Thursday, August 18, 2011

Confessions of a homemaker

I thought it was about time that I did another blog post and as I was rearranging my furniture today (seriously, that is the ONLY way to truly enjoy cleaning!) I decided I should uncover my little secret. It's not a terrible one, and I'm sure many a wise wife has done something similar, but if you are newer to marriage or just haven't thought of this on your own.. I'm here to help. ;]

I don't know if this is a "guy thing" in general, but I do know that my husband isn't the only guy to come home after work and dump the mail and his shoes and computer and whatever else in a pile. A lot of guys like to organize and "clean up" with the "pile method" -- dunt dunt DUNNN!

Yes, to the average guy or even anyone that isn't home all the time the picture below probably doesn't look too bad.
The pile and filing cabinet above is what is there during the day though.. there's more stuff that gets added to this when my husband gets home from work. I used to let things like this annoy me until I figured out a little thing that has helped us both.

Some of you have large enough houses to give your husband an "office" or something of that nature, but my 1,037 square ft apartment with five people in it and all the homeschooling and projects and so on, well.. it's just hard to make a space for my husbands stuff and keep everything looking nice.

Enter the screen.
TA DA! How nice does this look? We are both happy because he gets his little pile and when he first walks into the house he goes straight to there, moves the screen back, and dumps his stuff. If he hangs a belt or a shirt over the screen (as has been known to happen) I can happily remove them from said screen and throw them on the pile too.

Out of sight out of mind.

And marital harmony flourishes. :}

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Yogurt is a really great thing, but it's difficult for me to find a kind that doesn't have High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. Now, I know I know.. "HFCS reacts in the body just the same as sugar and therefore is no worse for you than sugar is." It IS worse for someone who has a hard time digesting corn. If I eat too much corn (for me) it reacts as if I've gotten food poisoning, and though a little is tolerable it's still something I'd rather avoid.

To make yogurt popsickles (which my girls and I totally LOVE) I've mixed plain yogurt with jam or fruit or honey and spoon it into popsickle containers to freeze. Works great and you can sweeten it with whatever you want and just as much as you'd like! If you are watching your sugar intake or are like me and other sweeteners work better for you, then this is a great option.
It's just so yummy I had to share. :} (BTW, I found the popsickle forms at a dollar store.)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Discipline vs. Habit

I don't know how you all feel, but THIS (below) is what personal "disciplines" look like to me. Very forced and not very fun... and generally something that puts me in a bad mood.
Then of course if I "fail" at getting it all done "right," then the picture below is a good example of the feeling of judgment that has come over me in the past.
I'm VERY happy to say that I've left disciplines and judgments behind!

I started reading a book called "Different Children, Different Needs", and it is the FIRST personality type analysis that has actually worked well for Youssef's and my personalities! It's actually been helpful. The Meyers-Briggs and a bunch of other ones just landed both him and me in almost the center of everything.... riiiight.. so if you aren't really any of them totally, then how can it help? Well, this one actually made sense, that is to say.. we could actually identify where we fit. And one big thing that I realized was PACE.
Some people have a slow pace like the picture above. They can make small habits along the road and pass them each day in a circular loop. Some people have a little faster pace. (Notice the bike in the picture below.) They might be able to hold more on their plate as well.. so.. there's more habits along the road that they are able to accomplish.
Then of course there are those insane people that are just blasting through the day and wonder why other people sleep so much or have a hard time keeping up with their house or job or aren't on time to things when THEY are always early and got five things done in the 10 minutes of wait-time before the event.
I've done the whole "fast" thing, but I can't sustain it for very long. When I needed to get a bunch of art done or quickly or had a deadline for a project, I could pump up the speed, but I didn't like it and other things fell through the cracks.

Realizing that my pace is on the slower side has really helped me in learning habits and not kicking myself about "disciplines"... habits are really such nice things.

They are like Lego blocks. :} (Such a friendly way of looking at it, no?)
One block of doing the dishes every night was stacked with a block of reading to the girls and praying with them right before they went to sleep. Then a block of "school time" has become a habit. Each habit has felt so HARD when I start to try to fit it consistently into my life, but what I am really beginning to LOVE is that it gets easier! (I suppose in that way it's a bit more like clay and adding and forming and fitting that piece onto the sculpture, but Lego's will work for now.) :}

Doing Lily's school-time and teaching her to read started out with me FREAKING OUT about what in the world I was doing. Actually, I had a similar feeling when I needed to potty train her and had NO idea WHAT I was doing or how to do it. My mom, fortunately, imparted some easy-going nature that calmed me down a bit. ;]

I'm very happy to say that today Lily read her first story! And I suddenly realized that making this habit of school-time wasn't as hard or took as long as I felt or thought it did before. It's sort of grown into our day and we look forward to it. Just as I've been working with Lily a little bit each day, and now it's built to the point that she can read a simple story, it's just so encouraging!

And it goes right along with my learning some good daily habits.
Adding these habits slowly and easily into my stroll down the road of life is so much nicer than how I thought things were supposed to be done. I'm sure someone out there could thrive under the idea of disciplines... I mean.. it's possible, right? But I sure couldn't!

I still do get a thought sometimes about some project or other that I'd like to finish quickly and actually consider picking up some speed to get that one thing done, but I know that if I did, then I'd zoom past all the little habits that need to be nurtured. I know the girls are happier now that I'm going this pace. They like the routine and my easy-going NON-stressed attitude toward them and the day.

So, here's to carefully adding one little block at a time and taking as much time as needed to get each piece in it's proper place. :}