Archive for February, 2010

Family Fun Odyssey

February 28, 2010

We have been reading various versions of Homer’s Odyssey, so for our Family Fun night, we had an Odyssey-themed meal. Our entree centered around hot dogs for a couple of reasons. First, we cut hot dogs into three pieces and then stuck four strands of uncooked spaghetti through each piece before boiling them. When they were done, they looked a little like Scylla. Well, if you used your imagination. (Btw, I got this idea out of Family Fun magazine, except they didn’t mention Scylla in the article.) We also had plain hot dogs to represent that Circe had turned the sailors into pigs. The side dish was Ambrosia, for all of the interference the “gods” had in Odysseus’ journey. We put a bit of blue food coloring in some Sprite to represent the ocean. And, finally, we had Cyclops cupcakes for dessert.

Afterward, we watched (an edited version of) “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” So funny. And fun.

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Adjusting Flylady to Fit for the Long Run

February 27, 2010

I was encouraged to read THIS Flylady testimonial. Why? Because this person has been FLYing for ten years. Ten years! So often, the testimonials reflect the enthusiasm we have ALL felt when we first started FLYing and saw the remarkable difference that Flylady routines made in our lives. Yet, I would venture to bet that there comes a time in most Flybabies lives when that enthusiasm for the novel, the new routine, the initial relief from CHAOS comes up against the reality of the habitual effort that it will take to maintain this new lifestyle.

Thankfully, Flylady addresses these issues regularly to keep us all on the right path. She reminds us that we don’t have to be following everything perfectly to bless our family. We can keep jumping in where we are.

I think that another component of successfully utilizing Flylady routines for the long run is adjusting the routines to fit our individual lifestyles, like THIS testimony described. As I write this blog, I am continually thinking about how to adjust my Flylady routine to best fit our large, homeschooling family. And I hope, hope, hope I can encourage others to do the same.

Flylady and Relationships

February 26, 2010

Oh, oh, oh! Have you read Flylady’s post on Relationship Procrastination? This was an amazing “God Breeze” for me this morning because we had just, just, just had a wonderfully enthusiastic, Spirit-led discussion at Bible study this morning about forming a “Compassion Committee” at church to nurture relationships in the body of Christ!

We are not going to procrastinate any longer. We have a plan of action — and it might not even be a perfect plan! But, we are just going to go for it and build relationships!

I am excited!

Flylady Miscellany

February 25, 2010

Today, the Flylady part of my brain is thinking about:

– how I’ve managed to keep up with the Master Bedroom Zone Missions this week;

– how I tidied up my refrigerator front because Flylady issued the surprise challenge;

– how I’m going to get the feather duster out and give it a good workout this morning;

– how I’m very grateful that Joey does the mopping!

Decluttering Update

February 24, 2010

I think I’ve solved a little bit of my decluttering challenge. The timer helped. Changing my attitude helped. And, now, I’ve found a time of day when I can pretty much consistently focus on decluttering. Between Quiet Time and the time I Jazzercise, I can usually declutter without a lot of distraction.

I don’t know if I’ve exactly developed a habit, yet, but I’m well on my way.

Tangible Rewards for Fifteen Minutes a Day

February 23, 2010

When the local ministerial alliance challenged our community to read the Bible in a year last year, they offered some tangible rewards. This past weekend, Margaret found out that she was the recipient of one of the awards: a bracelet with a verse on it. Now, while we know that we received many intangible rewards from reading the Bible aloud each day, it was nice to get a bracelet, too.

I think the one of the best rewards we obtained from reading the Bible every night last year is that it became such an ingrained habit that we just started all over again this year.

Weekend Creativity

February 22, 2010

On Saturday, before Joey and I had our lovely chat about our goals for the bakery, Joey needed a power nap. While he was taking a quick snooze, I did a little work on something I’d like to get into my etsy store. For a long, long time, I’ve wanted to offer an embellished notebook-type page that could be easily reproduced to fill a notebook. The notebook would be used for recording responses to Scripture. For example, most mornings, I copy a portion of the Psalms and, verse by verse, I write out my responses, what God is showing me through His Word or praying a response to that verse. Right now, I do this on the computer, but I thought that having a pretty page to do this on might be even more inspiring. So, I started embellishing some pages.

I’m still working on getting the clean copies of my embroidery designs done and scanned into .pdf files. Plus, I’m embroidering examples of most of the designs. I’ve been making slow-but-sure progress by doing a little bit each day, ala Flylady.

Some Family Fun and Date Day

February 21, 2010

We are planning for a little more Family Fun today, but we did start off the weekend by playing two new family games on Friday evening. Both of the games came out of “Family Fun” magazine which is one of my absolute favorite magazines. The first game involved each person (even pre-readers!) starting with a blank sheet of paper and a colored marker. I set my Flylady timer for 30 seconds and each person began a drawing. When the timer went off — more quickly than we anticipated — each person passed his or her incomplete picture to the player on the left and we repeated the process, each player adding to the picture handed to him or her. Eight of us played so it took, obviously, four minutes to complete one round. I loved this game because almost everyone could participate (two-year-old Anne was content to play with toys while we were drawing) and the results were hilarious. We ended up playing three rounds and I was laughing until I cried by the time we quit. For some reason, many of our pictures ended up involving dog-walkers. Margaret’s drawing always started with a large face which was very fun (and funny) to embellish. Lydia’s ubiquitous little purple people were an especially big hit.

The second game we played was hide-and-seek. However, instead of hiding ourselves, we hid figurines representing ourselves. Let me tell you, being “It” was much harder than in a typical game of hide-and-seek. We limited the hiding places to within the living room area and even then, we had to give “hot” and “cold” clues to the finder. Tall Jacob hid his Polly Pocket (hand picked for him by Charlotte who also hid a Polly Pocket) so high that I had to reach around in a vain attempt to locate it. And Eleanor’s dainty cat figurine was challenging to spy. I have to add that my Tarzan figurine was a much more fit-looking hide-and-seek player than Tim’s Teletubbies guy.

Then, on Saturday, Joey and I had a Date DAY thanks to Amelia and Stephen’s willingness to take Jacob, Tim and Margaret to dog class while supervising the rest of the crew at home. I love, love, love having an adequate amount of uninterrupted time to talk through important subjects with Joey. I feel like we pushed a re-set button on our lives by taking a fresh look at our long-term family vision and how the bakery fits in. We talked out logistics for the immediate future and set some goals. We are both excited about the possibilities this bakery venture has to offer our family.

Hurrah! for Date Day! Hurrah! for Family Fun!

An Anniversary of Sorts

February 20, 2010

A year ago today, I had what should have been a rather routine — though unexpected — surgery. Instead of popping in and out of the hospital, I experienced complications that resulted in my receiving two units of blood. Because I had lost that much blood, my recovery was much lengthier than it should have been.

I had just started my Flylady routines about six weeks or so before this crazy surgical experience. So, when I came home to sit around and re-gain my energy, I wasn’t so sure that the rest of the crew had been thoroughly convinced that Flylady routines were something to be kept up with, yet. They showed me differently. While I was entirely out-of-pocket, they kept the sink shined and the clothes washed.

And I experienced another benefit from having started my Flylady routines the month before. I had been able to get the kitchen in shape through working on my Zone Missions, so I invited the ladies from our Mothers of Preschoolers group and the ladies from church to come over to make meals to freeze for families who might be, say, recovering from a hospital stay. So, thanks to Flylady’s routines, my family ended up benefiting from some of those frozen meals we had prepared in our clean kitchen just the week before.

Thankfully, I’m feeling a lot more energetic today than I did a year ago.

Thinking About Balance

February 19, 2010

I’ve had some thoughts about balance this week. I’m not sure that I’ve developed them into a cohesive, working conclusion. But if I write them down, maybe that will help with the cohesion.

First, I was thinking about balance itself. The balance that I’m trying to reach is both a mental and physical balance. If my Flylady routines are taking up a respectable amount of my day, physically, but I’m constantly thinking of the next chore I’m “supposed” to be doing, I’m off balance. And if I get to the point of spending most of my day physically completing Flylady tasks, I’m also off balance. Flylady routines are tools for me to use to efficiently keep my house out of CHAOS. Yes, in a house and family of this size, I will end up spending quite a bit of time each day physically completing homemaking tasks. This is one of the facts that Flylady helped me face when I first started to develop my Control Journal. But, there is really not a day of the week in which my Flylady routines should dominate me, mentally or physically. If I sense that I am drifting in that direction, I can recognize that I am getting off balance. (And, now, I’m going to be thinking about what might set me off in that direction to start with.)

Second, I think that a contributing factor to getting off balance is trying to develop a new habit, like decluttering. Typically, I don’t give much thought during the day to my firmly entrenched Flylady habits. I never give shining my sink a second thought. I don’t anticipate or plan for swishing and swiping. I just complete these tasks automatically. But when I’m trying to develop a new habit, I put more intentional thought into it. I also think that the decluttering habit is especially difficult for me to develop without a lot of extra mental energy because it requires decision-making every single time. I don’t have to decide anything when I’m shining my sink or swishing and swiping. Consequently, I don’t dread doing those chores and I don’t think about them ahead of time. This whole decluttering habit is requiring way more mental focus than I anticipated and it’s knocking me off balance.

Third, I’ve been thinking about excuses. Of course, Flylady’s job is to get us off of our frannies and get us going, no excuses. However, I might have a tendency to get off balance in recognizing what is a legitimate reason for modifying my Control Journal routine versus what is an excuse. I believe that I honestly know when I’m making an excuse for, say, not putting away the folded laundry immediately. I also can recognize when I sincerely need to modify my routine when there is an out-of-the ordinary event influencing my day. But, somehow, I hear Flylady accusing me of making excuses when there really is a legitimate reason for leaving the laundry on the folding table for a couple of hours. So, I can get off balance when I’m not acknowledging and trusting that I can honestly recognize if I am making an excuse for modifying my Control Journal routine or not.

Fourth, — and I think this might be the most important musing on balance — I am not Flylady. Flylady’s JOB is to focus on Flylady stuff. She obviously spends much of her time writing about, thinking about, actively promoting Flylady routines. I’m really, really glad that she does, so I don’t have to! Because I am NOT Flylady, I am off balance if I am thinking about Flylady routines more than I am thinking about other aspects of my life, like spiritual growth, parenting, homeschooling, creativity, marriage, health, serving others, etc. MY focus is going to be different than her focus, if I am staying balanced.

And, by the way, I wonder if getting off balance and trying to follow Flylady’s routines to perfection is the point where some people give up and throw in the towel entirely, claiming that Flylady routines don’t “work” for them. For example, in my own life, I have to acknowledge that I spend way more time exercising than Flylady has built into her daily routine. I spend at least an hour, six days a week, exercising, not 15 minutes. This is my balance point for exercising.

Well, I’ve rambled on today, but, hopefully, I’ve made a start at developing some cohesive conclusions about Flylady routines and balance.