Sunday, June 19, 2011

treading water

Lately, trying to find the balance of enjoying our summer, keeping the house clean(ish), and working on pinkadink stuff has been a bit like treading water. not really making any progress anywhere, just trying to stay afloat.

wait a minute....have I written this post before? I think this is life's constant battle. If it's not enjoying our summer, it's something else. but the family, business, and home balance is just tough.

ok, so lately, I've been feeling like I was WAY behind in every area. Because I was behind on the pinkadink, we weren't spending time outside like we totally should have been. And because we weren't outside, that meant we were inside, and the house was a major mess. And when the house is a mess the last thing I feel like doing is cooking because that just makes a bigger mess. oh wait. that's the last thing I ever feel like doing no matter if the house is clean or dirty. :)

So I had to figure out how to make myself more productive, and spend a chunk of time on some major things so that in the future it would be easier. so I thought I'd share them with you all.

Let's start with this guy:

This is my new best friend. I know that lots of people have lots of really great ideas for meal planning, and that's all fine and dandy. But I couldn't just copy someone else's idea when I wasn't totally convinced it fit me and my personality. SO, I just kinda quit the whole meal planning thing. I would plan a few meals at a time, and it would last me a few days, and I'd throw grilled cheese in there one night to just make my planned meals last a little longer. But I was at my neighbor Jenny's house the other day, caught a glimpse of her plan, and fell in love. So the very next day I started my own.

It's just a photo binder with recipes in it. fancy, I know. You all probably heard about that easy idea years ago, and honestly, I probably did too. But it just wasn't a time in my life where I was ready to take action. So anyway, I have all the recipes that I already make and like in one spot. I ripped them out of magazines and copied them out of cookbooks. And then I folded the recipes so that the ingredients were all showing in the photo pocket for easy grocery list making. And then, because my printer is out of ink, I drew a lovely calendar for myself and just started filling it in! Every Wednesday we do grilled cheese or quesadillas, because during the school year we are rushing to get to kids club on Wednesdays, so I want it to be a no cooking night. And every Sunday we do breakfast all day, which is a HUGE hit in our house. We have cereal for breakfast, eggs, pancakes, etc. for lunch, and then cereal again for supper. :) and often we throw popcorn in there for supper too. Plus, on Friday nights we do Friday Night Movie Night (which we started when Steve started working his long hours and we needed some way for Fridays to be special). So on FNMN we either get dollar cheeseburgers or have pizza. SO, when I mark all those off on the calendar, it doesn't seem QUITE as overwhelming to plan the meals.

so anyway, taking one day to make that binder has taken a HUGE load of stress off my mind. I really don't enjoy cooking, so this just takes away the mental hatred I have toward the whole 'what the HECK are we gonna have tonight' problem.

and, it works for me.

ok, so another major battle we have here is the laundry. I've already confessed that I forget about my loads of laundry in the washer, and end up rewashing them multiple times before I get them into the dryer before they stink. this week I washed a load of rags FIVE times. not kidding you. ok, so during the six or seven days I spend washing the same load of rags, all the other laundry was building up. and when i brought it down the pile on the floor was just HUGE. the balance was WAY off.

so I got an idea. and when I get an idea I usually act on it right away. and that's how I know my husband loves me. he doesn't ever say "that doesn't make any sense to do that right now, Andrea." he says, "ok." :) and he even helps me.

so when I bring it up to him on Thursday night that I'd really like to get rid of the toilet in the basement, he said ok! and by the end of Thursday night the toilet was gone! So I stole a shelf from the garage, bought a bunch of $3 laundry baskets on Friday morning, and now have a freaking sweet laundry area in my pinkadink room. so now, if you want to come over and look at the pinkadink stuff, you don't have to walk all over my laundry that's all over the floor of that room anymore! I can dump it all out, sort it into the baskets, and then it stays off the floor and makes the room a much happier place to be. see? yes, I'm going to get two more black baskets for that shelf. but for now, my green one is just fine. :) and...I am still using my over-the-toilet shelf to hang dress shirts on when they get out of the dryer. brilliant.

and I guess I should clarify when i say "pinkadink room." see, I used to have one pinkadink room (the laundry room). and then i had my sewing machines (all three!) in the kids' toy room. well, see, that didn't really work out so well, because I'm a messy creator, and so the kids couldn't really play down there. So I got another idea to just take over the whole room, and Steve said ok! :) only, there were still lots of toys down there. So we've been coming up with ways to get the toys stored up here in an organized fashion. a garage sale and a huge trip to goodwill helped a lot in that department. :) But we still had about a gazillion doll items that were downstairs, which was sad because they never got played with.

I was driving Lillian back from book club on garage sale weekend, and I spotted a very special garage sale. It was a driveway FULL of furniture. really unique pieces. really awesome stuff. So I stopped, found some items I LOVED, and came back for permission and a helper. :) and steve said ok. (isn't he awesome?) :)

So, there were about six things that I really really loved, but settled on 3 of them for the girls' room. The first one was $40, which is a lot more than I would normally spend at a garage sale. but check this out.

This is an awesome piece of furniture. It opens by pushing that little button you probably can't even see. So little ones (brielle or daycare kids) can't accidentally open it and get hurt. PLUS, it doesn't even slam shut, so you can't really get your fingers hurt. the inside is really clean really nice wood. can't even describe how awesome it is. plus, it holds all the doll stuff.

and then, not because it helps me lose the treading water feeling, but only because I fell in love, we got this beautiful mirror for $20. twenty bucks. and it's so beautiful. it'll be even more beautiful when we figure out how to hang it without the wire showing, but you get the point.

and THEN, for $5, we got this adorable little shelf that totally matches the other new stuff to display her little tea set on. it's just been sitting in a wooden box thing where no one could see it, and in danger of anyone bumping it or playing with it or anything. But now, it's up on display, and they'll need my help to get the dishes down. It's pretty special to me because it was my mom's. We never really knew about it until we were cleaning the house after she died, so I'm pretty sure it was just a tea set she had in her office for the little girls to play with. not sure. but since it was her's, it's special to me. So I wanted it up on display. and doesn't it look cute?

and then, while we were in the process of making thier room look cute, I came up with a brilliant idea for all of Lillian's pictures she had hanging on the wall. See, she loves artwork. and letters. and she loves them all over her walls. and I've let her tape stuff all over her room because I wanted her to love her room. it's her space, after all. But I've hated it all along. it made her room look so messy all the time. the whole area by her bed was COVERED. until yesterday. that's when i came up with the idea to make this:

I thought we could peel the stickers off her valentine's day box (which we finally threw out) to make the cover page, and then put all her little pictures and junky posters and calendar pictures into sleeves in a binder. and she said ok! (she gets that from steve.) :) crank your head to see it I guess. it's uploading sideways. can't fix it.

I still let her keep her two real posters up. I don't want to scar the girl for life. But it makes a HUGE difference in how clean her room FEELS. I love it. (all that green space (and more!) was covered in pictures and letters!)

ok, so I think that's all. But doing those things has made me feel like I made MAJOR progress in the 'home' part of the balance, so that just maybe it won't weigh so much anymore. so far so good. I've been making meals and doing laundry on a more consistent basis. and this weekend and next week are "vacation" days, so that will help in the fun part of the balance. So I just really need to get a bunch of pinkadink stuff done this week and I'll feel pretty good! (I have a list of things I need to make each day til we leave for vacation in order to be done on time. the only problem is that I spent my time writing this blog instead of sewing, which means I'll be way behind already tomorrow.)

off I go to find the balance and see if I can swim a little! :)


Anonymous said...

your laundry room used to drive me crazy :) this will be awesome. (not that i can talk b/c i don't even have a laundry room!) and, i've been hoping hazel is not a paper keeper like lillian, but if she is, i will use your binder idea. good job!

jenlar3 said...

We used to be swamped with paper stuff too, so I purchased two of those 18 gal. containers with lids and the girls got to pick out the stuff they wanted to keep and in the containers it went. After that it was easy to keep up because I would just put the stuff we wanted in the containers and toss the rest and no more mess (well, that kind of mess anyway...still had plenty of others, hahaha!!)

Anyway, good going and it sounds as if you are getting a good handle on life!1