Summer Catch-up: Challenge #3

Good Monday morning!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I got to celebrate my great-nephew’s first birthday yesterday and – despite the rain and having to move all those people INSIDE – it went well and it was fun. He’s such a cutie patootie! There were over 30 people in my house eating dinner. My house is NOT large. Talk about togetherness. 🙂 This week I am playing “Teresa” at church while she vacations at the beach. The beach! Obviously, I love her lots and hope she has a great time. (Teresa, I expect a souvenir. Just saying.) 😉

So we are halfway through the summer catch-up challenge. After two weeks, I hope you are getting into the groove of a summer cleaning schedule. That little schedule will help you have lots of time left to enjoy the beauty of summertime. No major projects here. Just a few little things to keep you on track so that at summer’s end you aren’t faced with MOUNTAINS of things to get done before school starts back and it’s back to reality.

So, some of these are repeats from last week because that’s what a schedule is. Certain things for certain days (if at all possible), leaving weekends as free as possible to get out there and enjoy life. Or stay inside where it’s cool and enjoy life. Whichever floats your boat.

Monday: Menu planning day

Now, if Monday isn’t a good day for you to menu plan, do it on the day that works for you. I will say that it’s easier to plan before you go grocery shopping than after. Otherwise, you somehow end up missing one key ingredient. And, if you’re like me, you go back to the store to get that ONE ingredient and somehow spend $50 or more. Happens all the time. It’s a mystery.

Tuesday: Clean the bathrooms.

You know the drill. If I had a cleaning fairy, I’d want her to clean the bathrooms. I do change the hand towels in the bathrooms every other day at least. And when I do that, I wipe down the sink. I usually run a disinfectant wipe over the toilet a couple of times a week, too. But on cleaning day, the bathrooms get “the works.” And then I rest.

Wednesday: Clean the kitchen.

As I tell my kids about their rooms (and laundry and dishes, etc.), “It won’t clean itself.” Sad, but true. I clean my kitchen every day, but once a week, I CLEAN my kitchen. You know what I mean. If there were twin cleaning fairies, one could clean the bathrooms and one could do the kitchen. How awesome would that be?

Thursday: Dust, vacuum, and mop.

I have hardwood floors throughout the house. And four cats. And people with long hair. Did you know that cat fur and human hair meet at the edges of hardwood floors and form clumps of furry/hairy grossness? On a regular basis. I could vacuum every day (but I don’t) and the clumps would be replaced the very next day. So I actually do vacuum every other day. But once a week, I vacuum under the furniture (where dust bunnies live and multiply). Mopping gets done once, sometimes twice, a week. This week, dust your ceiling fans, too, if you have them. No need to be slinging dust around while you’re trying to stay cool.

Friday: Thirty-minute walk-through and pick up.

Before your weekend begins, walk through the house and pick up, put away, and do a general straightening. Fluff the pillows. Return books to shelves. That kind of thing. Just get the house in a general state of order so that you don’t have to spend the weekend cleaning. That doesn’t make for a fun weekend. Remember to get a small basket for each person in  your house. Then they can walk through themselves and pick up their own stuff and return it to where it belongs. Note: If you have teenagers, this may mean that the basket gets put on the floor of their room or everything in the basket gets dumped on the floor. Just get your basket back before it disappears into the mysterious lost space that is a teenager’s room.

And don’t forget to keep doing a load of laundry (or one type or one person’s) every day so that you don’t have to do laundry on Saturday. Unless you just enjoy spending a whole day doing laundry. I personally do not. Keep exercising. I do believe that 30 minutes a day is recommended. (Of course, if you’ve never exercised before, consult your physician. That’s my medical disclaimer.)

Hope you have a terrific week!



Summer Catch-up Challenge #2

Good Monday morning!

I can say that because I’m actually writing this on Sunday afternoon. Not Monday morning. Monday mornings have a bad reputation, not entirely undeserved. 🙂 But it’s a new day, a new week…another chance to get moving toward our simplifying goals. So, yes, a good Monday morning it is!

Always keep in mind that it’s those little changes, done over and over until they are little habits (good habits!) that can really make a difference in our day-to-day lives. Now there are times when we need to make a big old change and those are tough! But the little ones aren’t so bad. And it’s much less overwhelming to do one or two little things at a time than one BIG one. At least for me. Sometimes we have to bite the bullet and tackle the big stuff and just get it out of the way. And be done. Period. And if you have one of those projects staring you in the face, well then, just do it. Get it over with. (I have one that involves painting. Thus, I am procrastinating. Don’t be like me.)

Here are this week’s daily challenges. Little things to help us get caught up where we might have fallen behind. Little things that we CAN accomplish. Give yourself a gold star! Treat yourself to ice cream. I’m thinking a manicure is in my future if I can get through this week feeling successful and accomplished. All of these challenges have likely been addressed before as part of a longer post involving a bigger challenge. If you need to look back on the “big” project challenges, you should be able to find them on the blog (or under “Notes” on the Facebook page).  So here we go.

Oh, and remember to do a load of laundry per day so you don’t have to spend the weekend doing that un-fun task. 🙂

Monday: Menu planning day. (This one will repeat every week. It’s that important.)

Make a menu plan for your week. Plan dinners at least. If you don’t want to plan too specifically, plan and shop for 4-5 meals and then decide which one you want to fix when you get up in the morning. If you can do something ahead of time – as in before you actually start cooking dinner – do it. For example, if you’re planning tacos on Thursday night, you can brown hamburger meat on the day you grocery shop or on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. That saves about 20 minutes when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the cooking in the evening. Pre-chop veggies. Pre-assemble casseroles. Anything to take the stress off during the dinner hour.

Tuesday: Tackle the mail.

If you’ve been letting your mail pile up, set aside 30 minutes or so to get it back under control. (There is a post dedicated to conquering the mail.) Shred the junk mail. Put your bills in order. (I like to put the bills in their envelopes – even if I pay them online – and put the due date in the top right-hand corner where the stamp goes. Then I put them in order by due date and put them in the mail holder. Bills get paid on Thursdays because that’s pay day, so I check them on Thursday and pay whatever needs to be paid before the next pay day.) Set aside anything that needs a response from you, and then plan to respond – if not today, then definitely by Friday. If something needs to go on your calendar, put it there. Once your mail pile is manageable, spend five minutes every day keeping it that way. When you walk in the door with it, sort and shred as needed. Don’t let it pile up.

Wednesday: Bathroom cleaning day.

Yes, you have to clean them every week. Unless you like mold and mildew. (And general grossness if there are boys in your house.) Cleaning bathrooms is one of those chores that I think I’d pay someone to do if I could. It’s gross. I don’t like it. It has to be done. (Insert heavy sigh here.)

Thursday: Dust and vacuum your living areas.

I constantly try to convince everyone in my family that I shouldn’t dust or vacuum due to my allergies. I guess they’re not buying it. Well, my husband does vacuum pretty frequently, but if left to anyone else in my family, the dust would take over. Completely. It would be inches thick and I’d be sneezing and coughing like nobody’s business. So, alas, I do it.(And I usually take a Benadryl after.) And if you’ve dusted and vacuumed and you have time, you might as well mop. Oh, the sparkle and shine you will be seeing. 🙂

Friday: Walk-Through and Pick Up

Walk through your living areas and pick up stuff that is out of place. I keep baskets handy for both of my (grown) kids. I toss their stuff, including folded laundry, into their baskets and sit them near the bottom of the stairs. Then they can take their own stuff upstairs. So just do a general straightening, fluffing, and touch-up job. Then if unexpected guests show up, you can let them in and not be embarassed, rather than exiting quickly through the back door or pretending you’re not home. Even if all the cars are in the driveway.

Then just enjoy your weekend. Do something fun and get some rest.

That’s it! Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Except maybe Thursday. But that’s just because I don’t like to vacuum and dust. This is an established fact. 🙂

I hope your week is abundantly blessed!


Thursday Ramblings :)

Good morning!

Hope you all are having a good week! Mine is much improved over the last couple of weeks. It’s amazing what a little planning can do! I feel much better.

We did get some news yesterday that was not exactly what we had hoped to hear. If you remember, my daughter had a seizure back in April. We finally (yes, FINALLY) got the results back from all of her tests yesterday. Her EEG results were abnormal and she will have to take anti-seizure medication. As the doctor said, though, she doesn’t have a brain tumor. So the news was much better than it could have been. We also found out that she has a severe vitamin B12 deficiency, so she will have a week of daily B12 shots (oh, joy!) and then have to take sub-lingual vitamin B12 supplements from now on. Apparently, her body just doesn’t absorb B12 from her food at all. I’m really glad that we know something. The not knowing is tiresome and stressful. We have a plan of action. I like plans of action. 🙂

How has your week been as far as the summer catch-up challenge? This challenge was for me as much as for you. Did you get your menu planned? I did, and I am so glad! It is amazing what that one little thing can do to relieve stress on a daily basis. Really. If you aren’t doing it, please consider it! Life. Saver.

Did you come up with an exercise plan? I am a walker and a wannabe jogger, but I had been slacking off. Of course, it’s hard to walk during monsoon season which we had for the last week or so. But it’s also time to bump it up a notch. So I found an exercise plan to add some strength training in increments and did my first day of that yesterday. We’ll see how that goes. Sore legs…yes. But I’m determined! I’m fewer than 10 pounds from my Weight Watchers goal weight, so I’m pushing toward that goal. I may or may not make it by my original goal date, but I’ll be close!

I cleaned my bathrooms Tuesday. Did you? Today’s room is the kitchen. I’ll be working on that this afternoon. I’m making a list of things I need to do to and I’ll just work through the list. Lists make things easier. Not a list maker? Try that one, too. 🙂

I’m going to try to start menu planning for a month at a time because we want to try shopping at Costco at the beginning of the month and see if we can save some money on groceries. We have some fresh veggies coming in in the garden and that’s exciting! We’re going to start in July. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Have you got anything fun planned for the weekend? My hubby works nights this weekend. I’m looking forward to a girls’ night tomorrow night and Saturday, I think I just might be lazy. I’ll lay around and read a book. Or two. And maybe watch a movie. That’s fun for me. It makes me happy just thinking about it. 🙂

Y’all have a great Thursday! We’ll have a guest post tomorrow with more homemade cleaner “recipes.”




Summer Catch-up Challenge #1

Good Monday morning!

Hope you all had a good weekend! I hope you had a good MONTH of May. Lord, have mercy! I feel like I spent the month of May out of sorts, out of kilter, and possibly out of my mind. (Do not ask my husband or children whether or not that is true. Please.) I let too many things into my life and onto my calendar and I lost control of my days. And then I got lazy. If I couldn’t do it all, then I just didn’t want to do anything. Anyone ever felt that way? I read a lot and drank a lot of coffee. A LOT of coffee. For those of you who know me well, you know I love coffee. But I drank TOO much. II’m shocked by my own self that I admitted this!) Coffee is my comfort “food. I guess that’s better than chocolate because at least I didn’t gain twenty pounds. I did, however, spend a lot of time running to the bathroom. (Wonder if I can count that as exercise? I’m guessing not.)

I am starting today by placing one of my favorite sayings in strategic locations around the house as constant reminders to try and keep this from happening again. Here’s the quote: “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” (Jim Rohn)

Seriously, folks, I was cranky, tired, weepy, snippy, and tired. You get the tired part, right? The month of May just flat wore me out. I wasn’t getting in my exercise. I wasn’t menu planning and, as a result, wasn’t eating as well. I was doing the whole “staring at the refrigerator at 5:00 hoping something will jump out for dinner” thing. Almost every day. I didn’t do that when I worked full time and had two kids under age five! And did I mention that I was tired? I’m not whining or complaining, just so you know. I am just here to be a witness of how quickly things can get out of control and you can lose your focus. I didn’t follow a menu plan, a laundry schedule, an exercise plan. Nothing. I floundered. I fumbled. I fell. On my face. I should have napped while I was down, but I probably cried instead. There was quite a bit of crying. Just suddenly bursting into tears for no apparent reason. Of course, there was a reason:  STRESS. Or the poor handling thereof.

So all that being said, I need to play catch up now. There are a lot of “undone” things around my house. Inside and outside. There are people to feed here. There are pounds to be lost. So let the setback be over, and the catching up begin!

Here’s the challenge for this week. One brief “assignment” for each day. Plus one load/type of laundry each day, Monday – Friday. (See the “Laundry Challenge” post if necessary.) I spent last Saturday doing laundry all day. That was NOT fun. I don’t care to do that again.

Monday: Make a menu plan for the week – at least for dinners. If you have a general idea of what to have to breakfasts and lunches, it will make life even easier. I usually have leftovers for lunch and I alternate what I have for breakfast. Whatever works for you – but do get those dinners planned. And including a dinner out is quite alright. I also include a night for leftovers just to get them out of the fridge.

Tuesday: Clean your bathrooms. Use those handy homemade cleaners if you’ve made them. I’ve made laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, floor cleaner and cleaning spray. So far, so good. (And the vinegar-y smell does go away when it dries.) Clean them good! Mop. Wash the bath mats. Change out the shower curtain liner. (That one’s for me.) Make them shiny and sparkly.

Wednesday: Make an exercise plan that you can live with – and will actually DO – that will get you through the summer. Whether it’s walk three times a week or train for a marathon (you go, girl!), figure out what you can do to get in shape or keep in shape over the summer. It’s easier to be lazy, but then we always regret the bigger size pants. Keep that in mind. If at all possible, find an exercise buddy. Makes it so much easier if you have someone to exercise with!

Thursday: Clean the kitchen. Top to bottom. Clean out the fridge. Clear off the counter. Mop the floor. You don’t have to do it all at one time. Work in 15-minute increments. Just make a list of what needs to be done and check them off as you go. Play 80’s music loudly to annoy your children. Dance while cleaning to embarrass them. You might as well have fun while you’re at it.

Friday: Do a 30-minute walk-through of your living spaces. Those rooms that unexpected company will see if they stop by unexpectedly. Put things away, or at least return them to the room in which they belong. Vacuum. Dust. (UGH!) A general straightening up. Unexpected company tends to show up on the weekend, at least around here.

Saturday: Do something fun. Or relaxing. Or fun and relaxing. Have family night – watch a movie, play a board game. Go to bed early. It’s your day to do what you want. I sincerely doubt housework is what you want. Just remember: Monday will come around soon enough and another week of daily challenges will be waiting. ENJOY THE DAY!

Sunday: Rest. Go to church. Have a relaxed afternoon. Take a nap. Read. Talk a leisurely walk (instead of an exercise one). It’s the day of rest. That’s biblical! So rest.

I hope you have a tremendously awesome week! I’m counting on you to share your stories with me. I miss hearing from you guys so much! I’m sorry that May was such a mess for me. I intend for June to be better! Much, much better.