Posting Every Day?

I had meant to write a blog post every day this month, even though there were a few things going on like our anniversary, my husband’s birthday, and my birthday. Plus, we’re still progressing through the Bible in 90 Days reading schedule and that takes a good deal of time. Overall, I don’t think I did too poorly with my posting. This will be post #22 in 30 days.

The past few days, I’ve been too busy living life to have time to blog about it. I’ve come to the realization that I spent too much time online and need to control that. I’ve cut out a number of my blog subscriptions, unsubscribed from a ton of email newsletters, and only check Facebook once a day.

I think the biggest change, though, is how I’ve been handling my email. I love emailing with people, reading their responses, and staying up to date with friends. However, my email takes up so much time every day because it’s always open on my computer and I check it every time my email notification dings. Last week I read an article about how humans actually aren’t very good multi-taskers and how this relates to our use of email. The author suggested that we schedule a set time once or twice a day to check email. Deal with it at those times and only deal with it once. Read it and then delete it or reply. If you need to reply later because the response will take time, file it away but schedule a time to write a lengthy reply.

I must say, since I’ve started doing this, my email time has dropped dramatically. It’s so much easier to filter through junk mail once a day and delete/unsubscribe as necessary. It’s a bit harder to respond right away, as I have a tendency to read emails and then respond a week later. But my attempts to get my inbox down to 0 messages is forcing me to write more timely responses. I think this will make me a better time manager as well as a better friend.

Of course, I’ve only been implementing this new habit for the past five days. We’ll see how it pans out in the long term! But so far I’ve really been enjoy the newfound time. I’ve been using that time to catch up on some much overdue tasks, like organizing my recipe book and filtering through that never-ending pile of junk mail. Right now I only have two emails left in my inbox to respond to and that will happen tomorrow. The day is late and my brain is tiring. If I responded now, they would be less than satisfactory. Until tomorrow!

Project progress!

I decided to hold off on posting my thoughts on today’s Gospel reading. The verse I want to write about involves the Sabbath so I thought I’d wait until Sabbath to post it.

This week, I have been kicking myself off the internet and pushing myself to be productive. I have gotten so much done!

Projects finished

  • Taxes
  • Package for Japan
  • Package for hubby’s parents
  • Remembering the Kanji – 3 month project
  • Ordered my bridesmaid dress – hopefully it fits!

Projects in progress – intended completion dates in parenthesis

  • My grandpa’s quilt – next on the list, must finish! (end of April)
  • Several book reviews for various publishers (end of April)
  • Kanji supplement – only 98 more kanji to learn (out of 157, end of April)
  • Quilt for the church (beginning of May)
  • Order/find accessories for my bridesmaid dress – shoes, hair pins (end of May)
  • Clean/organize spare bedroom (end of June)
  • Homemaking binder (whenever)

Projects to start

  • Clean out oversized clothes in my closet and put together a list of clothes needed (Memorial Day weekend shopping trip planned)
  • Quilt for my nephew (end of June)
  • Overhaul my recipe book (whenever)
  • Research zero waste households (whenever)
  • Redo my blog design (July?)

It looks like quite a list but it feels like I’ve made progress just writing everything down and assigning due dates. Now to start tackling the list!

Preparation for Preparation Day

Fridays are a big day for me, my busiest. I like having the house super clean for Sabbath, which means clean sheets, fresh towels, a spotless kitchen, etc. Also, sometimes we do part of our grocery shopping on Saturday night which means I need a complete menu and shopping list by Friday at sundown. Normally I’m rushing around an hour before sundown, trying frantically to finish everything. For me, a clean house is necessary for true Sabbath rest.

This week I’m trying something new. As I went about my housework today, I tried to think of additional things I could do that would save me time tomorrow. Things like vacuuming and sweeping have to be done on Friday afternoon, but other things can be completed in advance. So, today I…

cleaned out the fridge
wrote most of next week’s menu
completed 3/4 of the laundry
emptied the dishwasher

Tomorrow, I still have to…

wash sheets and towels
clean out the litter boxes
finish menu and shopping list
scrub down the bathroom
wash dishes used on Friday

Hopefully I notice a difference! If not, next week I’ll try cleaning the bathroom on Thursday and do a quick wipe down on Friday. I also need to work on completing our menu and shopping list earlier in the week so it’s not a last minute chore.

I hope everyone else has a great Preparation Day!


Today is the third day in a row that I have washed, dried, and put away ALL the dishes. I think it’s a personal record.

My schedule is working fairly well so far. In the mornings, I clean. I’m assigning one room to each day and cleaning it thoroughly, plus completing the chores that have to be done every single day. Then I spend the first hour after lunch studying Japanese. I feel like I’m learning a lot since I’m finally putting in the necessary time.

After studying Japanese, I work on whatever project is in progress. Today I spent more time in the afternoon cleaning off my desk. I made myself decide: am I going to throw this away, put it away in its proper place, or file it? I forced myself to choose one of the three options instead of merely shuffling things around the apartment. It took hours today. My desk cleaning is almost complete, other than a few odds and ends that I will finish up tomorrow.

Now if I could just find time to quilt… I keep putting off the quilting because I feel that everything else is more important. Hubby says I need to make time to quilt instead of only pulling it out after everything else is done. I just feel guilty spending time doing something fun instead of productive, though quilting is both fun and productive. Tomorrow I’m definitely setting aside some time to work on my quilt.

These Days

I am finally getting back into a schedule, though it all revolves around my hubby’s work schedule. Sometimes he is home and sometimes he’s at client sites all day long.

My mornings consist of exercise, Bible study, breakfast, and cleaning. I try to have all the cleaning done by noon. This gets me into the habit of abiding by the time of use plan that goes into effect May 1 with our electric company. They charge more for electricity usage from 11 to 7 on weekdays over the summer so I try to do my housework, baking, etc. on the off-peak hours. It’s one way I can keep the electric bill lower.

In the afternoons, I study Japanese for about an hour, read, quilt, and work on other projects around the house. I have a list of projects about a mile long that I want to tackle but I’m trying to concentrate on only one thing at a time. Last week and this week was devoted to finishing up my quilt for the church. I put in my last stitches this afternoon and will be dropping the quilt off on Sabbath. I think tomorrow I’ll take pictures and post them here in remembrance of my first quilting efforts.

The rest of this week I will spend my project time prepping for a quilting session with my mom. We’re getting together early Sunday morning to start working on Hazel’s mystery quilt. We are dreadfully behind but hope to really dig in on Sunday and complete as much as possible so we’re not lagging so far behind. I have to wash all the fabric and iron everything before sundown on Friday. After that, the only time I’ll be working on that quilt is when my mom and I get together for a quilting session. This will be my second quilt and her first.

My brother, his wife, and his daughter are coming to stay with us for five days in May. I’m hoping to have all of my deep cleaning complete for the living areas of our house. I also have to clean up the spare bedroom so that they have a place to stay. We have a mattress on the floor in that room and tons of boxes filled with who knows what. I wish we could afford to buy a second bed so we had a proper spare room, but we can only provide a mattress, home-cooked food, and our company. Ah, the joys of being broke. 🙂

It looks like my hubby is about finished with his work assignment so I am going to go cook up my black bean burgers. The recipe looks really good and I’m hoping it will turn out tasty!

Cleaning schedule

I’ve been frustrated lately with how our home looks. There are always dirty dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, and the bathroom is never fully clean (just being honest!). Whenever we invite people over, it’s always a scramble to have everything presentable before they arrive. I knew it was bad when I was embarrassed to let the maintenance guy come in and work on something.

I decided I needed to make a change. Our home should not be this messy. There was really no excuse for it, other than my laziness. When I was first laid off from my job last October, I thought that transitioning into homemaking would be easy. It’s been over a year of trial and error and I still don’t have everything right.

On Sunday, I walked around our apartment and made a list of every single thing that needs to be cleaned. It was a very long list. I broke it down by room and then labeled each item as something that needed to be cleaned daily, weekly, or monthly. Then I assigned each room to one day of the week. Each day, I will concentrate on that specific room while completing a few additional daily chores.

Wednesdays are all about the living room. Each week on Wednesdays, I will:

  • Tidy and wash off the table
  • Dust desks/end tables
  • Straighten the game shelf
  • Water the plants
  • Clean couch cushions
  • Clean off printer shelving

I also have monthly chores for each room, the living room chores assigned to the 2nd Wednesday of every month.

  • Clean light covers
  • Wash patio windows

I also have a few daily chores that have nothing to do with today’s room assignment.

  • Wash/put away dishes
  • One load of laundry – wash, hang, iron, put away
  • Wash and tidy the kitchen counters
  • Sweep kitchen floor
  • Vacuum the apartment
  • Clean the kitties’ litter boxes
  • General pick up around apartment
  • Make bed
  • Personal items (devotional, exercise, reading, etc.)

I started this new system on Monday and it’s worked very well so far. My daily chores don’t take that long and then I work on the room assigned for that day. I estimate I’m spending between 2 and 3 hours each day cleaning. This might get faster as the apartment stays clean instead of doing damage control. The only challenge is working around the times when hubby is working at home. He spends a lot of time doing phone support for clients and I can’t be heard in the background. During those times, I find quiet cleaning to do or I take my breaks and read. Right now he’s on the phone so I’m writing my blog post. Now I’m off to read until he’s finished and then I’ll make dinner.

Second schedule attempt

I attempted another scheduled day. It is going fairly well… Before my schedule started this morning, I wrote my three Morning Pages, exercised, took a shower, ate breakfast, and had Bible study with hubby.

10:30-11:00 – Housework
11:00-11:30 – Research
11:30-12:00 – Housework
12:00-1:00 – Lunch/Free Time
1:00-1:30 – Update prices/add items for sale on
1:30-2:00 – Read blogs/Check email
2:00-2:30 – Housework
2:30-? – Play Scrabble with hubby 🙂

The only thing left on my schedule is some character building for my novel. I was doing really well with the schedule but hubby is home and he was very agreeable to playing a game of Scrabble with me so I decided to toss out the last hour of my schedule. I’ve accomplished everything on my to-do list for today.

Tomorrow will be a return to unscheduled days. I should have contract work tomorrow morning and that’s always a priority over everything else. My contract work is first come, first serve so I watch my email very closely and drop everything else when work is assigned. The faster I can finish the initial assignment, the more work I am assigned until everything has been completed for the day by all the contractors. I like having the ability to work more hours than the initial assignment but it makes planning hard as I’m at the beck and call of my emails!

Habit Sunday

I know I’ve posted about it before, but I have trouble getting everything done – cleaning, reading, cooking, spending time with hubby, taking care of the cats, etc. Our life has no formal schedule right now as hubby isn’t working except for the occasional contract job. Last week was kind of crazy since he was out of town for a couple days and worked a contract job Wednesday through Friday. This is the first week in months that I’ve been home by myself during the day.

I love my hubby very very much. When he’s home, I tend to just do things with him, whatever activity we decide we want to pursue. As a result, most of my housekeeping falls by the wayside. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with spending so much time with my husband. I just think that I’m letting him down in a way because our house isn’t clean, I’m not organized, and I’m really bad about making a nice supper. When hubby was working, right after I got laid off, I was making nice dinners. I was happy to be the wife who would greet her hubby with a hot dinner after he arrived home from a long day of work. Because we’re home all the time (excepting those days when hubby finds contract work), all our meals are kind of thrown together at the last minute.

We live in Arizona. It’s May. It’s hot. We’re broke. We’re also challenging ourselves to at least hold out until June before turning on the air conditioning and driving up the electric bill. Towards the end of last week, I discovered a very loose schedule that works wonders with this weather. If I plan my day so that the housework is done in the morning, it requires less sweat and effort. Then I can spend the afternoon job searching, writing, organizing, etc. All of these are things that require little movement.

Simple, right? I really wonder why I didn’t think of it before. This schedule also tied in well with my attempts at creating new habits this week. My morning cleaning schedule involves dishes, vacuuming, making the bed, sweeping, and cleaning out the litter boxes. As I’m trying to complete all the housework in the mornings, I challenge myself to finish by 11 and end up creating a smooth flow as I move from room to room.

The only thing I’m falling behind on is my personal Bible reading. Hubby and I read together every night so I am reading the Bible daily. However, I’m only reading it on my own about half the week. I’ll keep working on this.

My challenge this week is to fine tune my morning schedule and decide what tasks need completed daily versus weekly. I also need to spend more time in the afternoon looking for work.

Profound? Nope!

I keep thinking I need to post something profound if I’m going to post anything at all. However, I’m not perfect and neither is my blog. Since this is a blog about my attempts at homemaking, I’m going to post the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good – Homemade bread almost ready for the oven. We have Bible study and a fellowship meal tonight.

The bad – Hmmmm… Is there any? I honestly can’t think of anything that I would call “bad” right now.

The ugly – I still didn’t have a productive day. I meant to. Intentions are good, right? I found out yesterday that my brother (deployed) has been stationed somewhere different this week, which is why he has all the internet access. Usually, we’re lucky if we get to talk for 15 minutes. Today was his last day with such privileges, so I spent most of the day chatting with him. I don’t regret it. 🙂

Here are a couple of new recipes that we tried this week.

Thirty-five Calorie Muffins These were easy, cheap, and came out well. I added blueberries, much to my husband’s delight.

Easy, Basic Waffles I have tried and tried and tried to find a decent vegan waffle recipe. The past attempts have always tasted disgusting, didn’t hold together, or wouldn’t cook all the way through. These were perfect!

Apple Spice Syrup I cannot say enough good things about this recipe. It was pretty cheap, as we had everything on hand except the frozen apple juice concentrate. It was easy to make, quick, and tasted oh so good! I’m not a fan of imitation (read: cheap and unhealthy) maple syrup and this is the perfect alternative. How can you go wrong with the apple cinnamon combination? I LOVE this recipe.

TVP Sloppy Joes I didn’t follow this recipe exactly, as we were out of onions and I had a store bought barbecue sauce. I used red bell peppers instead of green and it was really tasty. I had never thought of adding bell peppers to sloppy joes, but it worked.

All new recipes this week were definite keepers. I’m making waffles again this weekend just so I can eat more of that yummy syrup. I don’t even have to make more syrup, as the recipe made way more than we can eat in one meal and just needs to be reheated.

I’m off to go preheat my oven for the Amish bread.

Today’s report

My plan for today worked well (during the times I was following it). My brother came online again today and we had some things we HAD to discuss. Therefore, I worked for two full hours today with one half hour break plus lunch. Tomorrow will be more productive, I promise.

Here’s what I accomplished:

  • Morning devotional
  • Washed and put away dishes
  • Cleaned off and scrubbed kitchen counter
  • Made the bed
  • Picked up dirty clothes from bedroom floor
  • Updated December’s budget
  • Found and set up the nativity scene that’s been passed down from my great grandmother
  • Straightened bathroom counter
  • Changed towels in bathroom
  • Vacuumed living room, hallway, and master bedroom
  • Folded load of laundry
  • Picked up the trash on the patio (we have kids living above us)
  • Cleaned off dining room table
  • Filled out an online customer satisfaction survey for our current auto/renters insurance company

Not too bad for the first day. Tomorrow I have to start an assignment for my part time job, plan next week’s menu, and create a shopping list. If I have time left in the day, I’m going to clean the bathroom.