Thursday, February 28, 2013

Household Management Binder

I've been MIA lately because I've been hard at work at something no housewife (and especially mother) should be without - a homemaking binder.  I'm generally an organized person.  But I don't like lists.  At all.  And that was okay for our smallish family in our smallish house.  Flying by the seat of my pants was occasionally stressful, but mostly not a big deal.  But I've finally realized that it wasn't working anymore, with our largeish family in our biggish house.  I've been stressed out for the last three years.  I'm not a neat freak.  On any given day you will probably find dust on my plant shelves and smudges on some of my windows.  That doesn't bother me much.  But I do like for things to be tidy and put-away.  And managing our schedule and the mountains of paperwork that stream into our home daily.  I get a headache just thinking about it!  So, household management binder to save the day.  I wasn't sure exactly what to include in it, and I imagine it will be a work in progress, but better to dive in and get started right away, then to try and make it look like a fancy Pinterest project.  I purchased the largest, most heavy-duty binder I could find, and colorful dividers (I like a bit of color), as well as clear sheet protectors to slide things into.  I've (so far) organized my binders into sections.

You can see the different tabs along the top.  Notice the first section is God (which is as it should be).  So far, I've included papers from the Women's Ministry, nursery and special music schedule, and prayer partner card.

Next comes Weekly Schedule.  I needed a place with lots of room to put the small details of the day into.  I found the format on the internet, and it was a free downloadable, so I printed it off - one weekly calendar on both the front and back of the paper and keep four weeks at a time on there.  I add to that calendar all the time. 

After weekly schedule, comes Monthly Schedule.  This is for the "big things" that you need to know in advance.  School breaks, recitals, vacations, birthdays, etc.  I have the monthly calendar, in seperate sheets, all the way through January 2014.

Next is my Cleaning Schedule.  I broke it down by repetitive daily chores, and then I also have a monthly schedule.  You could assign each once-a-month task to a specific day, but I need more flexibility than that, so I just highlight the tasks as they are finished so I know which ones I still need to tackle (so I print out a new cleaning schedule sheet each month).  I'm planning to work on a spring cleaning and fall cleaning worksheet as well.

I have tabs for my menu planning, shopping lists, and home maintenance/decor ideas.  Those I haven't tackled yet, but I'll be sure and update what I've put in them when I do.  Last is my kids' activities folder.  Here I store their various schedules, permission sheets, team rosters, etc.  I also keep all my stuff for the local figure club in there, since I'm the secretary. 

So, what about you?  Do you have a homemaking binder?  What is in yours?  How helpful do you find it be? 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Modest Monday - Short Skirt

I know for most people, this isn't a short skirt, but it is for me! I think that it's still tasteful and modest though. I love the sheen and pattern, as well as the full cut (it has kind of a vintage look to it). I usually wear all black with it, but I decided to be a little bold and experiment with color - hence the hot pink tank underneath the black cardigan. Also, it was a little warmer this Sunday, so I got to ditch my leggings and boots for a nice pair of heels. I love these heels - so very feminine (and they give me a few extra inches, which I can always use). We wrapped up our Missions Month at church on Sunday, and it was a blessing (although sometimes it's a bit hard to be "stuck behind" in suburbia - I'd love to be involved in mission work, but James hasn't felt that calling).  I'm looking forward to getting back into the Bible again, though!

Head Covering: Black Cecily's Lace by Garlands of Grace (@$15)
Fuschia Pink Tank with Lace Trim: Coldwater Creek (hand-me-down from Mom)

Black Cardigan: Relativity (hand-me-down from Mom)
Gold and Black Brocade Print skirt: Lane Bryant via ebay (about $14)

  Black Patent Leather T-Strap heels with rounded toe and bow on the ankle: Gianni Bini from Dillards (about $80, but that was 5 years ago)

Speaking about modesty, another blogger is running a Modesty-themed event, so I thought that'd be a fun link-in here.  I love reading about modesty and especially seeing pictures (obviously LOL).

Modestly Adorned Event

Monday, February 11, 2013

Modest Monday

Yesterday was a bit crazy getting out of the house in time for church.  The plan was to leave 15 minutes earlier than we usually try to leave by (because I had to rehearse a special music piece).  Well, we didn't get out the door at 8:30, but we did get out by 8:45 (this is our normal "aim-for" time, but more often than not we're rolling out of the driveway not a minute before 9).  And I was there with plenty of time to spare, so it was all good.  Pictures got short shrift though, so you get a picture that includes some "extra girls" - my two little ones, Cecily and Elinor.  I first of all have to rave about this skirt.  I love it.  I put it on and instantly feel "fancy".  The top is unusual for me - I don't often wear short sleeves without a cardigan but I don't really care to have things flying around while I'm playing the violin and I needed to wear something green so that I could wear my mom's emerald ring in honor her (yesterday was her birthday - the first without her, but that's a whole other blogpost). 

Green and Tan Floral Knit Top with pretty cowl neckline: Velvet via a Resale Shop ($.25)
Khaki Twill Skirt with Ruching: Deborah and Co (@$45 on sale)
Slip:  Vintage Cotton Slip from eBay (@$15)
Shoes: 10+ years old brown Mary Jane style pumps with medium heel (no idea any more)
Modest Mom blog button copy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

RL: Body Surfing

Well, that was a quick add - yesterday I finished another book, Body Surfing by Anita Shreve (Mom hand-me-down). I've got several Anita Shreve books, and while I don't find her women characters particularily compelling, I love her painterly writing style. All of the books I've read by her are set in the Northeast and I have an unexplainable fondness for the area. Unexplainable because I've never been there! Isn't that strange? It's just always entranced me. When I was a teenager, I imagined attending an Ivy League university and then settling down in the upper Northeast. I loved the thought of old buildings steeped in history, lushly landscaped academia, four seasons to experience, the closeness of the grey ocean (am I the only person in the world who would rather be at a grey, chilly beach than a warm, tropical beach?) It sounded so romantic! I still have a soft spot for it, and Shreve's books do tend to transport me there.

Since it's Saturday night, the kids are playing Barbies, James is working, and I'm feeling a little punchy - here goes. As a teenager I had both of the Sinatra Duets CDs. I LOVED them. Now, I had to be careful I didn't tell my peers how much I loved them right off the bat, because what 17 year old in the mid 90s listened to Frank Sinatra? Suffice it to say, I was an, uh, unique teenager. This was one of my favorites and I can sing it word for word (although I sound like neither Frank nor Linda). Someday, Vermont, I will visit, I promise. ;-)

5. Body Surfing - Anita Shreve (I give this a lukewarm endorsement - just because I like the way she wrotes, moreso than the content - some of her other books are better)

4. The Magician's Assistant - Ann Patchett (I loved Bel Canto by the same author and try to make it a point to read her books, if I come across one, although this one was just okay, in my opinion)

3. Twelve Extraordinary Women - John MacArthur (I also try to pick up the doorbuster books at my local Christian store whenever the budget allows and this was one of them)

2. The Merchant's Daughter - Melanie Dickerson (I won this signed copy by having my name drawn as a result of our Million Page church reading challenge)

1. Gideon's Call ~ Peter Leavell (this is the one by the author at our church - I've had it for months, but it took me a while to get to it)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bed Sharing

When I started my parenting journey, I was adamantly opposed to kids sharing bedrooms.  That changed rather quickly as it become obvious that our children were going to outnumber our bedrooms.  And bedroom-sharing is still pretty common, so people generally don't look at you like you're crazy.  But we've ventured into brand-new territory this year - bed-sharing.  Elle's crib canopy broke in January so we knew it was time to take it down and move her into a big girl bed.  We'd planned, originally, on buying a small twin bed to add to the room, but looking at Cecily in her huge full bed (we have full size bunk beds - Allegra's on the top bunk), it just seemed silly to cram another bed in there and take away the generous floor space they have to play dolls and Build-A-Bears.  So, Cecily and Elinor bed-share.  I don't know how long it will last, but it's pretty darn cute right now.  They have very particular sides of the bed and there's an invisible but clear dividing that the other girl's blankets and toys must not cross.  I hope this works out well for a few years, because they are just so sweet!


I had to include this picture because it makes me smile.  In Sunday School one day Cecily made a puppet (paper on a popsicle stick) of David and decided that she LOVED him.  She took care of him for several days, and this particular night she wanted him to sleep by her, so she tipped over her hamper, but him on the bed that goes in her dollhouse, layed him under the blanket and put her shoe on top of the blanket to make sure he didn't fall out.  It's little things like these that I want to remember a decade from now...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Modest Mon...Oh Shoot, it's Thursday

E for Effort, please!   It's been a busy week, with working out our monthly budget, realizing that said budget requires me to double my efforts at listing stuff for sale in my ebay store, celebrating my firstborn son's 9th birthday, and dealing with emergency pet surgery.  So, this post will come a little late, but que sera. 

Sunday Best
Head Covering: Mocha Stretch Lace by Garlands of Grace ($18)
Ivory Burnout Floral Cross Front Top: Coldwater Creek (free from Mom)
Tan Tank with Beaded Lace Neckline: Croft & Barrow (free from Mom)
Tiered Chiffon & Velvet Boho Skirt: Coldwater Creek (free from Mom)
White Leggings: from Walmart (about $8)
Brown Tall Leather Boots: from ebay ($28 - for brand new, genuine leather, I'm not kidding)

I don't wear bracelets often, but this seemed the perfect occasion as the neckline of my tops were so fussy.  This beaded bracelet was store-bought (most of my jewelry is handmade - it was a perk of having a jewelry designer in the family) in shades of browns, so it went with the skirt perfectly.  It was a hand-me-down from my Gramma.

Reading List 2013

I love to read.  It's probably my favorite thing to do (can I trade reading for running?  (((sigh))) not seriously, but I do wish that activities that stimulate the mind were as culturally lauded as straight-up physical activity).  My reading has been cut down drastically in this season of my life, but when considering what to do with a stolen moment of peace and quiet reading still tops the list.  I inherited that love from my mother, who was a voracious reader as well.  As money was tight here, she would often mail me boxes of books or pack them into her suitcases when she flew out for a visit.  Those were packages of joy and delight!  I brought the rest of her books (and her bookshelves) home with me last summer and have three large boxes stuffed full of books awaiting my reading pleasure - it's like Christmas waiting in the garage year-round!  I've never really kept track of the books I read, until last year.  An author (like a real, honest-to-goodness, published one) who is a member of our church organized a Million Page reading challenge for our church in 2012.  We had to record the books we read and turn them in.  I kept up as much as I could, and turned the sheets in to be counted, but I didn't actually keep track of my reading list myself.  I've decided that I'm going to do that in 2013.  It's almost like a runner keeping track of her miles.  I think reading is an exceptional habit to develop.  I'm proud of my reading and my devotion to brain fitness (okay, some of the books would apply as that more than others, I'll admit LOL).  It'll be fun to update the list and see how many titles I've accumulated by the end of the year.

This first list will be of multiple books, since I've completed several already - here goes:

1. Gideon's Call ~ Peter Leavell  (this is the one by the author at our church - I've had it for months, but it took me a while to get to it)

2. The Merchant's Daughter - Melanie Dickerson (I won this signed copy by having my name drawn as a result of our Million Page church reading challenge)

3. Twelve Extraordinary Women - John MacArthur (I also try to pick up the doorbuster books at my local Christian store whenever the budget allows and this was one of them)

4. The Magician's Assistant - Ann Patchett (I loved Bel Canto by the same author and try to make it a point to read her books, if I come across one, although this one was just okay, in my opinion)

So, I guess I'm at four books down thus far.  I'll keep adding to the list as I finish, and I'd love to hear suggestions of your favorite books.  I'm an equal-opportunity reader.  I'll read just about anything-except for the 30 Shades books (((shudder))).