Archive for the ‘chores’ category

Living the Simple Life- Not Starting Out So Simple

February 3, 2008

     Inspired by several people close to me, I have started a process to make my life more simple and therefore, better.  Living in the busy chaos of life in these times seems to be unfulfilling at times.  So, maybe by going back to the way things used to be before my time- simple and focused- I can become more focused on the things I enjoy and have more time to spend with those I love.

     The first goal I had was to create a better budget system.  I used to do the envelope thing and I lovrd it.  Pretty much, at each payday, money gets put in each envelope which is designated for a certain thing- groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.- and then, when it’s gone for the week, it’s gone.  I loved this system because after the initial planning and aside from the weekly “stuffing the envelopes”, there is no thnking involved.  I know how much was spent or not spent and I know where the money goes each week.  Unfortunately, my dh didn’t really get into this system when I tried it after we got married.  But, thanks to his friends recommending it to him and the book by Dave Ramsey, My Total Money Makeover, we are trying it again.  This is week one.  We started Friday with my paycheck and the begining of the month.  it seemed to be the perfect time.  The only problem was my dh was having pizza cravings and cheap pizza just wouldn’t do.  So, $30 later, he had pizza- from a place he loves and I don’t like- and our envelopes were already off.  Trying to relax and understand this is going to be a hard thing to get used to, I wasn’t very successful at.  But, by later that evening, I had refigured the weekly envelopes to add up.  We’ll see how the rest of the week goes!

I just spent $20 on groceries for the week- $10 less than our budget due to the pizza.  When I make out a menu and really plan the list, I’m amazed that I can have well balanced, good meals every day for very little money.  When I don’t plan ahead, it’s amazing how much I spend on the junk I end up buying!  This week we are having chicken in the crock pot, burritos, spaghetti, pot pies, and taco bake casserole. 

The next project for the day is what I am sitting here writing to procrastinate for.  My cousing had the idea to eliminate so much laundry and clutter by limiting the amount of clothing for everyone in the house.  I am not that brave since I have to go to work every day and need to wear different clothes.  Also, I am not worried about the amount of laundry I contribute.  My son on the other hand has two very bad habits.  The first is that he would rather put clean clothes back in the laundry than folding them and putting them away.  This is one of my biggest pet peaves!  The second is that whenever he gets something out to wear, he gets every single thing out of his drawers!  I mean everything!  And, then it all gets thrown in a pile on the floor where it stays until we have to yell at him to clean his room.  So, by giving him only a fewn options of clothing, there will be a smaller pile on his floor and he will be forced to put it away or else have nothing to wear!  I am hoping this works!

My other project for the day is to update my son’s school work.  Usually this time of year, I am not in charge of his school.  But, due to my dh having heart surgery, he has not been keepng up with it.  So, today I am going to make sure things are on track and plan for this week of school.  It will be a review week- which we have periodically to make sure he is retaining the information.  Also, at the begining of the year I created our book of goals for the year and I really need to start checking them off.  I know some of them have been accomplished and others should have been accomplished and I really need to regain my focus on his studies.  Pretty soon, it will be springtime and school will not be as easy then- too many distractions!

Focusing on taking better care of myself is on the list.  But, as most of you mom’s know, it usually doesn’t ever make it to the top of the list.  I hear people always saying you should take time out for yourself.  But, what do I take that time out of?  I get up and go to work early.  No high maintenance or prep time for me, it’s usually the get up and go look.  So, doing anything in the morning only takes time out of sleeping.  Does that sound like a good idea?  I’m thinking no.  But, then there’s the evening when I get home.  Ok.  I admit it.  I’m lucky to get dinner made before I colapse for the night!  But, I guess that seems to be my only option.  But, it just seems that since I come home so tired, I am setting myself up to fail by planning to excercise then.  But, I’ll keep you posted.   

I had thought several weeks ago about having weekly goals to accomplish.  Two weeks ago, they were to eat at the table more and to play games more as a family- or at least with my son.  I’m making an effort on both of these but fell a little short this week and didn’t make any new ones for last week.  This upcoming week here are my goals.  Although they sound easy, sometimes, they are not easy in my world.

Goal 1- excercise 3 times this week

Goal 2- keep up with schoolwork checking

Goal 3- continue the first goals- dinner time 3 times a week and game time at least once

So, I believe these are all good things- things to make life easier.  But, getting them started- making myself do them- sometimes seems to be a hurdle I’m not too sure about!  


Jack Frost Nipping at Your Toes

January 30, 2008

This weekend my son turned 14.  It’s hard to believe- especially after you hear this story.  I mean, most 14 year olds know everything, don’t they?  If that was the case here, it would have saved me a trip to the doctor!  But, let me start at the beginning.

Sunday morning was the typical running around like crazy to get ready for church.  (I wonder why that is when I usually leave the house hours earlier during the week!)  Add that to a late Saturday night filled with fun and games (Vegas Showdown is the best game ever- except for Settlers of Catan) with my sister and brother-in-law and a morning of getting everyone ready (amazing how different a 3 or 4 year old is from a 14 year old- also amazing how similar they are lol).  So, here sets the scene for our story.  

 Oh, how could I forget some of the key characters?  My sister’s 2 dogs- who were very good sports for the weekend away from home. 

So, in our rush to get things done before church, someone- I don’t even remember who- asked my son to take the 2 dogs out.  Since we only have 1, there is only 1 chain.  So, he was supposed to let one out and then the other.  Unfortunately, the plan didn’t work out that way.  While letting one out, the other one flew out the door and down the street.  Without thinking, obviously without thinking, my son flew out after her.  Since everyone was rushing around, we had no idea this was happening.  I did notice he was not around, but figured he was right outside with the dog.

So, imagine my surprise when my barefoot- yes barefoot- son comes in the house wheezing from an asthma attack!  In case you live somewhere where it’s like 80 outside, let me tell you, I live nowhere near you!  It’s freezing here!  This morning with the windchill it was -25!  It wasn’t quite that cold Sunday, but it was pretty cold!  Of course, the pile of shoes by the door were not taken advantage of and he had just been running around outside barefoot for about 10 minutes!

This fact was not fully digested until much later.  During church he mentioned- ok whined- that his feet hurt.  I figured it was the typical reaction to being very cold and warming up- the tingly, strange feeling.  The rest of the day, he said nothing about it.  And, we spent the day together- playing games and spending a great time with my sister and her family.  

That night, when I picked him up from youth group I asked how it went.  “Fine- except I couldn’t really run because of the blisters on my feet.”  What?!  When we got home, I looked at his red, swollen feet and saw huge blisters on one toe on each foot.  We had him soak his feet in epsom salt.  Why?  I don’t know.  Isn’t epsom salt a good cure for anything? 

By the next morning, the number of blistered toes was increasing.  So, I called his doctor hoping she could just tell me he was fine and what to do.  No such luck.  After a trip to the doctor’s office, we found out he has 1st and 2nd degree burns on his toes and part of his feet.  They put a burn cream on him, wrapped his feet and sent us on our way.

So, now, we are changing the wrap daily and putting the medication on and hopefully never running through the snow barefoot- especially with a million shoes right by the door!

Chore Lottery Gone Bankrupt

October 29, 2007

As much as I loved the idea- as proud I was that we developed this intricate plan, the chore lottery has declared bankruptcy.  While the concept seemed simple enough, it didn’t change the effect on our routine.  Instead of asking him about the list, I was asking him about the chore lottery- and finding out it wasn’t done.  So, after giving it a few weeks of trial time, I’ve decided it’s time to try something else. 

Saturday, while looking online with my sister, we came across an interesting site.  It’s calld chore wars.  I’m just about to sign up, but the system was overloaded so I have to wait.  It seems to be in the begining stages so I’m expecting to find a few glitches.  The basic concept is that every member of the household signs up and as chores are done they log them in for points.  I think there is some game playing involved whn they log a chore, but I’m not too sure.

Has anyone else tried this?  I’ll let you know how it goes here.  Eventually something is bound to work- or eventually my son will get marrried and it’ll be somone else’s problem to get him to do his chores!  Anyway, here’s the link-

7 Habits

October 16, 2007

One of my ideas this weekend was to start a new class for Rafael.  Actually, for both of us.  So, Monday we began our study of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.  I think this will be a great time of learning and bonding for both of us.  I’m really excited about it.  In an attempt to improve on the outside as well as the inside, we will be watching a webcast, listening to an audiobook, and discussing things while I ride the bike and he walks on the treadmill.

Since this is an experiment and I will be continuing to figure it out as I go along, I’ve decided to take you along on the journey with us.  So, beginning today, I’ll be sharing the class plan and our experiences with you.  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, too!

Monday: My son created his mission statement.  I am going to do this again at the end of the study.  I’m curious to see if it will be the same or different.  I will do the same myself.

Here’s the link if you want to follow along.

Tuesday: We listened to the beginning of the webcast found here- 

Then go to this one- “March 2007 – The 7 Habits with Todd Davis and Gary Richins”

We listened to the first 10 minutes or so.  They talked about the program and 2 key terms.

1) Effectiveness- “Getting the results you want today in a way that allows you to get them over and over in the future.”  Doing something that will make a difference not only right now, but also in the future.  I used the example of getting him to do his chores.  I could yell at him to do something right now.  But, it probably wouldn’t get him to do his chores 2 weeks from now.  But, hopefully, by developing a plan that we both agree on see chore lotto below) hopefully, we have an effective way of getting chores done.

2) Paradigms- “The way we see, understand, and interpret our world.”  I used the example of the movie Crash.  Depending on the age of the child, this may or may not be a good movie for them to see.  I was lucky to have a cousin who had the edited version that was acceptable for him to watch awhile back.  So, he had seen enough of it to understand that paradigms are basically, our perception of the way people or things are based on our culture and experiences. 

We ended there.  I thought that was enough for day 1.  It is bringing up some interesting conversation.

Chore Lottery

October 15, 2007

This weekend, my son and I had a great discussion about school, chores, and life in general.  One thing that i a constant battle in our hous is getting chores done.  Being an only child, I am sure he probably has more chores than some.  But, there is nothing out of the ordinary on his list of things to do.  Since my husband and I work and he is home, we expect things to be done when we get home.  Usually, this is not the case.  (So, why we continue to expect it, I don’t know!)

Anyway, he is the type of person that needs a list in order to remember things.  This is just a fact.  But, ysterday he told me he doesn’t like having a list for his chores.  So, where does that leave us?  Then, I had a lightbulb moment.  No, really, I think if you were there you would have seen a lightbulb over my head! 

We put all of his chors on seperate pieces of paper and then put them in a box.  He was actually excited about this and designed each paper with different types of writing and pictures.  Then, he offered the box from his mp3 player which has several compartments. 

So, now, in the morning he has to draw a chore and go do it.  Then when he’s done, he puts it in the finished compartment and draws another one.  This way, he knows what he has to do, but doesn’t have to look at a list.  Plus, it’s different everyday- which he seems to like.

How did it work on day 1?  Well, nothing in life is perfect.  But, his attitude is great and most of the things were done.  The rest are in the process of getting done.  The other change is that I am trying not to stress that it wasn’t done- just encouraing him to get it done in a positive way.  I figure if I stay positive, he is more likely to stay positive, as well.  (Which makes for a much more enjoyable evening!)

Where, Oh Where, Did My Weekend Go?

October 7, 2007

After a frustrating day Friday, I realized I had no choice but to work Saturday.  This was a bitter sweet discovery.  My other option was to have my garage sale I had started planning for at th beginning of the summer.  Obviously, it was not high on my list since it’s now October.  But, I really was hoping to get rid of the things cluttering up the school room/ guest room before they would make a permanent home there for the winter.  So, now I must admit my husband was probably right when he said I would never really have the sale- only gather things for it!  Sad, but true!

I worked all day Saturday because my orders didn’t arrive Friday when  I have people there to put them up.  So, guess who the lucky one who got to put the order up was?  You are so smart!

When I got home, I joined the rest of my family in not feeling very well and become a bum- laying down watching tv until bedtime.  Actually, I think my son was ok when he was doing fun things.  His illness only came on when it was time do do things around the house- or school stuff.  Hmmmm.

Today, my husband seemed even worse.  He has a temp and hasn’t really gotten out of bed.  So, besides being a nurse for him and trying to motivate my son to get some things accomplished- between his bouts with being “sick”, it’s been a real fun time around here! 

With everyone very low key today, I probably could have gotten alot accomplished without much interruption.  Instead, I was proud of myself for doing the dishes, aa load of laundry, and vacuuming!  Ys, that about covers my list of accomplishments!  What I really would have like to accomplish was a nap!  I guess we all were a little out of it this weekend.  Hopefully, next weekend will come quickly and we can try again for a fun weekend! 

lincoln- same as always

October 4, 2007

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday!  And I really can’t believe it’s been so long since I wrote anything! 

A week of vacation was a wonderful thing!  A week of recovering vacation has not been as wonderful!  I knew it would be a little rough at times- getting back into the groove.  But, not this rough!

Monday morning I gave my son the list of things to do for each subject.  Actually, it’s written on the dry erase board in the schoolroom (Yay for an excuse to visit the office supply store a few weeks ago!).  Then, I went off to do my things for the day.  That was my first mistake- thinking it was ok to leave and assume he would accomplish his tasks.  I came home to pick him up for work a couple hours later- thinking he had done 2 of his subjects.  (that’s our agreement- he can keep his job working 2 hours a day if he has 2 subjects done before he goes and finishes the rest when he gets home)  Then I brought him back home to do his chores and school stuff.  I had a meeting and then made a trip to do go grocery shopping (yuk!)  When I came home, he and my husband were watching something on the computer so I figured all was right with the world and he had completed everything.  That was mistake #2!  Being exhausted at this point, I made dinner and then collapsed for the evening without checking his stuff.  You guessed it!  Mistake #3!

Imagine my surprise when I found only two subjects in the spot I told him to put things for me to check.  I went to the first book- wordly wise- to check his vocabulary.  I found 3 out of the 10- 15 questions that he just hadn’t bothered to do.  I was not happy since he has a really easy time with this so it was obvious it was pure laziness and not something he didn’t understand.  So, I handed it back to him and told him to finish while I went on to check his history.  Since we are using History of Us and there are not questions in the book, I have a list of things he has to write in a notebook for each chapter- vocabulary, famous people, important events, culture, art and literature.  So, since we are studying the civil war, he was on a chapter about Abraham Lincoln.  Here is what he wrote- the only thing on the entire page for the chapter.  Are you ready?  Are you sitting down?  I wish I had been.  Ok.  Here it is!

lincoln- same as always

That’s it!  That’s all he had to say.  What is that supposed to mean?  So, that is what he had spent an entire Monday doing! 

As you may have guessed, Tuesday morning was not quite what you would call fun around my house!  I proceeded to load him down with the work he should have done Monday and the work for Tuesday.  The last thing I wanted was to let him think he would get away with that!

Unfortunately, bombarding him with more work when he was having a hard time handling getting into the routine of a regular day made for a really fun time for all.  It was so much fun that we rolled it into a fun day Wednesday!  This was the day I finally told him to go t bed.  I know, a normal parent thing to do.  But, not at 4:30 in the afternoon!  He was obviously so tired I could tell I wasn’t getting any work out of him until he had some sleep!  The evening was better after his nap.

Today has been pretty good.  He even got caught up on some things and now has the privilege of watching Smallville- one of those father/ son bonding things.

A statement my husband made yesterday got me thinking.  He seemed surprised when i told him a homeschooling friend I work with has these kinds of days too.  “You mean we’re not the only ones?”  I have a wonderful support group that helps me vent.  As a homeschooling father, he doesn’t have that luxury.  Most of the dad’s work alot so the mom’s can stay home.  So, they don’t get together like the mom’s.  So, he had never had the opportunity to hear other horror stories. 

This is where you come in!  Share your moments of stress and chaos- your homeschool horrors!  Vent- just as I have just done (thanks!  I feel better!)!  Give me some stories to share to tell my husband that we are not the only ones with days like these.