Goals update…

Well, I do have a very good reason for not keeping to my “write more on my blog” goal (Goals for 2012)….  we moved!!!  Yes, we have moved our family…. again….  We are hoping that this is our last time!!  It all started not much more than 6-8 weeks ago!!!  My husband’s job was just not as stable as we were hoping it would be so he started applying for jobs, we waited and nothing much happen for a week or two.  He contacted his previous job and interviewed for several different jobs, he picked one and four weeks ago we were packing up our house and back in Iowa.

The land of rolling fields of corn and soy beans as far as the eye can see!  Yes, we are glad to be back, this is where we made our first married home together 10 years ago (oh yeah, in February we celebrate our 10 year anniversary!  We had planned to take a fun trip just the two of us but we are now building a house?!)  We have lots of friends here, we know the culture and the town and we are much busier here!!  I kind of miss the slow days of South Dakota, even though that took some getting used to!  So there you have it!  I have a WHOLE bunch of draft posts I want to write, so hopefully I can get back to my “write more on my blog” goal now!!

I think I’m doing pretty well on the rest of my goals:

  • Our morning routine is working out great!  The only thing I’ve changed since then is that at our  apartment that we are living in until our new house is built we don’t have a DVR and the kids LOVE the new show on Disney called Doc McStuffin’s and if they want to watch it their chores have to be done by the time it comes on and it comes on at 9:00am!  It has been a REALLY good motivator for Sweetie Pea!!  In fact this morning she was done with all of her chores (and so was I because she makes me feel bad if she is working and I’m not?!) by 8:00am!!  WOW!
  • Our read-aloud time is part of our morning routine and we even do a reading time in the afternoon sometimes after Honey Bee’s nap!  YAY for more reading!
  • Read more books for me…. well I’ve bought a book to read and I’ve been listening to a book on Audible so I’m at least trying!
  • It’s been hard to create or be very creative when packing and unpacking boxes…  that’s where Pinterest comes in…  at least I can live vicariously through all the great projects on there!!
  • Not too good at planning ahead right now… hopefully will get better at that this summer?!  :)  We aren’t doing much for Easter because of my lack of planning….
  • Clutter reduction – still needs A LOT of work… I am a pile maker so I will have to be deliberate about this!!  Still needs LOTS of work!
  • Journal writing has been ok, I did good for a while and then with all the moving it has been hard to give it time.
  • Try Roller Derby – YES!  I did do this and it was AMAZING!!  Probably one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, the derby girls were amazing, patient and very helpful in learning how to skate like a derby girl.  Since moving I haven’t joined the league here but I am hopeful!  Check out the Madhouse Madams of Spearfish, SD!!  They are amazing ladies and I was honored to be a part of their team even if it was for only a short time!!
  • Reading my bible is part of my morning routine now and I try to make an effort to focus on one thing that I read that morning throughout the day.

Did you make any goals for 2012 yet?  I’d love to hear about them and how you are doing!!!

Our new morning….

So one of my goals for the year was to be more intentional with our mornings. If you want to read about my Goals for 2012 you can do that here.  Last week my kids were not getting a long very well and attitudes were not great so I sat down and made a “schedule” (more of a routine), we started it and WOW, the difference it made is still a surprise to me. I’ve never been a real structured type person, I like to have a geneal plan and go with the flow. But, that just wasn’t working, too much time was being wasted, too much fighting and too much stress. Now my sweetie pea is doing her chores without being asked and both of them are loving our new morning storytime!! Wow! I should have done this a long time ago! So here is my new morning schedule/routine:

Morning Coffee

6:00am – my sweet little honey bee alarm wakes me up :) now this is the hardest part of our new routine, I used to let him watch a TV show (or two) while I got a little more rest…. but now I’ve been trying hard not to turn the TV on. Some days are better than others… He is ok with this most of the time, he gets to read books or play his games on our iPad without his big sister bugging him. While he does this I get up and get my coffee (this is new too… I find the caffeine helps me make it through the afternoon without being so tired! :) and try to read my Bible before I do anything else. This way I am also fulfilling my Bible reading goal, yay!

At 7:00 or when sweetie pea wakes up we have breakfast and get dressed for the day, yes we have an hour to do this….

At 8:00 we start our chores for the day, sometimes it takes us an hour sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it takes longer…

Between 9-9:30 we do our storytime and snack time, I make the snack, four small cups with something different in each cup. I try to have two salty snacks and two fruit type snacks or sweeter snacks. They also each get one marshmallow, I did this the first day as something special to get them excited about snack and stories. This has really made our storytime SO much fun. Something as simple as a marshmallow to get them excited about reading books together, I never would have thought!! I didn’t actually realize it until one day we were going to miss our storytime snack because we were going somewhere and my little honey bee was talking about books, how he wanted to read and wanting a marshmallow. I didn’t really understand until a little later I realized he mostly just wanted the marshmallow but he also knew that it was tied to our storytime!! How cool is that?! :)

Between 10-10:30 we do half of our school work, the stuff that honey bee can do with us. We use Heart of Dakota Little Hearts for His Glory. There are about 4-5 activities he can do with us so we do those with him, it includes our history reading, a rotating activity (Science, Dramatic Play, Thinking Game, Artistic Expression), what we call rhyme time (a fun movement rhyme that goes with the theme that week) and our bible memory verse with song. These are simple things that we can include him in without him being a distraction and I think he really enjoys being part of what his sister is doing.

Between 11-11:30 sometimes a little later we have lunch, depends on when we are done with our school stuff and when we are hungry.

At 12:30 I like to be getting honey bee to bed for his nap, he does still take a nap. I do hope it continues for a while especially with his early rising and sweetie peas need for less distraction while we finish our school work… We do the rest of our school work while he is sleeping, the stuff that sweetie pea has to work harder to focus on, Math, Reading, Handwriting, Spelling, Read-a-Loud Storytime.

Whew! That is our morning! The hardest part to get through is the stuff before 9, after 9 we seem to do pretty good with getting to the story and school work. It is SO nice to have half of our school work done before honey bee is in bed! If we are finished with the activity for that hour early the kids get playtime and I get some free time to finish up some chores or just have some time to myself! They seem to get a long better when they aren’t just trying to fill the morning with whatever they like. I think they like the routine of it, they know what to expect and know what’s coming so they can feel more secure. Well at least that’s what I hope is going on!! I like the new routine which makes it that much easier to stick to it!

I’d love to hear how you make it through your morning or what challenges you face when it comes to your mornings!

Gluten Free version of Amish White Bread

So last week was a bread revolution!!  I was of course perusing Pinterest and it seemed to be full of this recipe for Amish White Bread on allrecipes.com.  So I joined the revolution and since my husband was also requesting it via my sister-in-laws facebook page because she was making it too… I jumped in and made the bread.  I’d been looking for a recipe as my go to homemade bread anyway and it turned out WONDERFUL!!  The easiest yeast bread I have ever made for sure!!  Here is a picture of how mine turned out:


Beautiful don’t you think?!  :)  It was super easy, only a few ingredients and delicious to boot!!  If you decide to make it be sure to read the comments on the allrecipes site, it seems you can lower the sugar content to 3 Tbsp!!  I will also be trying to add some whole wheat flour instead of all white to try to make it healthier still!

Well after I made the bread I also shared the picture with my mom who thought it looked good, but can’t eat it because she has Celiac Disease and needs to eat gluten-free foods.  But she said she was going to try to convert it and she did just that this weekend.  I wanted to share that recipe here too so that those that need a gluten free alternative can still indulge in this wonderful bread!!

GF Amish White Bread

Gluten-Free Amish White Bread
Prep 20 Min  Cook 45 Min  Total 1 Hr 5 Min
Servings: 8

Ingredients:
1-1⁄4 cups warm water 110 degrees F/45 degrees C
1⁄8 cup vegetable oil
1-1⁄2 Tbsp white sugar (I’m sure you could substitute honey)
2-1⁄2 tsp active dry yeast
3⁄4 teaspoons salt
2⁄3 cups each of brown rice flour, tapioca flour and corn starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp vinegar

Directions:
In a large bowl,add all the dry ingredients.
Mix in water and oil. If using a stand mixer, beat at medium speed for 3-4 minutes.
Put in 1 greased and floured 8×4 bread pans. Let rise until just about to the top of the pan, about 15 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45-50 minutes.

Also note that my mom does live at a pretty extreme altitude (7300 ft.) so you may also need to tweek it little (more or less cook time, more or less liquid and possibly more yeast) to make it work at sea level. Another note if you haven’t made much gluten-free bread the “dough”  is much more like a thick cake batter and only needs to rise once much quicker! I think I’m going to have to try this too!!  She did say “if they like and miss the taste of a real yeast bread they will love this!”

Happy bread making!!  Enjoy!  I’d love to hear how it goes if you make either version!

Linking up at Our Simple Country Life

The Elusive Pooh Water…

The Elusive Pooh Water

So the other night we were going through our bedtime routine and I was getting beds ready making sure they had everything in them that they needed for the night.  The usual stuff, the special stuffed animals, all pillows put back in place, blankets pulled up and a water bottle so we don’t have the “I need another drink” issue.  I find that I am missing a water bottle, it’s Honey Bee’s Pooh water.   Yes, that’s what we call it.  I think it’s funny when he’s crying out for pooh water… we all need a little comic relief right?!   Anyway, I knew it was not in their bedroom, it was somewhere else…. but where?!  I’m pretty sure he had it when he came into our bedroom at 6am that morning, so I checked my bedroom, it was there!   BUT, while I was in there, I found the box of markers I had been looking for right before bedtime, so I grabbed the water bottle and the marker box.  Yay!  But that is where my distraction starts… instead of taking the water bottle back where it goes I decide since there are some makers that don’t have the lids on to take that first with the water bottle in hand.  I set the water bottle down to tend to the markers without lids, I can’t find a lid for one of the markers.  What should I do with it?  Hmmm… well I’lll just put it in the box and hopefully it won’t dry out too much.  Now what was I doing?  Oh, the kids need to get to bed.  So off I go not even thinking about the water bottle anymore, only to get frustrated with myself 10 minutes later when I realize that I don’t know where I put it.  I was able to retrace my footsteps and find it so kids were to bed and all was well.  But, it still left me frustrated with myself and glad that it was the end of the day so I could let my mind rest a bit before I started again tomorrow!

pinterest

If you’ve never tried it you don’t know what you are missing!!  So here is my warning, beware it is VERY addicting and DISTRACTING for that matter!!!  To me Pinterest is a visual bookmark website.  You “pin” websites on to your “boards”.  The boards are like bookmark folders and the pins are the bookmarks.  The best thing and the reason why it is SO much better than bookmarks in your browser is because there are PICTURES!!!  You pin an actual picture of what you are bookmarking.  This is SO helpful for me because it is really hard for me to remember what a bookmark called “Toddler Workbox Ideas” was, but if I pin that page I can actually see a picture from the site of one of the ideas.  SO much nicer and more helpful when I’m actually looking for those ideas!

Now not only is it good for keeping track of your pins it also gives you suggestions from people that you follow on pinterest.  So if you follow someones boards on pinterest it will show you everything that they pin and you can then repin it to one of your boards if it is something you like too.  This is the addicting/distracting part.  There are ALWAYS new pins coming onto my pinterest main page, it is so fun to look through them and get ideas for any number of things.  It can also take a lot of your time, so you really have to watch it when you are on there!  You can check out my boards here:  Distractible Me on Pinterest.

The only draw back is that to sign up for a Pinterest account you have to have a Facebook account or a Twitter account.  I have found that if you do not want either of these accounts you can create a temp email address with gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc. sign up for twitter with that email address.  So now you would have a twitter account with your temp email address, now ask someone on pinterest for an invite (I can send you one, just let me know!), the invite can go to either your temp account or your real account it doesn’t really matter.  Once you have the invite click the link and click to sign up through twitter.  Sign-in to twitter and it will take you through the pinterest sign up process.  Once you have answered all the questions you can change your email address in the settings to your actual address and change your password (you don’t actually have a password yet because you signed in through twitter) once you have that password set you no longer need the twitter account so you can delete it and the temp email address.  Now you have “tricked” pinterest and anytime it asks you to log in you can now use your email address and password that you set in your settings.

I hope you find it as helpful as I do in keeping my bookmarks in order, but I also hope that you can find a way to use it so that it doesn’t become stressful because you are spending too much time on the pinterest site!!  You never knew how creative you were until you start using pinterest!  Great ideas abound!  Be sure to follow me if you join, I’d love to follow you back!

Happy pinning!

Goals for 2012

Well here I am, it has been months since I’ve written on my blog. I have lots of excuses but really mostly it’s just that I’m afraid to share the real distractible me. The one that doesn’t have it all together, that doesn’t have a clean house in a week, that doesn’t always do my best as a teacher to my kids. So here I am asking you to keep following me on this journey of sharing life as distractible me. My top goal this year is to be willing to put my real life out here for all to see, to hopefully give you a laugh, some encouragement and someone to relate to.  It always helps me to know when I’m reading other blogs that I’m not the only one out there in this world that gets side tracked 10 times on the way to putting a load of laundry in the washer!!

So here are my goals:

  1. Post more on my blog :)  (starting today!)  Not just how to’s and helps but real life at my house.
  2. Become more intentional with our mornings – make a plan and stick to it.
  3. Plan and do more preschool type activities for my little Honey Bee.
  4. Have a read-aloud time other than nap/bedtime or school time.  Find fun books to read together from Honey for a Child’s Heart and other resources.
  5. Read more books for me – making time for this is really hard for me – too many distractions!
  6. Create – I learned to crochet last year and love it so I want to keep it up along with sewing, quilting and anything else that looks like fun.
  7. Be more intentional with my planning ahead – especially for holidays (my advent calendar was A LOT of work and I had to do it during advent… not good planning)
  8. Reduce clutter and be more organized in the everyday stuff.
  9. Journal – I’ve been using Penzu and really like it so far!  FREE online Journaling site!
  10. Try Roller Derby.
  11. Read my bible everyday and write about it in my journal.  It doesn’t matter how much I read, could be a verse or a chapter, it could be verses throughout, my goal is to read something from the bible everyday.

There they are, things I want to try to do this year and things I’m sure you will hear about on my blog this year.  I am hoping that writing them down and sending them out to the world that this will help me stick to it and create new habits to reduce the stress that distractible me creates!

Happy New Year!  What are your goals?  I’d love to hear about them!!

My Cleaning Schedule…

My original chore schedule....

Over a year ago I decided that I would try to figure out a way to make my cleaning chores less overwhelming because when I think that it’s bathroom cleaning day I dread the day before it comes and the morning it arrives.  I do not like the thought of having to clean all of the bathrooms, it just sounds like too big of a job to me.   So what I did was break my chores up, I started listing the things (other than the daily needs like dishes etc.) that need to be done on a routine basis – clean bathrooms (parts of the bathroom – counters, floors, toilet…), kitchen sink, vacuum, etc.  I divided them up putting on average of about 3 chores per day  of the week M-F.  I really LOVE doing my chores this way, by the end of the week I have a clean (if it can ever really be) house!  My daily chores have changed over the last year, I’ve switched them around to make them work better for the flow of cleaning supplies used and intensity.  By Thursday I am pretty burned out  with cleaning so I put the easy things on Thursday and Friday.  To go along with these chores I have Sweetie Pea’s chores line up with mine so her “extra” chore for the day helps me get my chores done!

Here is my current weekly chore list:

Monday

  • Change & Wash Bed Linens
  • Clean Kids Room(s)
  • Vacuum living areas (hence the reason for cleaning kids rooms?!? :)
  • Sweetie Pea’s Chore: Clean her room (she also helps clean up other areas for vacuuming and takes her own sheets off for washing, sometimes puts them back on too :)
Tuesday
  • Sweep & Clean Kitchen Floor (I use my Shark Steam Pocket Mop, I love that thing!)
  • Sweep & Clean Bathroom Floors
  • Clean Toilet Bowls only
  • Sweetie Pea’s Chore: Sweep the floors (she has been shacking rugs and she loves to help clean the toilets)
Wednesday

  • Clean Bathroom Counters &  Outside of the Toilets
  • Clean Kitchen Sink
  • Wash Towels
  • Sweetie Pea’s Chore: Clear Bathroom Counters (I also have her collect the towels for washing)
Thursday

  • Dust
  • Clean Showers & Bathtubs (Bathrooms have been cleaned!!  YAY!)
  • Sweetie Pea’s Chore: Help Dust
Friday

  • Laundry
  • This is a day I might also do a once a month type thing to keep other not so dirty areas clean.
  • Sweetie Pea’s Chore: Put her clean clothes away
Saturday
  • Clean up clutter from the week (honestly I don’t do this very well….)
Sunday
  • Meal Planning
  • Grocery Shopping

I used to have a printed and laminated list that I hung on the refrigerator but that was too much work?! So I found an android app for my phone called Chore Checklist Lite it is free and you can enter your daily chores, weekly chores, biweekly and monthly chores.  I like this because I have it with me most of the time, it’s easy to check off and the best part is it cycles through for me, I can filter out checked off chores and it highlights overdue chores.  This has worked really well, I love to check my list off!!

So if you are struggling with getting all of your chores done, try breaking them down into smaller chunks.  Make them sound less overwhelming, no one says that the whole bathroom needs to be cleaned on the same day?!  At least I don’t think they do….

Have fun and relax your house will be clean in a week!!

The Problem With Leftovers

I don’t know about you but I am not good about using up all of my leftovers.  I forget they are in the fridge or just don’t really feel like eating the same thing the next day.  But then my fridge gets full of leftover food that I don’t know how long has been in there so ends up being wasted.  So to fix this problem I thought I would try something new, I created a Leftover List.  I made a magnetic paper pad by gluing one of those magnets that come in the mail or you get somewhere for something you are never going to use, onto the back of a pad of paper that was just lying around and it became my Leftover List.

I put this on the front door of my fridge and when a leftover goes into the fridge I write it on my list along with the date so I know how long it has been in there!  I also might write the number of servings left so I can cross one off if I eat one or know there is enough for another dinner for all of us or not.  When I eat something, use something or clean something out I cross it off!  This way I know what my containers are being used for and possible lunch or dinner ideas!!  A quick easy way to waste less food and figure out what to eat for the dreaded lunch time, it has been working pretty good so far!  I have more space in my fridge because I eat more of the leftovers and there is less food wasted because I know what’s in my fridge and how long it’s been there!

Time to get busy!

Happy Birthday America!!

Fun 4th of July Projects!! Happy 4th of July!

It is so fun to celebrate the birth of our nation and what better way than with some fun craft projects?!  I realized that my sweetie pea didn’t have any red, white and blue in her wardrobe?!  So I decided to embark a craft project, a 4th of July tutu and a recycled festive shirt!!  It was super easy, cheap , the total cost was just over $7!!

First I created the tutu, it was actually pretty fun to make and it only took about two hours from beginning (and I mean pattern research and all) to the finished tutu!  So if you have a little more than an hour to spare this weekend you can make one too!  Even if you don’t you can change up the colors when you do have time and whip one up then!   You will need some tulle, I found mine at Hobby Lobby for a little more than a dollar a yard, which is pretty great compared to prices I was looking at online.  You can also buy spools of tulle, but they cost more and it really isn’t that hard to cut the tulle yourself, thanks to the tip I found on a YouTube video!  So I bought two yards of each color, red, white and blue, this turned out to be perfect for mine but if you have a bigger sweetie pea or smaller then you would need more or less :) it also depends on how puffy you want it!   You will also need a ribbon or some elastic, I used some ribbon that I already had, I didn’t actually measure it but you will probably need around 60 inches or so, more is always better, you can cut it if it is too long but you can’t add to it!  Oh you will also need a pair of scissors and a ruler is helpful.   Now you are ready!!

Check out this tutorial “How to make a tutu no sew”  that is what I used to make mine, below are pictures of my process.

Getting the tulle ready...

I tied three strips of each color in a red, white and blue pattern.

Two hours later, a very fluffy tutu!

To go with the tutu we went to a local consignment store to find a 4th of July tank top or shirt, we found one but it was a little small, the price was right though, 25 cents!  So I bought it and decided to cut out the flag part and sew it onto a plain tank top that we already had.  This if a very easy thing to do if you have other t-shirts or clothing that you like and your kids have grown out of!!  It’s also a fun way to dress up a plain shirt or tank top!

Cut the shape out and set it on the "new" shirt and pin it on so it doesn't move when you are sewing it.

Sew the new shape on about 1/4 inch from the edge of the shape, be sure not to sew it to the back of the shirt!

Finished shirt, the edges look ruffly and you have a "new" shirt!

Now we are ready for the 4th of July!!   Happy Birthday America!!

Chores, chores, chores…

I have been looking for a way to first of all keep track of what chores my kids should do and second a way to motivate my sweetie pea to actually do her chores.  About a month ago on Life as Mom blog that I follow on Facebook she wrote about a free online chore system called My Job Chart.  For a distractible mom like me it has been AMAZING!!!  I wanted something that would reward for chores done, but I didn’t want to have to figure out the system, I didn’t want a bunch of tokens or pieces of paper to keep track of.  I wanted something straight forward that both sweetie pea and I could keep track of quickly and easily everyday.  That is exactly what My Job Chart is.  WOW!!!  This has been great, it helps her know what is expected of her, helps us both get things done and at the end of the day it helps us put the house in order!!

Photo Credit - morgueFile

First you create a family account with your email address, then you create a parent account and kids accounts.  The kids log into their account to see what chores they have to do for the day and the evening if you chose.  You get to assign the chores, you can assign them for everyday or specific days.  The chores also have a picture that go with them, this helps my beginning reader figure out what the chore is without having to actually read :).  When they check off a chore they get the assigned number of points for that chore.  They recommend and I think it’s easiest to have one point equal to one cent.  So if you have a big job you can assign more points, or visa versa.  Another really neat thing is that you get to choose the rewards, anything you want and it connects to Amazon where you can pick out the rewards that they can “buy” with their points, if you want.  This has been highly motivational for sweetie pea.  To see her points total go up and to see that she could buy more and more things as her points total grows.  We have rewards like, extra dessert, computer time, mom or dad time and other things she can buy from amazon.  It also has a saving element and a giving element.  The hardest thing for us to figure out was when you are done for the day with earning all the points you have to distribute your points before you can see them applied to each area.  It tells you how many points you have to distribute and for us the total amount that sweetie pea earns each day is between 60 and 70 points, so I make her give 5 points, save 5 points and the rest are for spending (or saving until she has enough to spend on something she wants ;)).

The best thing is that Sweetie Pea can get to the site (using a bookmark), log in as herself and mark the chart ALL BY HERSELF!!!  It keeps her focused, has helped her to create new habits and routines.  It has also helped me as a distractible mom to just ask her to check her chart and get it done all on her own!  She has even been doing it without prompting lately, not sure how long that will last but thanks to this amazing chart we have less nagging and more getting done!!!

So if you are looking for a chore system to try, check out My Job Chart, you don’t have anything to lose, it’s FREE.  It doesn’t get much better than that and your kids might actually start doing their chores for once!!

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