Thursday, October 1, 2015

31 Days of Purposeful Living

There's only ninety some odd days left in the year and my schedule is crazier than ever. For some reason the busier things become the more I cling to searching Facebook or vegging out in front of the television. So today I'm starting purposeful living. I can still do fun stuff, but I set a timer and once it goes off I have to move on to the next thing.

No more making the to-do list and then not acting on it. Come on, I know there are others out there that love to make lists that disappear into no-man's land or worse into "I'll just do it tomorrow". I'm raising both hands at this point. :)

Today's list includes:

  •  washing my sheets and the clothes needed for tomorrow and this weekend (plenty of kids' activities going on)
  • work (ghostwriting)
  • sew stuff on kids uniforms
  • take cat to vet (not looking forward to this)
  • working on website for charity 5k run (30 min)
  • drink minimum of 4 (8oz) glasses of water
  • 30 min exercise

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Most Awesome Guide to Your At-Home Summer Camp

Do you greet the idea of Spring Break or Summer Vacation with joy and dread? 

 You love spending time with your kids but get overwhelmed with the chaos that ensues. 
 As a mother of four, I completely understand. The summers get crazier and crazier so I thought what better way to handle things then Summer Camp! Off I went to find out what awesome activities there were for my kids to experience. I found plenty being in a suburb of Atlanta. There are science camps, art camps, traditional camps and a great deal other choices that can cause a bit of information overload if you aren’t careful. Then I ran into a problem that I believe a lot of families have. THE PRICE!! Oh my gosh, just day camps ranged from $100 to $300 per person per week. While overnight camps were into the thousand dollar price! If you have just one kid this may or may not be a problem. Add 1 or more and things can add up quickly. Let’s not forget the gas money as well. Some of the camps I investigated were 45 minutes away. That meant I would be driving THREE hours a day to drop off and pick up. That is a lot of gas.

The solution?

I created an entire book of Summer Camp ideas to keep my kiddos busy. This book includes ten different themed camp ideas with specific activities, decorations, foods, games and field trip ideas. I used my research to figure out different themes to entertain kids of all ages and interests.

Why not share this with other moms struggling with the ‘I’m Bored’ syndrome? 

I formatted everything into a PDF and beefed it up a little so that the average mom has to do very little research. Now the Stay at Home Summer Camp Guide includes:

  • Tips on how to decide which Summer Camp idea to use

  • Tips on making things run smoothly (prep work)

  • A sample weekly schedule

  • A sample daily schedule

  • 10 detailed camp themes each with their own list of activities, games, etc

  • 16 additional camp themes each with their own descriptive paragraph of how to come up with your own activities

Great for Spring Break and Summer Vacation

I realize that summer vacation is quickly approaching so I wanted to do something special for those that are wondering what to do with the 8-12 weeks of no school.

The guide will sell at $9.95 starting at midnight on the morning of March 7, 2015.

I'm putting this on a big birthday sale.(In honor of my youngest's birthday.

  For March 5th and 6th I've reduced the price to $1.99

Buy Now

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Adventure is Out There (while I've been hiding in here)

Is there anything that you've been wanting to do but haven't had the money/time? I'm not talking about dropping everything and taking a trip across the world. Us moms don't necessarily have that luxury. At least this mom doesn't. My husband is the breadwinner so we have to stay here for his job. No selling the house and travelling the US in an RV for the year.

But that doesn't mean there aren't adventures to be had. The problem has always been, but I really need to get the laundry done this weekend or the house is a mess, we can't take off for the day. The reality is that if I am doing these things on a daily basis then that leaves more time for adventure.

I've been using my dirty house and my out-of-shape body as a way of hiding away like I'm waiting for the perfect time to have a "REAL" adventure. The truth is that there are new and exciting experiences just waiting for all of us. And I've been holding my family back with promises of 'maybe next year' or 'we just can't afford it right now'.

The hard truth? I haven't made the effort to keep the finances on track or to stop buying stuff that can be made into new stuff that I can sell one day. Well if I would stop buying the stuff then we would have way more money in the bank to go on fun adventures. If I would take my child-free school days and clean and organize and do laundry then there would be plenty of free time for adventures.

Do I feel guilty for going out knowing that no one has clean clothes for tomorrow? Um YES.
Would I feel guilty if there were two loads of laundry left and everyone had plenty of clean clothes? NO!

2015 is the time to do my homemaker job so that we don't have to wait one more day for adventure and enjoying a real life.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Find What Makes You Miserable and You'll Find Your Goals

The Home: I spend a lot of time in my room attached to the computer. Well, I did until I started this challenge. Now I am moving back and forth through the kitchen and laundry room and occasionally I'll stumble into the dining room and living room to sweep and mop. You see, I don't like those rooms. We have hand-me-down furniture that sinks when you sit on it and smells horribly like dogs. They smelled like that before we got them. And our dining room table is nothing more than a dumping ground. When we first moved in I had decided no food beyond the living room and most, if not all, meals should be eaten at the dining room table. That lasted for about 6 months and then my lazy gene kicked in.

I didn't want to sit down at family meals where everyone fought.
I didn't want to deal the constant complaints that someone was showing off their half eaten food.
I didn't want to hear the whining of "he's touching me" one more time.

So I let them slowly start eating in their rooms. Now, it drives me crazy. There are cups and plates left all over the house. The dining room table is always covered in crap which makes me cranky since you can't ever see the tablecloth or the fresh flowers I've purchased or even be able to stomach whatever mess has made it onto the floor because of any one of our three dogs.

I told you all of this to tell you that today I walked around with a notebook in hand to look at every room with a fresh set of eyes. If I was a potential home buyer, or even just a visitor, would this room look lived in or loved or hated? What do I love/hate about this room? Is it the clutter? Is it just the clutter? Would a good cleaning make it look more loved than it does now? Would keeping it clean allow for me to start decorating so that I would love my home more?

My Family and Marriage: I don't like the way my children treat each other. I don't like that they get home from school and soon disappear into their rooms until they are hungry or thirsty. I don't like that they spend so much time attached to the screen. I don't like that my  husband and I (while things are wayyyyy better than they were just a few years ago) don't always seem like we are on the same page with our goals and desires.

Enter in: family weekend once a month, monthly date night, limiting screen time for all of us, learning to speak nicely to one another and not be so negative

Health:Not being able to climb a flight of stairs without being winded and actually enjoy outdoor trips that I make with my family are at the top of my miserable health list.

The goal: exercise 3 times a week and changing all of our eating habits by eating less junk and making healthier food choices.

Career and Other: I am constantly miserable because I feel like there is never enough time in the day/week to get "anything" done and I am always behind. Our finances feel constantly in flux due to my not keeping exactly with our spending plan/budget.

Plan: To utilize time management which works in a certain block of time in which to accomplish what needs to get done as well as consulting with the budget/spending plan before spending any money. This time blocking technique is similar to what schools use. From this hour to this hour is English, from this hour to this hour is lunch, etc.

What makes you miserable?

Friday, January 16, 2015

January Character Challenge: Compassion

I don't believe I've mentioned that one of the things I want to accomplish this year is to become a better person as a whole and to teach my children to be better people. This month I've been considering the fact that because of experiences in my own life I don't have a great deal of compassion for others. I know it's wrong.

I know when my compassion disappeared and I know who took it. I can't share that experience here as I am writing this using my real name and I don't want to shame others for something that happened so long ago. What I do know is that I felt there was virtually no one with compassion for me during a deeply troubled time.

And while I have forgiven the person/people that led to this, I simply hardened my heart towards allowing it to happen again. When I see others hurt I have a hard time extending any soft feelings because my thinking has been "I pulled myself out of it so you can too. Suck it up." Even with my own children I have bounced between a mother's compassion and needing to teach them to be hard against the world in order to protect themselves from those that would cause them harm. It's really hard to admit that I have not been the mother that I should be because I couldn't always find compassion for my own children. Not that I have abused them, but I have been hardhearted towards them at times when most mothers would not.

After some soul searching I have found that parts of me are really ugly. Parts of my soul are rather dark because of things that have happened over the years and that I have allowed to separate me from my true spirit, from the goodness of God. (Don't worry, I'm not going to get preachy.)

I looked up the definition of compassion: a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in need, hurting, etc.

I know that does not currently describe me, but I know it can. So I am starting my journey into compassion with my family. I will look at their needs and desires as a way for me to show my ability to change and to embrace that while I still need to teach them how to be productive human beings, we can all be a little more understanding and helpful to those in need around us.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Television is NOT a Necessity (No heart attacks please)

Anyone else out there addicted to the Food Network or HGTV? I'm guilty of the "I need television on for background noise. I'm not actually watching it." Yes that's a load of crap. While I may appreciate the background noise, I have learned that in all honesty, that oftentimes it does nothing more than slow down my progress of any sorts. I definitely cannot write with anything except music on. And the music cannot have words or else I'll start singing along.

But the television is it's own demon of sorts. I've noticed that my children seem to be glued to it quite often. My 11 year old takes four times as long and make way more errors in her homework if the TV is on in the same room as her.

I have decided that I might turn on some upbeat music to help keep me motivated to move faster when cleaning house, the television will only come on during my "break" times.

Are you or you kids addicted to TV? Did you know that it's recommended that we get only two hours of TV time a day? For kids it's actually two hours of SCREEN time which includes computers and video games.  Next month I'll be turning off the internet at midnight during the school week in order to break my teens' late night habits. As for the younger ones, I've created a poster with the new media rules. One hour of TV a day and only 30 minutes of video games. This will be easier once the weather gets warmer, but for now they/we will have to get creative.

For now, I will be the one embracing the quiet or listening to the uplifting music needed to tackle my home.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Do You Act This Way In Public? (or why we treat other people's homes better than ours)

I mentioned yesterday that it was time to start treating my house better than other people's homes. What does that mean? I'm sure you've been there. You washed your hands in the bathroom which resulted in water on the bathroom counter or the mirror (yes I'm messy) and you/I immediately wipe it off. Or you drop something on their floor and you immediately clean/pick it up. Do you do the same thing for your house? I am more of the "I'll do it later" type person.

I am making the vow that I will no longer treat my home differently than those I visit. After all, isn't my family more precious to me than anyone else in the world? Of course it is. My family shouldn't get second best in living conditions or second best when I'm too lazy tired to make dinner.

Still working on my "new" homemaking job. Today I finally got the boxes of Christmas decorations into the basement and realized I need a new tub to fit the remaining decorations. I swept and mopped the hardwood areas and started cleaning off the dining room table. I also cleaned out the refrigerator so that I have room for real food instead of harboring the science experiments of leftovers that have been shoved into the lost maze of the tiny shelves of my refrigerator. I still can't figure out how my little refrigerator seems to swallow the leftover containers.

Anyway, I have already made more progress by this homemaking job experiment than I did trying to make just the tiny baby steps. Now don't get me wrong. I still am making sure my maintenance work involves the dishes, the laundry and making my bed (14 days in a row, woohoo!!!!!!!). Wait, don't think that the dishes and laundry are 14 days. Just the making the bed part. Of course it helps that I had attempted to start that habit back in December.

Enough rambling. Time to change the laundry. After all, I wouldn't leave someone else's clothes sitting in the washer for hours and hours until it went sour and I had to wash it again. I wouldn't want for them to discover such a thing and I certainly would feel bad about using another scoop of detergent, more electricity and more water.