Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Some Random Home Making Points

I've decided on a direction for this blog. Kind of obvious, considering the first post and all, I suppose.

I always wanted to be June Cleaver's kid. My mom was not June Cleaver. My grandma kind of was, though, and she taught me all kinds of fun, useful homemaking things. Knitting and crocheting, for example. Mom baked brownies in the microwave. Grandma made pineapple upside down cake with fresh pineapples.

So, now, I have kids of my own. For some reason, it recently occurred to me that I can totally BE June Cleaver! Or, well, some version of June Cleaver, I guess. The version that wears yoga pants and owns a business outside the house, and really, really hates to iron.

But, besides those things, I can, as previously mentioned, knit and crochet. I can sew and can even follow a pattern; for the most part. I can, do and love to cook from scratch; I even bake my own bread. And one of my absolute favoritest things to do is have people over for dinner.

Look, I'll never be the chick who's ironing her napkins with heels on, or vacuuming in my pearls. But, I think I do a pretty good improvisational impression of a modern day June. Most of the time.

Confession: Despite my first post about my chic Home Management Binder, truthfully, I am a woeful housekeeper. As we speak, in fact, I am sure that my home is overrun with clutter and that the garbage needs to be taken out. Again. My darling almost one year old has most likely pulled every single DVD off the shelf on the entertainment center. And her three and a half year old sister has, undoubtedly, begun using them as frisbees. In their boxes. And, let me assure you, somewhere in my house, okay...EVERYWHERE in my house, there is dog fur.

So, I'm working on that. When I keep up with my HMB's lists, my house can stay clean for, like, an entire DAY at a time! When I'm not keeping up with them, like right now, everything gets totally overwhelming and I want to eat out a lot.

One thing that needs to be done, RIGHT AWAY, is a thorough purging of DD1's toys. She is looking forward to this, and asks me about it every day. She is very excited to share her toys with boys and girls who might not be getting much for Christmas, otherwise. The truth is, she was fighting me tooth and nail about going through her toys, until I mentioned that there are little boys and girls who sometimes don't get toys for Christmas, because they need other things, like warm coats and mittens.

Well, first she asked me to make them all pink mittens. But, after we talked about it some more, a little light went on behind her green eyes and she said "We'd be like SANTA!" Since that day, last week, she's been super excited and can't wait to bag up toys. She's started sorting them on her own, in fact. There's a small pile of mismatched stuff on her floor next to her toybox. When I asked about it, I was told, "Those are for the boys and girls, mommy!"

She's got such a beautiful soul. I wonder what this world would look like if we all approached the prospect of sharing things with others from such a place of wonder and gratitude.

And now, a small holiday gift for my readers. This is what we're having for breakfast Christmas morning. I found it online a while ago, and would gladly give credit, if I could remember where I found it.

6 eggs, beaten
10 slices of bread
1 1/2c milk
2 c grated cheddar
1/2 lb sausage
salt and pepper to taste

Brown and crumble the sausage. Drain the fat. Cut the bread into quarters. Beat the eggs and milk together with salt and pepper.

Grease up the inside of your crockpot. Layer the bread, cheese and sausage in the crockpot adn then pour the egg mixture over everything. Cook on low overnight; 8-12 hours.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Home Management Binder Blog

As promised; information on my home management binder.

Credit for this does not lie with me, trust me. It was a long and winding road that got me to love my home management binder.

A long time ago, in the beginning days of my marriage, I found Flylady, subscribed to her emails and religiously shined my sink. I made a binder, and never once used it for anything other than to prop up the window that wouldn't stay open in the kitchen. I understood the concept, but was just too lazy and undisciplined to do anything with it.

Last year, my best friend started working on her own HMB. She was very excited about it. She eventually put all the pages she had made for her binder on a disk and shared it with me and a some of our other close friends. Her excitement was contagious, and somewhere along the line, I figured out exactly what my problem was. I needed to make my HMB pretty enough that I'd want to look at it, open it and play with it every day. :)

So, I went to Target and got a supercute pink binder. I already had sheet protectors at home from my previous failed attempts at HMBing, as well as white board pens, and dividers. Then I spent some time on my breaks at work designing my pages and printing off handy things to have in there from the internet.

Behold, the cover.... (with my last name covered so you wackos can't stalk me. You know who you are. LOL)
Doesn't it look cute on my table? :-)

Here's the list of what I have inside, and I'll follow that up with some pictures:

  • Plain paper with a "Daily Planner" printed on it. It's basically a to-do list on one side and a schedule on the other. I list everything I need to get done in here, including work appointments and to-dos. This is because DH and I own our own business and sometimes things overlap.
  • In a sheet protector, I next have "Important Information". The address, directions to the house, important numbers (mine, DH's, grandparents, neighbor, emergency numbers and doctors) A copy of this page is also posted on my refrigerator door.
  • Next, in sheet protectors, I've got my Chores section. I have a basic morning, afterwork and evening routine mapped out on the first few pages. I have found that flexibility is a must. Part of my issues in the past with this type of thing was that I'd have this stuff planned and then something would happen, DD1 would have a bad morning, DD2 wouldn't sleep all night, whatever, and then I could get to something (or anything) on these lists when I was supposed to be doing them. And then I'd just give up. Not so any more! I tick things off with a dry erase pen as I get them done, whenever I get them done. Sometimes I don't make my bed. That doesn't mean I also don't make dinner later. LOL Sometimes, I don't get to run the dishwasher when I'm "supposed" to. I just do it when I have the chance and tick it off when it's done. At the end of the day, I erase all my little ticks to start it over again tomorrow. :) FLEXIBILITY IS A MUST.
  • Following my daily routines, I also have "Focus Cleaning" sheets for each day. Basically, these are broken down into one room a day, so that every week, each room gets a thorough cleaning. Each sheet is further broken down into Weekly, monthly and seasonal tasks. And, I love this, the monthly tasks are broken down by week. So the first Monday of the month, for example, in addition to the regular cleaning in the bathrooms, I also wash the curtains and the shower curtain and liner. The second Monday, I do the normal weekly clean and Wash the windows. Etc. etc. And again, I tick stuff off as it gets done, and erase it at the end of the period (weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • Next is my meal planning section. I keep a running inventory of what's in the freezer downstairs, here, as well as a calendar with BIG squares. I try to write down what we're going to have for all our meals at the beginning of each month and then shop accordingly. I kind of suck at this, though. I'm working on it. The calendar is NOT in a sheet protector, so I can write on it easily :)
  • Next is the finances tab. This is a new tab for me; so far all it has in it is a sheet with a list of all the bills that come in during the month. When the bill comes in, I write in the amt. due and the due date, and then I put it in a sheet protector directly behind the list. So far, so good! Once the bill is paid, I take it out of the sheet protector and file it away in our filing cabinet.
  • Next I have Birthdays and Holidays! I've got a list of everyone's birthday first. This is great for sending out birthday cards and for remembering to get birthday presents. Following that is a Gift List sheet. Everyone I have to buy presents for, along with what I plan to buy them, and check boxes for "Purchased", "Received" and "Wrapped" Right now, I have my working Christmas gifting list on it, so it's way fuller than normal ;-)
  • Finally, I have some free form pages to write lists in :) I'm a lister. I have a Holiday To Do list in the works right now, I also have an ongoing gift idea list (when I see something that I think someone would like, but we're nowhere near a reason to buy it, I stick it on this list; then I can reference it when a store is having a sale and get it for a great price!). I have an activity idea sheet (right now, the number one item is SNOW TUBING! LOL), and a home improvement plan list.
Right, so here are some pictures...