Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Hours in the Day

I often hear people wishing for more hours in the day. I have been guilty of that myself, many times. As I was cooking dinner tonight, I was pondering that. Evaluating my schedule in my head and thinking about all the things I need to get done, the thought did cross my mind. Then, I thought about my workout this morning.

I have upped my workouts a bit, because I've been invited to train for the team CrossFit competition. One of the common skills that they require is double unders (jump rope). That is not a skill I have ever really attempted until a couple weeks ago. I can do one no problem. The problem is when I try to put two in a row. I haven't quite got the rhythm down yet. The workout was double unders and sit ups. If one can master the technique of double unders, the workout should probably take about 10 minutes for a fit person. It took me 40 minutes.

What does my 40 minute workout have to do with having more hours in the day to get more done? Ten minutes of working out can be tough depending on the kind of exercises you are performing, but the same exercises taking 40 minutes is far tougher. After ten minutes, I feel like I've worked hard but have plenty of energy left to go about my daily business. After 40 minutes, I feel completely exhausted and like I can't do one more sit up. When a day has a full schedule and it feels like there needs to be more hours, what would happen if there really were. Doing all the things that need to get done is tiring. Doing all the things that need to get done but taking extra hours to do it would be just pure exhausting. By dinner time, I am ready to sit down for a couple hours of relaxation. By 10 pm, I am ready for bed. I can't imagine having to push through another two or three hours.

What's the key? Efficiency. Instead of wishing for more hours, I am wishing for more efficiency. How can I perform my daily tasks (and double unders) most efficiently? That is what my month of organization is all about.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Minimalism is a topic that's been on my heart for a while. I think that's probably what inspired my 31 days of organization. I look at all the clutter scattered around my house and wonder what it would be like if we could just get rid of all the junk. I read pages online and look at pictures of tiny houses. I imagine what it would be like to have a much smaller house, and a much smaller mortgage. How many more things could we do, and people could we help? Could we go a month without wondering if we'll have enough money to last the whole month? With a much smaller house, there would be many other expenses that would be much lower too. Insurance and electricity are the two big ones I can think of.

The real question is could I do it? Could I really live like that? As I think about my house, and how we use the space, it's a definite possibility. We have a whole room that we rarely go into. It's just there to hold junk. It's set up as an office. We have two huge desks, a gigantic file cabinet, a book shelf, and a 16-cube cubby system for all our homeschool books. We have a desktop computer that's so old that we can't really use it, but it's always on so that we can print from the laptop wirelessly. The boys each have their own room. The only thing they do in there is change their clothes and sleep. Otherwise, they are oversized Lego storage areas.

The other question I have is, how do I get my family on board with the idea? I guess for now, I will continue with my purging as much as I can.

Another topic that's been on my mind lately is homesteading. While I want a tiny house, I'd like it on a big open space to be able to provide as much of my own food as possible. That dream is a little more difficult. I am not very good at growing things. They tend to die, or just not produce anything edible. I guess practice makes perfect, right? I'll just keep working on it.

Another reason we need a lot of land space is for my husband's dream of building an American Ninja Warrior style obstacle course in the backyard complete with warped wall. I'm not sure that really fits with a minimalist lifestyle, but it certainly sounds fun.

The only thing that makes me pause about a tiny house is the kitchen. Cooking everything from scratch with whole foods and making bread requires kitchen space and lots of it. I guess a tiny house that is 75% kitchen and a place to sleep is really all we need. Oh, and a place to store all the books of course. I mean, really, we are homeschoolers. Plans. That's what I need. I need to draw up some plans.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


We all want to be successful in life. Even more than that, we want our kids to be successful. What is success? I don't think success has anything to do with how much money you make. Success is doing whatever it is with all your heart for the glory of God.

 "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

That is a difficult task to accomplish. It's even harder to teach our kids. However, the task becomes much easier when we find our passion. What is your passion? What drives you to get out of bed every day? What makes you want to push yourself harder?

For me, there's a few. First and foremost is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Next, it's my family. I will work far harder to give them opportunities to find their passion than I will in pursuing my own. 

It's frustrating to teach your kids day after day and see them hate learning, struggle with everything, have complete apathy toward hard work. Then, one day you see a spark. My 15yo has become very passionate about drawing. He will spend every spare moment he has doing that. He will draw for hours if that means he can avoid his other schoolwork. At first, I was a bit skeptical. Everyone he drew had square bodies and no necks. However, he kept working at it. He got library books, looked online, and just kept drawing. Now, he is becoming quite the artist. Then, he discovered theater. I have never seen him work so hard on anything before.

My next passion is fitness. I first discovered the joy of this when I was in college. Growing up, I was told not to run and not do a lot of things due to breathing problems. In college, I found a few things that I could do. I changed my major midway through to Health/Fitness because I enjoyed it so much. However, I let excuses get in my way and never finished. Then, I got married, had babies, and let that go by the wayside for well over 10 years. I'm still not sure exactly where this is going. I need to figure out a way to combine this passion and use it to benefit the first two. I just know that I really enjoy getting stronger, faster, and healthier every day. It is priceless to feel better at almost 40 than I did in my 20's. This is definitely a passion I want to pass on to my kids. If I can get them to embrace a healthy lifestyle now, that will benefit them their whole lives.

Another passion I have is math and science. At the moment, my attention is about equally divided between this and fitness. Upper level math and sciences are some of the most difficult to teach for homeschooling parents. I love being able to use my passion for this to help others. Another dream I have is to turn my love of science into a ministry. The impact of science on the church today is huge. The beauty is that science is the foundation for fitness and nutrition as well.

This passion for math and science is part of what is driving my desire to be more organized. I have a lot of kids that I'm working with. I have my own kids with their schoolwork and activities. I have to make dinners and do laundry. As I get busier, organization is more and more important. Today is day 5. Sunday was Day 3. Because of church and my son's final performance in Aladdin, not much organization got done. I also tend to not do much on Sundays. I prefer to keep that day for worship and family time. Monday was another story. Next week my first chemistry co-op starts. My project for the day was getting the first week planned and lab supplies figured out. I think I got it figured out, for the most part. Today shall be more meal planning and starting to tackle the front office.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Meal Planning

Benjamin Franklin once said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."

Proverbs 21:5 says, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."

Failure to have a meal plan is the number one reason for straying from healthy eating. It is also a huge budget sucker. What happens when you don't have a plan? My kids have to be at theater for two hours over dinner. OK, we'll just drive through this fast food place. The healthy dinner you could've made at home for $3/serving, becomes empty calories for $8/serving. Oh, we have a softball game tonight. We'll just eat at the ball park.

On the other hand, when you have a plan, you can eat clean every day. You can cut up things in advance. You can make meals and put them in the freezer to cook quickly. The crock pot is a huge time saver, but you have to plan in advance. There are many websites to help with meal planning.

Day 2 of organizing was devoted to meal planning. It's going to take a couple more days to get the whole month completed. After several hours, I only ended up with a week's plan. Then, we had to shop. By getting the month planned out, I can also plan ahead and order veggies from the organic co-op. That also saves money and time at the store. The other advantage is that once I have a month's plan, I can recycle it every month. We tend to eat the same things a lot anyway. That will save more time. I did manage to fill up another trash bag and get it out of the house too. Making progress little by little.

Friday, August 1, 2014

31 Days of Organizing

It seems as my kids get older, my life gets busier and busier. Some of it is their activities, some of it is mine. I'm not going to list all our activities. I'll let you fill in your own list. We all have full schedules. The problem is, that I feel like I'm living in chaos.
This is just a small sample of what's going on at my house. Lots of school books and science equipment. I am tired of the chaos and need to get organized. Today is August 1. We are starting a new school year in a little over a week. I will be teaching two high school Chemistry co-ops, as well as several math classes. I need to get organized. Step one to getting organized is getting rid of the clutter. My first goal is to get one large trash bag out of my house every day. It could be trash or donations. Either way, it is leaving my house. Here is a picture of today's trash.
Yes, I just posted a picture of my trash online. I also passed along that large plastic bin of science equipment, because it is not what I need for chemistry. I would call day one a success.