--it was a mess but took just a few minutes to straighten it up again. 
  • Cooking a quick but healthy meal for dinner--baked fish, sauteed zucchini and mushrooms and steamed asparagus. I prepped the veggies this morning so getting dinner on the table tonight was super fast!
  • Making a batch of yogurt in the Instant Pot. 
 Willie isn't as impressed with vacuuming as I am.

Wednesday was productive! What did you do today?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Catch-Up Week: Day 2

Happy Tuesday! I hope you lovely people had a great day.

My mornings start out the same nearly every day--at my kitchen table to spend a few minutes in God's Word.

My big chore of the day was grocery shopping. I headed out to Aldi early--our store now opens at 8am which I love. It works so much better for shopping on weekdays than when they opened at 9am. I only stopped at one store today and got most everything we'll need for the next two weeks. I will make a quick trip to Food Lion another day to get a few things Aldi doesn't carry and take advantage of some sales.

It's piled up pretty good so every item can't be seen but will give you a good idea of what I bought!

A friend from church had surgery last week and I was scheduled to take him a meal today. I started cooking as soon as I returned from the grocery store. It didn't take too long to make sloppy joes, cut up raw veggies, make some dip, and cut up some fresh fruit. I bought hamburger buns, potato chips and a package of sliced cheese to send along as well. It was a very simple meal to make and since I made a big pan of sloppy joe meat, I had enough for our dinner as well. Win, win! We delivered the meal after I came home from work this evening.

Other household accomplishments today:
  • Did two loads of laundry.
  • Changed sheets on our bed. 
  • Made Breakfast Pumpkin Custard for tomorrow morning. We really like to eat this cold. A pan of this will make several breakfasts for the 2 of us. I have made a number of changes to the original recipe by now. :)
  • Read a few chapters in my current library book. 
I was hoping to do a few more small tasks tonight but it has been a busy day and I am tired. The same chores will be there for me  in the morning.:)

Have a good night, everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Catch-Up Week: Day 1

As I mentioned earlier today, my goal for this week is to catch up on housekeeping after a very hectic week last week.

I work half-days outside the home right now, so my home hours are limited and a bit split up over the course of the day. With careful diligence though, I am able to keep things in some semblance of order.

This morning, I planned to work around the house before going to work but that changed yesterday when Andy discovered an adult trike for sale on Craigslist. It turned out that we could go look at it this morning--on the other side of Charlotte.

He has been looking for a trike for a long time and had the cash put aside. Because of some physical challenges, he has never been able to ride a traditional bicycle. The trike he found was nearly brand new and was at least half of the price he was expecting to spend (based on others we had seen listed).

So we headed up the interstate, looked at the trike, bought it and brought it home. He is so happy with it and with a couple minor modifications, should be a good fit for him. I hope it works out great for him!

"When I recover from surgery, I want to go to Captain D's", said Andy after his big surgery last August. 

So we stopped there for lunch on the way home today. Our town doesn't have a Captain D's so we waited until we were near one. Andy had been waiting for this for 7+ months! #Goals #WeDon'tGetOutMuch #Finally

By the time we got home, it was time for me to go to work.

This evening, I've been able to do a few things:
  • Emptied trash cans.
  • Emptied compost bucket.
  • Put a few things away that were setting out where they didn't belong. 
  • Brought potted plants in from outside as we expect a frost tonight--in April!
  • Jotted down a 2 week menu plan and grocery list so I can get groceries tomorrow. 
  • Finished a library book!
 I'm trying a 2 week shopping trip this time. 

It's been a good day! 

What did you accomplish today?

A Week Of Catch-Up

Last week was crazy!

The first two days started out pretty good then from Wednesday on, my days rather hectic. I worked a full day on Wednesday then between Thursday-Saturday, the dog had his yearly vet appointment, I had a special baking order to fill (I have a small baking business on the side.), we had a yard sale and this month I am teaching the children at church so I needed to prepare my lesson for Sunday.

I was tempted to postpone the yard sale but we had already postponed it for at least three weeks due to cold and rainy weather. The forecast for this past Saturday was perfect so we forged ahead with our plans even though it was a little nuts. Sometimes that is just what you need to do! We had the yard sale, it was successful, now it is over!

Yard sales are almost always worth it to me. We live in a great location for it so all I have to do is set our stuff out on tables in the driveway, put some signs out by the main road and we get traffic as long as the signs are out. Early spring before the South Carolina humidity sets in is the best time for our sales. It seems like people buy more when yard sale season is just beginning!

Anyway, we sold at least 75% of our stuff and the rest went right to our community thrift store!

Sunday was filled with church and getting ready to go to a surprise 50th birthday party for one of our dearest friends. It was a full but good day.

Now I'm ready for a week with more down time and some serious housework! Time to get back on track!

I always love reading about what other homemakers do on ordinary days at home, so I'll be posting this week about my progress.

Talk to you again soon!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Food Prep

Happy Sunday!

I hope you all have had a relaxing Lord's Day. We were at church this morning then came home to pork loin in the crockpot, coleslaw, rolls and veggies for lunch. After cleaning up lunch, I took my traditional Sunday afternoon nap.

I love to nap on Sunday afternoon, do you?

When I got up from my short nap, I whipped up a pan of homemade brownies for a yummy treat. Then it was time to work on prepping some veggies for the week.

I love having produce all washed and chopped. It makes meal prep so easy! Just grab the prepped veggies and go. We like to eat fresh veggies with our meals. Having them ready means I can grab the container from the fridge and set it right on the table.

Today, I had some carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, grape tomatoes and bell peppers to use. Most weeks, I'll also prep fruit but the fruits I have on hand right now are bananas and apples and I don't cut those up ahead of time. So just veggies to work with today!

While I worked, Willie found a sunny spot to take a rest. He is pretending to rest but really was in a supervisory role, waiting to scoop up any veggie bits that may drop. He likes most veggies. So healthy. LOL

When cutting the tops off the bell peppers, I discard the stems and set the rest aside. Then I chop the tops up to add to scrambled eggs or on salads. I've seen some people throw them away but I don't. Waste not, want not!

I love using Mason jars as storage containers. The produce stays nice and fresh. And they look pretty all lined up! The jars don't take much space in the fridge either.  Some folks report that it stays fresh really long this way but we usually eat it too fast to find out. Most of this will be gone within 4 days. By then, it will be time to shop for more fresh produce and start the process all over again. ;-) I use plastic Mason jar lids for my jars as you can see in the next picture.

The carrots and zucchini will be cooked as sides for dinners in the next few nights. I may use some of the peppers for fajitas this week since I have all the ingredients for that. The chopped peppers will most likely show up in eggs or on salad. I already have washed lettuce in the fridge.

This afternoon, I also hard-boiled some eggs and made egg salad for lunches. Since I'm working all day tomorrow instead of my usual part-time hours, I went ahead and packed up a lunch for me while I was at it. It's nice to have something ready to just grab really quick!

Prepping fresh produce definitely makes my life easier and helps to start my week off on the right path!

Friday, March 09, 2018

Goals For March (And Recap Of Yearly Goals)

Happy March! We are now in the third month of the year--January and February, where did you go?!?

 Daffodils blooming by the river by my parents' home.

Truly, the first two months of the year flew by. A case of head lice (my first, ewww!) and a nearly 2-week long trip to the West Coast to visit my parents helped time move quickly. Now that my hair is clear (Thank you, Jesus!) and I'm back from my trip, it's time to get back to working on our goals for the year.
Tea party with lifelong friends while visiting my parents.

My goal for 2018 is to be intentional. Below, I've copied my goals for 2018 from this post. My updates on each item are in italics.

Being intentional this year means:

  • Not overloading my schedule. Doing pretty well with this. Some days are more overscheduled than others but I believe that's just how life is sometimes.
  • Allowing time for rest and downtime. I don't want to be "busy" all the time. I've been able to sit down for a little while almost every evening after dinner so that's an improvement. I'm not a good sitter. (haha) I also tend to fall asleep if I sit too long.
  • Being creative, just because. I like to make things and that is the first to go with a busy schedule. Still need to allow time for this. I try a lot of new recipes just for fun though. So that should count for something! 
  • Continue decluttering the house. I'm using this chart to motivate me! And planning an early spring yard sale as a goal for getting the stuff out of the house and helping with my next point here. ;-) Yard sale is scheduled for March 17, weather permitting!
  • Practicing frugality and carefulness in our finances in order to rebuild our savings and pay off some home debt we incurred in 2017. Due to several situations, a 2 week break from work for me over the holidays being one of them, the first couple of months of each year are tighter financially for us. By March and April, things seem to loosen up a bit and flow a lot better. We have been careful and hope to see more in the way of savings and debt pay-off soon.
  • Creating simple home routines that I can be consistent with long-term and actually see results! This is going pretty well. I have been keeping up with my goal of cleaning up the kitchen each evening. It's not perfect but so much better!
  • Continue reading God's Word with purpose and be part of a group that meets weekly to disciple others. In progress!
  • Being careful to not let other's ideas and expectations of me dictate my daily life and decisions. This is an ongoing daily decision. I feel like I'm doing well with it though.
  • Living mindfully. Making careful, deliberate and thoughtful choices. Slowing down and getting back to basics really helps with this!

My goals for March:

  • Make tax appointment and get taxes done. 
  • Schedule vet appointment for Willie. 
  • Schedule physical for Andy.
  • Finish packet of updated adoption paperwork--includes 2017 tax forms, updated vet records and a physical for Andy (already did mine) so this goal is contingent on getting those things done. :-)
  • Continue with homekeeping routines. 
  • Quick clean of bathroom each day. 
  • Have a yard sale. 
  • Start working in garden. 
  • Drink tea often--a simple thing I enjoy!  
  • Blog each week--I've missed it. 
 What are your goals for March?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Clearing The Kitchen Counters

I'll be really honest here. Cleaning and keeping the house decluttered has been a huge struggle for me, especially in the past 3 years.

I hit on a cleaning routine that works and it is great. Until it doesn't. Then things just get a little out of control. I've always struggled with paper clutter.

In being intentional with my life this year, one of my goals is to build in some gentle routines for home-keeping. It is important to me that I am a good steward in caring for my home and the people in it. I also feel very anxious and stressed when I see surfaces in my home being constantly cluttered and messy.

It's vital that we understand that life is not always neat and clean. Some days and seasons are more messy and cluttered than others. It's important to have correct and realistic expectations for the season we find ourselves in. This past year as we walked through cancer treatment for my husband, it was all I could do to keep up with the minimum--just enough to keep us going and the house livable. So I understand first-hand how we need to adjust our expectations with the seasons.

But at the same time, I realize that by building in some small routines, I can start to experience a home that is closer to what I have in mind when I picture a clean and uncluttered home. I am starting with my kitchen and the bathrooms as those are the biggest problem areas for me at this time.

I had the day off from work yesterday. I ran errands in the morning and in the afternoon, my goal was to clean off the kitchen surfaces.

It looked like this:

Something piled or out of place on every surface. Maybe not the worst it's been but still messier than I'd like.

I began by hiding my phone so I wouldn't be tempted to waste time looking at it. Then I began taking things off each surface. I started with the table. The boots were on the table to remind me that one of them needed to be repaired. ;-)

As I removed items from each surface, I put things away in their proper place or threw stuff in the trash as needed. A few items were put in my donate/yard sale pile. Then I cleaned each surface with Mrs. Meyers all-purpose spray and a soft cloth.

Each clear surface made me smile.

After about an hour (and after dinner when the crockpot was put away), the kitchen looked like this:

So much better!

One routine I have been practicing for years and has made keeping up with dishes so easy, has been to fill the dishwasher as I go throughout the day then run it at night after dinner is cleaned up. First thing in the morning, I empty it and put everything away.

Sometimes I hand wash bigger items and set them out on a towel to dry. Often I will leave them for morning, then put them away at the same time I am emptying the dishwasher. It works and is not a big deal. But last night, I had probably 8-10 hand wash items so instead of leaving them for the morning, I decided to see how long it would take me to dry them and put them away. It took a whopping 3 minutes. Seriously! Three minutes and my counter top was clear!

Sometimes, I fool myself into thinking I don't have time to do a task when in reality it takes very little time. By doing it right away, I get it done and don't have to play catch-up later.

My homemaking routine for this month is to do my best to clear and clean the kitchen counters and sink each evening after dinner. It should take only about 10 minutes if I keep up with it daily.

Do you have a cleaning routine that works great for you? Please share in the comment section. Thank you for reading!