My Command Center| Time Management

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I have always loved planning and thinking about things.  However, recently it dawned on me that I spend a lot of time planing and a precious little time doing. I was constantly overwhelmed. When my husband left for a 12 day trip to Australia, I was forced to figure a few things out, and I did.

I learned that I need to have a list prepared. I need to write down the every day thing that need to get done. If I don’t have my tasks written down, I find myself staring at mounds of dishes, toys, clothes, etc and feel so overwhelmed that I become paralyzed. On the other hand, I can find myself flat out racing, but leaving out some of the most important things. Then, when I need something to be done, it isn’t and I’m stuck.

I also learned the importance of staying one step ahead. I tried to work on breakfast the night before, lunch in the morning and supper early afternoon. In the evenings I would work ahead to prep breakfast. I often found it difficult to work up the motivation, but I knew how important it was, so I just pushed through anyway. I was shocked to find that each time I pushed through and did one thing, I had more motivation and energy to push through the next. I built on momentum.

I put these lessons together as well as a few others I learned, and I came up with my command center. This time management system has worked better for me than any other system I have ever used. I don’t know if it’s the system itself or my determination to push through and do what I know I need to do. I like to believe it’s a little bit of both. ūüôā

I took a video of my command center so you could see how it is I manage my time. I would love to hear the things you’ve found work for you too!

UPDATE: I’ve had a few requests for PDFs for my zone cleaning and routines. Here are the links to the google docs for you to look at for inspiration:

Daily Routine
Zone Cleaning

 

Taking a break

I will be taking a break from the end of June possibly through all of July. ¬†I will likely not be posting any blogs (although I won’t say in stone that there won’t be any posts at all.) I am also taking a break from Facebook, YouTube, and general internet surfing.

Remember the priorities I posted about? I’m taking a month off to really focus on those in a pretty extreem way. ¬†I am eager to take a break from everything else for just a little bit.

If you need to contact me during this time, the best way will be by e-mail. ūüôā

Have a happy July!

Only One Chore

Photo by Rissmu

Let’s face it, sometimes things are busy. ¬†As a mom, sometimes things get down right crazy. ¬†I don’t always have time to complete my daily chores, let alone weekly tasks. ¬†That’s when I vacuum.

If I could do one chore and, only one each day it would be vacuuming because I have to tidy to do it. It’s a quick way to make the house feel much cleaner!

What about you.  What one chore do you really try to get done every day?

Learning in Everyday Life: Seat Belts

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Samuel loves to sit in the car and play. He likes to pretend he’s driving, and has lots of fun turning all the switches and knobs. Lately, he has been asking us to “buckle” before he starts the excursion. Today, he noticed my seat belt made a satisfying “click” when I fastened it. He was eager to see what that was all about.

He spent the next 25 minutes working hard to perfect his ability to buckle and unbuckle the middle seat belt. He would take a break to turn a nob here or lock a door here, but he would always come back to the seat belt.

This is such a wonderful learning activity that Samuel came up with all on his own. It doesn’t cost any money and, with the windows rolled down, we were able to get some fresh air and listen to (and even watch a few) birds. It was completely unplanned. I will try to give Samuel a few more times to work on his “clicking” skills over the next few days.

What are some things you’ve seen your toddler catch on to and work to master all by him/herself?

 

Simple Living: Samuel’s First Garden

Samuel digging in the dirt

Lately I have felt stifled inside. ¬†I am constantly surrounded by stuff. ¬†The more stuff I have, the more time I have to spend taking care of it. ¬†The more time I spend inside, the more time I have to spend cleaning up messes we make. ¬†What if I could spend more time outside? ¬†What if I could really live outside and only use inside spaces for sleeping, bad weather, or things that just can’t be done outside?

I am trying to do just that. ¬†I have started taking laundry outside to fold, and have been focusing more on some of the outdoor tasks I have to do. ¬†My goal is to eventually be able to prepare food outside, do chores outside and when Samuel is older, maybe even have school outside. ¬†Believe it or not, this is a bit of a transition for me, so I’m taking things one step at a time. ¬†I figure a great starting place is giving Samuel a place to play so he doesn’t feel the need to wander down the street while I’m working in the garden (or dig up my plants for that matter ;).

On pinterest I found some fantastic inspiration:

Pinned Toddler Garden from Imagination Tree

and I started by making Samuel his own little “garden”. ¬†¬†Here it is along with the process I used to make it:

How can you spend a little more time outside every day?  How can you include your kids in that process? What would you include in an outdoor play room?

Samuel in his first "garden"

Simple Living: Moving Life Outside

 

As I have been re-evaluating my priorities and how I spend my time, I have become increasingly drawn to being outside.  Both Samuel and I come alive when we spend more time out in the fresh air, exploring and discovering nature.  I have also found that when I give Samuel the freedom to explore he learns so much outside.

Yesterday I took Samuel to a nearby trail system with a nice little creek that runs through it. Samuel enjoyed walking in the stream, following it along the path. ¬†He liked to move rocks and watch the water stop and go. ¬†He found that big “heavy” rocks make a big splash and smaller rocks make a little splash. ¬†He loved running back and forth across the bridge. He tried to dig up sticks and rocks. ¬†We played hide-and-seek among tree trunks. ¬†Samuel was really learning. ¬†He was developing language, spacial reasoning, large and fine motor skills and so much more.

When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, I think He really created all men to have a special attachment to the natural world.

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
~Psalm 19:1

I look forward to sharing more ways we make the move outside.

Do you like being outside? What are your favorite things about being outside?

The Importance of Reading

As Samuel is beginning to understand the world around him more and more, I have become increasingly aware of what he is consuming. One of the key areas that has been sticking out to me lately is books and stories.

I have been thinking about these things on a long-term scale, not simply questioning what we read to Samuel now, but the broader purpose of teaching literacy to my children. This is an especially interesting topic when the fact that I plan on homeschooling is taken into consideration.

What about the classics? Is something a good book just because it’s a classic? What is the purpose of reading? Do I want to begin with books that lead to the ultimate goal, or settle for anything that will get my children’s noses in books?

When I was little, I LOVED to read. I would consume anything and everything. From my perspective, the longer the book, the better. When I read books, I was in my own world. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I was in the world of the story. I could be mischievous Tom Sawyer without ever getting into trouble, I could have a fairy tale romance, I could be a pioneer girl out on the open prairie, I could work with any animal you could possibly imagine. My world was wide open.

The sad part was I had to return to reality and only dream about these fanciful and, (let’s be real) often unrealistic experiences. Meanwhile, I was missing out on the world around me. I wasn’t getting out and experiencing the things in nature that I read about. I was oblivious to discovering the real world and real people around me.

I wonder if that’s what reading is really all about. Is reading really a way to help me understand the world around me? People, nature, cultures? Is it a way to more deeply discover the richness this life has to offer? Is it a way to better understand God, His people, how I can join Him in His work? Is reading a way to learn and discover what adventures await for real, not just my imagination?

If the answer to those questions is yes, how does that affect the books I chose to read, the books I encourage my children to read and the way I approach reading in homeschool?

What do you think? I mean that honestly. As I wrestle with these ideas I would love to have a discussion. Maybe you’ve thought of things I haven’t, or have a completely different philosophy all together.

Let’s discuss.