Thursday, April 30, 2015

Time Management of a Full-Time Working Momma: Household Tasks

Happy Friday Eve!  It’s time for another installment of Time Management of a Full-Time Working Momma… this week’s edition – Household Tasks.  Between working full-time and raising two kids and a husband (Haha – I kid, I kid.  He’s almost self-sufficient.), when in the world does one have time for cleaning house, cooking, laundry, and all of the other bazillions of nit-picky tasks that are necessary for survival?  Well, this is how we do in our household… 


We do laundry once every two weeks.  I know a lot of people say to do a load of laundry each day so you don’t feel overwhelmed having to do it all at once, but I could not disagree more!  I. CAN’T. STAND. doing a load of laundry once a day or every other day, because then I feel like it’s always hanging over my head – just one more thing to have to worry about on a daily basis.  Plus I know this would result in piles of dirty and clean clothes lying around all the time, and that would drive me completely nuts.  I would just rather just knock it all out in one weekend and then be scot-free for the next two weeks.     

So, every other Saturday is laundry day.  We wake up, sort the clothes into piles on the floor (we typically have around 7 or 8 loads), and we run that washer like a madman all day.  Some of the time we can’t get all of the loads done in one day, so we have one or two to do on Sunday morning, which is no big deal.  Sometimes if I’m feeling reeeeally crazy, I’ll throw a load in on Friday evening (if we’re home) to get a head start. 

We fold and put away everything as we go, and then after everything is done, I iron what needs to be ironed, which may I say is very little these days because #Ain’tNobodyGotTimeFoDat.   

The only exception is the kids’ clothes – we always have to wash a load of their stuff on our “off” laundry weekend because, well, kids are gross and they make messes of their clothes on a constant basis.   

This system may not work for everyone… maybe you are overwhelmed doing it all at once, or maybe you just don’t have 14 pairs of underwear to get you through two weeks without washing clothes.  The key is to finding what works best for you and your family, and this is the method that works best for us.  I cannot tell you how great it is being laundry free the majority of the time! 

One warning if you do use this method – don’t lose the baby in the mountain of clean clothes!  Oh, how I miss having a tiny baby!


Again, this is something that I don’t spread over time or work on every day… I clean one or two days a month (gross, I know, but it’s all I have time for right now) and knock it all out at once, so I don’t have to think about cleaning something every single day.  Of course, there are always times when I have to do a little sweeping or vacuuming in between here and there.  We DO have babies that play on the floors, and I don’t want them crawling around in too much dirt. ;o) 

It typically takes a good two, sometimes three hours to clean our house top to bottom and these are the things I do: 

  • Scrub all bathroom countertops (the kitchen is cleaned on a daily basis)
  • Scrub all toilets/tubs (my favorite part – #sarcasm)
  • Dust all surfaces in all rooms
  • Sweep and mop all hard floors
  • Vacuum all carpeted floors
Most months I’ll pick two weekdays back to back, and go home during my lunch breaks to clean (I’m telling y’all, I really utilize those lunch breaks!).  Then, whatever I can’t get done during lunch breaks, I’ll finish up right when I get home from work before I have to start cooking.  The best thing about doing it all at once is having the whole house clean at the same time.  And it’s also nice to get it all done over two days and not have to worry about it for the next month.  It would be nice to have the time to clean at least bi-weekly, but until we get a maid, monthly will have to do.  There’s no sense in wasting time cleaning on the weekends when I could be playing with the babies. :o)   


This is one of the things that I do every single day, because there’s pretty much no avoiding it.  Our kitchen island and the landing on our stairs are the catch-alls for all of our junk, so I usually try to take a few minutes every day when I get home from work or right after the kids go to bed to clear those areas and put things in their places. 

When it comes to toys, however, when you live with two small kids, you pretty much have no choice but to let it gooooo (now you’ll have the Frozen song stuck in your head for the next 45 days – you’re welcome).  It almost always looks like a Toys R Us exploded in our living room… and in the kids’ bedrooms… and in the playroom.  You get my point.  Rest assured that each time you see me post a picture of a beautiful, clean area of my house for a project I’m working on, I guarantee that it looks like a tornado ripped through just outside the camera frame.  As a matter of fact, this is what the living room looks like today: 


I do all of the cooking in the family since hubs only knows how to make scrambled eggs and frozen pizza, so he does the dishes most nights after dinner.  When I’m cooking, I try to clean as I go so there’s not as much to do afterward.  I also loooove one-dish meals that don’t dirty a lot of pots and pans.  That makes for super quick and easy clean-up!  I’ll be posting some of my favorite recipes for one-dish meals soon.


We have a push mower that my tiny self can barely move, and our yard is verrrry large, so this category belongs to Hubs.  During the winter, obviously there’s not that much to do, but during spring and summer he mows once every few weeks, usually in the morning on a Saturday.  Then we have a lawn service that handles weed control because otherwise we would spend 85 hours a week picking them. 

Bill Paying/Finances 

This category also belongs to Hubs.  I had a reeeeally hard time relinquishing control of this when we got married, but this is the one area where B is organized to the max.  Like, more organized than me.  And he understands the stock market.  I do not.  Enough said.   


In summary, the best advice I can give to all of you full-time workers looking to maximize your free time is to get everything done all at once, and do them as few times per month as possible.  It’s less to worry about on a daily basis, which means that you have more time with your babies.  My final piece of advice is to marry a man who is willing to help out, although it may be too late for that now.  Hehe.  But no seriously, I am a very lucky lady to have a husband who helps out a lot with household tasks… it’s nice not to have to handle it alone!

I hope everyone is having a great evening!  XO

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beach Trip

Well, we are back from our beach trip, and it is safe to say that I officially have a vacation hangover.  Luckily, I took Monday off so the work week is short this week.  It’s always better to eeeease back into things, I suppose. 

Our vaca ended up being really great despite the fact that Olivia got sick the night before we left.  It never fails, one of our kids always gets sick right before we leave.  Thankfully we were able to get her in to see the doc the day before we left, and they said that it was likely just a viral cold + her ear infection from a couple of weeks prior had still not cleared up.  They switched her antibiotic and gave us their blessing for us to continue with the trip. 

Both kids were very well behaved in the car on the way down.  All we had to do for Jacob was pop a DVD in the player and he immediately turned into a zombie.  Olivia was content reading books and typing on her “laptop” for a couple of hours, and then she crashed the rest of the way.  

When we arrived, we went down to the beach to let the kids see the ocean, and then we went and checked into our condo - room # 311!  That maaaay be why we chose that particular room. ;o)

That evening we went to Pineapple Willy’s, one of our favorite restaurants there, and we sat out on the pier for dinner and drinks.  The weather was perfect – 70’s and sunny.  There was a slight breeze.  The sun was a small orange ball hanging low in the west just over the gulf.  It was a pretty perfect dinner.   

After dinner, we walked down to the beach just as the sun was setting.  Both kids wanted to play in the sand, so we took pictures of them while they made messes of their clean little selves.  Olivia was completely covered from head to toe by the time we left.   

Friday morning we awoke bright and early (because having two small kids will do that to ya), we had donuts for breakfast (vacation – duh), and then we headed to the beach.  The day was sunny and warm – not too hot – but just right.  Jacob was still afraid of the ocean on this trip… he has been afraid of it ever since his second trip to the beach when he was almost two, so he stayed in the sand and played with his sand toys the whole time.  Olivia’s antibiotics require her to stay out of direct sunlight, so she sat in the shade a lot of the time and made duck faces at everyone who walked by. 


We stayed at the beach all morning, and then it was up to the condo for lunch, and naps for the babies.  Hubs was kind enough to stay with the babies during their naps so I could go back down to the beach, and it was so relaxing.  I stayed down there for a couple of hours just laying out with my book, and enjoying listening to the waves crashing against the shore.

After the babies awoke, we got ready and then went to Pier Park – an outdoor shopping center with lots of restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities.  We ate dinner at Margaritaville, where people on stilts made a Viking hat out of balloons for Jacob and a doggie for Olivia. 

After dinner, we walked down to the beach and attempted to take some family pictures.  It was verrrry windy and we had to use a tripod (no photographer), so I expected a complete disaster.  However, we surprisingly got some pretty decent shots. 

After taking pictures, we walked back up to Pier Park and took Jacob to the carnival where he rode his first roller coaster!!  He is normally so afraid of everything, so Brian and I were shocked that he even entertained the idea of riding it.  I was a nervous wreck for him – I thought for sure it would scare the pants off of him and ruin his whole night, but he loved it.  I could hear his shrieks of delight the entire time!  After the roller coaster, we let him ride a horse on the carousel, and then we went back on the carousel for a second time and sat on a bench so Olivia could join us – her first carnival ride!  After the carnival, we got some ice cream (because vacation – duh) and then headed back to the condo.   

Saturday morning we had donuts for breakfast again (hey, somebody had to finish off the dozen we had originally picked up!) and then we got the kids ready for the beach.  We got all the way out the door and then realized that it was drizzling outside.  Womp womp.  With a quick check of the radar we saw that it was almost over, so we waited 30 minutes and then headed back out.  It was pretty cloudy all morning which was good for Olivia, since antibiotics = limited sun.  The babies played in the sand nonstop and Jacob built sand castles.  He even ventured out near the water’s edge to pick up some shells.  Olivia passed out on one of the beach chairs in the late morning which gave Brian and me some one-on-one time with Jacob to fly his kite.   


Saturday evening, we met some old friends (who now live down there) at Sharky’s for dinner and drinks.  Unfortunately a storm was getting ready to blow through, so we had to sit inside, but the conversation was great, the kids were well-behaved, and we really enjoyed our time with them.   

Sunday morning we stopped at Panera for breakfast, and then headed on out for the drive home.  The drive home was uneventful, and we actually managed to get back home without having to stop, not even once.  The trip was overall wonderful – both kids had a blast!  Jacob did finally get the courage to dip his toes in the water on our last day there, but he would only go to the verrrry edge and then he was done.  I’m so proud of him for finally trying, though.  Olivia adored the sand more than anything.  As a matter of fact, she’s had three baths since we left, and she still has sand in her scalp… soooo if anyone has any tips for removing sand from one’s scalp, do tell.   

The very best part of this whole vacation was seeing it through Jacob’s and Olivia’s eyes – seeing the looks of sheer joy on their faces when they saw the ocean for the first time, seeing their excitement when they found out that we were going to get ice cream, experiencing the thrill of riding a roller coaster for the first time, you know, the little things.  Everything we do is for them – to make memories, to create happy moments that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.  My parents gave my brothers and me the happiest upbringing, and I am so blessed to be able to do the same for my kids.  That is what parenting is all about. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend Shenanigans

Happy Monday, everyone!  And a happy Monday, indeed, as we only have a two-day work week over here and then it’s BEACH TIME!!!!  (Although, it’s supposed to storm the whole time we’re there, so I probably need to take the excitement down a notch, or five.) 

This weekend was pretty great.  Friday night, I had yet another birthday celebration, this time with Brian’s Dad and his sister and her family.  We went to Red Robin for dinner where I got the biggest burger I could get my hands on (probably not the best idea since I’m going to (hopefully) be in a bikini later this week), and then we went back to his house for cookie cake (yes, more cookie cake) and to let all the kids play together.   

Saturday was one of those perfect days from the get-go… Just one of those days where everything comes together nicely, everybody is happy, everybody is well, and we all enjoy each other’s company.

It started out with both kids sleeping in until 7:30 which is quite a rarity these days… they each sleep in this late fairly often, but hardly ever at the same time.  This means that I usually get up with them on Saturdays so hubs can sleep in, and then hubs gets up with them on Sundays so I can sleep in.  And usually on my day to get up with them, I have to jump out of bed like there’s a fire drill since I’m trying to get to whoever’s awake before they start hollering and waking up those who are still sleeping.  Since they both slept late, Brian and I actually awoke at the same time, and then we piled the babies in our bed for some family snuggle time.  It was nice to wake up sloooow for once.  Olivia greeted us with her usual duck face, and Jacob joined in for kicks. 

Usually on Saturdays we hang around the house most of the day until church at 5:30, but we decided to go out and do some exploring around town since there was a break in the loooong week of rain that we had.  It wasn’t sunny, but at least it wasn’t raining!  We had breakfast at Panera, where Jacob ate a cinnamon roll the size of his head, and I had my beloved cinnamon crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese.  If you haven’t tried it, you must!  Any day that starts out this way cannot be a bad day. 

Doesn't everybody duck face while they eat breakfast?!
After breakfast, we went downtown to our market where locals sell their produce, baked goods, handmade items, and art.  It’s absolutely fabulous!  Everyone lines the sidewalks with their booths and tons of people go to shop.  It’s so quaint, and such a neat way to find unique pieces for your home or for gifts. 

There also happened to be a Superhero 5k Race going on down there, so tons of people were dressed up like Superman, Batman, etc., and they even had The Bat Mobile down there.  Pure heaven for our superhero-loving little Jacob.  

After leaving the market, we walked down to the river to watch the white water rafters, and we even watched a couple of people zip line across the river.  SO.  COOL. (Although I don’t think I could ever do it.) 

After that, it was home for lunch, naps for the babies, and the usual DOALLTHETHINGS time for me. 

For dinner, we took the kids out for Mexican… Jacob loves chips and salsa!  Somehow during dinner, our wedding came up in the conversation, and I came up with the idea to show Jacob our wedding DVD.  When I asked him if he wanted to watch it, he replied with an emphatic, “YES!” and then asked if we could have popcorn while we watched.  Lol. 
Dinner duck face!
 So we all went home and piled on the couch (minus Olivia – she couldn’t care less about watching TV yet) and shared with Jacob our very favorite day.  It’s so wonderful that we have this to share with our children… I would love to be able to watch my parents’ wedding, and I hate that they don't have theirs on video.  I thought for sure that Jacob would get bored and start playing or at least stop paying attention at some point, but he loved it!  And then Sunday morning he asked to watch it again.  Lol. 

Sunday morning we had some scary weather, tornado sirens, and all.  Luckily, the worst of the weather hit south of us, and we had the all clear by the time it was time to leave for lunch at Brian’s Mom’s.  It pretty much monsooned all day so we had zero time outdoors, but we made the most of our indoor time.  The kids sure do love that ball pit!

While Jacob and Olivia napped, I worked on archiving our old photos and videos.  Holy moly, is that going to be the biggest job ever – I have upwards of 60,000 photos and tons of videos, too. 

We did our usual Sunday evening dinner at my parents’ house, and the sun finally decided to make an appearance around 7 PM.  Way to miss the boat, sun.  I’ll forgive you if you promise to be present at the beach later this week.