A realistic to-do list

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Ever feel like you worked all day but didn’t actually accomplish anything? Ever looked at your to-do list, known you’ve been working and productive all morning, but have nothing to check off?

This happens to me!! And I finally realized *something needs to change*! Either I need to write down what I actually need to do, or I need to stop writing down things that I realistically can not do. Maybe both.

I used to make long, ambitious lists of all I wanted to do in a day; but currently, I write down lunch and dinner and give Eden a bath and sometimes even make my bed and get a shower if I can tell it’s that kind of a day. Not only does it help me to not write in extra things that will never realistically get accomplished, but it also motivates me to do those seemingly obvious things that tend to be forgotten in the daily plan. (Ever forgotten to take a shower? Or forgotten that the little people were planning on eating dinner?)

These seasons do not last forever, but it is very tempting to feel that they might.

It’s okay to write “clean up from breakfast,” or “put dinner in the crockpot,” or “read with ‘Zoe'”on your list. If it needs done and you’re in a crunch season (or if it’s a rather undesirable task that tends to be overlooked), then write it down.

Now you might not write “change diapers.” But think about it – even if it’s only five minutes – that multiplied times five or ten takes up a good little chunk of your day. The same could be said for nursing or potty training. Leave room for those things. And especially leave room for discipline, conversation, and sweet times with the kids.

We have to figure out how to still do laundry, errands, meals, etc., but don’t plan beyond what is reasonable with so many other responsibilities.

I wish I could tell you this post will help you accomplish more… but it won’t. That’s not even my intention. But I do hope – if you find yourself in such a season – that you will recognize how much you do accomplish, and feel a tiny bit more encouraged at the end of the day.

 

A tip for timeliness

Please, if you know me, do not laugh at me trying to write about being on time. In no way am I an expert on punctuality, but I do get to practice at it every single day. This little tip is beginning to change how I work to meet a deadline.

Hurry before you need to.

How many times do I find myself hurrying the kids to finish breakfast before we need to leave for church? Hurrying to pick up the house before company arrives? Hurrying to get my homeschool plans in order before the first day?

Bleck, bleck, and bleck. I don’t mind hurrying, but I hate feeling rushed and forcing others to rush. And I really hate that realization that no matter how much we hurry, we will already be late.

So I’m working at hurrying before we really need to.

I encourage myself and the kids to get ready quickly in the morning even when we woke up on time; choose a reasonable amount of time for breakfast and then end it; plan time to actually clean off the table, get our Bibles, and get in the car (stepping into another area of preparation there), but making ourselves do it quickly even if according to the clock we’re looking good. (this scenario applies to our Sunday mornings)

If I’m prepping vegetables or setting the table for company that night, I push myself to work as quickly as I can – feeling that hurry – even if no one will be there for an hour and a half.

When I sit down to homeschool plan I love to take my time and look through the books and think, but realistically, I only have those chances every so often so I need to  pick up the pace and get my assignments written down as efficiently as possible. Right now, some plan for two weeks is better than an extensive plan for three days.

It may sound like a silly mental game, but it really has helped me. And I really need help!

What about you – do you struggle more with the preparation or execution stages of punctuality? (I have my hands raised for both) = )

I’d love to hear what has helped you.

Here is a fun article I found after I wrote this. I seem to spend lots of time reading about how to save time. = ) Secrets of people who have all the time in the world.

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There is so much about this picture that cracks me up! Sorry if it’s only funny to me.

 

 

The greatest lemonade stand ever – phase 1

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Oh my goodness, how I love our Hopey. Her eyes twinkle when she talks about anything to do with this lemonade stand.

The first lemonade stand has come and went. It was fantastic.

I woke up Hope at 6:22am, which is approximately a very long time before she normally wakes up. By the time I was out of the shower and ready, she had woken up all her sisters (except Zoe, thank you!) and everyone was ready to go.

the greatest lemonade stand ever

We open the door… and it’s raining. I think I may have stomped an internal foot or something. It can’t rain on the greatest lemonade stand ever. They had worked so hard! Hours and hours of making signs, baking, decorating cups with washi tape… we had to move forward.

Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )
Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )

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We took everything out to the front porch and by the time we got it out the rain had lightened enough for us to move on out to the driveway. It was so exciting to be actually setting up!

Customers came right away; thankfully it was a steady stream not a rush. We quickly realized that the cookies were the most popular item – though honestly, who wants lemonade on a drizzly Saturday morning before eight o’clock? The lemonade became more popular as the morning went on.

The girls were so proud to tell people that one teenager liked the cookies so much he came back for seconds. = )

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Sophia was invaluable for advertising. Every car that drove by was greeted with a rather loud and cheery, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” As soon as anyone would get out of the car at the neighbors yard sale she would yell again, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” Soon the other girls chimed in.

How long will they keep that up? I wondered. They’re going to be completely hoarse tomorrow!

They kept it up for several hours. It worked like a charm. = ) And no voices were lost in the process.

Gracie and Mckayla didn’t even need to pass out free samples. Business was great regardless. They stayed busy sampling for themselves. = )

At the end of the day, Hope made several dollars more than what she put into it. Also, the only supplies we will have to replace are the cookie mixes.

Bottom line – phase two should be almost all profit.

Speaking of phase two, I’ve emailed our local Chamber of Commerce for suggestions or guidelines on choosing locations for a lemonade stand. They haven’t responded and Hope is less than impressed.

I know this because as Paul and I were eating out on a date this week, he got a text from the family who was -so sweetly!- watching the girls. The text read, “Hope doesn’t think my son would want to be a part of the Chamber of Commerce.” We laughed to ourselves and figured the lemonade stand must have come up in conversation.

When we picked the girls up our friend explained that they were telling the girls about their sons and what they’re studying in college. When they mentioned that one was studying business Hope blurted out, “I’m sure he does NOT want to be in the Chamber of Commerce.” She hadn’t given an explanation so we told how them that she was a little peeved that these people (who are supposed to help businesses!) had not helped her out with her lemonade stand yet.

And that is where we stand. We are working on a location and date for the next lemonade stand.

Stay tuned! = )

(Oh, and there’s already a pre-order for cookies!)

the greatest lemonade stand ever

January goal check-up

If you remember from New Year’s, my goals are very simple this year. Here are some thoughts on the progress so far.

1. Treasure God and His Word.

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I have to say here, that I am so thankful for my husband. Three times a week I get to hear him teach the Bible and every time I learn and grow in my desire to read and study myself. That being said, I know there are pulls in my heart to choose other things when I have the option. My prayer is that this year those would be put aside and replaced with a deeper hunger for the knowledge of God and His Word.

My current place of study is Acts because Paul is going through this with the students on Wednesday nights. The girls and I are memorizing in Proverbs, and I also would like to come up with a plan of what to read when I just want to sit down and read for awhile. (Do you ever feel like that?) That way there will be some direction of where to pick up.

The other part to this goal is the prayer that God’s Word would be right on the tip of my tongue as I go throughout ordinary life with the girls. I know I need to speak the gospel to myself constantly and I want that influence in their life as well.

Practically speaking, this goal involves nightstands, pens, journals, and a specific effort to reduce clutter. Sitting down to read or meditating throughout the day are greatly helped for me when things are in order and easily accessible.

2. Read. Read. Read.

I love reading! In January I finished The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and I highly recommend it! This month I’ll be reading Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss and The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss by her husband George. Also, Dispatches from the Front by Tim Keesee and Robinson Crusoe with Paul. Someone gave the girls the entire Little House on the Prairie boxed set for Christmas so I am officially making it a goal this year to read those aloud to them.

2a. Read aloud the Little House on the Prairie to the girls. = )

3. Regain an enthusiasm for mothering.

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What I’m realizing is that this involves a very careful putting aside of “extra weights” and a very conscious commitment to do the things I want to do with the girls. Discipline is involved in this. The girls are much more delightful to be around when I am proactive about their behavior. Also, the more involved they are with what I’m doing throughout the day, the better. Yes, everything takes three times as long, but that has to be an investment in the future that I’m willing to make.

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I’m sure this goal will continue to take shape as the year goes. More to come!

4. Make monthly menus and make one freezer meal a week. February’s menu is done! And I have two extra meals in the freezer. Hooray!

5. Make a list for every day and week. Do a monthly goals check-up. 

About halfway through January I stopped making a list every morning and I can see how it slowed progress. That’s why there’s a monthly goals check-up (yours truly) to remind me! And out of the twenty-two items on my most recent weekly list, I accomplished about nine. Oh, look at the room for progress there! = )

These next goals are specific to this month alone.

*Make and use chore charts for the girls. It’s time, people. Way time.

*Accept help with things around the house. It has come to my attention that I cannot do everything. In fact, I do it quite poorly. However, I am not content living in such a sad state of affairs, so I am going to need help.

I can think of two ladies at church who have specifically, genuinely offered their help. This month I want to contact them and make a plan to do some things around here.

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Thanks for reading! See you at the end of February. {James 4:14-15}

2015 – a year for simple goals

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New Year’s has come and gone.

My favorite holiday.

I’ve been brooding about New Year’s Resolutions for about six weeks now. I know, my love for them is a little over the top.

There’s so many things I want to do!

And so little… everything.

Last year my goals were good and there was a ton of success {yippee} but they were a little complicated.

This year I don’t have time to be that detailed. We’ll start out really simple and build from there every month.

Want to hear my goals? (me too, cause these are coming straight off the {hoodie} cuff.

1. Treasure God and His Word. That might seem nebulous, but it’s not. It is simultaneously the most simple and rewarding obligation and the most difficult and elusive pursuit. In any circumstance I can ask myself, What do I love?

2. Read. Read. Read.

3. Regain an enthusiasm for mothering. I think I’ve lost some of the rah-rah that always seemed to come so naturally. But that’s okay – I’m a big believer in the fact that correct emotions will follow obedience. Lately I’ve just wanted to hide in bed from all the responsibility (until I realized Proverbs might have a thing or two to say about that). I’m asking the Lord to help me see and hear and feel and slow down – to love all the cuteness and craziness that I live in every single day.

4. Make monthly menus and make one freezer meal a week.

5. Write out a list for every day (and right here my list-loving Mom starts rejoicing for the prodigal coming home) and a list for every week. Also do a monthly goals check-up. 

And honestly, I think that’s all for now. I do want to build and elaborate as the months go by, but if I make improvement in each of these areas by next January 1, that will be wonderful.

Happy New Year!

(10 days late)

 

Goals for October

It’s that time again to review my goals, plans, priorities, and resolutions that were made in January.

I completely missed doing this in September, but I don’t feel too badly about it as I replacd it with lots of snuggling Zoe. Mmm… she is sweet.

Since there’s no review I’m going to comment on each of the categories with notes of and plans for improvement.

Goals

Organized and prepared – yes, this is quite necessary after the commotion of having a brand-new baby. Specifically this month, I want to keep up to date with homeschool plans, work to be at church on time (I’ve decided that on Wednesday’s the only two things we will plan are school in the morning and church at night. Add in meals and baths times five and that is one full day!), and be ready for Mckayla’s birthday.

 

Writing letters – I need to finish thank-you notes for all the wonderful people who gave meals and gifts after the birth of Zoe.

Keep readingCurrently working on The Shallows, What Jesus Demands from the World, One With a Shepherd

Do things with the girls just for the sake of spending time with them – going to be honest here, after school and nursing and meal-making, I don’t feel very affectionate and ready to just sit down and read or play Sorry; I rather want to either clean a long-neglected bathroom or hide in a room by myself and look at Pinterest. I need to pray about this, for a heart that seeks to love my children as I love myself and for wisdom to know when to take naps or clean and when to spend “just because” time with the girls. There’s just no formula is there.

Domestic skills – working to use the crockpot more?? = )

Embrace the newborn stage of life with thankfulness and calm. Yes. I do have to say that right now, Zoe is easy to be thankful for.

Plans

Bible reading – still working on the Old Testament, still working to memorize Ephesians 4

Fitness – do workouts to heal diastasis recti; it’s only eight minutes a day! And would help so much!

Home organization = Packing! I haven’t told you this, but we’re planning, hoping, praying to move this month! And that will be the most time-consuming “plan” for October.

Priorities

Rejoice. Give thanks. Love Paul. Love the girlies. Make meals. Do laundry.

Must remember. = )

Resolutions

To rejoice in the character of God – Paul is doing a Wednesday night study on Jonah; so much to learn about God from that book. Salvation is of the LORD!

To diligently fulfill mundane daily responsibilities – as unto the Lord.

To prioritize nighttime sleep – much easier now that Zoe mostly sleeps through the night. I do need to find a way to nap now and then in the afternoons.

To simplify; to focus on the joys and responsibilites that will not remain after this stage of life. 

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What about you? What are you working on this beautiful month?

Nine months down, three to go!
Nine months down, three to go!

 

 

 

 

 

Grace for July, Goals for August

Life is good. Right now, sleepiness is my dominating trait. My eyes hurt from not being closed enough in a twenty-four period for weeks. But, we have a healthy happy baby girl who I get to hold and love and feed. I get to watch the other little girls love her and take care of her in their own sweet ways. Our church family is showering us with love in the form of meals, visits, gifts, folded laundry, and clean bathrooms.

And that is how July came and went. It was a wonderful, challenging month.

I just re-read my original goals for 2014 and was struck by how many of them were accomplished in the month of July, completely apart from any effort on my part. What grace to know that God is still working for temporal and eternal growth even while I’m at my weakest. That’s the way it always works, but I forget every single time.

Here are just a few examples,

Reading- I finished the book True Companion. Remember I was hoping Paul would buy it for me? He did! And it was a delightful and encouraging way to spend those nursing hours. I’ve read more of others on my list and started a new one, too.

The girls and chores- my girls have overwhelmed me with their helpfulness. We’re keeping things picked up more than before the baby! A nightly clean-up time has finally clicked; I don’t have to micro-manage it. (keeping fingers crossed)

Surfaces- don’t laugh at me, there’s actually been improvement here! I have no idea how, but it’s on the list and I’m telling you there’s been improvement.

Schooling- though it’s summer time, I realized that a lot of our goals in this area are either met or still happening. Here’s a good example of how this is happening without me at all. One of my desires for Hope was for her to read beginner biographies. A dear friend dropped off a box of books with probably twenty biographies right at Hope’s level! She devoured them! (and read them to Sophia while I napped) Abraham Lincoln, the Wright brothers, Ben Franklin, etc. So exciting.

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Now for August.

This will not be a robust undertaking for obvious reasons, but there are a few things that have to happen.

First, it’s to time to prepare for homeschooling again. I am so excited for this. All our materials are in boxes, ready to be opened, right by the front door where the UPS man left them in… May. But that’s okay! I didn’t intend to open them until August. I also didn’t intend to leave them by the front door, but too late now. I need to open those up and get them ready to go. I’d love to have the worksheets maybe pulled out and filed. I think it would be helpful to do lesson plans more ahead of time. Also, I think we could plan field trips and park days already, at least for the fall semester. This is part of a longer story, but we will have a room to ourselves for homeschooling at least for the first two months. I want to make it special, but not too involved since it will not be permanent. This includes activities or a place for the little girls. My plan is for them to more involved and present during school. We need a desk for Sophia and I would like to check a local homeschool store for some supplemental activities. Maybe I’ll be able to post about the preparation process as we go.

Second, find and use good post-pregnancy workouts. It felt so good to exercise during pregnancy! I’m ready to start again, slowly. We’ve taken several walks, but I need something to strengthen my stomach and back- they need some TLC from all this nursing. I definitely have diastasis recti or separation of the stomach muscles so I’m doing some research to make sure that the exercises I do will be a help and not a hindrance. Suggestions? Links? If I exercise one to two times a week, including a walk, I will be happy.

Third, work on table manners with the girlies. Paul got me a new table for my birthday! We love it. It was sad to see our other table go, but we had a wonderful seven years with it and had just outgrown it. Hopefully, I can get good pictures of the new one and do a post about it. Anyways, now is a great time to just review and reinforce table manners with the girls. I want to talk about it when we’re out of the situation and enforce it when we’re at meals. Also, I want to work on having the girls eat their food right away at the beginning of the meal. They all do pretty well eating whatever we give them, but sometimes there is a lot of messing around before they actually get down to business. I think it’s time for them to eat their food without constant reminders to do so.

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Especially in this newborn stage my priorities are important: rejoice, give thanks, love Paul, love the girlies, make meals (or put them on the table when sweet friends bring them), do laundry. That will be good.

The book I just started, Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman, is a wonderful help with many of my resolutions. As postpartum hormones swing my emotions from high to low, it’s helpful to read over and over about finding my joy in the unchanging character of God.

I’m looking forward to and clinging to the goodness of God this month. Here’s to the last three weeks of August!

Seven months down, four and three-quarters still to go!
Seven months down, four and three-quarters still to go!