Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why Should I Schedule a Town Day?

A person cannot be in two places at once. If you're not at home then the home things do not get done. The dust, dishes and laundry pile up. The home schooling is haphazard. Projects stay in the "someday" state.
Once upon a time…
a couple of weeks ago,
for some reason, or several, we had a week in which we were gone nearly every day. And to top it off, I needed to do a Costco run and as the week slipped away it came to Friday. In case you were living under a rock, Friday and Saturday are the worst times during the week to go to Costco. Especially if it is the only one in Southern Idaho and people come out of the desert and down from the mountains to fill up their carts for a week or month. Which is also what I like to do but prefer a weekday. Back to the crazy week of running, it flew by and left the house a mess. Dust, dishes, laundry, paper piles, a dirty kitchen, just ick. I entered the weekend tired and looking for relief. Not happening. More events and Sunday… I found myself longing for "Monday—Laundry Day" and my weekly routine.
You see, even if you don't live far from town and are without the option of just "running to get" this or that, it is still the best use of time to plan to do all the errands at once. It saves you time, money, gas, and keeps the home life preserved.
I know it's unavoidable when scheduling multiple children but it really helps to aim that way. Try to get all the dental appointments done on the same day within the same hours by multiple hygienists. Really, trust me. And don't forget your Kindle.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Paper Monster and Paper Gift

The Paper Monster always looks more intimidating than it is. It's a bit like painting or washing windows in that it takes more mental effort to gather the supplies and start doing it than actually doing the task.

I like to put on music. Pull up a trash can, get out the bill paying tools (checkbook, envelopes, stamps), and get going. If it looks like the chore will take a looooonnnnnngggg time then I love to use a timer. Work for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break.

Today, I am motivated to work hard and fast because I am going to make one of these when I am done! Go look at Joy-in-a-Box!

 I have someone in mind to give it to but I also think it would be good to have one ready-made and waiting for when I discover a person in need but lacking the time or money or energy or what have you to put it together.

A long long time ago I put something quite similar together for someone in a hard spot. I had no idea how it would go over. I was actually a little afraid. I think there is that risk in giving. But the recipient told me that it was the most thoughtful gift she'd ever received. I was shocked. Gifts is not my natural "love language".  I had been praying for this person. I can only think that it was the work of the Holy Spirit in guiding me to do it and what to put into it.

 I get excited about ideas to change the world, I love to read or hear about mission work of any type, I look around and see the immediate mission field of my children.  Putting together Joy-in-a-Box is something I can do in the here and now, with the help of my children, to be a blessing to someone.
Will you make one for someone?
Or maybe you have a similar idea to share?
Or do you have an experience of getting something similar or perhaps a time when you gave?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Make a Laundry Protocol Poster

Making a poster for your laundry room will help your family know how to use the equipment and wash specific loads. They can all pitch in with the work and learn essential life skills. Creating a guideline will save you steps and time in instructing.

First, make sure that you are properly running your equipment. Get out the manual and learn more about your machine and how it can wash your specific loads better. Give thought to your detergent and how it is cleaning your laundry. Read the box and learn how much to use for the specific loads. Be sure you are sorting the laundry correctly. You have to know what you are doing before teaching someone else.

Plan an order of events for your instructional poster. Collect, sort, load, soap, etc. This will be particular according to your family's machines and laundry. Perhaps you want to wash specific things on specific days and assign it to a specific person? I.e. linens on Fridays, towels on Thursdays, Tuesday-Girls' Laundry.

Now, plan your poster on paper for a rough draft. Write simple so that those in a hurry can glance at it and do the step. Don't be too fancy with your scripts, this isn't an artistic decoration for your laundry room. This is a do it and do it right instructional poster.

Put your rough draft ideas onto your poster board. Use bright markers to differentiate loads. Perhaps use cut out pictures or clip art for the beginning reader.

Hang the poster. Call your family. Read through it together. Ask for questions.

Do some practice runs together referring to the poster.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Make Your Food Ahead

A little effort put forth on one day in the kitchen makes the rest of the days go easier. Planned meals are healthier and less expensive. Plan to put the key ingredients into your freezer. I find there is more flexibility in putting slow cooker meals together with a variety of single ingredient freezer bags than a whole meal in a bag. Slow cooker meals are my favorite. I love the ease of throwing things into a pot. As the books say, fix it and forget it! My 8 and 10 year old girls have been having fun being helpful with the book Fix it and Forget It Kids Cookbook. 

Night Before:    
Soak beans.
Get ground meat out to defrost.
Put a chicken and a little water in the slowcooker and cook on low all night. I’ve been known to put a few chickens in a big roaster for a lot of stock and a lot of cooked chicken in the freezer. Handy!

Drain beans; put in slow cooker; cook until soft; drain; cool; put in freezer bags for future meals.
Brown meat; drain; cool; put in freezer bags; freeze for future meals.
Cool chicken, debone, save the bones and make stock to simmer all day, put cooled chicken in your supper or freeze it for a future meal.
I make THM food ahead on my Kitchen Day. It's easier for me to make better food choices when I have options prepared ahead.

Have you found making food ahead helpful? Do you have tips to share?

The Washerwoman, That’s You Mama

Family and friends will confirm that laundry is not my favorite thing to do. I’d rather wash dishes or weed the garden or mop the floor. What I’d really like to do is read a book. For a lot of years my strategy was to fold clothes for a certain amount of time or fold one basket and then read a chapter. Yes, I bribe myself. I also reward myself with chocolate.

Here are a couple of other things I do on Laundry Day.

  • Make a commitment to the laundry. Act as if you are one with the washer and dryer. Think about it a minute: Do you want to wash your family’s laundry in a creek? Or stir a big pot of washing over a fire? Nah, the washer and dryer are really good friends to be with for a day. Commit the day to being with your “friends”.
  • Start early! As soon as you open your eyes and realize that it’s Monday Laundry Day jump up and start a load. Sometimes I start the night before. I put a load in the washer that I’m not afraid will grow stinky overnight.
  • Use the timer on your machines. If the machines are too far from your other work areas and don’t allow you to hear the buzzer then carry a kitchen timer with you. Change the loads as soon as you hear the signal.
  • Make a goal for the day—x amount of loads.
  • Involve the children. They can sort, take a turn changing the loads, and they can all fold and put away laundry. Little ones can carry a dishpan of laundry to a location.

What works at your house?