June 28, 2012

Home Binders - Part Four

This is an ongoing series about home management binders, and how they can work for you and your family.  You can find my previous posts below:

Part one        Part three
Part two

An integral part of the home management binder is the daily “to-do” list or schedule of the day.  Each person is capable of making their own order of the day, whether it be scheduled to the minute, a general flow or rhythm, or a list of tasks that one hopes to complete throughout the day

For me, I like to keep a running list of tasks, as well as a general rhythm for the day.  And while I tend to put it within actual time frames, it still seems very much like a rhythm rather than a schedule.  Perhaps it is because I know I rarely ever stick to the hours on my page, more to the order of the day.  There are a few parts of my day that I can count on, time wise, mainly meals and rest time.  I try to fit everything else around those more concrete time lines.

I have heard numerous ways to getting tasks accomplished.  I have probably tried them all at one time or another.  Sometimes it is taking a couple tasks that are the most important tasks to accomplish and highlighting them on your to-do list, making sure that you accomplish at least those tasks.  Others have one thing that they will constantly put off unless they do it first thing in the morning, so before they start their day, they eat their frog.  I think I could easily procrastinate my way through the day with nothing but reading for myself and to my kids, or puttering around the garden while the kids play outside.  Unfortunately, I still need to feed everyone, and making sure we have clean laundry and dishes are always important aspects of the day as well!

There are quite a few wonderful resources out there on the internet for everyday scheduling sheets.  Some examples would be simple mom, and Life Your WayBut, like most things, I took everything that I researched and then made it my own.  Here is what I use to schedule out my days:


I honestly do wake up at an ungodly hour, 4am.  I know it sounds ridiculous.  And I guess it is somewhat, but my kids are early risers, and unless I try to get up before them, most of my morning gets lost.  I wrote more about how I wake up super early last week.  But, when I am able to get up that early, it gives me the time I need to go through and figure out my day.  Sometimes I will do this the night before, so that I don't have to be too awake in the morning, and then I can just pull my schedule sheet out and start on the day!

I start out by taking a new sheet, and filling it in.  Easy as that, really.  I think the page is pretty self-explanatory.  Typically, I will do this after my morning quiet time, and so I try to find an inspirational quote in my quiet time to write at the top of the page.  Something I can look to throughout the day to help me stay motivated.

My to-do list changes every day.  Each day of the week I tend to have different tasks that I concentrate on.  Monday is the big laundry day – although I still tend to do laundry all week, Monday always seems to have the most.  Wednesdays are the Farmers’ Market, so I like to have that time open to go if I need to.  Fridays I try to get some baking done for the weekend.  These tasks obviously don’t take me all day (well, except for the laundry), and I try to list fun things that I enjoy as well as work things that I need to do around the house.  Otherwise, I get annoyed that I don’t have something fun to do.  Baking is one of my fun things, actually all cooking is, so it is something that I put on my list (lucky for my family, right?).  Reading is another, and I schedule it in.  I try not to list too many fun things though, otherwise I won’t get anything else accomplished!

I also like to keep a running list of bigger projects around the house.  It helps to have a few projects that I am constantly working on, then they just get moved ahead to the next day if they have not been completed.  These would be tasks like, clean out the basement, painting a room, moving furniture around.  It does not mean re-do the kitchen!  Although, that could be something to put on there, but I am looking more at bigger tasks for the week.  Tasks that I likely will need a couple days to complete.

Here is my home binder daily sheet for you to download if you so choose!  I hope that you find it helpful!

Do you have a list that you work with each day?  Does it help you to get organized and plan your day?

Linking to Under 300 blog hop and Mommy Club

June 27, 2012

yarn along!


I haven't been looking for my lost knitting needle.  I asked Emma where it was, and she said it is in the craft room.  Well, my craft room needs a serious clean out.  We have been using it for a storage space while we work on some other rooms in the house...maybe I will try and get to that today.  It is supposed to be raining...again :-)

Instead, I am going to cast on for my yearly baby hats.  Since Emma was born, I have knit her a hat every year for the fall, and then when Jack was born I started doing the same for him.  They are always meant to be Christmas gifts, but inevitably it starts getting a little too cold by October or November, so they get them early.

With Jack's hats, I have used the same type of yarn, and the same blue color every year.  I have been saving his hats too (because who throws away a hand knit item?), and it is kind of sad to see how much he has grown over the past two Christmases!  Sap that I am and all.

As far as reading goes, you can see my post yesterday as to what I have read most recently.  It is a really great young adult fantasy book and kind of a "coming of age" novel all in one.  If you have a tween in your life, check it out and enter to win a copy!

Other books that I am reading...well...at the moment there aren't any.  Which is kind of funny since I almost always have some book going.  I have been thinking a lot about the history of the US recently.  When I was in college I took all the US History classes they offered.  I'm kind of a history nerd I guess.  But, I have been thinking about the two main texts that all of those classes used, and I am thinking about reading them.  Maybe I am a little too hard up for books at the moment to think about History texts, but I think they will be interesting, and since I haven't read them since college, I'm sure I will take away completely different thoughts and ideas than I did back then.  Plus, I would really like to learn a little bit more about the history of our government.  It seems that there are so many important decisions being made this year with regards to our freedoms, and I would love to see how everything started.  I try not to let this blog become too political, so I will leave it at that!  But, if you want to discuss in the comments, feel free!

Today is also the last day to enter the Healthy Surprise Snack Box giveaway.  If you haven't entered, head on over to enter!

I am joining up with Ginny and her yarn along today!

June 26, 2012

The Journeys of John and Julia review & giveaway


The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis is the first book in a new series of novels.  It is geared towards young adults, but I more than enjoyed it myself!  It starts off in the summer as Julia finds out that she can no longer go to the summer camp that she worked so hard to get into during the school year.  Instead, she is going to be spending the summer with her grandmother.  It is a place she hasn't been since her grandfather passed away, and she isn't entirely sure she wants to be there.

John lives in the same town as Julia's grandmother, and had always enjoyed hanging out with Julia while they were growing up.  Julia's grandfather's death was also very difficult on John, who looked up to him immensely.  John is more accepting of supernatural tendencies, and will help Julia through their journeys to understand her own abilities.

What happens behind these scenes is very exciting.  We come to find out that there is a group called The Twenty-Two, and they have a hand in everything that happens in the world around us.  This book puts you in the line of thinking that perhaps there is some greater force out there that influences our decisions.

This book is just the first in the seven book series, so we are only scratching the surface.  The book is incredibly entertaining, and if you enjoy fantasy type books, this will be right up your alley!  There is an online community being built as well, which you can visit here: This Mind is Not for Sale and the book site here:  The Journeys of John and Julia.

And now the fun part!  I am able to offer a copy of The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis to one lucky reader!  Please use the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am linking up at the Hip Homeschool Hop and Hip Homeschool Giveaway Day and Family Friendly Giveaways

*I was provided a copy of this book for free in return for my review.  The opinions are my own.

June 25, 2012

strawberries

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a Healthy Surprise Snack Box here.

The two big pick your own fruits where I live seem to be strawberries and apples.  Every year I have really good intentions on making all of my jam/jelly needs for the year, as well as having lots of frozen berries and applesauce canned.  The past couple years it hasn't really worked out for one reason or another.  This year I approached it with a whole lot of gumption.  I was going to make it work no matter what!  Unfortunately, mother nature has not been working in my favor this year.


First, we started by going to the certified organic PYO.  I was so excited!  I typically go to a non-certified organic farm for my strawberries.  I was immediately disappointed.  The strawberries were tiny, and there were not many to be found at all.  You have to remember that the season just started last weekend.  I knew there was no way I was going to get out during the week when it was 100 degrees, so I planned to go Sunday and get as many strawberries as I possibly could.  Well, at the organic place, that ended up being a few pounds before we gave up (after about an hour and a half of searching for more berries).


I decided to go to my regular place, and they had a lot more berries.  The problem was the fact that most of them were over ripe, way over ripe.  Not really usable for what I wanted.  So I picked maybe 5lbs and called it a day.  The heat of last week made the strawberries ripen extremely fast.  Perhaps if I had gone on Friday, it would have been better.


The hope is that I can try again this week.  However, with rain predicted every day this week, and only one day of sun next weekend, I highly doubt there will be another chance for me to pick strawberries.  We have enough to snack on this week, and probably make some strawberry shortcake, but definitely not what I had hoped for.


Through my journey into local eating, I have constantly been trying to get the foods that are local to me (especially fruits) to last throughout the year.  What I wonder is, what do you do if there is a bad fruit season?  How do you make up for it?  Do you throw caution (and wallet) to the wind and buy from the grocery store?  I am going to try to seek out places to pick blackberries/raspberries/blueberries.  Maybe I will be able to get enough to cover what I wanted for strawberries.  And then, I can only hope that the apple season is a good one.

I am linking up at the Barn Hop.

June 21, 2012

Home Binders - Part Three


This is an ongoing series about home management binders, and how they can work for you and your family.  You can find my previous posts below:


Mornings.  They certainly are difficult, aren’t they?  I know that I would love to be able to sleep in and then leisurely get up, have a cup of coffee, read the paper (online), catch up on my e-mail.  Unfortunately, that is not the real world for me.  And I have suspicion that it isn’t for you either, at least if you have young children, which I do.

Last fall I stumbled upon a lovely challenge which I have spoken about here before.  It is called the Hello Mornings challenge.  The whole purpose of this challenge is to wake up before your kids.  Then allow yourself time for quiet time, planning time, and exercise.  It is a nice thought, right?  Waking before your kids and having some quiet time to plan out your day.

Well, my kids are early risers.  Extremely early.  Especially when the sun is shining at 4:45am.  So back in January, I made the decision to really take this into my own hands.  Now, I wake up at an ungodly hour, 4am.  Oh, it was difficult at first, and it still is most days.  However, on the days that I am unable to wake up early and have time to myself, my days tend to fall apart.  There are many personal things that I want to get done that I can’t.  As soon as my kids are up, they are ready for breakfast, ready for the day, ready for some type of activity.  On the days that I am not excited to get up, I immediately start reciting Proverbs 31:15 “She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.”  While I don’t have any female servants -even though I could use them, it does encourage me to get out of bed to spend some quiet time reflecting on the day ahead.

I typically will get up, make some coffee and sit down with my Bible, journal, and gratitude journal.  Yes, I have a lot of journals in my house.  I will read the Bible, journal for a bit, and then turn to my planning for the day (which I will talk about more next week).  I haven't quite mastered the exercise in the morning bit.  I am not big on exercise to begin with, so trying to do it in the morning while I am still somewhat dead to the world...not really happening :-)

Getting up early is extremely hard, however, it is good for me personally.  I have more energy when my kids get up, strange I know.  I am ready to start the day with them, instead of fumbling about while I try to wake up and having my kids running me ragged before I can even think straight.  Not everyone needs to get up as early as me.  This is the time that works for me (although not always for my husband!), and that is why I do it.  I am sure when my kids start sleeping later, I will adjust my time to a later time, they are just 4 and 22 months right now of course, and they still nap during the day J

Do you wake up early to be awake and accomplish tasks before your family is awake?  Is this something that you struggle with?  If it is, and is something that you want to foster in your daily schedule, you should look into Hello Mornings.  They will have another challenge in the fall.  If you are looking to start this habit now, and would like some accountability, please e-mail me at hello@townsend-house.com  I figure if I am up super early in the morning, there is no reason I can’t say hello to someone else who is attempting to wake up at that point!

Remember to enter my giveaway for a Healthy Surprise snack box here!


I am linking up to Mommy Solutions!

June 20, 2012

new books and baby vests

I haven't been doing a lot of knitting recently.  I took a nice break, really from everything.  It was wonderful to be able to concentrate on killing squash bugs and cucumber beetles...and to play with my babes while they played with the chickens.


Imagine my surprise when I went to grab the baby vest I am working on for my sister-in-law, just to realize that my second needle has gone missing.  How is it possible that I misplace a needle?  Well, I think it is more likely that a certain 4 year old took said needle and hid it.  So, I haven't really made much progress on the vest.  Although, what I have done has made me happy.  I think it is going to knit up really nicely, and using organic yarn is so fun.  I know there probably isn't a huge difference in feel, but I still feel better about using it!


And for reading?  Well, I just started a lovely book called Dreaming of Mr. Darcy.  It is a cute book so far.  About a woman named Kay, who has lost the two closest people in her life.  One of which left her a great deal of money.  So she is finally following her dreams to move to the ocean, the location where Persuasion is to have taken place.  I am not that far in, but so far it is a lovely story.  I love to see a great relationship develop from the beginning, and this book definitely has it.  I guess I am just obsessed with all things Austen, but who isn't?!


I want to remind everyone about the awesome Healthy Surprise snack box giveaway going on here right now!  Please pop on over to enter!

I am of course linking up with the awesome yarn along!  So good to be back after a few weeks away!  Looking forward to new book recommendations!

June 19, 2012

Healthy Surprise Review & Giveaway


If you have been reading here for any length of time, you know that I have *slowly* been making my way towards a vegan diet.  One of the problems I face with vegan eating, is trying to come up with quick snacks. Yes, I can make a green smoothie, or a salad, or cut up a bunch of veggies to eat with some white bean and garlic dip; but none of that is very quick, and inevitably uses a lot of dishes that I don't feel like washing!  Then I was introduced to Healthy Surprise

Healthy Surprise is a snack subscription service.  They have 4 different box sizes that range in price from $33/month for their Starter Box to $333/month for their Super Box.  They were kind enough to send me their Healthy Box to review, which is $66/month.  According to their website, the Healthy Box provides 32-40 servings, giving enough snacks for 2-6 people for a month.


I have to tell you, I was so excited to receive this box.  We don't live anywhere close to a whole foods, and to have access to quality vegan and gluten free anything...let's just say I have to do a lot of cooking and ordering online.  To find something as easy as this, with such variety was amazing.  And when the Fed Ex man knocked on my door, the box definitely did not disappoint.  Some of the snacks we received were:

*Gone Nuts! Thai Lemon Curry Cashews, Almonds & Coconut
*Skinny Crisps Cinnamon Crisps
*home free Crunchy Vanilla Cookies
*oskri Coconut Bar with Cherry
*Happy Hemp - seriously good for my green smoothies!

My entire family took part in sampling these snacks, and there wasn't one that we did not all like.  Please keep in mind that I have a 4 year old and 22 month old.  I thought for sure the Thai Lemon Curry nuts would have them running from me scared, they gobbled them up.  Although, I think my 22 month old liked the flax snax pizza crackers the best.

The fact that all of these snacks are vegan and gluten free is a huge plus.  It is hard to be able to afford the kind of variety that was provided in this box.  I wouldn't hesitate to subscribe to this service in the future.  These snacks are easy to grab, have ingredients you actually recognize, are healthy, and all taste amazing.  I didn't feel guilty eating anything in this box.  And for someone who used to always grab cheese or candy when I needed a snack, this made me feel better overall.

Now for the great news!  Healthy Surprise has decided to gift one of my wonderful readers with their very own Healthy Surprise Box.  Just use the rafflecopter entry below.  Also, more good news.  For those of you who don't want to wait for the giveaway, you can immediately go to Healthy Surprise and subscribe.  Just enter the coupon code TOWNSENDHOUSE and you will automatically get an unlimited $5 off.  Pretty sweet, right?  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Per FTC regulations: Healthy Surprise sent me their Healthy Box free of charge for my review.  The opinions, however, are my own.


I am linking up at the Hip Homeschool Moms Giveaway Day

June 18, 2012

and i'm back!

What a nice couple of weeks I have had away from this little blog.  But, I am ready to jump back in, and have some great things coming up!  Make sure to come back tomorrow for a very cool giveaway from Healthy Surprise!


Jack decided Pooh and Peter Rabbit needed to watch Matt build the coop.
mama with her babies


This past weekend Matt was able to spend working on the coop.  I am sure it will be done before winter, so that is a plus!  The ladies (and possibly a male) have been outside for a couple weeks now.  My entryway seems huge now, bonus of having 10 chickens living there for 8 weeks, and incredibly clean . I think they are a lot happier being outside - of course.  The two groups seem to be getting used to each other just fine.  They still tend to stay in their separate groups, but they aren't attacking each other, so I think that is a plus!

tomatoes are starting to flower - yes i realize most people have lovely green tomatoes already growing


While Matt spent time working on the coop, I was able to get some more stuff planted.  Whether or not it will actually grow, well that is still up in the air.  But, I am trying!  I planted swiss chard, beets, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, yellow wax beans, romaine lettuce, sweet basil and chamomile.  


bok choy

I have been attacked by cucumber beetles and squash bugs...they are relentless!  And so am I.  Everyday I am out there squishing the cucumber beetles with my fingers, and the squash bugs - well I am squishing them with a couple of rocks.  I'm not great with bugs.  I once saw a large group of maggots and that didn't work out so well for me.  I could never be on survivor...or fear factor...or any of those other shows where they eat disgusting bugs.  I had read somewhere that Guinness would deter the squash bugs, however it hasn't really done anything in my case.  Although I did start flicking them into my bowl of beer outside today and watched them drown.  It was slightly more satisfying than squishing them with the rocks. 


purple carrots

I am very happy to have the warm sun and the ability to spend a lot of time outside.  My kids are happier for it, and so is my sanity.  I hope you all have been enjoying the beginning of summer!

jalapenos

I am linking up at the Barn HopGinny's Garden SaturdayMorristribe's Homestead Blog Carnival, and Rural Thursday today.  Looking forward to catching up with everyone!

June 15, 2012

Happy Friday!

Perhaps a roof is in order....

Happy little ladies!

Am I a rooster??  Seriously, can someone tell me?

Did you bring me a snack?

June 8, 2012

have a wonderful friday!

I will be out in the garden...and cutting more of my beautiful peonies to put in vases!  Enjoy the weekend all!





June 1, 2012

I am taking a break :-)

Hello all of my lovely readers!  I just wanted to pop in and say that I am going to take a bit of a hiatus from the blog.  We are moving into warmer weather, and a lot of outdoor chores need to be done!  I unfortunately am spread a little thin at the moment, and the blog is the place that seems to suffer the most.  So, instead of putting up content that I am not really that excited about, I am going to take a few weeks off.  I hope to be back in the middle of June with better content, and more giveaways!

I hope you are all enjoying the start of the growing season where you are!  And I have a lot of great posts in the archives for newer readers!  I really do love the community that I have built here at Townsend House, and I hope to see you back here with me when I start up again!