Saturday, July 21, 2012

What's Working For Me

 -A kitchen timer-

Oh how I love my kitchen timer.  I usually set it for 15 minutes and work like a mad woman to get things done.  It's amazing the transformation that can happen in a quarter of an hour.

Yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed by the state of my house (I wish I had a picture) but perhaps you can paint one in your head.  Unfolded laundry on the dining room table, kids' craft stuff on the kitchen table, a dirty floor, random stuff pilfered throughout the living room, dirty dishes, cluttered counters, messy kids room.  Can you see it? 

"Girls, let's work hard for 15 minutes and see what we can get done."   There is strength in numbers...even if the help is from a 3 and 5 year old. 

I started in the kitchen, folded the laundry, came back to the kitchen and I still had 8 minutes to go!  Awesome!  So, I kept working.
     Living room- done. 
     Kitchen table and counters cleared- done
     Floors swept-done
When the timer went off I felt so much better!  The girls worked hard too.  I didn't bother to tell them that the time was up because they were still woking hard.  After about 5 addtional minutes Halley said enthusiastically, "Mommy, we beat the timer!"  LOL

A few months ago, I started cleaning in 15 minute spurts but got away from it.  I would start in one room and work for 15 minutes then move to another for 15 minutes, then I'd take a 10 minute break.  After the break, if the first room wasn't finished, I would return to it.

 It was important to me to work between 2 rooms so that I wouldn't get bogged down and overwhelmed.  I feel like I can do anything for 15 minutes and I love savoring my breaks. 

This method of cleaning definetly works for me. 

Photo credit

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cooking Up A Storm

*Update:  I wrote this post before the baby arrived, but never posted it.  Melody Renee was born April 5 at 6:36 am.  She weighed 6 lbs 7 oz.  We are home and doing well.  The recovery has been a little harder than previously, but I'm making it.  Hopefully, I'll do a post soon with some pics of our 6 lb bag of sugar!!!

Eddie and I are expecting Chambers baby #5 on April 5th.  My sister, Joy, graciously agreed to come and help me with a big freezer cooking day.  I have learned so much from Jessica at regarding freezer cooking.  You can check out her tips here.  Three of our kiddies stayed with my parents and 1 with a close friend so that we could cook without pulling our hair out  undistracted.  My sister got to Montgomery from Alpharetta, GA about 10:30 and we started cooking at 11.  By 11 pm (yes this was a long day) we had the following completed:

Chicken Divan (frozen uncooked. I did not add the parmesan/bread crumb topping.  I'll do that when I cook it.)
Poppyseed Chicken (frozen  uncooked.  Once again, I did not add the cracker topping.)
Chicken Chili
Shrimp Creole
Cheeseburger Meatloaf (frozen uncooked)
Shepherd's Pie (frozen uncooked)
Baked Ziti (frozen uncooked)
Barbecue Meatballs (I browned these about 1/2 way done then froze them)
Cooked and Seasoned Ground Beef for Spaghetti
Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes
Breakfast Sausage (frozen uncooked)

When we're ready to eat these things, I'll just have to pull them out the freezer to thaw in the fridge the night before.  If it's still frozen at dinner time, I'll just add to the cooking time.  What I love about freezer cooking aside from the ready made food is that I won't have many dishes to wash during the month.  The cooking and the clean up will be a breeze! 

We doubled all of the recipes except for the poppyseed chicken (I didn't have enough chicken to double the recipe).  This was A LOT of work but will certainly pay off next month.  We stayed on top of washing the dishes, worked together, and took a much needed break. 

Around 2 pm I headed to my car to get us some lunch only to find that my car battery was dead.  I asked my sister for her keys, went out to her car but couldn't figure out how to turn it on.  I came back inside to inquire of her.  "Oh no, Tay! I think I left the lights on!"  Indeed she had.  We were stranded at the house for about 4 hours until a friend came to the rescue.  At least we had food to eat.  Both of us ate a Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joe sandwich. 

We planned to do all of this over 2 days, but got it all done in 1. 

This week, I've continued to stock the freezer.  I made lasagna (I bagged up the extra cooked ground turkey and italian sausage for another spaghetti meal) cinnamon rolls (freezer instructions found here), granola, pumpkin muffins, turkey burgers, and pizza dough. 

So yea, we've got a lot of good food to eat.  I guess tomorrow I better put away the apron and get out the cleaning supplies!  Our house could really use some tlc in the cleaning area.  If anyone loves to clean as much as I love to cook and eat, please call me!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(In) RL conference

So what exactly does my title mean?  It's about a conference sponsored by (in)  (In)courage is a blog for Christian women and they are hosting a webcast conference from April 27-28.  You can find out all the details here

This conference does not require to travel, pack any bags, find a sitter for a weekend, or spend lots of money!  The cost is $10 plus $1.54 service fee.  But you'll recieve a t-shirt and a 10 pack of cards from Dayspring for signing up.  So in a nutshell, the conference pays for itself. 

The purpose of the conference is to incourage community among Christian women.  You will watch a webcast by yourself on Friday and then on Saturday you can meet up with a group of girlfriends or new friends for that matter and spend 3 hours together watching a webcast on the topic of community.  (In)courage has some great bloggers including Ann Voskamp, author of 1000 Gifts, Lysa Tyrkeurst, and The Nester.  I believe some of these women will be part of the webcast so you'll surely be blessed.

If you live in the Montgomery area, you can attend my meet up!  I'll have a 3 wk old child by then (unless the baby comes before April 5), so I'm hosting the Saturday meet up at my house.  I would love for you to come.  If you are outside of Montgomery, you can sign up for  a different meet up or even host your own. 

So what are you waiting for?  Sign up for the (in)RL conference!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Booking It 2012

I set a goal to read 2 books a month in addition to my Bible reading.  I'm a bit of an overachiever, so I'm reading 3 books right now. 

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham is a book full of wisdom.  I'm only on chapter 2, but I have already gleaned some great things.  The premise of the book is to pour into your family as the family is a great means God uses to pass on the faith from generation to generation.  

I love the author's use of the Scriptures and his view on marriage.  "Our marriage serves as a strategic command where we plan and oversee the discipleship of each of our children;  it functions as a counseling center where our children come to feel safe in the midst of a frightening world;  and it functions as a laboratory where our children watch and learn what marriage is about." (p. 47) 

What I find interesting is that Voddie did not grow up in a Christian home.   He had a teenage Buddhist mother.  However, God stepped in and taught him how to walk with him and raise a godly family.  There is hope in the midst of unideal circumstances for anyone to know God and follow his ways. 

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy has been sooo good for me.  I struggle greatly with procrastination, so this book is lighting the fire under me that I need to get things done.  Crystal from said it was one of the top 7 books she read in 2011 (and she read 60 books).  Eating a frog means doing the thing(s) that you least want to do at the start of your day.  In so doing, you will be motivated to do other tasks throughout the day because your worst task is already done.

I'm working on putting a new habit in my life every month.  My habit for January is to Eat a Frog everyday.  So far, so good.  I completed our newsletters, edited my husband's paper, did my hair, emptied the laundry baskets, written out our budget, and many other tasks as a result of eating a frog everyday. 

I'm taking notes as I work through this book.  Rules of frog eating: 
     1.  If you have to eat 2 frogs, eat the ugliest one first. 
     2.  If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn't pay to sit and look at it very long.

I have shared lots of principles from this book with friends and I think the author is spot on.  If you struggle with procrastination, I highly recommend this book. 

Another book along the same lines as Eat that Frog is One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh Oxenreider.   I printed out this e-book and I'm slowly making my way through it.  The tasks don't build on each other, so you can start on whatever task would serve you best.  You can see a list of the projects here.

I'm working on Project #1- Eat your Frog, #2 Make a debt-free plan, and #3 Establish a morning routine, #19 Dump your brain.   Three of these four projects really go together for me.  As part of my morning routine, I dump my brain using this to-do list and write out my frog for the day.  I know it's important not to bite off too much at one time, or else I'll burnout and get nothing done.  I think the key here is for me to pick just a few things and get them going really well and then start on others.  After all, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. 

I'm looking forward to finishing these books this month.  In February I want to read Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.  Eddie picked up a copy of The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller for us to read together.   I'm glad he did that because one of my goals for the year was for he and I to read 2 books together. 

I'm linking up this post to   Go here to see what other's are reading. 

Have you read anything good lately?


Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

I always love the new year.  Turning the calendar from December to January feels like cleaning a slate, a virtual do-over.  I love setting goals.  Though I don't always accomplish them, setting them certainly gives me something to shoot for.  I am a firm believer that small changes practiced over time make a big impact! 

One of the greatest things I accomplished in 2011 was memorizing almost all of Colossians.  I started in February and as of today, I have memorized through Ch. 4, verse 8.  Only 10 more verses to go.  Woohoo.  And get this...I kept up with my spiral index card holder for the entire year.  Now that's certainly something to be proud of.   It's tattered and worn, but I love it just like that.   The crimps and wrinkles are signs that I have hidden His word in my heart.  

I found the plan on Ann Voskamp's site here.  By memorizing 2 verses a week, I have come this far.  See?  Small changes over time make a big impact!!  Slow and steady wins the race.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  I'm a firm believer that this stuff works. 

The other day, I sat down and wrote my goals for this year.  Then I printed them out and laminated the page.  By looking at them daily, I'll stay motivated to keep eating that elephant. 

I divided the goals ito 6 different categories based on my roles.  Eddie and I still have to talk through the details of some of them, so that's why there are blanks.  But believe you me, I do plan to fill them in.

Christmas Day 2011 (16)

1.  Finish memorizing Colossians.  Pick another BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) by February.
2.  Finish reading through the Bible.  (I have attempted this goal many times, but never succeeded).  In November, I decided to start by reading the NT first.  After all, I've read Genesis many times!  So far I have read all the Gospels and Acts.  I start Romans tomorrow!  You can find a plan like mine here.
3.   Read 2 books a month.  I'm currently reading Family Driven Faith and Eat That Frog.
4.  Focus on one habit a month.  For January I want to eat a a frog everyday.  That means I want to do the thing I least want to do 1st everyday.  In so doing, I won't procrastinate and will be better able to enjoy my day because I will know I have already done the worst thing...eaten a frog!!
4.  Crochet a blanket for Mason and the new baby.  I plan to get help from a lady at church to complete this goal.  I taught myself how to crochet when I was pregnant with Halley, and now I want to expand my skills.

1.  Date night ____ times per month.
2.  Read 2 books together (marriage/parenting).
3.  Overnight trip without kids ___ times per year.
4.  Talk time 4 days a week.  (I would like to work up to doing this everyday.  We'll see!)

Twins Combined Party 2011 (16)

1.  Memorize 2 Scriptures a month.  I'm pretty sure they can do more than this, but 2 is a great start.
2.  Do 2 1 crafts per week  month.  (This will take some planning on my part, but it's certainly doable).
3.  Read to kids 3 days per week and increase as it becomes a habit.
4.  Mark chore charts M-F and pay on Saturday using Give/Save/Spend canisters.

1.  Share my faith once a month.
2.  Write 2 cards per month.
3.  Write a newsletter by the 5th of every month.  (We completed January's letter and plan to mail them by Monday).
4.  Meet with ASU girls every Saturday while school is in.

Christmas Day 2011 (19)

1.  Monthly budget meeting with Eddie.
2.  Keep up with our spending using
3.  Pay off $_____ towards our debt.

1.  Blog once a week.
2.  Take pictures 3 days per week.

Crystal from really inspired me to write my goals down and break them down into small bites.  I'm so encouraged by her life and blog.   Her first book is coming out this Tues, Jan. 10.   It's called The Money Saving Mom's Budget:  Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year.   Her blog has encouraged me in so many ways.  Her series called 21 Days to a more Disciplined Life really put me on track to achieve great things at the end of 2011. 

Photo Credit