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The Abyss Wasn't Built in a Day

At least that's what I keep telling myself. My mound of clutter wasn't built in a day and it, and my cluttering habits, aren't going to be resolved in one day either. 

I spent a little over two hours this morning working on The Abyss (my extra bedroom which is full of all of my "stuff" [crafting supplies, books, gift wrapping supplies, gifts for others, knicknacks, computer supplies]). You won't be able to tell it from the photo (I did take a before picture but my phone had an error and didn't save it), but I do feel like I've started to make some progress even though the room is nowhere near where I want it to be. 
Pictures...eep!Collapse )

Menu Planned: Week of November 19th

Last week's meals went nothing as planned, due to some lingering illness that kept me from going to the grocery as planned and some time with family that I can't calculated in. But I don't menu plan for everything to be perfect, I plan so I am prepared when I grocery shop and so I use what I purchase. I'm sure I'll get better at the process as time goes along. 

My family's menu plan for the week:

Monday - Baked his and her pasta (the Hubby is allergic to tomato but I love it so we do our pasta half marinara and half alfredo)
Tuesday - Dinner out with friends
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Thanksgiving dinner with family
Friday - Chili (didn't end up making this last week so going to give it another try this week)
Saturday - Chili dogs

The Flylady Influence

I've followed Flylady since before I was married and living outside of my parents' home. I guess you could say I've been "flywashed" over time and been "fluttering" here and there. If you haven't visited Flylady, I highly suggest that you sign up for her email digest. Marla (the Flylady) is an encouraging and inspiring lady and helps you to understand that you are not the only one struggling with the state of your home. 

While I don't follow the Flylady plan exactly, I do use so many of the ideas she has in my thinking nowadays. I now tell myself that even if I can only bring myself to 15 minutes of housekeeping, that is still a blessing for my home and my family. I've learned that I truly can do just about anything for 15 minutes. I've learned that a little each day is SO much easier than one huge hour a week. I've learned that just a little preparation and forethought makes me feel immensely better. And on and on and on.
I am thankful to Flylady and the help and support she gives freely to tell women that they are good enough, no matter what the state of their home is currently. Thankful to the hope she's given me that as I continue to develop and practice routines that my house will continue to become a home for me and my family. 

State of the Home Address - November 2012

Our State Of The Home Address is a time each month where we reflect on the efforts that we've made in the past month and the results that has had in our home. It's also a time where we look to the upcoming month and goals we would like to work toward.
Main Living Area (Kitchen, Living Room and Bathroom): 
Starting to feel some results of the nightly routine. It seems the bathroom and kitchen have items in them almost immediately after tidying, but a piece here or there doesn't feel as bad as three days worth. My long term goal in these areas are to get them "15 minutes to company ready" [a Flylady idea, meaning that if I get a call that someone is coming over in 15 minutes I can straighten up to the point that I am not embarrassed to have them over]. In the next month I would like to work on picking up for a couple of minutes in our living room at the end of the day (folding blankets we've used, putting up items we've gotten out). 

Making some progress in decluttering and have given away three huge bags of clothing and a big bag of shoes. It's nice having some breathing room in the closet, although I still need to see how it goes after my dirty clothes are washed. Still need to find a good way to store scarves, hats and other misc items and our bed linens. 

The Abyss (and extra bedroom that has turned into a junk room): 
No progress. Tried to declutter one day but realized that there is just no way I am going to be able to organize and put things up until I drag things out to get to my shelves and such. Hoping to be able to spend a day on this in the upcoming month. 

I would like to get a handle on doing a load of laundry each weekday in the upcoming month. I've done this before and other than my forgetful mind, it's not too bad. I know the Hubby would be relieved not to have the brunt of the laundry duty anymore and I love having the laundry caught up all the time. 

Menu Planned: Week of November 12th

My family's menu plan for the upcoming week: 
  • Monday: Schnitz Leftovers  -The Hubby's birthday was last week so we will be enjoying leftovers from our dinner out for his birthday this weekend. 
  • Tuesday: Chili and Peanut Butter Sandwiches -The Hubby is allergic to tomato and beans so this is one of the only chili recipes I've found for him. It is good. We are trying it with ground beef this round, served over macaroni.  
  • Wednesday: Chili Dogs
  • Thursday: Shake 'n Bake Pork Chops and Green Giant Broccoli and Cheese
  • Friday: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches and Munchies (per the Hubby's request)

Moving past a missed challenge (or two)

I totally failed at doing my nighttime challenge (decluttering our bedroom for 15 minutes) and my nightly routine (dishes and tidying the kitchen, tidying the bedroom and preparing my clothes and other items for the next day). I could make excuses about how I was exhausted from getting up early and coughing all day, about how I fell asleep on the couch, but honestly I just didn't make myself get up and do it. It makes me nervous in some ways because in the past one slip up in a new routine meant "falling off the wagon". But I am not going to beat myself up over it. I want these habits to become a regular part of my life and feeling bad because I miss one day here or there is just silly and not compatible with working toward my goals. I woke up this morning and did 2/3 of my nightly routine and decided to move on past my failure of the night before.  Since we don't require our routines on the weekends (although they can be done if wanted), Monday will be another day!
I am very excited about this new community that MJ made for us! I feel really good about the challenges we've been doing, and it will be nice to have a place to reflect on and document all our hard work. I'm hoping that it will give us a lot of positive encouragement to see how far we've come and all that we've accomplished.

  • Morning Challenge: Make a meal plan for next week. MJ shared this link with me on how she menu plans: http://findmefrugal.blogspot.com/2012/06/google-calendar-meal-planning-part-1.html                                                               
  • I really enjoyed reading both part 1 and part 2 of the article. The writer's sense of humor kept me entertained the whole way through. I put most of her steps into practice. The one modification that I made was the decision to keep my grocery list in Remember The Milk, an app on my phone, instead of on paper. It probably does take last time for me to write out a list than type it into my phone (although not on a computer keyboard), but I would likely lose a piece of paper. I always have my phone with me, so I can easily access and update my grocery list on RTM. I also like how it feels to check things off there. Also I can check what items I've completed buying, so that may help jog my memory on what we do or don't need if something gets left off.
  • I was confronted with the Mrs. Perfectionist tape in my head while menu planning. It told me I should be cooking meals from scratch and not just reheating frozen food for some of them. I am trying to let go of those feelings and accept where I'm at. I do have two meals that I'll be cooking next week, and I think that is a good start. MJ also suggested that every two weeks I pick a new recipe and try it out. I thought that was a fabulous idea! I like how that will encourage me to become a better cook and bring some more variety in our menu planning, and do all that in a reasonable way. MJ is really great at coming up with suggestions that are encouraging and bring about a positive change without a lot of pressure and stress! She also suggested that once a month we try a recipe together. I am really looking forward to that. It is fun to have someone to work on these things with.
  • The morning challenge also brought about a new challenge on its own. I had wrongly assumed that the calendar on my phone was linked to my Google calendar since my Gmail is linked to my phone. Even though I had checked all calendars for the view, everything I had been adding was only being saved to my phone's (PC Sync) calendar. MJ and the aforementioned article had talked about all the wonderful features that Google's calendar had, so I decided to manually reenter everything on my calendar to the Google one. I went ahead and shared it with my Mister's emails, so that he can see what I/we have planned too. This evening I went over it and the menu plan calendar with him. I hope that organizing our lives will help things become simpler and smoother in the future, especially when we move and find ourselves with a lot more plans.
  • Even though I had used the Google calendar at my last job every single day, I still found it a little frustrating to readjust to adding events to it. I especially had difficulty (total user error) with adding events to the right calendar. Fortunately it didn't take much at all to edit them. It did, of course, get easier as I kept using it. I do like that it has separate calendars that you can turn on and off from view. I have no doubt it will be a breeze after a while. I was just surprised that I became a little frustrated when using it. Makes me a little nervous about how I'm going to feel about using new technology when I'm 70!
  • Evening Challenge: Prepare for the busy weekend. To prepare for the photography workshop I'm going to tomorrow, I found the camera's charger. Started charging the battery. Looked for but didn't find the camera strap. I text my brother to see if he remembered what he did with it but didn't get an answer. After an exhaustive and frustrating search, I found the two packs of glow sticks for the Rave Run tomorrow night. Looked up the address to the Rave Run and the Miksang workshop. Added shortcuts onto my phone with their addresses so I can easily pull them up on my GPS tomorrow. Did a load of laundry.
  • Nightly Routine: Unloaded the dishwasher. Hand washed all the dishes and loaded them into the dishwasher. Wiped down the sink with a bleach wipe. Spent  a few minutes tidying up the bathroom counter. Made Mister's sandwich tomorrow since he has to work. Decided on what clothes to wear tomorrow.
MJ did a good job picking out the background theme on our journal. It is very cute! I also like that she used the Cahoots Owls for the icon!