Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Home management concept

So I have been working on a new and improved home management concept. Last week I finished reading a book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. If I didn't know any better, I would think he might have been and INTJ (or more likely his friend that he collaborated with on this project was the INTJ and he was the extrovert in the project) The point being this, the ideas in the  book fit so well with the way that I think,  I was immediately drawn into the idea.
Now I am still working out all the kinks and ideas, trying to streamline it all down into a very easy workable system, but what I have already has made a huge improvement for me.
It all starts out with a notebook, a pen, and some time to think. This portion of the project took me almost a whole day. I sat down on a chilly day with a cup of coffee and my notebook and began to write down everything that was on my brain or that came up in thought. Here is an example:
- Process 24 cans each black, red, navy beans
- Finish garden fence
- Research cognitive science
- Make list of needs for Hawaii trip
- Research all 7 crusades
- Find floor plan for future bookstore

When all was said and done I had around 150 items on my list. Does this sound daunting and overwhelming to you? I can not tell you the freedom I felt when I was done with this initial project. I was exhausted, but I felt so good. My brain works nonstop. It comes up with ideas and thoughts faster than I can blink. All those thoughts and ideas were being stored somewhere in my head. What a jumbled mess it would be sometimes!!! But even more frustrating was that I was getting to the point of not getting anything done. There was so much that I was thinking about needing to do that my body just kind of shut down and refused to work. Getting all that 'stuff' out of my head and on a piece of paper was therapy to me. Now I keep and ongoing list. I have smaller notepads all over the house and in the car. Any time I think of something I need to do, want to do, research, read, buy etc. It goes on the notepad. At the end of the day, or every other day, I copy all my little notes onto my master list. My thoughts have been collected.

 Now what?
Next I break them down into two categories: Actionable and Not Actionable.  Everything on my master list is broken down into something that needs to be taken care of within a reasonable amount of time or something that needs to be incubated for a small amount of time or is a 'someday/maybe' item. Then the actionable items are given a number 1,2, or 3. This gives the item an importance factor.

Once the priorities have been set, I move the actionable items to a Next Action list! Yea! I love this part! This is where things really start to get done. All my number one items get on the Next Action list first. I list the item and then I think about it for a while. What needs to be done for this item to be accomplished? One thing that Mr. Allen talks about is how people defeat themselves when they think about 'doing' a project. You don't do or complete a project. You do and complete a group of actions that brings your project to its desired result. When you try to do a project, but don't know what action steps to take. Your project will stagnate. So that is the purpose of the Next Action list. After I have thought about each item on my actionable list I begin to give each item a list of action steps. Some have one. Take out the trash is a one action chore. Just take it out! But others are not so easy. Here is an example:
- Make list of Hawaii needs!
     - Go through each person's closet to see what is needed for summer clothes
     - Brainstorm with hubby what activities we will be doing while there.
     - Make a list of needs for those activities ( Water Shoes would be a good example of a need here)
     - Make a price list of needs
     - Save money for needs
     - Purchase items as money comes in for those needs

I now have a list of actions needed to be completed for us to be ready to go on our Hawaii trip. I don't have to think about this, just do it!

Some projects/items are large scale. For those items I have another section in my notebook for Large Projects.Here I have a list to help me keep focused on the task at hand and how to work through actions to complete the project. If I need to collect information to help with the project all that information goes here.

I also have a section for mind mapping as I love to brainstorm this way. It connects everything for me but still gives me the freedom to be random in my thinking. I love rabbit trails when I am thinking!

So this is what I have been working on lately and I have been loving it! My husband too. My pile of projects and ideas that I start and don't finish, or that take me forever to finish drive him crazy! This is helping me to eliminate that from my life. What a great way to prepare for spring. My newest Large Project that is being planned right now is the 2015 Garden and landscaping.
Oh how I love to plan!!!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

A self evaluation moment

I was reading random blogs today (Actually, I was working on my INTJ Pinterest board and got sidetracked.) and ran across something that made me laugh at myself.
On one blog, a lady shared a picture of what she was currently reading. I laughed because it was a big pile of books. After the picture she listed each book and why she was working on that particular book. I thought it was kind of funny that she had such a large pile of books. 13 books! As I was snickering, I happened to look over to my 'chair' and at my basket where I kept the books I was reading. I was shocked! So in order to teach myself a lesson of  'Don't Judge!" I decided to follow in her footsteps for the day. So here is my picture.

And the list to go with it:
1. My Bible - This will always be in my reading pile, because I am always reading it.
2. Jackson in Action - This book my husband asked me to read to make sure it would be an okay one for him to read to the kids for their bedtime stories.
3.Aeschylus | Sophocles | Euripides | Aristophanes (Great Books of the Western World, #5) - I am working my way through this series, and this is the one I am currently on.
4.The Emotion Thesaurus: A writers guide to character expression - I got this for Christmas and it is really helpful as I am working on writing my own novel.
5. On Writing Well - This book is highly recommended by many writers and as I was looking for guidance on novel writing, this one made perfect sense.
6. How to Read a Book - I came across this while looking for resources for High School Language Arts and the title intrigued me. It is very interesting.
7. Creative Counterpart - I am always trying to read things to help me become a better homemaker. This is a new one to me for that purpose.
8. Sidetracked Home Executives - A home organizing book I read about once a year.
9. The Hidden Art of Homemaking - One of my all time favorite books. I am always reading some portion of this book. It is a staple in my reading basket.
10. Concise Theology - I try to read at least one Bible Study/Theology/Doctrine book every month. This is the current one.
11. The Art of Dramatic Writing - That one is not in my basket as it is an ebook, but I am reading it to preview for my son who is interested in learning screenplay writing.

As I worked through this list, It tickled my funny bone to see how my interests (some call them obsessions) seem to just take over sometimes. I definately need to work on whittling this basket down. I foresee some reading sessions taking place in my near future. :-)

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year

We sat down as a family yesterday morning to enjoy our first breakfast of the new year together. We began with prayer and ended with an enjoyable and revealing conversation.
My dear husband asked us all to share if we had made any goals for this new year, and by the end of the conversation, we had decided that we wouldn't make goals this year. I know, shocking huh? Especially for me. I live by my lists and plans of actions! This is what we realized though. We all had projects that we wanted to complete and we all had new things we wanted to try and new things to learn, but what we found was that this is our life. These are the things we should be doing every day. Grow closer to the Lord? A daily walk. Learn something new? A lifestyle. Complete a project? Being a good steward. We talked all these thoughts through. Having a list of things to work at is important, and prioritizing that list is necessary, but that is part of a functioning and productive life.
 My husband is a huge supporter of "Just live your life, day to day." and that is our direction for this year. A different take on things for us than we have done in the past, but I am greatly looking forward to it! Just focusing on each thing that the Lord gives me day to day. My meal planning is a responsibility to my family, not a goal. My daily devotions is part of my relationship with God, not a goal. My weight loss is being a steward of this body that God gave me, not a goal. I think that thinking about these things (and many, many others) differently will help me actually accomplish the things that are truly important in our life and family. It gives these things new purpose. A real reason for accomplishing them, not just because I wrote it down as a goal. How we think about things makes all the difference.
So, Happy New Year to you all, and no matter how you choose to walk into the year, setting goals or just living life moment by moment, may you always remember to live each moment of each day for the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In thanksgiving to God for all He has done for us.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The simple things.

The kids are back at school with a dedication I love to see. 

Here they are working away at their Latin lessons. I love listening them recite their vocabulary all together. It is such a fun thing for this mom to hear.

The kids were outside the other day enjoying the Autumn air when Meghan came in and said, "Mom, look what I did!" She had figured out a way to make roses out of fallen leaves. It never ceases to amaze me how artistic and creative this girl is. 

So, this is what we played with once we had beautiful leaf roses...

Two weekends ago we finally took some time away and went camping for a few days. What a joy that was. We all really were looking forward to getting away for a while. God blessed us with a canoe as we were traveling to our destination so that made staying by the lake that much more enjoyable for the kids. Donald and I have yet to enjoy the canoe, but we have plans...

Yes, the trail is a steep here as it looks! But we all did it!

The lake at the end of the 4 mile trail is Bluebird Lake. The dogs really enjoyed the lake at the end of the long walk.

We are beginning to plan for our next adventure of hunting camp. We will be in Eastern Montana for about 5 days starting the 14th of October. All three kiddo's get to hunt with dad this year and they are all really excited. 

Have a blessed day all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ahhh...cooler days.

Now that the busy months of July and August are over and the cooler weather is coming our way, (We actually had snow about 4 or so days ago.) I feel like things are starting to feel a bit normal again. School schedules are back as the priority and the kids are happily working away. It always amazes me how they seem to feel and act better when they are on their schedule again. I don't know why it amazes me, they have been this way since they were all little. But it is a nice peaceful feeling in the home right now. I bask in these days.
My garden was pretty much non-existent due to chickens, deer and an early freeze that I wasn't watching for, so I took a trip to the produce stand and came home with a car full. I am working on all sorts of things right now.

I suppose I should start at the beginning though.

We needed to clean out the freezer of the last of the deer meat from last year to get ready for this years hunting season, so we decided to make up summer sausage. A friend of my husbands made the seasoning mix. It turned our very good. We were able to make 15 sticks of sausage. This will be a great treat through football season. Home made sausage with cheese and crackers. :-)

We smoked the sausage on our bbq with hickory chips.

This was a fun new project for us all. And then on to another new project that I decided to tackle, diced green chilies. I am tired of spending so much money on a can of diced chilies and getting something with a mediocre taste, so while I was at the produce stand, I saw they had a bunch of anaheim peppers and decided now was the time to give it a try.

First I roasted them on the grill.


Then I put them in a ziploc to sweat for about 20 min. Actually, I learned later that they should sweat for 30 min to an hour.

Then I peeled and seeded the peppers. I also learned after that I probably did not do myself any favors by not starting off with nice firm peppers. Some were a bit shriveled, but I thought it wouldn't matter since I was roasting them anyway. The peppers that were not firm at the beginning were a PAIN to peel! Note for next time. :-)

Then finally, I chopped, divided, and packaged the finished product. I didn't end up with many packages, but it was a trial run and I learned A LOT! Next time I will have the confidence to purchase many more and put up enough to last a while. I would like to can them next time, but this time I didn't have the right sized jars, so into the freezer they go.

More projects are on the horizon, but this is all for now. I have to get up and get busy. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

So many things...

Life has been busy for us the last month and a half. Too busy. But many good things have come from the busyness. Last month, each child had their own week of Bible camp to attend. Though it was a lot of trips back and forth to Kalispell (and hour and a half away each trip, six trips total) the munchkins really enjoyed their individual time away. The last week in July (when my youngest was at Bible camp) my husband and son were gone for a week long hike in the sawtooth mountains in Idaho. Meghan and I were home by ourselves. It was very nice to have some one on one time with her.
The weather has been extremely HOT this last 6 weeks. 90* or more almost every day. YUCK! But the pond has been well used by the kids.

The garden was doing quite well. It is small as I am building as I go, but the tomato plants are loaded with unripe tomatoes right how. Hopefully they still have enough time to fully ripen. 

Of course these pictures were taken before the deer decided the fences and marigolds were not enough deterrent to keep them out. :-( But they left my tomato plants alone and the carrots and beets will survive without their tops.

Our puppy Sophie decided to take a 3 day vacation away from us. While my husband and son were at a friends house cutting up a fallen tree she decided to wander away. Luckily we live in an area where people are so good about turning in wandering animals and we got a call from a family who said "I think we have your puppy." We were very happy to have her home again.

We have had a large amount of company visit us this summer which has been so much fun, and are expecting more next week. Of course this keeps us hopping as all the visitors want to see the beauty of the wilderness of Montana. Oh, and all the animals too. :-)
There was also Vacation Bible School that we were involved with the first week of August. We were blessed with the opportunity to see one young man place saving faith in Christ Jesus that week. Those things make all the work worthwhile.

My dear husband has begun to create a pantry area in my kitchen for me. This project has been put on hold due to company coming and going, but the finished project looms in the near future. I am VERY excited about this!

Things look like they are about to slow down for us here shortly, and though we have loved all the variety of the summer, we are longing for the peace of cool air and surety of routine coming with the fast approaching Autumn months.