Thursday, April 3, 2014

This Mama Can Clean!!

I know I have disappointed some of you (namely ONE of know who are because I haven't posted recently.  And I really have no excuse.  My life is a constant flow of motion that I should be used to by now...but when things get busy, blogging unfortunately gets put on the back burner.  And I will be honest, sometimes I just don't know what to write.  I don't want to bore you with the daily happenings of my life...I want my post to be something life-changing for you.  Ok, maybe not life-changing (although that would be awesome!), but something that inspires you to do better, to be better, to make changes in your own life...maybe even make you laugh a little!  Well, sometimes my thoughts just aren't that deep and usually are more like, "Hmm, I wonder what we should have for dinner tonight..."  So that is why I haven't posted. 
So, what's new with me?  I'm so glad you asked!  My brain is once again full and I am feeling the need to fill you in...aren't you lucky?!  Here goes....
 For starters, I have a CLEANING SCHEDULE!  I wrote that all in capital letters because I am squealing with excitement that I:
1. Actually made one up AND typed it AND printed it out
2.  Am actually USING it!!
A friend of mine has voiced her struggles with keeping up with her house cleaning and laundry while caring for her small children.  She came across a book that taught her the importance of having a weekly schedule and said that it was really becoming helpful.  And me, who is always looking for ways to make my life run more smoothly, really liked the idea.  I have had trouble with regularly cleaning my house and honestly was ready to just throw in the towel and accept that I would never have a clean house until the kids had moved out and taken their messiness with them.  When there are 4 people making messes (hubby included) and only 1 person cleaning them up, it's bound to create a cleaning deficit, and it did in the Snyder House.  I had tried posting chore charts for the kids, complete with page protectors and dry erase markers, but this resulted in the kids doing their chores half-heartedly (or sometimes not at all), yet miraculously every chore got marked as completed each day.  Epic Fail. 
Enter the new and improved Snyder Family Cleaning Schedule.  I decided to divide my house into rooms and assign specific rooms (or certain tasks) to specific days of the week.  Here is my current schedule:
Monday:  Office Work & Errands.  This is the day that the checkbook gets balanced, the desk gets tidied, the bills get paid, the groceries are bought, the deposits are dropped off at the bank, etc.
Tuesday:  Living Room, Porch, 3+ Loads of Laundry.
Wednesday:  Bathrooms & Foyer
Thursday:  Bedrooms & Remaining Laundry
Friday:  Kitchen. 
Saturday:  Decluttering, Menu Planning, & Family Time.  On this day I will choose an area to declutter/organize.  I will also plan my menu and grocery list for the upcoming week.  The rest of the time will be spent spending time with family or doing projects at home.
Sunday:  Rest & Family Time
I typed up this list, but also added specific jobs that would need completed each week.  For example, on the living room day, I listed Dust, Vacuum, Tidy, Tidy Bookshelf, Sweep Porch, Tidy Porch.  I also added a place for each load of laundry completed as well as for each load of dishes washed in the dishwasher.  My ultimate goal is for this list to be used for both me and everyone else in the family.  When the kids gets home from school, I won't need to tell them what chores to do.  They will look at the list and pick something that hasn't been completed already.  This way, each room gets attention each week.  There are days where not all the things have been marked off...but that's ok.  I highlight the item when it's been completed so I have a record of it and can do some of the extra tasks when I have time on other less busy days.  I just put this into practice this week and so far it's going well! 
I am also planning to make up smaller cards for each room in the house with more detailed instructions on them for the kids to use as a reference.  For example, when cleaning the bathroom, it will list all of tasks in that room and what cleaner to use and what a complete thorough job looks like so they can't speed through it doing a half-hearted job. 
In addition to my new and improved cleaning schedule, I am also implementing a new exercise regimen.  I am feeling a bit flabby and as you know, this has been one long hard winter.  I had all but given up on being able to exercise outdoors ever again because winter just refused to leave...but this week, SPRING ARRIVED!  And it is oh so wonderful!  I have renewed motivation (and energy!) to move my body and burn some of this buttah that has accumulated over the winter months.  I don't really have a plan or schedule for exercising, but I am just trying to make a conscious effort to move my body more...and to sweat more when I do.  I am not sure anyone likes to push themselves enough while exercising to induce pain or immense sweating, and I had been quite accustomed to get through a workout without sweating at all...and hardly getting my hard rate up!  Shame, shame!
So this week, I have: 
walked 4 miles,
 did an 18 minute circuit training workout (that you can find HERE),
1 hr of walking with just a small amount of running,
and a 25 minute treadmill workout (5 min warmup and cool-down and 15 mins of running at 5.0mph) along with some weight training afterwards. 
Not too shabby since it's only Thursday!  I am starting to feel the time crunch before vacation to slim down and firm up...only 10 more weeks until we go to the Outer Banks!  (yay!)  But the thought of wearing a bathing suit IN PUBLIC sends shivers down my spine.  So time to get proactive!
Menu Planning
As you know, I am following the Trim Healthy Mama plan in order to eat healthier and lose this last 15 pounds.  I was sort of in a rut with my cooking and needed to expand my recipe collection so last weekend I sat down to prepare a menu plan for this week.  I accounted for all meals including a snack each day.  I have a binder that I keep all of the recipes I print out for THM, so I took the recipes that I would be using this week and moved them to the front of my binder so they would be easy to find when I was ready to make dinner.  I used a printable menu planner and typed up my menu and posted it on the fridge.  I tried to plan more labor-intensive dinners on days when I didn't have to work and easy meals for those busy evenings.
 Then I used those recipes to compile a list of ingredients that I would need to buy along with some staples...toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.  Then on Monday (because that's Errands Day) I headed to the store with my list in hand.  It felt great to know that I would be coming home with items that could actually make full meals for an entire week instead of randomly throwing things in the cart only to get home and realize I had nothing to make meals with! 
When I make a meal, I highlight it on the menu on the fridge so I can easily spot those meals that I haven't made yet.  If I don't plan ahead (by thawing out a particular meat, etc) and have to switch meals around or I am in the mood for a different meal than what is planned, I choose another one from the menu.  Easy Peasy! 
All of these changes are really making me feel like I can control the chaos in my household a bit and streamline things each week.  I am hoping that each week that I follow my cleaning schedule, menu planning and exercising, it will get easier and easier and eventually the Snyder House will be working like a well-oiled machine.
One can hope, can't they? 

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