Mobirise

    



Hi! My name is May. I've been blogging since 2009.

1950s housewife to the bone.

I'm a lifelong foodie, raised in restaurant kitchens and with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's.

I homeschool my three children in Los Angeles with my husband of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.







5 Steps to Keeping Your Home Clean and Organized

Chores, Domestic, Home, Kids

This is the first post in my 10 post series, 10 Areas to Master For Managing a Household. Join me every Thursday for a new installment!

Grab a coffee or make some tea and read this like we are hanging out in my kitchen. It’s a long one, it will probably be the longest in this series, but totally, totally, worth the read I promise.

This is probably the #1 complaint from pretty much everyone. No one likes living in a mess. I know you don’t need me to tell you this because you probably know, but having a messy house makes just about everything take longer. In my Facebook feed I see stories about moms taking ages to leave the house because one kid can’t find socks to wear and another has no idea where he put his library book (or whatever) and mom can’t find her keys, etc. How frustrating. I have friends that tell me they walk into a messy kitchen and decide to order in because cleaning it is such a major undertaking.

The solution to this problems is to set up routines and a handful of house rules. It will take about a month before they feel like habit to you and your family. You will absolutely 100% have to remind your kids and your spouse and even yourself of new house rules. There are going to be times when you just don’t feel like taking the 10 minutes or 30 minutes or 5 minutes or however long the task at hand will take, but I promise you that if you do it, future you will be so thankful.

We all have different houses, different living arrangements and different trouble spots, but there are some universal issues. We all need to keep some of the same things organized and easily accessible; clothes and shoes, keys, toys and school items, paperwork and our kitchen basics. There will be some specific things in my home that are not relevant to yours, and there will be some things you need to brainstorm solutions to that I have never had to think about. This is the week to do that.

If you are familiar with the Flylady system, you will see some elements of that in here, but that’s all it is, just a few little pieces. Just like you may read this, implement it in your home and tweak it to fit your own needs over the course of weeks and months and years it will become something all together different. I started with the Flylady system back in 2001 and there have been more tweaks and changes than I can even remember. Your approach will also need to be changed every time you move and every time your life changes (the addition of a baby, a job or volunteer work, etc) and that will come naturally to you once you have some kind of structure in place.

In this post, we’ll go over the 5 big things:

Routines, ‘daily’ chores, laundry, house rules and kid’s chores.

1. Create two simple and easy to manage routines, one that happens when you first get up and start your day and one for the evening. Depending on how your evenings work, this will either end with you going to bed or with you doing whatever you do to decompress at the end of the day (more on that in another post).

The concept of morning and evening routines comes (to me) from the Flylady system, but again it has been modified. With a firm evening routine you will never wake up to last night’s dishes or a child claiming to have run out of clean socks or be surprised with an appointment. With a firm morning routine you will never stand in front of the pantry at 5pm with no idea what you’re making for dinner.

Everyone’s routines will look different, but I will give you a basic idea of what mine looks like.

Every morning after I wake up, I make a cup of coffee, brush my teeth, wash my face, do a 5 minute face, get dressed, and then make more coffee. ;) I help my husband get ready for work, make our bed, wake the kids and gather all the laundry in the house and pop it in the washer. Thanks to meal planning, I have already planned breakfast (and often did all the real work the night before), so I warm that up and feed the kids. I usually make a smoothie for myself and then do a super quick (like, I’m talking 5 minutes quick) clean up of the bathrooms. I literally just clean the mirrors, wipe down the counters and wipe down the toilet. Done! I supervise the kids while they do their chores after breakfast and help them get ready for the day. They have some morning chores and some evening chores just like me. Their morning chores include making their beds, feeding the guinea pigs breakfast and cleaning up after themselves at breakfast. Around this time I move the laundry to the dryer and we start our homeschool day with our morning basket.

I like to do my evening routine between after dinner time and bedtime because I like to move on to hobbies once the kids are in bed. The evening chores the kids are responsible for begin after dinner. Our oldest clears the table, rinses dishes and stacks the dishwasher. Our daughters tidy up whatever messes have happened in their room, and tidy up the guinea pig enclosure. We prepare a bedtime snack for our guineas and play with them a little before picking up the common areas of the house. The school area is cleaned up when school is done, but we pick up anything lingering and then one of our daughters will do a very quick vacuum of the open areas in the living room (no moving furniture or anything). While they are doing those things, I give the kitchen a once over. I clear off the counter and wipe it down, I make sure the kitchen sink is empty, the table is wiped down and the sink is empty and clean. I toss that day’s dish towel in the laundry and give myself a new one. When I used sponges, I’d replace them once a week, but now that I knit them, I also put that day’s dish cloth in the laundry and give myself a new one. I also sweep and mop the kitchen floor. Around this time, my littlest one has a bath, followed by my middle having a shower. During this time, I do a light vacuum of the rest of the first floor and I check my planner and wall calendar for tomorrow’s happenings. I will go over planner details in my planner post in this series, but just a glance at your planner will keep you aware of what’s going on the next day. Establishing the habit of checking your planner every night also shows you things that are happening later in the week. Once the kids are in bed and I have read stories and tucked them in, I sweep both bathrooms and if there are any little messes, I deal with them then. Then I have a shower, remove my makeup and do any girly stuff that needs to be done. Maybe a face or hair mask, or I’ll redo or touch up my nails, things like that. From then till I go to bed, I knit, or blog, or work on videos and hang out with my husband. Sometimes we play pool or help each other with our projects or play games together.

Different lifestyles will change this list, if your kids are in public school your list will look totally different and taking the kids to school will be on it and you’ll likely have the rest of the list done after you get home. When I had a bigger house and when I had a small apartment, my list looked different. The idea isn’t to have the same routines as me. I wrote it out to show you the concept. Every evening, set up your day to be great by waking up to a clean house and everything you need and then jump into your day!

2. Identify how many days a week you can give 30-45 minutes to cleaning, and then divide your home up into that many areas. So, if you have a lot of activities on say Tuesdays and Thursdays and you like to have a family day on the weekend, that leaves 4 days a week that you have time to really clean, so you’d divide your home into 4 areas and deal with one on each of those four days.

I have written before about ‘grown up chore charts’, but essentially all you need is a list of all the tasks to be done in a certain area either laminated or in a page protector sleeve so you can cross them off as you do them. Mine have evolved over the years, and if there is interest in seeing them, I’ll post them. The purpose of them is to walk into an area of your home on the assigned day and know exactly what needs to be done. Some things don’t need to be done every time you clean that area, but they should at least be checked. I don’t wash the curtains in my daughter’s room every week, but I do check them for hair chalk or marker or whatever so if they do need to be washed, I do it.

In my current plan, I like to devote my weekends to school prep and personal projects so I do not schedule must do chores on the weekend. I have some heavy school days and some light school days, but I know for sure that once a week, I am out all day with friends on a field trip. So that leaves me 4 days a week that I really have time to devote to focused cleaning. My current home is divided into four areas; 1 – school room and living room, 2 – kitchen and bathrooms, 3 – girls’ room and the master bedroom, 4 – office and garage (& outside if necessary). I also do family paperwork on Saturdays and call it ‘desk day’. Your lists to begin with do not need t be overwhelming, they can be totally basic, the idea is just to start and add more as you get into it.

When I get into conversations about this, people cannot understand how I do large areas on the same day and fit it into a fairly short period of time. The answer, honestly, is that if you stay on top of these areas every week and you incorporate trouble areas in your morning and evening routines, they are never out of control. Take cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms for example, since I take care of daily messes every night, my kitchen and bathrooms are pretty much always clean. So on the day assigned to them I do not have any messes in the way of cleaning, all I have to do is clean.

Desk day is really just about taming the paper monster, and that is a very personal and different creature for all of us. My general suggestions are to keep a main landing area for family paperwork as it comes into your home and a more involved system elsewhere. A kitchen binder is a good start, one thing that can work in many different situations is to use page protectors in a binder, one protector for each category of paper. For example; bills, utilities, school, medical, work…). You get the mail from the box, bring it to the kitchen and open it. Envelopes and garbage papers go in the recycling and the important bits get put in the binder right away. Every week on desk day, you take your binder to your home office or closet or where ever you choose to build your filing system and file it all away. Your empty binder goes back in the kitchen and voila! You’ve tamed the paper monster!

3. Laundry! This can be partially dealt with in your daily routines and possibly even in the sectional cleaning plan you make in the previous point, but laundry is absolutely not something you can deal with ‘later’.

Personally, I do one load every day of our daily clothes, I do the sheets on the bedroom days and towels on the weekends. Every morning as part of my morning routine, I gather everything from all the bedroom hampers. Since I do this every morning, there is never more than whatever we wore the day before in the hampers, with the possible addition of some pajamas or face cloths and that sort of thing. There is never more than a load between the five of us. The washer runs while I do the rest of my morning routine and then just before I start the school day, I move it to the dryer. When we break for lunch I put it away and I don’t find it as tedious as folding and putting away an entire basket of one person’s clothes because you basically put away a single outfit and move on to the next closet.

Another thought about laundry is less about doing it and more about where your family’s clean clothes go. Most of our clothes are either hung up or in baskets. This also makes it really simple for kids to help put away laundry if that’s a task you want to delegate.

If you have a larger family, you may need to add a second load in the afternoon. You may hate this plan if you like to separate your clothes, but let’s be honest. If you’re having issues keeping up with the laundry, does it really matter if you wash your jeans with your kid’s leggings? I swear, it doesn’t. If you want to do your whites in a hot load with bleach you can modify this to have a basket in the laundry room that you put the white items into each morning until have enough for a load.

4. Set up a few simple house rules for the things that make you crazy. In most homes that’s lost keys, mail/paperwork and library books, but it could really be anything. In homes with babies that use pacifiers, keeping track of those is a big deal. I remember, I swear, and I know it can be maddening.

This is one of those details that is really going to be specific to your life and your family. For us, library books were the main issue. To solve this, we decided on a specific place for them to live and I politely reminded everyone 10,000 times. When one of the older kids was done reading a book, it went back in the basket and they could take out the next one. For my littlest who goes through several bedtime story-style books every evening, I took it upon myself to make sure she’d returned every last book she took out. Why? I did it because after a couple of weeks of this, she made sure that she returned all the books on her own!

Whatever your new house rules will be to keep things in their place, you will not only have to be diligent in enforcing them but you have to follow them as well! This is a point of contention with some parents and I’m not sure why they do not like to take some of the responsibility in this. Children learn by example, and we all learn through consistent teaching, redirection and correction. So when you have allowed your children to leave library books laying around the house for years and one day you tell them that all library books are going to be in a central location, it can’t be surprising to you if your children either forget or assume you will not follow through. So, staying consistent for a decent amount of time will show them that this is something that is important enough for you to follow through over time on. Honestly, aside from your consistency showing your children the rule matters to you, it will become habit over the course of a month or so to just continue following the rule. Seeing you following your own rules makes them more ‘real’, or at least that has been my experience.

5. Delegate age appropriate duties to the children of the house, especially for things they are usually responsible for the loss of or mess making with!

This also ties in with setting some basic house rules that would apply to them. If you’ve read my Positive Discipline series, you know I’m not a big fan of reward charts and the like, but there is nothing wrong with laminating a little chart to help them remember what is expected of them and putting stickers on each task they have accomplished, much like the way I track my own chores.

There is a difference between age appropriate chores your children can do to help within the household and chores you’ll teach them as they get older. The age appropriate chores I’m referring to are the kind of thing they can take off your to do list. I understand that toddlers and under are not going to be much help and that’s a season we all go through, but even preschoolers can do simple tasks. What duties you give them depends on their personalities, their maturity levels, and what they are physically capable of. Kids love to feel accomplished and to really help out, so never assign a child a task they can’t actually accomplish. Some examples of age appropriate chores; very little children love to help put groceries away, older grade school kids may not be able to properly make a bed, but they can absolutely take the sheets and blankets off a bed! You can also make certain chores more child friendly, like using baskets and low hanging rods for clothes so kids can help put away laundry.

They can learn more difficult chores by watching and ‘helping’ you when you do your detailed cleaning. If you make this routine, or you take children aside as they get older and specifically show them how to do certain tasks, you’ll not only be delegating more of your workload, you’ll be teaching your children important life skills. I know a lot of children are not happy about chores, and I think the way it’s gone about is the reason behind that. If chores are just a part of daily life in your family, it’s really no big deal as they get older. If chores are ever used as a punishment or the grown ups complain about them or they are put off for so long that they become overwhelming, of course kids are going to have a negative outlook on helping out.

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Grown Up Chore Charts

Domestic, Home

I will write about my kid’s chore charts eventually. They are really simple and cute and work well for us, but something I keep wanting to address is how often I am asked how to get kids to stay on top of their chores. The answer is actually really, really simple – parents need to stay on top of their chores. This goes back to modeling the behavior you want to see in your children, and blah, blah, blah I know you know this. You know this and maybe you have tried before and have used different systems and haven’t had success. It’s ok. I have lived in large houses and small apartments and every space has it’s own challenges. Right now, I am living in the largest house we’ve ever lived in and while that is a tremendous blessing for a lot of reasons, I have more to clean than I have ever had to clean before.

Keeping on top of chores is a multi-million dollar industry. People sell books and systems and gadgets to us to keep our homes clean and create systems that are so much more complicated than they need to be under the guise of keeping it simple.

Here’s what I have found really keeps it simple, this is a variation of the Flylady system.

Create a morning routine and an evening routine for yourself. This will look different for everyone. The point of these routines are to make sure your days begin and end smoothly. When you’re making your evening routine, think about what you want to wake up to. A clean bathroom to get ready in, a clean kitchen to start your day in, maybe no laundry or maybe laundry ready to go? It’s all up to you to make your morning as smooth as possible. When planning your morning routine, think about what you need to do in the morning to help the rest of your day. Check the calendar? Throw in a load of laundry? If you are getting ready for work, or for a long day of homeschooling, prepping dinner in the morning gets it out of the way so you don’t have to deal with it later. You will tweak and change your routines until they are just right and then you will change them as your life changes. Writing it down with help you follow it. I make really cute charts, laminate them and tape them up inside a closet or cabinet in the room and check them off. Some people just write them down on index cards and put them in a 4 x 6 photo album or use loose leaf binder paper and a sheet protector. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just write it down in order and refer to it until it’s muscle memory and you’re doing it instinctively every morning and every night.

My morning routine is pretty simple:
1. up brush teeth / wash face
2. makeup / coffee for my husband and I
3. gather laundry, start first load
4. check calendar for the day / wake kids / get breakfast ready
5. do chore list for the day

My evening routine is essentially just getting ready for the morning:
1. stack dishwasher and wipe down kitchen countertop
2. sweep and mop kitchen floor
3. wipe down bathroom counters / clean mirrors and sweep / mop floors
4. wash mop head in washing machine
5. unstack dishwasher / lay out new dish cloths

With these two routines, that are now so ingrained in me I can do them even when I am not at my best. When I am really busy because of holidays or homeschool activities or when I or one of my kids is sick, I can just get it done. My evening routine has my kitchen and two most used bathrooms clean and ready to go (my oldest cleans the basement bathroom), all my dishes are clean and put away, my mop is ready to deal with spills and I have fresh dish cloths to keep the kitchen clean all day. My morning starts pretty easy with all this already done for me and I can just focus on getting ready for the day. I sit with my planner after my husband leaves and go over it, then I wake the kids and attack my chore list. By the time my kids are done breakfast and their own morning chores, I’m ready to start school and I already have my makeup done.

Next, divide your home into manageable zones. In the original Flylady system, each day of the week is assigned an area. When I lived in a smaller space, this was simple. I broke it down like this; Mondays in the kitchen, Tuesdays in the living room, Wednesdays were for the bathrooms, Thursdays in the girls’ room, Fridays in the master bedroom, Saturdays were for yard work and Sundays were for paperwork. Maybe you have a day or two where you know you are routinely not going to be home all day. Keep that in mind when you divide up your home. If you have 6 zones and you’re only home for 4 days, you’re going to want to double up on a couple of days. If you just don’t have time to double up, and I know some people really don’t, you can spread out the chores from one zone over the days you are home. There are countless ways to make this work for you. Just be sure to do whatever you set out to do each day in order to keep up with it.

It’s worth noting that some chores shouldn’t actually need to be done at all, or should be able to be accomplished very quickly. The first time you go to wipe your baseboards, you may need to get an old toothbrush out to do it. Once it’s been done though, every week after that it will literally just be a wipe of a week’s worth of dust and lint, no build up. The same goes for scrubbing the corners, cleaning the trash bin, dusting ceiling corners and all those little things that get forgotten. You will not need to wash curtains weekly of course, but if you check on them once a week you’ll notice when they start to get dusty or when something mysterious and sticky appears.

Whatever you do, when you write out your routines and make your chore lists do not make lists that will overwhelm you. Just make a list and get it done, and I swear you children watching you making a list and getting it done, will follow eventually. Some kids may need a little nudge to get started but if their example is to do what they set out to do, they are far more likely to stay on track – and everyone wins!

I started doing this in 2002 or 2003 and my lists have grown over the years as the size of my living space has changed and my routines have changed as my responsibilities do, and yours will too.

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Lemons in the Garbage Disposal

Chores

The first time I had a garbage disposal was 3 years ago when we moved to California, I had a general idea of what was ok to go in (mushy cereal), and what was not (raw veggies), but I had no idea how to clean it or really, what actually needed to be cleaned. I mean, it’s not like I clean the kitchen pipes, so it just didn’t occur to me to venture past the little flap in the drain.

The only reason I even started cleaning the garbage disposal was that my white porcelain sinks were looking really scratched up from metal pans and knives and a friend with similar sinks recommended a product to me (Bar Keepers Friend) and while I was researching it I came across articles and how to’s on cleaning garbage disposals.

All you need is some soap, an old toothbrush, a lemon and some rock salt.

If you really want a good look at how gross my sink looked even after it had been cleaned and then bleached click here. It was clean and germ free, but it looked totally dirty!

 

The picture on the left has favorable lighting so you are not really getting the full effect. One fast scrubbing with the Bar Keeper’s Friend and it was prefect. I decided I’d keep going with cleaning the sink because I really had no idea how gross it might be.

 

First, I squirted dish soap around the silver trim of the garbage disposal and scrubbed that with the toothbrush and got in the grooves of the letters, then I rinsed. Next I squirted the dish soap all over the black rubber flap that leads into the disposal and scrubbed it, it got gross when I started scrubbing the underside of the rubber flap. Yuck. Be sure to scrub both sides of the flap itself and the lip where this flap meets the trim of the disposal on the underside where you can’t see. You can feel it with the toothbrush, don’t worry you don’t have to actually touch it.

I rinsed and rinsed and it was looking really shiny now and I was more confident that it wasn’t riddled with hidden germs, hooray. I did decide to do the last step I had read about online but I was worried it might damage the disposal. Would Google lie to me? Surely, Pinterest must have my back! So I went for it. I roughly cut up a lemon and plunked it in my drain with the water on and the disposal running. I’m not going to lie, it made a freaky noise for about 20 seconds, but the kitchen smelled like what Better Homes and Gardens magazine looks like. Then I poured in some of the rock salt and of course the disposal kicked it around and it make some weird noises but then? Then it sounded brand new! The purpose of the rock salt is to loosen any stuck debris that might be messing with the blades. I didn’t realize I had any stuck debris, but judging from the purring noise the disposal was making (a noise it hasn’t made in almost a year), I did and I fixed it!

I have been using the Bar Keeper’s Friend everytime I do dishes, and I think I will do this once a week on kitchen day.

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Homemade Laundry Soap!

Crafty, Domestic

I have seen recipes for homemade laundry soap around on Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs for at least a year, and while I made soap with my girl Vanessa last year, I had never attempted to make it. Last week I hit the bottom of my 2 gallon tub of bulk laundry soap and texted my dear friend Sammie for her recipe because she’s been making and using her own soap for a while and has had great success.

Initially, I was going to use a liquid recipe because I only use liquid soap but Sammie and I had both read that oftentimes the liquid soap gets gloopy and stuck together. So, powdered it is, and then my husband had the idea to mix the powder with a little water before adding it to the washer. Perfect!

Homemade Laundry Soap
The recipe for it is insanely easy. Just grate two bars of Ivory soap and mix it up with a cup of washing soda and a cup of Borax. Seriously, that’s it!

Homemade Laundry Soap
Homemade Laundry Soap
Homemade Laundry Soap

What really matters to be, aside from the obvious savings, does it work?

Honestly? I feel that it works better than any other laundry soap I’ve ever used. I know that seems crazy, but I think it’s the washing soda really lifting the dirt off. I washed three different loads of laundry to put it to the test.

In my first load with this soap, I washed Wee One #3′s laundry. She basically spends all her free time either painting up a storm or playing in the dirt in the backyard. There was a shirt covered in day-old paint and a dress covered in serious dirt from earlier that day. No pre-treating with either, I just threw all the laundry in the washer, topped it with 2 tablespoons of soap mixed with about 1/2 cup warm water. Everything came out bright and clean and smelled just clean without smelling like that fake clean smell, you know?

The second load included a pair of my husband’s pants. He is always brushing up against the truck when he gets in and out of it and ends up with grease on his pant legs on the regular. Ugh. Regular laundry soap almost never gets it out on the first try. Usually, I just pretreat it before I wash it, but that’s not really the most convenient thing. So this time around I put the rest of his laundry basket in the washer, topped it with the same 2 tablespoons of soap mixed with about 1/2 cup warm water but I also rubbed some of that soap into the grease on the pants. This grease had sat for at least a day, maybe two before I did this. I saw it start to lift off as I rubbed the soap into it. Whaaaat? That’s pretty incredible!

The third load was all about smell and maybe sweat stains too. Apologies to Wee One #1, who is not at all wee anymore. He just turned 13 and took up jiu jitsu early this year. He puts in a lot of hard work and training four days a week, and you know, that leads to a lot of sweat! So I was hoping for both a clean smell and no yellowing of the fabric! Guess what? It totally worked! It smelled clean without the factory clean smell and his gi is as white and sparkly as when he got it!

This recipe is officially a win. I’ll never buy laundry soap again, it took less than 10 minutes to grate the bars of soap and mix it together. One box of washing soda will do several batches, one box of Borax will do even more and you can easily buy bars of soap in larger quantities, but even at 3 bars per package, three packages would do more than four batches. Keeping extra bars on hand just means when you run out, you can easily make more right away!

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A Typical Day….because you asked.

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Kids, Marriage, Naughty, Nerdy, Small Town

For what it’s worth (and because I’ve been asked), this is my basic schedule since we moved about 6 weeks ago. I’ve included the other stuff too, just to give you an idea of how I work around everything else.

Our mornings are prepped the night before, (because as I’m sure you know, chopping celery and washing lettuce goes a lot faster at 9pm than it does at 7am). So clothes are already picked out and school bags are already packed and ready on each kid’s hook by the front door. I know my neurosis is showing again, but this takes maybe 20 minutes after the kids are in bed to accomplish and I save myself all kinds of headaches in the morning – and frees up that time to get other things out of the way.

I brush my hair and throw some makeup on while I’m still in my PJs right after I’ve brushed my teeth – otherwise it just might not happen! Then I just grab whatever I put out for myself the night before and wake the kids – then they separate into their bathrooms for teeth brushing and face washing (that sentence made me sound a lot snobbier than I really am, we just happen to have two bathrooms very close together). I’ve changed the baby and brushed her teeth at this point and she’s likely on my hip in the kitchen making oatmeal with me while the other two get dressed in whatever was pulled for them the night before.

While they’re eating breakfast, I take their (mostly made) lunches from the fridge, add whatever is left to add and put them in their bags. Now, I have time to make the beds, pick up laundry, give each bathroom a tidy and wash the breakfast dishes before we even have to go outside for the school bus.

Once the older two are on the bus (to keep time in perspective, I usually get up around 6:30ish and the school bus rolls up around 8:30), wee one #3 and I go back inside and do a quick tidy of the home office so it’s ready for my husband when he gets up. Then, for no more than an hour, I set to work on all the chores for whatever room is assigned to that day:

Mondays – office & kitchen
Tuesdays – living room & dining room
Wednesdays – bathrooms & hall
Thursdays – kids’ rooms
Fridays – our room, laundry room & entrance
Saturdays – outside & garage

Each room gets a total once over every week, so it’s always super clean. Aside from the occasional ‘how did that end up on the ceiling fan’ chocolate milk mishaps, nothing too damaging happens over the course of a week. It’s when we leave things for months on end and then notice how gross it is, but by then everything has been left that long and it’s all gross!

So after giving the area(s) of the day an hour of cleaning time, it’s about 9:30. 9:30 and the house is clean (I don’t do laundry in the day because we’re on time of use meters in Ontario for our hydro consumption, so I save my family a lot of money by only doing laundry (and cooking) at off peak times).

This frees up the next hour to working out. I know. Roll your eyes at me harder, why don’t you? :P I’ll type out my workout routines for another post – some days it’s stability ball exercises, some days it’s resistance bands and there are usually free weights in there too. And cardio. As a rule is goes like this; Mon, Wed & Fri are abs & arms days with PSX cardio. Tues, Thu & Sat are butt & legs days with strippersize (ooh la la) and on Sundays I try to do ‘fat burning yoga’. My friend Gill is the fitness queen, and I try to make her proud, this schedule may seem crazy and you may assume I am super fit, but really this routine is nothing compared to hers and I am just borderline healthy, not yet fit. Ask me where the toddler is. You know you’re thinking it. She’s right beside me trying to work out – it’s hilarious! Of course. Then, once you add in changing in and out of my workout gear, drinking about a liter or more of water and having a very fast (and very hilarious) shower after, where I very carefully avoid getting my face and hair wet – and try to keep wee one #3 from stepping in with me, it’s about 11am.

That’s typically when I sit at my computer and check out my favorite forums and read some of my favorite blogs (while sucking on a protein shake, no less). I check in with my girlfriends via email around this time and then as I’m making lunch I generally call my Dad. I’ll be 30 next week and I still feel the need to check in with him, and let’s be honest – I totally call him Daddy. Ahem. I’m a grown up, shut up. :P

I feed the littlest one and then cart her off to her room for a nap between 12:30 and 1pm. This is where parenting controversy comes in. When I put her down with her water and her blanket, I sit in the room with her (on wee one #2′s bed) and I knit until she sleeps. Will she always need me there? Am I warping her for life? I don’t know, but I did this with the other two and all is well, so I’m not messing with a good thing. Sometimes, she’s out cold within 15 minutes and on those days I’ll sit there and knit for another 15 or so. Other days it might take half and hour or even 45 minutes. I just keep knitting, happily while she lays there watching me till she drifts off. I’m out of there by 2 for sure, usually a lot earlier.

Wee one #2 is in SK, and in this district that means she’s in school 3 days a week. So if she’s home, we’ll get crafty together for an hour and a half at this time. Usually painting or coloring or something involving pipe cleaners or glue and googily eyes. If she’s at school, I’ll use this time to work on the blog or call a long distance friend or reply to pen pals. Yes, pen pals. <3 The magic ‘nap must end time’ at this house on a week day is 3:20, because we have to be at the end of the driveway for the school bus drop off just before 4.

Once they’re off the bus, they run around and play in the front yard, if no one has homework we take the 5 minute walk to the lake and maybe collect rocks, or just throw them in the water.

Once we’re inside (always by 5) it’s that whirlwind of supper prep and homework. I am a homework helping kind of mom. I never do it FOR him, but I always check answers and insist sloppy homework is redone. If supper is ready before homework is done, we take a break and it’s finished up while I do dishes and clean the kitchen after supper. Now it’s about 6 or 6:30ish. All homework is finished up or kept at if there is lots and school bags are prepped for the next day. All papers signed, all books put away, and they’re hung on the kids hook by the door.

Wee one #1 will either read or practice his guitar or maybe watch a movie with Dad or wee one #2. Bath time for the younger two is at 7, I wash them and then read to them till 7:30, then it’s teeth brushing and PJ time for them. They’re both in bed having their last story read by 8. I sit there again and knit till #3 is sleeping, which usually happens around 8:30. Then I remind wee one #1 that it’s time for a shower, he gathers up his school stuff if he hasn’t already, puts it on his hook and is in the shower by 8:45.

While he showers, I prep lunches for the next day, take another look at the calendar to see if there’s anything important going on and once the oldest comes back to the kitchen to get a glass of water and say goodnight, I’m off to the laundry room to pop in the only load of dirty clothes (sheets and towels are done on Saturdays). Then I’m in the office with my husband to update the family photo site with the day’s photos and then I close my laptop, watch old movies with the husband and knit my face off till around midnight. Then I have a shower, get primed for the next day and go to bed, usually somewhere around 1am – unless my husband comes with me and then who knows how late I’m up? ;) I pop the wet clothes in the dryer before I got to bed because we have this indoor dryer vent thing to help heat the house at night. Anything that saves on hydro make us happy around here. ;) Saturday and Sunday are typically the days I do the most baking, though I can be found in the kitchen instead of knitting doing supper for the next day if I’m excited enough about it. Food nerd alert!

Nothing fantastically glamorous, but I love it. Things we used to do weekly (like date nights, Saturday night parties and Sunday suppers at my aunt’s house) are now monthly things because we moved to the woods, but the trade off has been amazing! My girlfriends will come up in two separate groups about once a month, and we’ve already had a handful of random visitors make the drive, and a few on their way!

What I like most about this schedule is that if we make last minute plans or someone wants to come for the weekend on little notice, it’s not a big deal to skip a day because it’s always done!

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