One Word Update for January


This year, my “one word” is HOME.  I want to take care of my home, but I also want to be home when I am here.  Too often, I’m distracted when I’m home.

I spent a lot of time at home this month.  But, it doesn’t feel like it.

Taking Care of Myself and Family

January has been quite a month.  Landon came down with the flu — the Sunday before the semester started.  I taught on Monday and took him to the doctor on Tuesday, where we were told he had to stay home the rest of the week, because they won’t give flu medicine after the first 48 hours. Chris came home sick on Thursday with a stomach virus and stayed home on Friday.  Raegan had a fever by Friday, so I took her back to the doctor where they told me she also had the flu, but could not have medicine because she is too young.  So, my wonderful friend Paula substituted for me on Friday.

By Monday, Raegan was worse and Landon was better.  Landon went back for his check-up and was cleared to go back to school.  Raegan was given a nebulizer for her wheezing.  The doctor said it’s normal for the fever to last a few days.  My students loved Paula, so she took care of my class again on Monday.

Raegan’s fever lingered all week, which meant no day care.  So, I missed more work and she continued to wheeze and cough and sneeze.  Thursday I took her back to the doctor (trip #4 for us), because her fever started to go back up.  Guess what.  She didn’t have the flu.  She had an infection.  We finally got a bottle of antibiotics and within days she was feeling better.

Now, I have a terrible sinus headache.  The medicine I have has been taking care of it — but it’s non-drowsy and I’m afraid that Raegan is getting it through breastfeeding because she hasn’t been sleeping well at night.  But, while I’m sick, I’m going to bed early and asking for help with the housework (instead of just going to bed early and letting the housework go).

Making the House a Home

I did finally find a housework routine that is keeping the mess at a manageable level.  I’ve relying on the Confident Mom Planner to tell me what to clean each night.  I’ve also been recruiting help from Landon and Chris.  Every night (when I have the energy and no headache), I do the chores in the planner.  Then, Saturday we play catch up and work on all of the chores we missed through the week.  It’s working.  I actually vacuumed every room in the house last week.

I talked to my students about autonomy last week.  We talked about how having a choice can motivate someone to do the task, and being told what to do can be discouraging.  The idea that autonomy can actually motivate someone blew my mind.  It makes sense, but it’s just not for me.  Tell me exactly what to do and I will do it.  I’ll take small choices– they help me organize– but someone else needs to handle the “big picture”.

The Confident Mom is handling the “big picture” for me right now.  She tells me what needs done every week, and I try to stay on her schedule.

Paying Down the Mortgage

I haven’t made the extra payment yet — mostly because I’ve been too busy to remember it.  But, I missed a lot of work this month and I want to balance everything to make sure we’re still where we should be.  It should be fine, but I like to double check.

We’re looking at the new federal student loan program to see if we can save some money there, too.

Next Month

  • I’m turning twenty-five!!!  I’m having a party with the ladies in my family.
  • I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes on the blog.
  • Chris is taking me out for Valentine’s Day.
  • Hopefully, we’ll all be healthy and I won’t miss any more work.
  • I’m participating in the Hello Mornings Challenge.
  • And, saving the best for last, wrestling season will be over soon and I will have my hubby back!!


time management

Time Savers: Commercial Breaks

time savers
Tuesday Time Savers

Did you know that a show with a 30-minute slot on TV is really only 22 minutes long?  That’s 8 minutes of commercials for every half-hour of TV you watch.  Do you watch any shows that are an hour long?  They aren’t!!  You’re watching more than 15 minutes of commercials every hour.

Now, we don’t have cable or a satellite hooked up to our TVs, so the commercials we see actually interest us (because we haven’t seen them more than 100 times, yet).  But, even an interesting commercial doesn’t need your full attention.

Take those 15 minutes and tidy up a nearby mess!

  • Pick up the toys scattered throughout the room.
  • Find the remote and put it away.
  • Gather up the snack bowls and put them in the dishwasher.
  • Fold some laundry (you can do this while the show is on, too!).
  • Run the vacuum.
  • Dust a shelf or two.

A little daily tidying will make your weekly cleaning a lot easier.



cleaning, time management

Laundry Lessons: My Routine Today


With baby #2 on the way, knowing we were going to use cloth diapers, I couldn’t handle three or more extra loads each week.  I would go insane…

After bargain hunting for a few months, we got a great deal on a new HE washer/dryer set.      It’s HUGE!  I’m down to about 6 loads a week (including diapers!) when I used to 12 or more.


I only gather dirty clothes once or twice a week.  Because the washer is bigger, I can wash a lot more at a time and we need to go longer between washes.  If I see the hamper overflowing, I’ll empty it.  Clothes still get sorted into three compartments:  darks, lights, and whites.  I keep cloth diapers in a small basket on the dryer and I keep socks in another basket beside the dryer.


I try to wash load every day.  When there aren’t enough dirty clothes to wash a load (said no one, ever), I was rugs or sheets. My washer has this awesome feature that warms the water, even on a cold cycle, to dissolve powdered detergent.  I got so used to skipping fabric softener and bleach with the old machine that I still don’t use either.  Someday I’m going to try to make my own fabric softener.


I use my clothesline only in the summer.  I haven’t exploded any pens in my new dryer, yet, so I use it when it’s too cold (or I’m too lazy) to hang the clothes outside.  I do love drying the cloth diapers in the sun.


This is where I fail.  The dryer is on the floor, so I put a basket in front of it, open the door, and pull all of the clothes out into the basket.  Then they need folded, but I have other things to do, so I walk away.  I have to force myself to stand there and fold the clothes before I move onto something else.

Putting Away:

The loads are larger with this new set.  Which means, the baskets are fuller and heavier.  I fold the clothes, but I let the basket sit for my manly man husband to carry up the stairs for me to put away.

What tips and tricks have helped you find a laundry routine that works for your family?


time management

Time Savers: Matching Socks

time savers
Tuesday Time Savers

One of the most genius laundry tips I’ve ever tried was matching socks before you wash them.

Before I tried this, I would just wash all the socks in the laundry room.  Then, when they were dry, I would pair up what pairs I had, and toss the rest back in the hamper.  So, I washed a lot of socks multiple times before the mate made his way to the laundry room (because the “late” mate was obviously the husband, right?).  And, sometimes, the mate never appeared.

I have a separate basket in the laundry room, just for socks.  All of the socks that come into the laundry room go into this basket.  I like to wash socks in hot water, or at least warm, so I usually sort them when I’m doing a load that is going to be washed on a warmer temperature (sheets, whites, lights, etc.).

I match the socks and put them in a mesh bag (so there are no escapees!!).  If there are lonely socks, they go back in the basket for next time.

You can also buy special clips to hold pairs of socks together in the wash.  Then, when they are dry, they are already matched!!




Menu for January 21-27


Monday:  Chicken and Waffles

Tuesday:  Rosemary Porkchops with Rice

Wednesday:  Pizza before Church

Thursday:  Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce

Friday:  Hamloaf (Someday we will NOT eat leftovers on Friday and I WILL try this recipe!!!!)

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday:  Picnic


Weekend Review: Favorite Posts from This Week.

I use Google Reader to subscribe to my favorite blogs.  I can use my phone to read posts as they are published on the reader.  When I find a post that I like, for some reason, I always mark it “unread” so I can “go back to it” later.  But, then I never do!

So, I’m going to start to share my favorites with you!  Stop by these blogs and leave the writers a little love 🙂


Date Your Wife Review – from A Biblical Marriage

I did The Husband Project and had a lot of fun with it. My husband complained to me recently, that there are millions of books for wives and mothers about how to become more Godly in their role– but all the books he finds for men seem to be a “quick fix for your failing marriage”.  This book seems to be what he was looking for!!


The Woman God Made You To Be – from Renewing Housewives

The quote that really hit home for me was this one:

“You’re smarter than that,” they say. You’ve struggled to juggle and balance it all, though the pins never seem to stay in the air long enough for you to even catch your breath.

Going back to work was and has been a huge struggle for me.  It is so hard to juggle work, kids, and the house.. my poor husband is married to a zombie.  Some women do it and do it well.  I admire them.  But, I’m not one of them.


Be More Productive – from Life as Mom

Speaking of juggling all of those pins… here is a great video, shared by Life as Mom, about productivity.  We’ve heard it before.  Don’t multi-task.  Break a goal into small chunks.  What I found most interesting was the suggestion to just “get started”.  You brain won’t let you leave something unfinished.  How true!!  I think my students will really like this video!!




freezer cooking

Freezer Cooking Chicken – Cook now, Use later

Cans of chicken are a great convenience food.  You can make chicken salad sandwiches, casseroles, soup, or even use it as a salad topping.  But it’s so expensive when you look at the price per ounce.  It’s no where near the price per ounce of a whole chicken or even the price per ounce of boneless skinless chicken breasts!!

Tuna is cheaper.  I can find tuna on sale for dirt cheap prices.  I tried substituting it where I could (on salads and in sandwiches)… but some things just aren’t the same without chicken.

So, I tried making my own, by freezer cooking chicken.  The first time, I used a whole chicken.  But I’m all about convenience… and getting all those tiny bones out is such a pain.  Now I use bags of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I usually get them for less than $1.99 per pound.

Freezer Cooking Chicken

frozen chicken in the crockpot

Toss a bag of chicken in the crockpot, and cook all day.

When it’s done, it will fall apart.  You’ll even end up with a good amount of chicken broth as a bonus that I usually freeze in an icecube tray.

Take the chicken, one piece at a time, and shred between two forks.

shredding chicken

Store chicken in a freezer-safe container.

I bag the shredded chicken in 1-cup portions and freeze.  Sometimes, I chop the chicken or slice it, depending on what is on the menu for the near future.  Shredded is the most popular in our favorite recipes, so that’s what I do most often.

Save some money and freeze some chicken!


cleaning, time management

Laundry Lessons: Starting Small – How to Keep up


Our house came with a stacked washer/dryer set.  It was small, but it worked well and we were blessed to have it.  I exploded a blue pen in the dryer once…  It was a good starter set.

With three people and a small apartment-sized washer/dryer, I eventually got into a routine… because I had to.

Sorting Laundry:

Each morning, I gathered the dirty clothes from each bedroom and bathroom.  I sorted the clothes into whites-darks-and-delicates.

Washing Laundry:

I washed a load of whatever was fullest.  I had to do our sheets in two separate loads, so I did that on Saturdays.  I put a tablespoon of homemade detergent in the washer and turned it on to fill.  When the detergent dissolved, I loaded the clothes.  There was no fabric softener or bleach dispensers in the machine, so I just didn’t use either product.

Drying Laundry:

When I got home from work, I switched the clothes to the dryer.  If I got it in early, sometimes I hung the clothes outside to dry all day.

Folding Laundry:

My favorite part of that washer/dryer set was that the dryer was above my head.  So as I pulled clothes out of the dryer, I folded them and put them in the basket.  I didn’t have to bend up and down and up and down.

Putting Laundry Away:

The loads were small, so I carried the basket upstairs and put away all the clothes.

Washing a load every day may seem like a lot of work, but it keeps the workload small.  I find it overwhelming to wash every thing on one day, because of the mountain of clothes that needs put away.

Next week, I’ll share what I do now that we have a bigger family and a bigger machine!



time management

Time Savers: Folding Laundry

Do you fold your clothes right away?  Or, if you use hangers, do the clothes go straight to the hangers?  Or do they sit in a basket for a few days hours before you get to them again?  Try this time saver to keep your laundry routine efficient!

time savers

If you use a clothesline…

In the summer, and on sunny winter days, I use an outdoor clothesline.  I recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to use one.  I’ve even seen them strung-up around porches, when no yard space is available.

Your clothes are so fresh and clean after being in the sun, and they should last longer.  All the lint you pull out of your dryer’s lint trap is just a pile of pieces that came off your clothing.  Eventually, they will just wear out.

If you’re using a clothesline, use this time saver.  Take the extra 5 seconds to fold each piece as you take it off the line.  Unless you are scrambling to get the clothes inside because you didn’t know it was going rain… it won’t take any extra time to fold as you go.  It will take extra time to pull each piece back out to fold if you wait until you get inside.

If you use a dryer…

Sometimes you just have to use the dryer.  I use the dryer all winter — and when it’s raining.

When we had a stacked washer/dryer set, I always folded the clothes as I took them out of the dryer.  Now that our set is side-by-side, I hate bending up and down and up and down to get the clothes out one-by-one.

Sometimes I’m in a hurry to get another load in, so I set the basket in front of the dryer and throw everything in there without folding it.  Then I always regret wasting time it when I have to go back and fold the clothes later.

What do you do to make your laundry routine go smoothly?