If I can just make it through the next 7 days, I’m hoping to arrive at my destination of summer vacation where I can start tackling my “want-to” list as opposed to simply crossing items off that never-ending “have-to” list. Since last Sunday (the one before Mother’s Day), we’ve had some sort of activity every single day. I took photos last Monday and Tuesday as I ran around preparing for my very last PTA meeting as President thinking I’d be writing a blog post about it. I forgot to factor in things like the 2nd grade field trip I attended the very next day or that I would be volunteering a few days at the very last elementary school book fair of the year. Wait, I have a son in middle school with an upcoming band concert and he has nothing to wear! Throw in soccer and a husband working very long hours to round it all out. Today is the first time I’ve been home without a “have-to” of the need to be somewhere or do something for someone else variety in 10 days.
Here are a few photos of my kitchen during the past week:
I’ll allow your imaginations to work wonders with what the rest of the house looks like during this busy time. Here are my strategies for coping when I find myself aboard the busy bus wanting to shout: Jane! Get me off this crazy thing! (It’s a reference to The Jetsons cartoons for any of you out there who might be a couple of years younger than me If you can do these 3 simple things, then hopefully you’ll arrive at your busy bus destination on time without taking a detour into Crazytown (I’ve taken that detour a time or two and it’s really not that pleasant a stop):
Remember to do some laundry! What you were looking for something more philosophical? It doesn’t have to be nicely folded and put away but if your family is on the busy train with you, trust me when I say they’ll be much nicer passengers if they have clean socks and underwear available to change into each day. Planning a simple menu also helps as it turns out my family still wants to eat dinner even during the busy times.
Give some grace not only to others who are probably traveling a different route on their very own busy buses but especially to yourself. Ask for help if you need it–such a simple thing but it does make a huge difference.
Know the bus will stop eventually and have something fun planned for the end of the busy time but also remember take a few minutes to each day to relax.
I could probably write more but I have to go tackle a few more items on the “have-to” list now. Please tell me how do you cope when you find yourself a passenger on the busy bus?
I’d let you inside and sheepishly admit:
Yes, I am still wearing pajamas even though I have on my tennis shoes without socks. You know just in case I had to run out and talk to the school bus driver instead of wave to her like I do every day.
I’d be secretly hoping you had allergies (or a cold) not because I want you to be sick but because I don’t want you to be able to smell the fact that I’ve been rather neglectful of the kitty boxes this week. Springtime scented kitty litter, by the way, stinks even before the kitties “play” in it. I’d probably go ahead and sheepishly admit my neglect to you while apologizing about the smell in the house and lighting a candle.
I’d direct you to one of the two seats in the house that offered you the best chance to rise after sitting without having a cat hair fashion statement on your behind.
I’d sneak off to quickly shut a couple of bedroom doors and try to do a quick wipe down and pick up of the main bathroom in case you needed to wander that way. I’d hope you wouldn’t notice the overflowing laundry in the hallway.
Would you like some coffee? It’s pretty much Folgers or forget it around here. There are a couple of hot tea options though. If you said, you’d simply like a glass of water, I’d pray the glass I grabbed out of the cabinet didn’t have the weird film on it. We think it is residue from my Emergen-C drinks but are not entirely sure. There’s really not anything exciting to offer in the food department. Some Trader Joe’s Oreo like cookies, perhaps? Hopefully, the tween didn’t return the empty box to the pantry and it still contains cookies.
How have you been? Me? I’ve been busy getting ready to hand over my PTA president duties. I have surprised myself by having mixed feelings about letting go but over all my feelings are of the WOOHOO! variety. We’ve tried to be outside a lot with the wonderfully, warm weather that started on Sunday but sadly, is supposed to end today. Snow flurries in May? Surely, they are kidding! The boys and I bought (too many) plants for the garden on Sunday. We all went fishing on Tuesday night after I came back from one of my final PTA meetings. We caught nothing but I did spy a brown bat in one of the trees and snapped a decent picture of it.
Yesterday, I went to Bath and Body Works and purchased 25 foam soaps as end of the year PTA gifts. The cashier said someone bought 65 soaps the day before. I certainly hope that was also for some sort of organization and not a stockpile! Personally, I won’t use their soap because it is all Anti-Bacterial. I wish they would make some “normal” soap. We also planted all our plants in the garden.
Today is going to be all about laundry and PTA paperwork as I’m still tying up loose ends and finish out my year.
Unless, you’d like to stay for lunch and give me an excuse to put it all off for another day? I’d love that!
I’ve hit the point in the school year where I am counting down and not just the days until my boys are done for the summer (23!!) but until I can let go of some responsibilities of my own! If you’ve ever served in any type of organization, you know that near the end of your term, the great handoff occurs. Notebooks to new homes! Hooray! While I am stepping away from being PTA president next year (two years is plenty long enough!), I am assuming a new duty as a board member at the council level by serving as corresponding secretary. The outgoing secretary presented me with her notebook at the last meeting (I think maybe she was counting down her time as well). This is what she gave me:
Here is what the inside looked like:
Honestly, there aren’t a huge number of responsibilities with the position but I needed something a bit more put together. I also know myself well enough to know the approximate number of times I’d likely lose folder or the contents would spill out during the course of my term. I won’t tell you the number but just know it’s a larger number than you are thinking right now. I saw no choice but to visit the office supply store and pick up a few items.
The first thing I did was to think of what information I would need to successfully serve in my position and start listing categories. My categories for this position were: Opening Thoughts (the corresponding secretary provides the opening thought at each meeting), Meeting Agendas and Minutes (always a good idea to have these for reference), Calendar, Budgets, Letters Received (the corresponding secretary keeps track of incoming letters so I thought it would be nice to have a records of it), Contacts (sometimes an old fashioned paper sheet of contact names comes in very handy!), and Miscellaneous. I made little piles of all the papers in the folder putting them in their proper “categories”.
Next, I wrote all the categories on the tabs and pulled out my second-favorite office supply (label maker is #1): my three-hole punch! Everything went into the new notebook in the proper category.
Finally all the papers were properly sorted and in a nice notebook that I could easily locate and add in my own work. It just needed one more minor detail, a cover page! Here is my completed notebook:
I know it probably won’t stay quite as nice and neat during the course of next year (oh, the cleanup I must do on my President’s notebooks!) but it does give me a clean, fresh start as well as something that will hopefully be helpful to the next in line for the job. I also want to point out that I don’t fault my predecesor over what she gave me as it was what she received. I just saw some room for improvements and so I made them. I’m curious; would you have been able to work out of a folder?
They’ve included a vile four letter word in tomorrow’s weather forecast but I refuse to accept it. I’m planning a SPRING menu that has no room for cold, ahem snowy days on it. Nothing overly exciting this week but since I had fallen off the menu planning wagon, I’m a bit excited to have one. I’m may have been inspired by my husband putting his foot down about all the eating out we did over the weekend. It’s also a big week of MAP testing in all the schools around here and since that impacts my older son, I’m going for meals that he likes or at least will eat without too much complaint. Here’s our week in food:
Bacon-wrapped chicken, baked potatoes, and salad.
Meatball subs and tator tots (I’m sick of spaghetti!)
Pork Chops, corn, and salad
THURSDAY (soccer practice night)
Turkey sausages/hamburgers on the grill and onion rings (The Vidalia onions are already in Hy-Vee!).
Homemade pizza or frozen but probably not take-out. Hopefully, homemade pizza!
IDEAS FOR THE WEEKEND
I’m adding this category since this is where I’ve been falling a little (okay, A LOT) short with my menus. Grilled chicken legs, tacos (did you think we’d go an entire week without them?), homemade chicken strips, shrimp (from a box), orange chicken (package). Plus I will look at what is on sale starting Wednesday and plan a meal or two from that if something strikes me. Do you plan your weekend menus or do you just keep some ideas on hand like I did here?
I made a to-do list today. I hate lists! My mother was always, always making crazy, elaborate to-do lists mostly related to cleaning the house and I’ve been rebelling against list making (well, cleaning the house, too) ever since I can remember. If you must know, I didn’t even make my list today until it was 1/2 done but I did make it. I stumbled across this idea in the April 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine in an article entitled 6 Reasons Why You Feel Exhausted which intrigued me quite a bit. The idea is from Allyson Lewis, author of The 7 Minute Solution (which I have not read but would now very much like to read). Basically, you decide on 5 tasks you’d like to accomplish before 11:00a.m. I decided to give it a try.
I tried it last Monday and had limited success. Of course, I think making my list of 5 things at 9:45a.m may have been a factor in my accomplishments that day. My list from that day was actually not very hard or exciting. It looked like this:
- Clean kitchen/bathrooms
- E-mail PTA board important dates for school of information
- Review PTA corresponding secretary “notebook” and see what I need to turn it into a real notebook (My predecessor handed me a folder at the last meeting and it was not organized)
- Check MOPTA website for officer installation ideas
- Strip all the beds
Interestingly, I managed to accomplish all the tasks that involved the computer and those cleaning tasks…not so much. I did start on the kitchen and bathrooms but then the time ran out.
Still, I remained intrigued with this idea so today I decided to give it another shot. However, I decided 5 tasks before 11:00a.m. was too limiting for me. I think it would work great for someone who was an early riser and could start their day without worrying about getting kids out the door for school or was already in a planning routine. I decided to give my self a bit more time and add two extra tasks to the list since I was stretching the time a bit. I went with a 7 items before 1p.m. list instead. AND, I almost completed the whole list! I’m finishing up item 7 right now Here’s the list from today:
- Change cat litter
- Clean out fridge
- Clean cat hair off sofa/chair and clean out underneath them as well
- Vacuum/mop living room and kitchen floors
- Clean bathroom in our bedroom
- Make chocolate chip cookie dough balls and freeze
- Write and publish blog post
Hopefully, you can look and see just like I can that this is simply prioritizing. However, I do think the time limit puts a fun twist on the idea and I can see where it could easily be expanded to set another group of tasks for the afternoon, such as a short list of 3 items to accomplish by 4p.m. What do you think of this system? Have you ever read The 7 Minute Solution? Also, please tell me I’m not the only one out there who dislikes making lists.