Productivity Push

A month or so back I mentioned that I had started to do the Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine.  In typical fashion, once I got started I kind of went off the deep end with the whole increasing productivity thing.  I’m now a graduate of it, the Make Over Your Evenings course and I’m half way through the Make Over Your Year course.  My husband and I are doing the Year course together since it’s about household as well as personal goals.  It’s been fun to work on this together and also helpful.  We are pretty different in work styles and personalities so the course is helping us in two ways: to create better balanced goals through helpful feedback since we view things pretty differently and to let us come to common ground on some key goals that we don’t seem to make headway on year after year.  It feels exciting to get some traction going on our goals!

I had to laugh the other day when Steven guided me back on the rails about something that I was over reaching on and said “what would Crystal Paine do?”  Now my almost 14 year old is also working doing the Morning program and we all have fun with WWCPD added in here and there in our weekly planning conversations.  We’ve become Crystal disciples – LOL.

So what’s the result of all this work?

  • I’ve woken up at 5:40 AM for over a month now and am feeling much more in control of my day and my productivity has definitely improved.
  • For 2 weeks now I’ve been tracking my sleep, activity and calories (in connection with My Fitness Pal) with the Jawbone UP2 that my friend Hallie and Crystal Paine recommended.  I LOVE the alarm feature!!  It’s so nice to wake up without been jarred by a loud alarm but instead wake with the Jawbone vibrating.  My husband likes it too and I’m not worried about waking my toddler anymore.
  • Checking a number of significant projects off our Pivotal Tracker house project to do list.  If BTW you’re doing any type of home remodeling, or really just want a nice way to check off the to do’s, check out Pivotal Tracker.  We love how you can attach dollars needed and assess time needed to each entry as well as assign an “owner.”  I’ll post photos soon of the various finished projects.
  • Going from struggling to get a weekly meal plan done to getting a full month’s worth of meals planned by the 1st.
  • Expanding the Our Groceries App functionality in our house to include 35 favorite meals and 3 staple lists (cold, pantry and specialty) which in combination with the shopping options below has saved many hours a week.
  • Setting up almost all grocery shopping with online accounts through the three different Amazon options of Amazon Prime subscriptions and Dash Buttons, Amazon Fresh and Prime Now.  I used to have to go to the grocery store multiple times in a week and to between 2-4 different stores to get the variety of items we use.  Now, my husband handles making the list with the Our Groceries App (based off my calendar), checks our stock levels and orders needed items.  I receive the deliveries and handle putting things away.  FINALLY we don’t spend hours on a Saturday going these tasks.  And we can divide up this major housework item between us in a way that matches our skill sets.  It’s so freeing!!
  • Using a daily schedule to get other housework and tasks done so that they don’t feel overwhelming.  I found the cute template on Classy Clutter that you see below.

I’m still in progress on quite a lot of my other goals and I’ll keep you updated on them over the next few weeks.  I hope where ever you are that the sun is shining as beautifully as it is here in Seattle.  And I need to sign off and go enjoy my new found free time!

Cleaning Schedule

 

Playroom Makeover

In late January of 2014 we moved into our newly purchased house which was built in 1927 and a good amount of it had been updated but the basement was pretty dark, dingy and screaming for an update.  See the before pics:

Before we moved in, carpet and paint were updated and we added both balusters (i.e. upright posts along the staircase) for safety and a carpet runner to the stairs.  We also added a closet where you see the coral tile to store games, puzzles and art supplies.  The laundry area is located on the top floor of the house near our bedrooms so the hook ups you see are still there but not in use.  I had the plywood desk top and shelf removed from the nook so that I could create the play grocery store I envisioned as soon as we saw the house.

Fast forward a little over 2 years and we managed to create a much nicer space for a play room but were stalled on the project for probably a year or more.  Because of time and money constraints we fixed things up in fits and spurts but I’ve finally reached a point of not being able to take the almost finished status any longer.  I hope to have EVERYTHING finished by the end of May and hopefully sooner than that.

Check out the progress we’ve made to date in the photos below but do keep in mind that we’re only part way there…

Dress up areaplay grocery storeArt tableReading nook

The color scheme of orange, fuchsia and turquoise that’s used in most of the playroom began with the repurposing of fabric banners from Isabelle’s 12th birthday party.  The deep red accent wall is next to the grocery store and my husband’s office both of which have the same red carried through them but in art & accents instead of a whole wall.

The antique cheval mirror and Louis XV Chair were things I’d found antiquing in France during the 4 years I lived in Germany.  I had hoped to keep them in my bedroom but alas, the space isn’t right for them so instead of storing them, we’ve put them here.  Much of the other furniture was found second hand on the local Seattle mom’s Yahoo group but the Land of Nod table and stools were left over from Isabelle.  And other than the duplo Legos and a handful of gifts, all of the toys are used and found at garage sales or the mom’s group for sale postings.

More in a couple of days about the Toy Rotation that I put into place this weekend and our Activity Planning Chart that I’m making. When I’m completely finished with the project in a few weeks I’ll give a full source accounting on where things were purchased, paint & carpet colors and other details but if you have any questions in the meantime just email.

Making Family Life Easier

Healthy Day Chalkboard

I’ve been trying for the past year to year to get different systems in place that help our family keep on top of things, reduce stress and/or just generally help each other out.  One of the simple things I did last year was to create a chalkboard system tracking what my youngest daughter ate during the day.  This may seem like something folks shouldn’t have to track, but since there are days when up to 3 different people serve meals to Reina, this system has proven very helpful.  And even on the days when it was just me feeding her all meals, I will confess that my memory isn’t always awesome so it saves me time and lets me plan ahead for the next meal knowing what she’s missing towards the goal of a balanced diet.

I used 2 different round platters, a large cup and a serving fork as templates for the design.  Just be sure to clean the chalk pen off any more porous items pretty quickly – one wooden platter was tough to clean after the pen had dried.  I use regular chalk to fill in daily details and then a damp paper towel to carefully wipe the daily details off at the end of the day yet keep the design in tact. Over time we’ve added standing notes about what time she woke up, length of nap and if she’s taken medication.

The larger chalkboard is below and we try to fill it out every Saturday so that all family members can plan their week.  I’ll continue talking about other systems over the next few posts.  I hope that some of them will help you and your families out!

Family Life Chalkboard

Happy Easter Traditions

Bunny Pancakes

Happy Easter everyone!  Just a quick post to tell the special fun of having a few unique traditions for this holiday.  It happens to be a sentimental holiday for us.  Easter reminds me of how extremely lucky I am that my daughter and her step-father have a deep, loving bond.  It’s rare I believe based on what I’ve been told by friends and things I’ve read.  I am so grateful that they share a similar temperament, love of games and sense of humor.  Their connection really strengthened 5 years ago when Steven (my now husband of almost 4 years) and Isabelle (my older daughter – 8 at the time) spent a vacation together for the first time and began a tradition of what I’d call The Egg Hunt Challenge.  Both of them love puzzles and games – it’s one of their many connection points – and Steven took great pride in hiding eggs and candy around the beach cottage we were staying at.

Every year since, the egg hiding anti has been upped and upped.  This year was no exception and now that Isabelle is 13, she gets less eggs (20) and they are really hard to find.  It took her around an hour to find them and much like when she was a toddler, many of the items in the eggs aren’t candy (for example they share a love the mini Lego figurines so Steven collects them and gives them to Iz throughout the year). Steven often camouflages like colored eggs into something always around the house.  Last year the golden egg sat on top of a silver cup and was the one egg she walked past 20 times before seeing it. Another sitting on a step of a staircase architectural model was long overlooked.  This year, one on top of a wall clock and another sitting just inside the open design of the garden bench we use as a side table were the two she hunted for the longest. I hope you too have a love of Easter and that it is a time of family traditions and reflection.  Happy Easter!

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