"Play with your kids every day. Tell them often how much they mean to you! Pay attention to them when they are talking to you – don’t ever let them feel like your to-do list is more important than they are. Cuddle. Make memories together and write them down. Take too many pictures. Say I’m sorry, forgive quickly, and say ‘I love you’ even if you think they already know. Don’t fight about the small stuff. Don’t lose sight of the power of unconditional love. Never take tomorrow for granted! But most importantly, trust in the hope we have of eternal life found in Christ!"

Sunday, December 8, 2013

{Become a Time Management SUPER MOM} Week Three

Focus on your strengths & passions and prioritize with the 80/20 rule


What a relief to know that you can focus your time and energy on doing things that you love! There are some things that moms have to do that we don't love - endless diapers, laundry, dishes and toys - but hopefully by learning to better manage your time you will be able to do more of what you love instead. When you think about what all you do what are you doing when you notice that time has just flown by? What would you rather do more than anything else if you didn't have anything else to do at all? Write those things down and use them as your motivation to work hard when you have to.

The 80/20 rule is this. As a general rule, when we are efficient we spend 20% of our time getting 80% of our to-do list accomplished or we can be ineffective by spending 80% getting only 20% done. My day starts at 6 or earlier and ends usually around 9 or 10. (Those are long hours, I should talk to someone about getting a raise). What am I doing in those 15 hours that I am awake?? With a to-do list that has 10 items on it I should prioritize my day in a way that allows me to accomplish 80% of my list in just 3 hours. Say to yourself, I have 3 hours to work hard to get these most important things done so that I can spend the other 12 hours enjoying myself and my children...doing the things THAT I LOVE. Sound doable? or too good to be true? Here was my typical to-do list from last week...

  1. Address & stamp Christmas cards
  2. Grocery store
  3. Buy supplies for an upcoming event
  4. Purchase gifts for teachers & classmates
  5. Assemble gifts
  6. Order photo calendars
  7. Blog post
  8. Laundry
  9. Dishes
  10. Declutter
Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head... I hit the ground running. What can I do first and leave going while I do other things? LAUNDRY (check). What can I consolidate to avoid wasting time going to more places that necessary? SUPPLIES, GIFTS & GROCERIES (check) One stop shopping at Walmart (though I'd much prefer a Super Target, sometime you gotta do what you gotta do). Back home, time for naps. What can I do while the kids are asleep? CALENDARS, CARDS, GIFTS & BLOG (check) Save the decluttering and dishes for after dinner and by mid-day my daunting to-do list is out of the way and I can play with my kids and enjoy a Christmas movie after dinner guilt-free. 

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:
Prioritize your to-do list using the 80/20 rule. What are the very most important things that you need to get done and how long do you have to do them? Now do it! 

MEDITATION BIBLE VERSE:
"Do all things without complaining or arguing" Philippians 2:14

LIFE APPLICATION QUESTIONS:
1. How many hours do you have each day?
2. Looking at your situation, would it be better to break up your 20% into multiple sprints or do a marathon? (three 1 hour sessions vs 3 consecutive hours)
3. What do you love to do? by yourself? with your spouse? with your kids?
4. Spend some time searching the internet/Pinterest for a new hobby that you would like to try.

FREE PRINTABLES:
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Earn up to 10 entries for the giveaway!! Here's how...
• Post a comment on my blog each week of the series (up to 5 entries)
• Share about the series on Facebook (1 entry from my Facebook Page)
• Repin about the series on Pinterest (1 entry from my Pinterest Board)
• Purchase any Household Notebook Set from my Etsy Shop (1 entry per set or 3 for the Starter Set)

= = = = = =

TOP 10 LIST OF WAYS GET MORE DONE
10. Take a break
9. Ask for help
8. Learn to multi-task
7. Choose your battles
8. Focus on your strengths & passions
5. Prioritize with the 80/20 rule
4. Use a planner 
3. Kill two birds with one stone
2. Limit wasted time
1. Find your "Power Hour"

Thursday, December 5, 2013

{Become a Time Management SUPER MOM} Week Two

Learn to multi-task & choose your battles...


Life as a mom pulls us in a thousand directions! In order to get more done you have to learn how to multi-task and choose your battles. One comes more naturally than the other - if you are anything like me multitasking is pretty easy - women typically have more than one thing running through their minds at a time so actually doing two or more things done at a time just takes that one step further. At any given time you probably have more thing to get done, find the things that you can start and then leave alone to do first. Then fill your time with the other things that you need to do. For example, every morning right after my first sip of coffee I start a load of laundry going in the washer. Meanwhile, I empty the dishwasher (or one of my kids does), I make breakfast, change a few diapers, get 4 kids dressed and ready to go, pack lunches, and if I'm lucky finish my coffee while it is still warm. (I usually have to nuke it an drink it in the car). By the time we are ready to go the clothes in the washer are done, which I throw quickly into the dryer before we dash out the door. When I get home they are dry and ready to be folded and put away. 

MORE IDEAS for making the most of your time...

  • While you are feeding your baby you can read to your older kids, or something for yourself if you find you have the time. 
  • While the kids are taking a nap, prepare dinner for that night (or another day)
  • Listen to a sermon or devotion on your ipod while you fold laundry or catch a nap
  • Soak your feet in the bathtub while you supervise the kids (they will think it is so fun to wash your legs), or 
  • Clean the bathroom while you supervise them in the tub - you are in there anyways might as well stay busy
  • Do squats while you fold towels and lunges while you vacuum
  • Do triceps dips on the park bench while your kids play at the playground
  • Double your favorite recipes and freeze the second meal when you prep/cook the first one
Choosing your battles is about managing your schedule and about being okay with your house not looking like it belongs on the cover of BHG magazine. First, we have to learn to say no to a few things that we are less passionate about so that we can devote more time and energy to those few things that are most important in our lives. Kids not crazy about soccer like they were a few months ago --- drop it! Not loving the new yoga class --- try something else! Secondly, if you have kids, especially young kids you have to give yourself a break on the housework! SERIOUSLY, unless your house is on the market, NO ONE CARES if there are toys all over the floor. Choose the chores that are most important to you and let the rest be just good enough. For us, clean is more important that tidy most of the time. However, I cannot stand toys and other random stuff strewn all over the kitchen floor - its one of my buttons. And with 3 boys who are potty trained the front hall bathroom needs more attention as well. Laundry, kitchen & the boys' bathroom --- those are my top three, if those get done every day I feel like the house isn't completely a wreck. Most nights there are still toys all over the living room when I go to bed at night. I am learning to be okay with somethings not getting done all the time or even how I'd like them to be done. If your spouse or children help with the chores at home (which they should), give them the tasks that won't drive you nuts if they aren't done exactly the way that you would've done it.

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:
Eliminate at least 1 thing from your schedule that you are not passionate about or no longer enjoy. 

MEDITATION BIBLE VERSE:
"She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness." Psalm 31:27

LIFE APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

  1. Talk with your kids (if they are old enough) about the activities they are currently involved in. Do they still love it, do they want to try something new instead. Use the new year as an opportunity to make some changes.
  2. Make a list of all the chores that need to get done in your house and how often you'd like them to be done. Which are your 'TOP 3" (you get those). Talk with your family about sharing the responsibility to get everything else done. 
  3. Looking at your list of chores, which ones can you start and leave to run while you do other things? Highlight/star/bold these so you know to do them first.
FREE PRINTABLES:
{multitaskers chore chart}

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Earn up to 10 entries for the giveaway!! Here's how...
• Post a comment on my blog each week of the series (up to 5 entries)
• Share about the series on Facebook (1 entry from my Facebook Page)
• Repin about the series on Pinterest (1 entry from my Pinterest Board)
• Purchase any Household Notebook Set from my Etsy Shop (1 entry per set or 3 for the Starter Set)

= = = = = =

TOP 10 LIST OF WAYS GET MORE DONE
10. Take a break
9. Ask for help
8. Learn to multi-task
7. Choose your battles
8. Focus on your strengths & passions
5. Prioritize with the 80/20 rule
4. Use a planner 
3. Kill two birds with one stone
2. Limit wasted time
1. Find your "Power Hour"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Strawberry SNOW-Cream ~ Ice Cream Made from Snow

What?!?! Ice cream made from snow...sign me up!! This is a version recipe that your kids will love to make! 


INGREDIENTS:
8-10 cups clean snow
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup flavored syrup (we used strawberry)

DIRECTIONS:
Fill up a gallon ziplock bag with clean snow by skimming it off the top with a cup or measuring cup. Pour in condensed milk and syrup. Press out air and have your kids (with mittens on) mix everything together by mashing the bag gently. Serve immediately and freeze any leftovers. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rotini in Creamy Tomato Cheese Sauce {recipe}


Rotini in Creamy Tomato Cheese Sauce 
(SERVES: 6-8   TIME: 20 minutes)

INGREDIENTS:
16 oz spiral pasta
1 lb smoked sausage, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
11 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz cream cheese
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 tsp minced garlic 
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder 

DIRECTIONS:
1. Boil pasta in a large sauce pot until al dente. 
2. Meanwhile, sauté smoked sausage & zucchini for 5-7 minutes in 1 Tbsp of hot oil. Add tomatoes, cheeses and spices. Simmer for 7-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. 
3. Drain pasta and toss with cheese sauce. Serve topped with shredded Parmesan cheese. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

{Become a Time Management SUPER MOM} Week One


 
Take a break & ask for help...
I have found that getting a lot done is more of a marathon than a sprint. You may work well under pressure but after a while you will get burnt out and nothing will get done. Experiment to find a routine that you will be able to maintain for a long time including time to rest. That being said make sure that whatever you are doing you are giving it everything you've got at that moment so that when it is time to rest your mind won't be racing thinking of all the things you need to get done.
 
A big part of our job as parents is to prepare our children for life after they move out. By the way we act and what we expect them to do as children will mold them into the husbands and wives they will become as adults. What type of a husband do you want your son to be? How do you want your daughter to serve her future husband? They won't be eager to serve unless they learn it from you. Encourage them to help you with the laundry, cooking and cleaning. Even toddlers can do small things like pushing the laundry into the dryer, wiping the table, dusting and picking up toys of course. As they get older give them more responsibility. Make sure you praise their effort as they are learning. You can always go back and tidy-up what they missed later.
 
Another thing that I've been doing recently with a friend is swapping houses each week to help eachother get bigger jobs done while our kids play. She is getting her house ready to sell, so when we are there we will paint, do small repairs, etc. And at my house we rearrange furniture or organize areas that have been neglected (like the basement, ahem). With sack lunches ready and the kids occupied, its crazy how much you can get done in just a few hours!
 
Our philosophy on chores/allowance & method of getting them done
In my home we have a list of all the jobs that need to get done and whomever does each item first gets a quarter (even mom & dad). At the end of the week we count the money. 10% goes to the local church, 20% goes into their savings account, and the remaining 70% is for them to spend as they'd like. I write IOUs for their piggy banks (savings & spending money) so that we can reuse the coins. When the coin jar fills up I take it in for dollar bills to pay the kids. If they choose not to help they don't get money, while their brothers do (or mom), and I don't nag at them to do it. A helping hand or a gentle reminder for the little ones is usually necessary, but I give them the choice and leave it be. If you don't help you don't get paid. You don't need to whine and cry about it, and I won't nag you over and over to get it done. (Let's be honest sometimes its not worth the battle to get the toys picked up just so you can move on with your day).

= = = = = =

MEDITATION BIBLE VERSE:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

LIFE APPLICATION QUESTIONS:
1. Do you feel that you have too much time on your hands or not enough?
2. What is your current routine like? Do you work too hard and then get burnt out?
3. Do you have a day set aside just for rest? Does your routine allow you to relax or are you constantly thinking of things you should be doing instead?
4. What is your families system for chores? 
5. What big jobs do you have that you need to get done? Or would just like to do if you had the time?

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:
Make a list of all the chores that need to get done in your home and how often, then have a family meeting to decide how you can work together to get it all done and if any rewards will be given for cheerful helpers.  

FREE PRINTABLES:
{Cleaning Schedule}
Find more printables to keep your house in order on my etsy shop

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Earn up to 10 entries for the giveaway!! Here's how...
• Post a comment on my blog each week of the series (up to 5 entries)
• Share about the series on Facebook (1 entry from my Facebook Page)
• Repin about the series on Pinterest (1 entry from my Pinterest Board)
• Purchase any Household Notebook Set from my Etsy Shop (1 entry per set or 3 for the Starter Set)


= = = = = =


TOP 10 LIST OF WAYS GET MORE DONE
10. Take a break
9. Ask for help
8. Learn to multi-task
7. Choose your battles
8. Focus on your strengths & passions
5. Prioritize with the 80/20 rule
4. Use a planner 
3. Kill two birds with one stone
2. Limit wasted time
1. Find your "Power Hour"

Construction MATH


Calling all preschoolers! It's time for math ~ constructions style!! Dump out the blocks and grab all the diggers, and while you play give them some simple problems to work out. 

"The workers have to clear out a space to build a new playground. Can you help them move 3 blocks out of the construction zone?" (10-3=7) 

"Help the workers build a neighborhood! They need 5 squares and 5 triangles."

FOR THE BIG KIDS:
"What is 1/2 of 12 blocks? What is 1/3?"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Scented Holiday Playdoh


I have to smile at this picture because I did them seperately but if your kids are anything like mine they get mixed almost as soon as they get their hands on it. 

I absolutely love this recipe for playdoh because it smells greats and stays soft forever! It's not edible though so if your little ones still eat everything stay close. 

SCENTED HOLIDAY PLAYDOH
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup salt
1 Tbsp cream of tarter
3 oz jello (see note below)
1 1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp oil
Food coloring
2 tsp extract or spices for scent (optional)
Glitter (optional)

• CINNAMON APPLE (RED): red jello, red food color, cinnamon
• SUGAR COOKIE (WHITE): 1/4 cup or 3 oz unflavored gelletin, almond extract
• HOLIDAY SPICE (GREEN): green jello, green food color, ground clove, orange extract

In a medium mixing bowl combine dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add water, oil, food coloring and extract. In a medium saucepan over med heat cook stirring with a plastic spatula until a semi-stiff ball forms and is no longer liquidy. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and allow to cool for several minutes. Knead until smooth and store in an air tight container or ziplock bag. 

***This is a fun gift to give!!! Layer the dry ingredients in mason jar and attach the instructions and a holiday cookie cutter with fun holiday ribbon! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Letter Turkey for Preschoolers

My preschooler has been making turkeys one after another this year and we are teaching him letters and simple sight words. Combine letter and word recognition with this classic thanksgiving craft and VOILA! You've got your self a game!! 


SUPPLIES:
Paper bag
Construction paper
Scissors
Markers 
Google eyes (optional)


INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Cut out a beak and 'gobble' for your turkey. Have your child glue them on and draw eyes. 


2. Meanwhile, cut out feathers and write the letters of the alphabet on each one. You could also do common letter combinations like -sh, -th, and -ch. Make sure you have all the letters for your child's name and doubles of the vowels and more popular letters like R S T L N E.

 

3. Have fun with your letters. Make words, have them find words you've written for them, have them write words they've made, practice rhyming, make silly words with mixed up letters. 






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