Friday, May 19, 2006

Topics from the comments section...

Ive been having a great conversation with a friend in the comments section of oneof the entries from a few days ago and I thought, hey, maybe other peoplehave some ideas or maybe they could use a few of the ones I have learned lately...

Housework!!

This is my weakness, as those who read this regularly know. I do not come by housework naturally. My mother, (love ya mom) is a neat freak and so it was easier for her to just do it herself than to have to redo what ever I did. So now I stand somewhere between a complete slack-@## and a neat freak! Interesting I know!! So in order for me to make my bed, I have to make it perfectly. I cant just sort of make it. In order for me to clean up my kitchen I have to wipe down everything on the counters and have all my glasses facing a certain way. So what ends up happening is that I dont do it at all, unless I can do it perfectly. Im getting MUCH better though. sloooooooooooooooowly but surely. So I am always looking for that great system, sort of like people who diet, alwyas looking for that magic combination that will suddenly make all the fat disappear; accept with me, its the mess and the beast I call "Chaos" who resides with me no matter how often I move. On thing that has helped has been an email challenge I do with my friend in VA. We email each other our goals for the day and email back as we check them off our lists. The best way is to send photos! Yes, sending a photo of my disgusting kitchen is very motivating because sending the nice clean kitchen picture is so satisfying. :-) So that has been helpful, but my friend and I are both equally laid back, so while we understand one anothers messes, we can be pretty lame on the whole, get off your butt aspect! So on to my newest thing. Treating the house like a member of the family. I am trying to give back to the house a bit of what it gives to us. Treating cleaning like more of an act of respect rather than a chore. I know it is just a psychological shift, but hey, that is what this is all about right??? So now in the morning the kids and I "wake up the house". We go around and open the windows, make the beds and sweep the floors. We pick up any miscellaneous items that may have not found their place the day before and I wipe down the bathrooms. We gather all the laundry and put it in the machine. No I dont seperate colors, because then I will never do it. I do have one load of whites a week which is my duvet cover and the rug from my main bathroom and any lucky socks that make their way into the load. I dont use bleach because Im allergic and because its toxic. So anyway, we fill the machine and I start it. I clean up the kitchen after making breakfast and then we are done. We are trying to put things away as we use them. When I say trying, I mean TRYING, in its true definition, we have to remember, and follow through, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is quite challenging!! So then in the evening we "put the house to bed" we close the curtains, my dh does the kitchen, I turn off the fans and the lights from unused rooms and pick up the office in preparation for the next day. So that is it. Im trying to go for neat and tidy over perfect or trashed. I will keep you posted and PLEASE sendme any and all suggestions! Yes Ive tried Flylady and absolutely hated it! LOL I felt like a failure for not wanting to wear shoes or a bra all the time!

Food:
Well this is another area I am trying to improve on and I am quite proud of the progress I am making. We are getting GM off of gluten and eventually maybe Cassein. So I am making a nice breakfast (warm more often than cold). Trying for homemade waffles some fruit and milk, or eggs with cheese and fruit. For lunch Im doing a simple pb&j with some corn chips. The peanut butter is fresh all natural and I mix it with flax seed oil, and local honey for allergies. I mix it in my mixer, put it in a jar and keep it refrigerated. The jelly is Cascadian and is sugar free, organic. The bread too is organic and in GM's case Gluten free. I feel pretty good about that peanut butter and jelly, heckI should eat so well. :-) Snacks are fresh fruit, Cliff bars, sometimes granola bars, although now that they like the Cliff bars so much we are phasing those out, and cheeses. They have open range on these things so it isnt another chore for me. We dring a lot of water here and they have their own access to getting themselves a cup of cold filtered water. Even ME does this on her own. Although I need some ideas on not having them use about 20 cups a day. I dont use paper, so the dishes add up quick! Any thoughts???
dinners I am SUPER LAME about! I get so tired by this time of day that I will admit we dont eat good dinners. Im trying though. I realy am. Any suggestions on this?? I have to make GM a special dinner because he doesnt eat what we do, and so that is an added chore; but Im okay with it. I have a friend who is the crock-pot guru, she makes most dinners in the morning. Maybe I could make some soups or something. I liked it when my husband and I were doing our Budokon and we ate just large salads at night. Also it is worth noting I dont like to eat a big meal in the evening, it makes me really not feel well and very tired! So I need ideas on dinners. Any thoughts on this too?????

Finances:
Okay a few years ago I set up an "idiot account" so that I would not have to constantly be keeping due dates or bill issues in my head. Here is how it works...
I opened up a second checking account at my credit union. I then made it so that on a set day a transfer from one account to the next occured after payday. So twice a month. This also prevented the flat tire pay thing, where one check is almost all mortgage and the other all bills. So anyway, I figured out the average for my bills and set it up so a regular payment went to each debtor each month. Some months it is over some months it is under but it averages out and with some they will even let you set up your account to pay an average each month. So I did that. So then all my bills were paid and we were then left with our family allowance in the main account. This is our spending money, for gas, groceries, fun etc... We never overspend and we dont use checks unless absolutely necessary. They mess us up. So then, we also dont use credit cards. Cash (well debit) or nothing! We also dont use the ATM unless necessary. When we do we end up getting out and spending more than we need to. The Debit/credit card works great because you only spend what you need, and basically everywhere takes it and you are on the same timing cycle. ATM's and checks are not on that same timing cycle so you may think you have money you actually dont. Now this was important for us in VA where our expenses were much greater, but here it is more relaxed, although I still do it this way. It has been wonderful for us, so we still use it. Anything left in the billpayer account gets transferred to our savings every couple of months. I also check on things from time to time, but only when I want to, not because we are behind or messing anything up. Nothing is ever late, and most importantly I am not sitting here everyweek balancing things, remembering dates, and worrying about money when Im at a store. If its in my account I can spend it because the bills go out of a different one.

So those are the main things I was thinking about and thought I would share. :-)

4 comments:

APKimberMama said...

I used to be such a house perfectionist! I would actually take "mental health days" to clean and organize cupboards. Having kids through me in the other direction. Still, I know I can get obsessive, and I know most people don't clean their bathrooms everyday.

I did come to a place where I am so grateful for my house that I really want to take care of it and have it be a nice place for us to be. It's an older house (1926) and I just love it.

But housework can take so much time! I have 1700 square feet and most of the time I wish I had half that, and only one bathroom!

Decluttering has helped; every time we do a round it gets easier to keep things picked up and put away.

I love the idea of thinking of the house as a member of the family. Our house is opened up right now, though we close the front windows at night. I do need to involve the boys more, and identifying the house as a "living" being may help with that.

APKimberMama said...

Darn, I wish I could edit. Having kids "threw" me in the other direction, not "through" me, LOL!

tracy said...

Hi Kari! I tried to comment before but for some reason couldn't! Anyways-it sounds like I am on a similar journey to you. For housecleaning- a big struggle of mine- I also had to make a mental shift. I always felt overwhelmed and often was thinking why bother if I turn around and it is a mess again. However in the last few months I have totally changed my attitude. I am working hard on getting rid of STUFF! And I want to be able to walk around our house and feel good NOT because someone is coming over but because we deserve it! Does that make sense? Anyways while the house is still a struggle it does not feel so overwhelming. The kitchen and living room are a mess right now but I know no that in about 10 minutes I can get them looking decent. I could go on about this but this has been a big thing for the past few months also.

Food is very much a topic I hope to get more into for healthier eating for my family but I am nowhere near there yet-just in the talking stages to figure out what changes we can make.

Money-I get a certain amount of cash with each of Allen's paychecks. I try not to write any checks. We are almost debt free at this point(except for house and car). Allen has worked very hard to make that happen. However as we are still struggling paycheck to paycheck we are still making adjustments. Mostly it is good cause Allen looks at the big future picture and I look at the short term here and now and what it coming up so we tend to balance each other.

Ok-like my first LONG comment to you??

Tracy

Sara said...

I love your idea of "waking up" the house and then "putting it to bed." I've recently resolved to smile while cleaning, which is harder than it should be... but there it is.

Your bit about FlyLady had me on the floor. I couldn't keep my shoes on either.