Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Longest Month of School {Parenthood}

 I pick up my son from school, we are a couple weeks into the month. He looks at me and asks, "Mom, when is the next half day." He looks tired. The homework load is getting harder to help prepare for the next grade level and he has not been sleeping well. Sure he has been waking up early and able to get to school on time in the morning, but it's taking its toll on his poor little body. I can tell he is overtired, his action lately has proven his exhaustion. I feel like the only thing to do know is to start counting down the days to summer break.

April. This is the month where our state does their standardized testing (we aren't there yet in 1st grade thankfully!). It is the only month during the school year without a break, a day off or a half-day to make it feel like it goes by faster. Now that I double check the calendar, there is nothing until the end of school at the end of May! Because of this, it feels like the longest last couple months of the school year.

I look back at my little guy while he sits and waits nicely, rather uncharacteristically patient of him to do, for my response. I know when the next half day takes place. I just don't know if I want to tell him he still has another month before he gets the respite he so clearly wants right now. The last day off he had from school was Good Friday, a couple weeks prior.

Last year we were invited to a cousins wedding on the east coast and took a week off from school and work to make a vacation of the trip. We missed a whole week out of this long month, so our experiences were entirely different. Even with half-day kindergarten, I could tell he needed a break midway through this month. This is our first full-day school year, and it seems to make this month a little bit harder.

This year I don't have the vacation to give that buffer for us. I would much rather do something to survive this month without having to go about counting down for summer. Even though we are at the end of the year I still want to maintain that certain level of excitement about attending school. It's so hard to do though when the kids feel like they need a break.

I had spent some time thinking about activities I can do with the kids to keep them occupied and active. The kids love to spend time watching t.v. which was one of the last things I wanted to spend time doing this month and until school lets out. I searched for activities to do outside with the kids, though most activities seemed to be summer based. Those would be fun, but a bit too involved and planning necessary for a weekend or after-school activity. I felt I needed something structured for them.

As I watch my kids play after we get home I realize sometimes it is the unstructured activity they need to unwind. This last month + of school is already going to be structured time upon structured time. I can hear the three of them laughing from one of their bedrooms as they goof off and play. I can't help but smile at the sounds of their free time together. No expectations (aside from the love and kindness expectations we have within our family).

I think we are going to take it easy during this final stretch of the school year. I know I will be asked a few more times when the next half day or day off will be. But, until that moment comes I won't try to push activities on them, I will let them come up with their own games on their own. We will survive this exhausting time day by day. Slowly. Because sometimes it's ok to just let the kids do their own things.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2018 Finish Along: Quarter 2 Goals {2018 FAL Q2}

The first thing I see when I walk into my craft space/office is the unfinished projects cluttering the top of my table. Those things are like the bane of every crafter's existence.

Unfinished objects. works in progress. projects half done.

Whatever you want to call them, they take up space, brain power, and clog those creative juices once they start piling up too high.

I'm going to try to jump on Finish Along Train again this year to get those pieces completed, off of my table, and onto a lap or bed. I took about a year hiatus from even thinking of completing projects and getting those things finished. But I am back and ready to try again.

Here is the list of unfinished projects I will be working on these next few months.

1. labyrinth lap quilt.
all it needs is the binding! ok. and to bury threads.


2. Samara's quilt.
It needs borders finished, pink minky backing, quilted and bound. A side effect of a middle child... Poor thing hasn't had a mommy made quilt and that needs to be rectified quickly.



3. Abacus Quilt
This has been in a partially started phase for forever. I don't think I will be able to get to it, let alone finish it. But just in case I am adding it here.



That's all I am adding to this list. No need to put all the projects down and have myself overwhelmed!  They will clear off a bunch of space from my table, especially with the labyrinth quilt!



How many half-finished projects do you have taking up space in your crafting area?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Getting back on Track with Cleaning {Home Life}

You know those mornings you wake up and enter the main living area of your house and it is spotless? No? Me neither.

I wake up in the master bedroom to a disaster (still). The rest of the house just seems to follow suit, though it is not nearly as bad as the bedroom.

Things sort of fell to the wayside after fall break from school. I have been playing catch up since. But in all honesty it really hasn't been too bad.

Yes:
~The kids have way more clothes than they can wear in 2 weeks (forget trying to wash that many clothes).
~I have way more clothes than I need (and thankfull I don't wear them all, laundry would be aweful)!
~The kids have toys they haven't played with since being babies, and yet those still get scattered around the house.

About a year ago I took a free challenge (sent over email) with Kendra Hennessy over at Mother Like a Boss called the Reluctant Homemaker Boot Camp. She now has it as a paid course. It makes me sad as I wish I could go through it again. (I am not recieving anything for this post. no affiliate, no free courses, this is not an advertisement)

It was amazing. I needed it like a kick in the butt to get me up and doing things after my mother-in-law passed away to be able to even try to stay on top of things. We were the 'wait until a big even at the house before we started cleaning' type cleaners. The thing that helped me the most was establishing a simple cleaning schedule for the week. Not icluding yearly or monthly tasks, just what needed to get done during the week. Forgetting all those printables you can find off pinterest. My schedule was tailored for me.

I had a friend visit a few weeks after implementing my schedule and she had even complemented on the cleanliness of my house (I had no idea how bad it was before, aparently.)

Anywho. I wrote down all the areas I needed to clean during the week. Only things I needed to do, not necessarily the kids. And I didn't manage to fit in the master bedroom which is probably why it is still a clutter disaster! Hey now, I have gotten rid of quite a bit of stuff! Work-in-progress....

I picked days that would be easiest to clean those areas, and restricted myself to 30 minutes (some weeks it was more some it was less). I was cleaning the baseboards just to find something to clean for my designated 30 minutes that week. When it starts out not a grimey mess, it takes less time to clean! (mind blown moment for me! Yay aha! moments! Ha!) Seriously, it was amazing the difference!

I even had laundry days devoted to each person in the house (except husband, he is in charge of his own laundry). I had cleaned off the top of the dryer during my laundry room cleaning day (it also houses the cat box) and was able to start using the top of the dryer for my laundry station.

My house wasn't spotless. Don't get me wrong. But it was much nicer than the mess it was before.

And, then I stopped for a while. And my house became the disaster area it was before I started.

But, we are getting back on track! I'm jumping back on the cleaning schedule train and it has made such a big difference in my house! This (coupled with other things) has actually saved me a bit of time during the day so I can do things I would rather do (like writing this stuff for you!) and sewing, and working on decluttering my craft/office space!

I don't have a multi-level house. It's not a super huge house (but not super tiny either). That said I want to share with you what I do for my areas. (Not that it is necessary for you, you have a completely different life in a different house!)

The areas I wrote down and decided I needed to focus on for my family:

Living areas - More specifically, the carpet. Lets face it. Kids and carpet do not mix well. Add to it we live in an area surrounded by dirt! I should vacuum more than once a week. But I vacuum once a week. The kids have to make sure all their stuff is picked up by the time we reach vacuum day or it's getting tossed.

The kids bathroom, Master bathroom. Everything that goes with cleaning a bathroom. And, I only have one little boy! I focus on each bathroom on a different day. As time passes I might start combining these two.

Kitchen - wiping down the dining table, washing placemats, sweeping and mopping the floor, and the stove, declutter counters, clean out uneaten food from the fridge. I try to sweep every evening. For several years (excpet last year when I was keeping up with the schedule) we had ants invade our kitchen around the start of our monsoon season. I try to do dishes every night too. If there is room in the washer I will fill it with the spoon rest and coffee pot. After it finishes running I open it and leave it open to dry more and will put it away while the kids eat breakfast. I also wanted this as close to trash day for yucky food coming out of the fridge so it wouldn't sit in the bin too long.

Laundry Room - why is it that clothes and towels always seem to pile up in here? I will do an extra load if necessary or move those things to their proper hampers. I focus on the floor with sweeping and mopping. Our a/c and heater intake is in this room so I will dust around it and make sure the filter is ok. I also clean the cat box and make sure the cat's bowls are clean. It's not a big room. More like a hot halway with wa washer and dryer included. I wanted this one closest to trash pick up for the cat box reasons.

I divided these amongst the weekdays, since the weekends are super busy.

Monday - Vaccuum (main living spaces and kids rooms)
Tuesday - Kids bathroom
Wednesday - kitchen
Thursday - Laundry room
Friday - master bath (trash day)

Next I fit in the laundry. There was nothing specific to it. It's just the way it fell and the way it stayed.

Monday - N
Tuesday - S
Wednesday - K
Thursday - Me
Friday - Towels
Saturday - Sheets

It's taken us a few weeks to get back into the habit of keeping things off the floor for the vacuuming day and getting caught up with the buildup from the last 6 months. But, it has started to feel decently livable and comfortable. And I am not spending all day playing catch up cleaning. I am limiting myself to 30 minutes so I can do other things. If it's not done I will come ack to it next week. And I am getting better at putting things away instead of leaving them out so I don't have to waste time on that when I spend the time cleaning.

This, coupled with meal prepping on Sunday (I will talk about that later), has made a huge difference in the amount of time I have during the week. I am still learning, but it has been great!

When do you do your cleaning? Were you like our "before", did you clean it when it looked dirty, or do you have more of a schedule?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sewing a Mini-Capsule: Planning {Self-Care}

I love the concept of a capsule wardrobe.
A limited amount of clothes: 
not spending as much time folding & sorting (Ha! Like I sort my clothes!)
fewer items mean fewer loads of laundry meaning it takes less time out of your day to wash and move to the dryer (and not load upon load upon load...)

I think I really started looking into it for the first time about 3 years ago... I've been looking for ways to pare down my wardrobe, discard the items I no longer wear without regret and find a color combination I absolutely love which I can mix and match in endless ways for an amazingly magical wardrobe.

So far, I have been unsuccessful.

I was *Finally* able to get rid of totes upon totes of clothes I have not worn in years, just within this last year. I was *Not* able to do it without feeling the regret later because some articles had been put in the totes by the kids moving things around, or I was planning on going through it one more time only to realize later there were things I didn't really want to donate. My heart still hurts.

Despite getting rid of the totes and totes of clothes, I still have an overabundance of items in my closet. Most of which, I do not even consider wearing! And yet, I cannot seem to part with any of them!

I've come to the conclusion that the bloggers, Instagrammers, and social media capsule wardrobe gurus are some sort of clothing wizard (magician, sorcerer, what have you). No matter how much I have tried I don't seem to conjure the same type of amazing outfit combinations. 

That is not stopping me from trying.

I think all I need is a little bit more practice. 

I am going to go with a mini capsule.  For now.

After lots of playing with my wardrobe and then running through Vivienne Files Build a wardrobe from scratch and going through the videos for Dress Your Truth, I think I have found my colors. Purple, mint, navy, and dark grey. This is what I have the most of in my wardrobe, these are the ones that get used the most. so why not? 

I attempted the 10x10 Wardrobe Challenge and quickly fell off the wagon before I really got started. Recently the facebook group Sew Altered Style Sewciety did a similar challenge with 7 items to create 7 outfits for 7 days. I started and followed through. I loved it. I even created projects in my head to help my wardrobe. I have been perusing online for fabric ever since.

I am thinking of attempting to do an almost 4x4 capsule by Vivienne Files. She has a great worksheet for it here, I just used google docs to fill in the blanks. I am planning some sewing to fill in the gaps. 

Things I need:
Navy: shirt and skirt
Dark Grey: cardigan, pants
Mileage: mint shirt, purple shirt, Cream Shirt,
Expansion: modify store-bought denim

And because I needed to round it out to make the grid work, I added a Chambray top. Because, I think I want a chambray top. This also fits with the Make 9 in 2018 challenge which is ever so popular in the Capsule Wardrobe Sew Along group on facebook.


Now, just to actually find a way to aquire the fabric (after searching my totes upon totes of stash here at home) and what patterns to sew up. I'm thinking some tops from Love Notions, Patterns 4 Pirates, Made 4 Mermaids though none of those are set in stone (actually I think I'm already going to change it up), and I haven't decided on the grey pants yet. I might need some help, What are your favorite patterns to sew for yourself?

Are you a capsule/minimalist wardrobe curator and only have what fits or were you like me and just got/sewn clothes because you liked them?