I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant.
Some days I can’t decide whether that means I’m close to the end or far away.
Either way, it’s ticking right along and the days are slipping away.
Sometimes I feel like I should be taking it easy, slowing down, not trying to do too much. I want to let things go and be gracious to myself as a third-trimester pregnant mama of a toddler. I want to prop my feet up and watch a movie and ask my husband to bring home pizza for dinner.
Then other times I feel a desperate need to get more things done, speeding up and trying to check things off my list. I want to finish my Summer To Do List of things to accomplish before the baby is born. I want to soak up every moment with Phoebe and play and teach and have all kinds of fun. I want to wash baby clothes and clean the house and prep freezer meals for the days ahead.
So I struggle between this all-or-nothing mindset on what to do and when to rest. And I’m trying to find a balance.
But honestly, I feel like most importantly right now I want to cherish this time. I knew before Phoebe was born that our life was going to change, but I didn’t really understand what that would mean. This time I KNOW that our lives are going to change. Everything from sleep patterns to meal times to just getting loaded up in the car is going to be different. But not only that, our family is going to change. Our relationships will change as we go from a family of three to a family of four and Phoebe goes from being an only child to being a big sister.
I want to remember what this feels like. I want to be filled with excitement and anticipation for our little boy, but also be patient in a way that allows me to enjoy where we are right now.
So I’m speeding up and slowing down. I’ll probably continue to go back and forth between the two, and maybe that’s ok. It’s where I am right now, and where I am right now is where I want to be.
Guess what…August is almost here! Can you BELIEVE THAT?? I can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. I’m pretty sure it was just Christmas a little bit ago…
As the days and months are ticking away, it can be easy for me to feel overwhelmed and like I am falling behind. I KNOW that when I plan things ahead and get my mind wrapped around the month before the month gets me all wrapped up that things go much smoother and I’m happier. Which makes my husband and family happier too!
In my ebook, Efficient Homemaking, I emphasize the importance of planning. To help myself with my plan for the month, I have created a printable bundle packed full of what I need to plan my month. Essentially this is like my brain for the month so that I can write everything down and then set it on cruise control.
And now I’m offering it here for you! Starting with August I will be offering The Plan Ahead Monthly Bundle!
Each month will feature a fun new design and will include the following:
- Monthly Calendar
- Weekly Planner/To Do List
- Cleaning schedule
- Bill Pay Checklist
- A fun To Do List to use as you need it
- FULL Meal Plan list with recipes and COMPLETE Grocery List!
- A Blank meal planner and grocery list, just in case you want to do your own!
All for just $5!
Here’s a glance at the August Bundle:
(The Meal Plan and Grocery List are left blank on this image, but the filled in AND blank version will be included in your printable packet.)
To purchase the bundle simply CLICK HERE and once your order is complete your PDF document will be emailed to you!
I hope you will enjoy this fun printable and that it will be a great tool to help you organize and plan your month!
In honor of the relaunch of my ebook I wanted to write some posts this week on additional home tips that aren’t in the ebook.
The following was originally written as a guest post for Tiffany at Stuff Parents Need.
When my husband and I brought home our little girl as first time parents, we had a lot to learn and figure out! One of the biggest challenges for me was to learn how to clean house and keep things neat in our home. Of course, I knew how to clean before, but like most things with a new baby, it was very different than before.
As a working wife, I usually did most of the home cleanup on the weekends when I had more time available. But now, as a stay-at-home-mom, my Saturdays weren’t any less busy than the other days, so I had to figure out a new system.
The system and routine that I use now would work for a stay-at-home parent, or a working mom or dad. These are my 4 Simple Rules for a Clean and Tidy House:
Rule # 1 – Leave the house straight when you go to bed.
I quickly learned that if I wake up to a messy house, my day feels like it starts out as a failure and goes downhill from there. But if I wake up to a neat house, I can get started on today’s work instead of cleaning up from yesterday. For me, this means making sure all dishes are loaded in the dishwasher and cleaned and laundry and toys are picked up from around the house.
Rule # 2 – Do one cleaning task a day.
Cleaning an entire house can feel overwhelming, but I made up a list of all the weekly cleaning jobs and assign one job to each day. Then if for some reason I miss a task one day, it’s only one task and not the whole house that missed getting clean.
Rule # 3 – Set a timer to complete work.
The work we need to do will find a way to take up whatever time is allowed for the job. So if I give myself the whole day to do one task, it will probably take all day to do it! But if I set a timer for 15 minutes and I have to be finished when the alarm sounds, I will get it done.
Rule # 4 – Take a few minutes and quickly straighten up the house before dinner or sitting down for the evening time.
I have found that if I set my 15 minute timer and just quickly (very quickly!) walk through each room of the house and straighten things up it makes my evening a lot easier. I pick up dirty dishes to take to the kitchen, put any toys away, take any laundry or shoes to closets and straighten any books or paperwork that are out. I try to do this before my husband gets home from work, but I definitely do it before I sit down for the evening, whether that’s for computer work or watching TV. And when that is done, I don’t get to bed time and then worry that the house is a mess (which takes me back to rule #1!).
These are just a few simple things that help me as a mom, do you have a routine or system that works for you?
Last summer I released my first ebook “Efficient Homemaking”.
It’s all about working quickly and efficiently in your house so that you can move on to the actual business of living and enjoying your home. I’m a firm believer that good enough is good enough.
I’m excited to relaunch the ebook this week with some special deals for you!
THIS WEEK ONLY “Efficient Homemaking” is available for $3.99. AND you will receive a FREE printable year-long planner with your purchase! (The planner is for August 2014-July 2015 and will be emailed separately after your purchase.)
Why should you purchase this ebook?
- Are you overwhelmed by housework and home management?
- Do you spend large amounts of time each week just trying to keep your head above water?
- Do you constantly feel like you need to be “doing something” at home?
- Are you looking for a faster way to take care of your tasks?
Then, Efficient Homemaking is for you!
What if you could implement a few procedures and strategies to help you quickly and efficiently take care of your home? Efficient Homemaking is an ebook all about getting your work DONE so that you can enjoy life with your family and friends.
In this ebook you will:
- Learn time saving and time management techniques for managing your homemaking tasks.
- Get the tools you need to plan your household in a quick and simple way.
- Find specific, step-by-step instructions for quickly completing each task in your home.
Efficient Homemaking covers topics including, cleaning, meal planning, laundry, and managing paperwork in your home.
Most importantly, Efficient Homemaking is about creating a plan that will work in your home – not to have a perfect house, but to have a place that is welcoming and comfortable for you, your family and your friends.
Here’s what people are saying about Efficient Homemaking:
This is not just another book on cleaning – it’s a simple guide for those who want to quickly and efficiently take care of your home, so that you can fully enjoy the people who fill it. I love that Hannah says straight out that her home isn’t perfect, and that perfection isn’t the goal – instead, the goal is to take care of your home so that you feel comfortable welcoming people inside. I love that. And I love that strategy, hospitality, and grace can go hand in hand.
The content and ideas shared in this book are for women of all walks of life – single, married, moms, empty nesters, etc. You can have a tiny house (like me) or a mansion, and these tips would be applicable to you.
-Mackenzie, Life of a Pint-sized Mama
It is a super fast and useful read full of logistic and logical tips for speeding up and managing household routines including cleaning, menu planning, scheduling, and even how to deal efficiently with all that junk mail! She confirms my sentiments that our house doesn’t have to be perfect to be used and loved wisely. Hannah also includes sample menus, schedules and cleaning lists so that you can walk away from the ebook and get started with implementing her strategies right away.
-Andrea, The Hollie Rogue
Available as a PDF file for immediate download for only
$4.99 $3.99 – THIS WEEK ONLY!
Good morning Friends! I hope your Monday is treating you well so far!
Mondays can be something I dread and sometimes I just want to turn back the clock to the lazy weekend afternoons and stay there for a while.
But Mondays can also be a fresh start with new goals, plans and ideas.
These days for me, Mondays are usually about planning out the week. What are we going to do? Who are we going to spend time with? What are we going to eat? When will all the things get done?
I try not to overcomplicate it, but I do try to spend a few minutes on Monday mornings with my notebook and my “This Week” List and just think through what our week will look like. When I do that I almost always feel like our week runs a little smoother. Even if everything on the list doesn’t get done, and things don’t go according to plan, at least I don’t spend the entire week flying by the seat of my pants and scratching my head to think of what I should be doing.
Do you plan your week ahead of time? Would it make a difference if you did or didn’t?
During my first pregnancy everybody told me it would go by SO fast. And in some ways it did, but I felt like the anticipation and excitement of everything made it seem kind of slow.
But nobody told me that being pregnant the second time would FLY by! I seriously feel like we just started telling people we were expecting, and here we are at 30 weeks. And I’ve barely even written about this pregnancy. (sorry second baby…)
If you’ve been around the blog awhile you may have read Phoebe’s birth story and know that I had a condition where she stopped growing near the end of my pregnancy, leading us to induce labor at 37 weeks. Because of this my doctors have been closely monitoring our son’s growth with extra ultrasounds throughout this pregnancy. And praise The Lord! This little one is growing just fine, and even a little ahead, whohoo!!
Overall this pregnancy has been totally different than my first, most of which has to do with our season of life and the fact that I have a toddler. Instead of working in an office all day and coming home tired (ha ha!) I chase Phoebe all day, work around the house, work one day a week at Harrison’s office, cook, clean and do laundry and try to put my feet up once in a while.
I also take more naps.
So now with only a few weeks left I’m feeling the physical exhaustion of third trimester with a not-as-small-as-last-time baby. Overall I still feel pretty good. I know that all the moving around I do is SO good for me and the baby, and I’m actually very thankful that I’m more active this time around. This little boy kicks me ALL. THE. TIME. And boys kick harder than girls. At my most recent doctor’s appointment I couldn’t help but laugh when the nurse had a hard time reading his heart beat, he was trying to kick the monitor away when she pressed down.
We are beyond thrilled for this second baby, this son of of ours. And even though it’s so different from the first time around, the emotions are the same. Excitement, nervousness, and general crying over nothing.
We look forward to welcoming this little one into the world!
I love summer! And as part of my summer goals I wanted to go to the pool as much as possible.
BUT, getting out to the pool with little ones can be challenging and even crazy draining. Last summer I wasn’t even sure it was worth it (and since Phoebe was younger maybe it wasn’t). But this year I have turned our pool trips into a routine that makes it doable and even fun! Whether you have a toddler or a car full of kiddos to get to the pool here are a few things that can help make the trip less hectic and more enjoyable.
1 – Designate a “Pool Bag” with all the needed items.
I have an inexpensive, water resistant bag that is our pool bag. I hang it on the door going out to the garage so I can just grab it on our way to the pool and bring it back to its spot when we get home. The sunscreen STAYS in this bag, so I never have to wonder where I put it. I also keep our towels in the bag (more on this later…) so no searching for them when we’re ready to go. We go to the pool in our neighborhood and we have to have our pool pass every time, so that stays in the bag as well.
2 – Wash, Dry and Replace immediately.
When we come home from the pool I immediately throw our wet swim suits and towels into the washer. Once they are clean and dry, the towels go straight back into our pool bag. I usually leave the swimsuits hanging in the laundry room, which makes it easy to find them together for our next trip. Since I do this I never worry about wet, smelly suits, and I never scrounge around for dry towels when we’re ready to go.
3 – Consider snack and meal times.
Last year when Phoebe was younger I had to plan our pool times around multiple daytime naps. This year she only takes an afternoon nap (hello freedom!), but if she gets hungry while we’re out I might have a little monster on my hands. We’re close enough to home that we can pack it up and head out pretty quickly if needed, but if we’re at the pool with friends I hate to abandon the outing altogether. So I keep some easy snacks handy in our pool bag. I like to do things things that won’t either melt in the heat, or go bad if we don’t eat them on this trip. Peanut butter crackers are an easy fix, as as ziplock bags with goldfish snacks or veggie straws. I usually fill up her sippy cup with water and toss it in the bag before we head out, but if you have older kids you might want to keep some juice boxes in the fridge to grab on your way out the door. And if we happen to go to the pool midmorning when it will be creeping up to lunch time, I will take some simple sandwiches or even a lunchable that we can eat poolside. Overall, just try to think through what snacks or meals you might need to keep your kiddos satisfied and make it as simple as possible.
4 – Do a diaper/swimsuit swap
This won’t apply to you if you have kids that are a little older, but we still need a swim diaper for the pool, so we have an added step to the swimsuit situation. We use a reusable swim diaper (My Swim Baby) and a swim shirt for Phoebe (but you can do these same actions with disposable swim diapers and a swimsuit). When we get ready to head to the pool I dress her in her swim shirt and leave her diaper on for the car ride. Once we get to the pool I swap out her swim diaper and we’re ready to go. When we’re done I reverse this and I actually usually just take off her swim diaper and shirt, dry her off and put her in a diaper for the drive home. You can keep an outfit in the bag to change into, but I just keep her in the diaper since I usually bathe her once we get home anyway.
Going to the pool with little ones may not be the easiest thing to do, but my secret to success is a little planning ahead to make life easier and it makes it more FUN and less STRESS to get to the pool!
Do you have any tips or tricks for making the trip to the pool easier?
A while back after I gave birth to my daughter and became a full time stay-at-home-mom, I took a break from blogging. And I loved it. And I’ve never fully returned, even though I’ve wanted to many, many times.
A very dear friend asked me several months in if I was still blogging. I told her that, yes, kind of, but I wasn’t really committed to it or doing it very often. And she said something that has stuck with me.
“That’s ok,” she said, “I know you’ll go back to it, and by then you’ll be a wiser woman who has so much wisdom to share with other women.”
Wow. First of all, she is seriously one of the wisest people that I know, and I am incredibly honored that she would think that I might even be wise one day in the future (although she already tells me she thinks I have a lot of wisdom now). But it really hit me and I’ve often wondered since then, am I trying to be wise and share ideas about things that I don’t even know anything about yet? Am I pushing so hard to have something to say, something to write that I’m actually saying things I’m not sure about?
I don’t want that to be true. I want what I write and share to be meaningful and helpful. I learn SO much from other writers and bloggers and I desperately want to be that for other wives and moms. But I also don’t want to jump in feet first on an idea that isn’t fully formed or that I haven’t seen the full fruits of yet.
The other side of that is that I see writing this blog as part of my journey. You’re here reading along and experiencing it with me. So I want you to see the things that I’m trying and the things that I think are working, as well as the things that aren’t working.
I do have something to say. It might not be something that is tested and tried over years of experience, but it’s my life right now and it’s for real. So I hope that you will glean something from it, and I hope that I will remember to tell you when a half-baked idea doesn’t turn out. But mostly I hope that I really am becoming a wise woman, wife and mom and that this is an encouragement to you.
I’m a list maker. I love (LOVE LOVE!) to write out a list of things to do and feel the satisfaction of crossing those things off as they are completed.
I used to make a To Do List to be done in a day. But as a stay-at-home-mom, more often than not Monday’s list became Tuesday’s list and the leftovers became Wednesday’s list until I reached the end of the week feeling like a failure because I was still working on day one.
Recently, thanks to the idea of a friend, I have changed my To Do List plan.
I make a “This Week” list on Mondays (or sometimes Tuesdays…) of all the things that I hope to accomplish during the week. Now, you might not think this is that different or a big deal, but it has been a mind shift for me and a total game changer for the success of my days.
I list EVERYTHING – including doing the laundry and going to the grocery store and cooking dinner, but I also keep my expectations for “extra” things very reasonable.
And you know what has happened? Not only do I feel successful because even if I accomplish one thing each day I’m moving towards the goal of a completed list, BUT ALSO it seems to motivate me to do as much as I can early in the week because then I will be “free” for the remaining days!
Because I love a pretty list for everything, I created this free printable Weekly To Do List for you! You can print out multiple copies to write on (it prints out two to a page) or print and laminate a copy and write with dry erase marker. Click the image below to download the PDF.
Do you have To Do List tips and tricks? And are you like me and sometimes write things on your list that are already done just so you can cross them off?