Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Whipping butts outta first gear...(Days 4 thru 7)

So the last time you heard something from me regarding this challenge was last week.  YIKES!  We whisked away on a four day family vacation with the kids in tow and I neglected to update you on how poorly I kept up with this challenge.  Forgive me!

Let me be the first to show you that I simply do not have it all together.
It's funny though, because I often get comments like, girl, I don't know how you do it all.  Truly, I don't: See?

Our oldest starts middle school next week.

Our middle son will start kindergarten in a few weeks, but before then we have a few hoops of staggered schedules to jump through.

Our bags are not unpacked from our trip.

There's a mound of school supplies in the middle of our home office.

There are several emails and texts that I need to follow-up on.

I have a few bulleted items that I want to touch base with Nat on in

Nope, nothing's together.

One saving grace? 
The boys were able to see their grandparents and we had a great getaway weekend.
We were able to see good friends yet again and catch up if only for a few minutes.
It was great to be free from deadlines and day-to-day "stuff" for a little while.
We came home with a full cooler, filled to the brim with frozen goodies to ease my transition to wonder-mom...wondering how all of this other stuff is gonna get done...thanks to my wonderful Mother-in-Law.

So, that kind of explains why you'll get one post covering 3 days of what I should've done.  Hopefully, you're still on task as you following Crystal's own success....right?

Let's recap what should've happened on Days 4 through 7.

Day 4 - Attitude is Everything
Life can really play a band hand sometimes, but no matter what, a bad attitude is only going to make matters worse.  Choosing a simple thing to lift you spirits in the mornings could be the difference maker. 

A few examples?
Good music
Sharing a smile
Counting your blessings (via a gratitude journal)
Hugging someone
Expressing appreciation for someone in your life
Prayer/ Meditation

Remember, attitude is everything...and investing a little in it could truly be the difference maker between living a mediocre life vs. living one with meaning.

Homework: Decide on something that you can do each day to make the difference in your meaning-filled life and try to start applying it.
Day 5 - Plan
By making small steps that contribute to big picture goals, before you know it, you'll actually cross something off of your bucket list...but the key is setting goals and then breaking them into bite-sized chunks.
Sure, there are lots of things that we could say that we want to do, but by focusing on things that are truly important, we can make our days feel much more productive. Start by trying to figure out where you want to see yourself 1 year from now.

Homework: Make time to pick 1 to 5 goals that you'd like to accomplish within the next year.  Jot them down with the expectation of being able to breakdown into bite-sized pieces to tackle in the coming months.

Day 6 - Creating a Realistic To Do list
It's so easy to get bogged down with a list of all the many items we'd like to get done in life...sure, I'd like to take photography classes, learn more about sewing, not to mention all knock out the laundry, have a spotless home, and beautiful yard, yadda yadda...but sooner or later I'll shutdown from trying to do it all.

The only way to feel a true sense of accomplishment will be to take the best from among the good.  The best way to do so?
  1. Prioritize
  2. Cross of the Basics
  3. Have Bite-Sized (attainable) goals
  4. Prioritize Your List
  5. Keep the list Short and Simple
Here are several great and FREE printables to help you create realistic to do lists.  For app lovers, our household uses Evernote.

Homework: Make time to pick 1 to 5 goals that you'd like to accomplish within the next year. Jot them down with the expectation of being able to breakdown into bite-sized pieces to tackle in the coming months.

Day 7 - Get Your Heart Pumping This one almost pains me to type...because I have the hardest time sticking to a workout routine.  I swear having 3 boys, a husband and all the other stuff that comes along with it, totally exhausts me before even thinking about working out.  If you're the same as me, here are a few ways to curb the anxiety:

  1. Checkout a workout DVD from the library
  2. Watch videos on-line
  3. Try to experiment with new things
  4. Find a workout partner
  5. Set small goals
  6. Multi-task...and this just may be my ticket...for example while working out, create a to-do list, read a book, memorize a new scripture)
  7. Be realistic
  8. Track progress - one great app to do so is My Fitness Pal
  9. Reward your success - using moderation, of course
  10. Remember, something is better than nothing!! 

Homework: Think of some type of physical activity you can spend 5 to 15 minutes doing daily.  After all, something is better than nothing.

How am I doing with this effort? 
So, I've been terrible at the getting to bed on-time...I'd committed to getting to be at 1030 with a 0630 wake-up time.  Most nights, I've still been getting to bed around 1130, so only 7 hours of sleep. Tisk, tisk. Mental note: must do better.

I have been getting up on time, though :) No snoozing for me.

My top 5 items every night have been getting done. Now, if I could only just stick to my bedtime.  Progress!!!

Stay tuned for the Days 4 though 7 homework items.... more to come later today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whipping butts outta first gear...(Day 3)

So, I committed to getting in the bed at 1030 in an effort to have a "great" start to Day 3 of Whipping butts outta first gear...

What had happened was....

I didn't call it quits until 1130, but here's what I got done:
  • breakfast for dinner (so yes, we finished off those last 8 eggs and then some)
  • completed 60 birthday party invitations for a client
  • clothes out for me and the boys
  • and ironed for me and the boys
  • items prepped for next day (purse/ backpacks, etc.)
  • overall pick up of living space
  • dishes washed and filed away
  • pulled out most of the clothes I'm wearing for our weekend getaway
  • finished monogramming a gift for an old friend

...not that this validates me going against my new limits...but I do feel good about getting my top fives done + more. 

I can tell a noticeable difference though in getting 7 hours of sleep...Crystal was kind enough to offer a few tips here on getting up and at 'em, so now, if I can only stick to my guns.

Here are her tips in a nutshell:

1) Go to Bed on Time and to do so, remind yourself of how great you’re going to feel in the morning when you get up. And then go to bed.

2) Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep

3) Do NOT Allow Yourself to Use the Snooze Button, and if you need more sleep, set your alarm to go off 15 or 30 minutes later rather than using the snooze button.

4) Make Sure You Have Something to Wake Up For
since it’s much easier to wake up excited about the day if you have something you love waiting for you when you get up. Whether you pack some extra morning time to meditate, journal, plan out your day, or thumb through a magazine, make sure its something you want to do.

5) Get An Accountability Partner..nuff said

6) Get Up and Do Something (like a brisk walk, shower, or 25 jumping jacks) to help you forget how much you wanted to stay in bed.

Whatever you do, when your alarm clock goes off in the morning, GET OUT OF BED. It’s the first and most important step to making the most of your mornings.

Tonight's homework:
1. Make sure I've got my top 5 evening to-do's
2. Determine what time you’re going to commit to wake up every morning for the next three weeks. Consider what your pitfalls to consistent waking up are and think about possible ways that you can help yourself be more successful. Leave a comment telling us what time you are committing to get up every morning and also how you’re going to set yourself up for success in this area.

I'm committing to waking up at 630am. I believe this will have to shift to 600 in two weeks once school starts, but I'll worry about that when it gets here.  The way I see it, I'm doing good just to get up at 630.  I think my biggest pitfall in making sure I don't get off to a good start in the morning is going to be getting to bed on time...and since business activities are what I foresee being the biggest culprit in that effort, I don't yet have a solution....

stay tuned...

Looks like over 300 folks have signed up for the chall-onge...have you?

Aw, come on.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"D-licious" Breakfast Quiche

...quoted from my middle, I'm not tooting my own horn, by the way. My husband, a man of few words said, "Good quiche!"...I'll take that. and it was so easy, I couldn't help but share for anyone else who's trying to think of good ways to expedite the morning routine without spending a ton or slaving to get a hot breakfast before work/school.

So there are three reasons I wanted to make a quiche

  1. I needed a filling alternative for 3 boys and a husband
  2. I needed an inexpensive alternative for 3 boys and a husband.
  3. We had a dozen left over eggs from a cheesecake order and I wanted to eat every one before they!
  4. (I guess 4 reasons) It’d been a long time since I’d made one (I have tried seafood ones before, like crab or shrimp)….so I thought I’d try my hand at a breakfast one.

So I started with this one, thanks to one of my favorite recipe sites, AllRecipes: Breakfast Pie 
But didn’t want to make individual ones…because I had some generic brand pie crusts. I would normally add chopped onions or bell peppers in these, but the boys are acting finicky about veggies these days and I didn’t want to have to chop them really small to hide them. With the heat these days, I’ve been trying to think smarter on how I cook. By no means have I excelled at this, but I’m trying…so, for example, when I cooked bacon for shrimp and grits, I cooked a whole pack at once so that I could use it for something else. I’m sure there are those of you who have been doing this for years and I’m just behind the ball….baby steps.

I did the same thing with our Johnsonville Andouille sausage (my new favorite)

…which will go in our omelets tonight…because yes, I still have 8 more eggs to cook.

Anyway, you’re here to read about quiche.

So I tweaked the recipe as follows.


• ½ of a Jimmy Dean Maple breakfast sausage link or log or whatever you call it
• about 6 strips of crumbled bacon
• 1 regular sized pre-made pie crust
• 4 eggs, beaten
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• Black pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat cook sausage until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
  • Beat 4 eggs, add in milk, black pepper and beat again.
  • Add in meats and whatever else you like (onions, peppers, etc) to milk/egg combo and poor into pie crust.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until filling is set.

The verdict? All but my 4 year old liked…he seems to think pies are only for apples. I must convert him.

The pluses? One can tailor it anyway they like and from start to finish…mainly because some of the meat was already prepared... it took all of 15 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. Oh, and you can make them with leftovers ingredients, just like homemade pizza!

I wanted to make sure the boys would like this..but I could easily see making 2 and freezing one. Yikes…never frozen a pie before…but looks like others have passed with flying colors.

Stay tuned...

Whipping butts outta first gear...(Day 2)

In anticipation of Crystal Paine's Making the Most of Your Mornings Day 2 post, I tried my hand at seeing what I could accomplish last night to make this morning go smoother. I must say, I was able to get my to do's done...but still was up later than desired. 

The plus? Clothes were picked out,  ironed, breakfast quiche was yes, the morning was MUCH smoother than normal!  Fortunately for me, Monday night isn't a night that I love watching I was able to kill a few birds, without feeling like I was missing something.  The minus? Put a pin in that...

So what got done last night?
  • Leftover dinner
  • Boys ready for bed
  • Completed draft party invite
  • Breakfast quiche made
  • Dishwasher loaded
  • 2 loads of clothes washed...but certainly not folded :)
  • Clothes laid out and ironed for me and the boys
  • Changed my nail color
  • Meditation
So, Crystal believes
"To change your morning,
you need to first change your evening."

Deep, huh? You can read more about it here: Making the Most of Your Mornings Day 2

So, tonight's homework is to:
1.  Determine a bedtime (that will ensure 8 hours of sleep) and stick to it!
2.  Make a list of your top 5 to do's...and stick to it!

and I have resolved to:
Stick to a bedtime of 1030pm (for the next 3 weeks) and

Complete Top 5 Nightly To Do’s (hard to limit to 5):
  1. pick out clothes for boys and myself
  2. iron clothes for boys and myself
  3. clean kitchen/load dishwasher
  4. get documents/backpacks ready for next day
  5. overall pickup of living space
The minus? I'm already trying to figure out how I can get business stuff done in the evenings without home life going ary.  With a 9 to 5 that does not support our side gig,  a lot of times I can only create our gift baskets in the evening, for example... so the verdict is still out on this approach...but I'm willing to try!

One thing I have learned already in Day 1 is that I've seen that by making a list, I can already see how others can help get things on the list done.  For example, our boys are now 11, 5, and 4.  I've gotten in the habit of pulling out their clothes so much that I'll wait til 0630 trying to rush and throw to together something for the younger two, only to hear them bicker about who wants to wear what.  So, I concluded last night that if I include them in the evening routine of picking out the shirts, we should have no issues in the morning of who's wearing what = more peace in my morning. 

Either way, at a minimum, if this process shows me nothing more than to involve others in the plan so that they can buy into it...I'll consider it all a win-win.

Looks like over 300 folks have signed up for the chall-onge...have you?
Aw, come on.....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Whipping butts outta first gear...

So, I must admit, 2012 has been a doozy when it has come to keeping up with the business, the kids, the husband, our ministry...and everything else that comes along with it.  I know...preaching to the choir, right?
There's one blog that I use as my sanity check on a weekily basis. It's my go to for all things free, discounted, peace-giving, etc.  So, of course, as I thought about making quiches this week to help our morning routine (since I have a ton of eggs left over from a recent cheesecake order, but that's a whole nother story), I went here to see what Crystal recommended.  What did I find glaring at me? Her Day 1 post on "Making the Most of your Mornings". Ok, God...are you trying to tell me something?

and with a rising 6th grader, a kindergarten-er, and a 4 year old chomping at the bit to jump into elementary, not to mention everything else that's going on, I was instantly reminded that:
  • Yup, school starts in 2 weeks
  • Yup, I need to get my butt into gear to wake up even earlier...and
  • Yup, I STILL need to put a plan into motion to make the most of my time...sure I said that in January, and again at the beginning of the summer. Don't judge me. :)
Forgive me for trying to handle my personal life and letting the blog take a backseat.  I truly had the best of intentions on January 1st....only to share what happens with most of us, that time has, yet again, gotten away from me.

For the next three weeks, I'll be following Crystal as she talks about making the most of our mornings.  I hope to learn a few specific ways to improve our productivity in the mornings as well as ways to make the mornings less stressful and chaotic, and how to start the day off well.

So, yup, I'm going to try this chall-onge and hope that I'm able to whip my own butt outta first gear. There's still time to finish strong, right?

Are you in?!?!?! Come on.....