Time Out

Well, January is halfway over, and I’m wondering how you all are doing on your 2014 intentions list?  I’m still simmering on mine, and this week I’ve been especially focused on one of my peskiest road blocks- time management.  Oh goody!  <insert optimism>

And you may say, why Amy!  I thought you were a highly functional crafty mom machine, who cranks out hot quilts and healthy meals by the dozen!  Pssshhhhht, the truth is- I’m usually a mess.  Always cleaning a house that never seems to get any cleaner, ALWAYS running late, forgetting things, and typically gauging my productivity for the day on my having taken a shower (which is usually a clear fail).  For all intents and purposes, I’m a time management mess.  And rather than get all philosophical and down on myself about it, I’ve decided to start with a few realistic, simple things on the road to help me get more out of my days.

I read somewhere that you should make your bed every single morning.  I don’t quite know why, but I swear that somehow this helps me get more done.  I may have burned breakfast, or forgotten to bake cookies for the fundraiser, but when I breeze by the door to my room and see that smoothed comforter and puffed pillows, I can’t help but think, “Today is great.  Today I’m making stuff happen.”

Ok, so the bed is made.  As you can see, I am highly productive.  Now on to, what I will fondly refer to as, “the relentless cycle of nightmarish torture.”  Aka, laundry.  WHY is it sucking the life out of my glorious homemaking aspirations?  I thought redecorating my laundry room would help, and all that did was make me feel slightly less depressed about doing exactly the same amount of laundry.  And that amount is ridiculous.  Have any of you experienced this?  I’m sure it’s the life stage I’m in right now, with 4 kids under the age of 6, but I feel like I’m drowning in it.  There’s a very full dirty load to do in everyone’s closet at all times, a load in the washer, a load in the dryer, and 4 or 5 loads in baskets either stacked in the laundry room or, more often, scattered about the house.  HOW in the world can there be that much laundry???  It’s eating me alive.

And then it hit me.  Perhaps, just maybe, the quantity of laundry is linked to the quantity of clothing we own.  Too.  Many.  Clothes.  We buy them on sale, we get hand-me-downs, we get them for gifts, we can’t resist garage sales and thrift stores.  In the moment it seems harmless.  It’s a cute sundress on clearance!  And the relentless cycle of nightmarish torture continues.

I’m no historian, but didn’t folks 70 or 80 years ago have just a couple of outfits, and 1, maybe 2 pair of shoes, that fit perfectly in their itty bitty closets?  They survived!  In fact, they more than survived!  They thrived!  They made or carefully purchased a very few quality garments that lasted, took great care of them, and that was all they needed.  Somehow along the way {enter: Target, Old Navy, & friends}, this simplicity was derailed.

Well, not for long…at least in this house.  I’m not wasting one more hour hanging endless tiny shirts on endless tiny hangers.

I started in my girls room.  I opened up the closet and went through it item by item asking myself things like, “Do they wear this?  Does it fit well?  Does this outfit make me embarrassed to be seen with them??  It only took about 10 minutes to fill a kitchen trash bag, and there’s more where that came from.

Intentions Check In 01

The closet is looking happier, and I’m already noticing a difference in the time I’m spending on laundry.

Intentions Check In 02

Still more to eliminate- I’m just getting started, but it’s exciting to feel some instant results.

What else?  How about cooking…and shopping…and making lists…and hunting for recipes I pinned 6 months ago.  Is it just me, or is this a total time suck?  This 3-4 day meal planing and bi-weekly grocery shopping (which, if I have to bring the kids, is an Olympic event in and of itself)…  No ma’am.  No more.

Intentions Check In 03

Intentions Check In 04

It’s completely obvious.  I need another freeze-ahead prep weekend.  No way around it.  I’ve done it once before when I was preparing for my twins to arrive, and it made a MIRACULOUS difference in the amount of time I saved in prepping meals on a daily and weekly basis.  This is a no-brainer, and if I have any sense whatsoever, I will start crafting my plan of attack immediately.

I Survived Freeze Ahead Cooking Day 04

I Survived Freeze Ahead Cooking Day 05

I Survived Freeze Ahead Cooking Day 07

Once I do tackle this one, I’m thinking of posting my meals list, including recipes, shopping list, and freezing/thawing instructions, so they’re available for any other hectic household managers out there who may be able to use them.

Ahhh, so much more to do on this front…and boy, do I have plans….but this is a good start.  How about you?  Any progress on any of your 2014 intentions?  Are you breaking through any road blocks?  I want to hear about it!!

XO

Comments

  1. Tracey Hallifax says:

    Oh Amy, have been there and done that, when I had my four boys 5 and under, the washing pile was endless, easier with boys I guess no cute sundresses to buy ! But I did have a big wall calender and everything was noted down, all the appointments, birthday parties, vaccinations, shopping trips, after school clubs, everything, so I could even schedule ‘ME’ time, very important so you can spend more time planning how to stream line your life ;) then 20 years have slipped by and the few dates to write down are when we will all catch up again, so take this hectic time and relish it, it flys far too quickly my dear mum made me realise that X

  2. I would thank you 100x if you posted your list of ingredients and recipes for freezing ahead. I’m expecting my first in a few months and was planning on freezing ahead just so we have one less thing to worry about in addition to the new baby. :D

  3. Chill, woman! Give it five years and you will be looking back on NOW fondly. I only had one and I could never understand how people managed two! so hats off to you! I agree with making the bed, somehow the house looks less messy and I feel like I accomplished something. Laundry I found was like that too. It seems if I could keep reasonably caught up, life flowed more smoothly. The key for me was to fold and put away each load as it was completed. No letting those clean clothes languish in a laundry basket getting wrinkled by the minute! In ending, my daughter is 24 now and I miss those early days so very much. So slow down, relax, and enjoy life RIGHT NOW.

  4. I make my bed every morning too, as soon as I get up. A made bed looks so nice especially if there is a pretty quilt on the bed. :) That is a gorgeous quilt at the end of your bed. Have you ever heard of flylady? She’s about cleaning and so much more. She even talks about getting little ones involved cleaning too and they have fun in the process. Not to mention that they are proud of their accomplishments. It sounds hard to believe but if you follow her steps your home starts to clean itself with baby steps. No more mount washmore as she puts it and no marathon cleaning before company arrives. You can find flylady here. http://flylady.net/

  5. Oh I would be thrilled if you posted your freezer plan! I have yet to do that but now that I’m working outside the home with 2 under 5 yrs it’s becoming a necessity! Hubbies cooking skills have not surfaced as a strength! Lol

  6. Have to say Marianne is right …as hectic as these times are … ENJOY them! My children are 27 and 21 (still living at home due to finances and schooling) and I really miss those hectic days of kid activities to work around. Now I have my 89 yr old mom living with us and a bit hectic again – but different (5 adults in one house!) – when I get frustrated I can’t tell her (hubby or the kids) to go to her room!!! Very important to get a little ME time every day. I’m is always trying to get ahead of the meal time situation – it will be nice to see what you’ve come up with! Love your blog! Enjoy this time is goes by in the blink of an eye.

  7. I’m with you on making the bed. Don’t know why that one small chore makes the whole house feel better, but it does. As for the laundry, I swear it multiplies when you turn your back on it! With three boys 11 and under I feel like if I skip even just one day I will be paying for it for the next week. I am trying the teach them that some things, like jeans, can be worn twice before needing to be washed, but I’m not sure it is sinking in yet. Sometimes I can remember to thank God for the bodies living in my home needing clean laundry and that makes the task more pleasant, but I confess I don’t always remember.

  8. We were never blessed with children so I can’t give advice, but I looked at that picture of your sweeties in the supermarket and it brought a smile to my face. What a beautiful family. Ignore the laundry piles. The perfectly tidy home will come in a few years when they can help with some of the maintenance. You sound more organized than many already. You are a wonderful Mom, and take pleasure in that. Give yourself a pat on the back!

  9. Another blow for freedom, and one I have found well worth the price, a local grocery with “express lane” shopping. My local Harris Teeter offers it, so I imagine it is available elsewhere. I pay $4.95 per visit or $16.95 for 30 days of unlimited access. Instead of writing down a grocery list, sign in to your online site. You can see all the specials in the weekly flyer, shop for your favorites, order fresh meat, produce and frozen food. Your personal shopper picks your order for you, calls about any substitution, and emails confirmation when your order is ready. You set the time at least 4 hours out, but mine are frequently ready early. Roll into the pick up lane in the car, children snug in their car seats, push a button on a call box and within 10 minutes your order is delivered to you, loaded in your vehicle. You write your check or pass your debit or credit card to your shopper for processing. You do NOT even get out of your car! Now you only have to carry them in and put them up.i don’t have four children but I do have an outside job. While not nearly as draining as raising a family, after a long day the last thing I want is to go to the store when the parking lot is full. I sit in my car and listen to NPR or music while I wait for groceries. I justify the cost by the fact that I am sure I save more than that on impulse buys that don’t appear in the cart.

    The biggest take away is to be kind and tolerant to yourself. Your babies will have babies before you know it. From what I see you are raising yours to be grounded, caring individuals. I still thin Amy ROCKS it. You don’t have to be perfect to do that :)

  10. Janet Green says:

    I’m working on three kids and 25 yrs of marriage! Myth husband says I can cope. Whatever situation whatever problem I always able to cope. You can too! Laundry will never end. That’s ok. Dust is always going to be there. Your house will always look lived in! My advice (my children are 23, 18, and 16) is to breathe do the first thing first and remember to enjoy them today. Time management is a wonderful tool. Small steps every day in your routine will lead you to a place where chores and jobs around the house are almost done without thinking and the time it takes is halved. With laundry my mother in law taught me a big lesson wash it if it’s dirty. My daughters dressed like runway models. New outfit every 10 minutes. Now I sort and smell and look if it can be worn it’s put back. That clearly works better now than it did when they were 2. And I might actually beg for your root soup recipe. Thank you Amy as always you made me smile . Enjoy being a mommy honey it flies so fast.

  11. I have to say, it’s nice to hear you’re not the superwoman you appear to be. I think it makes me love your blog even more. Thanks for the great post and I look forward to your recipes.

  12. ssparrowinflight says:

    Amy, Hip hip Ho-ray! Congratulations on the made bed, I feel the same way! I had been making changes since I read your post for the New years kickoff. You can do all things seems trite to say, but sometimes it take a few days of unbelievable madness AND busyness to make life work. I would love to see your recipes and your food making plan! I am sure that your would be pinned a 100 fold! You take care. Enjoy!

  13. Ann Becker says:

    I can see by the lengthy comments of others that you hit a nerve. I can relate. However, I am on the other side. My 5 children are all grown up. *When did that happen?* I always had laundry to do. Meals to make, house to clean and I never never could accomplish all I had planned to do. I would create in my mind many organizational ideas implement them get a good start and wham something would happen to derail me and I was back to nutsville all over again. Now those precious babies are grown and I have new precious babies that are growing up too fast. You would think I have more time to quilt! Ha….it never stops. I still have to clean, cook, and since I started a business of longarm quilting and guess what? I still don’t have the time to make my quilts. Now, the one thing you mentioned is the freezer meals. Amazingly enough I did a Wildtree freezer meal thingy and wow that has allowed for me to have time. You see its not the prep, or the cooking its..oh god I didn’t take the meat out of the freezer now what are going to have for dinner syndrome. So to wind down the freezer meals are almost to an end. Yikes now what? So I am looking forward to your meals and recipes so I can keep on track.

  14. Thanks for this post, Amy! I’ve got 5 that are 8 and under and feeling much the same as you. Being swallowed alive by all of the housework! I am going to try to implement your ideas. I think you’re on to something, with the clothes especially! I found out on Friday, that if I get more time to sew, I am a MUCH happier Mommy, add on to that, time to spend praying and reading my Bible, I’d feel ready to handle anything my kids can throw at me! :-) Thanks again, Amy!!

  15. Let’s see. I am a mom of three and the oldest is 7 and in 1st grade. To keep caught up on everything I vacuum and sweep every other day. I mop and clean bathrooms every other week. I was and fold laundry every 4 days. And I have found that if I put it away as I fold it it makes a huge difference. I also plan meals before I go shopping. Since I live 100 miles from where I buy groceries I will buy enough for 14-19 meals at one time. My biggest road blocks are finding time to work with my 5 year old on his letters and numbers, and spending a little extra time with God. So my two goals for January were to read a Bible. Verse every night before bed and work with my son when we get back from taking his sister to the school bus stop. So far I have been able to complete these two tasks every day.

  16. Katina Chapman says:

    Love the comments. I would trade places with you for a week if you could make my house as pretty as yours. You do have a special skill. Bed made before I leave the room or soon after has been one thing I have always done. I am retired now. Lots of time to do me things. Quilting is a daily passion. I find the more we own the more work. So I will continue this year to give away, downsize and enjoy life. I think you do an amazing job with your little ones. I well remember what I looked like with three. Dreaded someone coming to the door. Please do share your make ahead recipes. The cook needs some new tools to work with. I don’t want him to get bored.

  17. Well part of the reason grocery shopping probably takes you so long is because you have 4adorable shopping buddies – you must get stopped on every aisle and told that by the other grocery shoppers. As a working mom of 3, I’ve found I get so much more done going to the grocery store by myself. I also took the hampers out of my kids room and put their clothes in cold and warm water labeled baskets in the laundry room so that I save time sorting.

  18. You brought many memories to mind. Like a few other comments left, my children are grown now, however, I have been in your shoes. I have three children: a son that is six years older than my oldest daughter, and then 17 months after my oldest daughter was born another daughter was added to the family.
    As an Air Force career mom and wife I always had loads of laundry to do – sometimes mountains that seemed daunting. I was always running late for work, church and children’s commitments. I did make a menu for two weeks at a time and as a family we went grocery shopping. As the children grew I gave them grocery shopping responsibilities like getting the coupon items where they had to match the picture and the numbers. Saturday was usually clean-up the house day where before they could go play they would need to help contribute to cleaning of the house, As they got older then they had more responsibility within the home. The three kids laugh now of how we could not leave the house on Saturday or to go on vacations unless the house is clean and the laundry is was totally washed, dried, folded and put away.
    Thanks for sharing your time management tips and photos. You are doing awesome.

  19. Andrea Williams says:

    I have been waiting for a post like this from deep down in my core. I spent All day Friday tidying up the house the kids!!! The toys had gotten out of control. When I woke up this morning it seemed all our great accomplishments went down the drain. I need a way to have all the members of this household staying on top of the mess. I cannot complain one bit about the grocery shopping. NY husband took it over a year ago. He works a full work week and still goes first thing each Saturday morning. He is my savior. He also says he goes because I take way too long. I have a quilt top I really need to sew today but I will feel better doing it if the house looks more like a cozy home than a toy store. Amy, I agree 100%. Less is most definitely more!!

  20. you are such a one woman show! I can’t wait for the wonderful recipes and plan ahead tips!

  21. You know, that less is more attitude is amazingly wonderful. We have a condo for sale and to get ready for that, I had to move a lot of stuff out to a storage unit so it looked clean and fresh and mostly like no one with a personality lived here. I hated how it looked at first and then when it took less time to keep looking nice, I began to see the light! I keep looking at closets and just stuff and think….I really do not need that right now. So I keep on packing stuff away and find the more open space I have in my closets the more creative my mind is. I know I am lots older than you, but too much stuff takes up lots of time!

    Looking forward to your great recipes (I can just package them in smaller units) and all of your other great ideas!!

  22. Making your bed “sets the tone for the day” from “JUNO”. Gotta make the beds! Also another great motivator for me – put on an apron – somehow it just puts me in power mode. Third, TRY and let some things go, but who am I to say I could never do that I always liked everything just so. Finally my advice to you is you need to streamline the cooking to 7 basic recipes that you rotate. Try website Mels Kitchen Cafe. I stumbled on it and it is great. Also if you can pick up Robin Miller’s cookbook(s) she was big into morphing one meal into two. Best of luck but like your other readers cherish the chaos because you will so miss those little faces and hands, maybe not the laundry!

  23. Dear Amy, what can I say after 48 years of marriage and 70+ years under my belt? These are a few things I’ve learned. Maybe one or another will click with you and bring a smile to a hectic day.
    - Life is a journey. Each moment is there only for a moment. Don’t miss more than you can help.
    - Frustration and being overwhelmed is part of the journey. It gives you a chance to reinvent.
    - Learn to hear the negative self-talk, and nip it at its bud. It drags you down more quickly than the tasks that are before you.
    - A made bed is, indeed, a good start to the day. But every once in a while, leave it unmade. That causes you to appreciate the made bed more on other days.
    - Clean clothes make everything smell and feel better. Clean sheets feel luxurious and pampering at the end of a day.
    - Sometimes writing to yourself is good therapy. You can always shred your thoughts when your “therapy session” is over.
    - Perfection happens only in glossy magazines and other people’s blogs.
    - And on and on and on … LOL. Every day brings a new lesson, or a reteaching of an old one.

    I love your thoughts. I love the pictures of your delightful family. Your children always look so happy and contented. I always think they reflect the love in your family. I love your inventiveness. I love your classes and the way you have of making what seems hard to me seem easy after I’ve seen you do it.

    My intentions for January 2014? A life-time sewer but late in life quilter, I am making big blocks from interesting (to me) blocks that I’ve never done before. I spent all of last week making Drunkard’s Path blocks and arranging them into a couple small wall-size quilts. The week before, I put aside my tiny English Paper Piecing and sewed a few large hexies together by machine.This week, I’m using my newly acquired GO cutter to cut 2″ blocks (1-1/2″ finished) from my bags of smallish scraps. When I’ve satisfied my thirst for expanding my experiences, I’ll move on and sew for my youngest granddaughter (or something else on my “want-to-do” list). That brings up another thing on my “things I’ve learned list” – do something I’ve never done before.

    Wishing you much love, everywhere you go …

  24. Anne VanDeWege says:

    I love this blog post for so many reasons. I too am trying to accomplish the same goals in our house. I have found that if I have a chore of the day, I’m not dreading that so called “cleaning day”. Since my hubby does the vacuuming I don’t worry about the floors, he vacuums once a week and it is the kids responsibility to make sure their rooms are completely picked up on Thursdays so that their rooms can be vacuumed. My kiddos are 7 and almost 6 but we’ve been having them do this for a couple of years. I also make sure that I wipe down the bathroom counters and sinks every morning so when I clean the bathrooms weekly I’m only focusing on toilets and tubs/showers. So far it seems to be working. Cleaning all 4 bathrooms isn’t an all day thing now. The kitchen gets a quick wipe down nightly and the dishwasher gets filled and ran so that come morning I can empty it and start the day out fresh again. As for laundry, we have dictated a day for each person in the house, and once it is folded the kids are to put their own away. This has been a blessing so we are not doing a marathon day of laundry. The kids also have to pickup all items on the main floor they brought down from their rooms each night or we get to keep them for a bit. That has helped out on kid clutter. And they take responsibility for their own items. It may not work for your little guys, but possibly the girls. These are just a couple of things that we do. It’s not perfect but it’s working. And our weekends are free of household chores. I don’t seem to dread my household chores in this new year. We are also trying to meal plan weekly, and I have told myself I will only go to the store once a week. And I cross my fingers I didn’t forget anything. Ha! Enjoy your new year and sweet little family!

  25. Jocelyn Weinhagen says:

    Thank you so much for your posting. There are times I feel I have endless washing, homework, and everyone else’s time to cover but my own.
    My intention for this month- which actually started in December, was to get meals made and planned ahead of time. I work 4 days a week and volunteer at church or a school the other days. It’s taken a toll. I relish the time when my three kids can actually do their own laundry. The twins now 7 want things so we have agreed on chores and other responsibilities.
    My other intention is to make time for 30 minutes of yoga a day and another 30 to quilt. My two stress relieving things.

  26. This is what we did to make household jobs manageable and fun while teaching responsibility and being part of a family that works together for the good of one another and self. (We adopted this method while our children were 7, 6, and 4. It was a life saver!)

    #1. Each child became responsible for washing, drying, folding, and putting away their own laundry on a certain day of the week. That was their day for the washer and dryer and if they missed it, they had to wait for a day when it wasn’t used or their following day the next week. Teaching how for a couple of weeks and a pictorial reminder chart kept in a plastic sleeve and readily available near the machines help…as well as a step stool. ;)

    #2. I made a list of weekly chores. Each week, starting with the oldest child, then next oldest, etc. the children picked jobs that week. Each child ended up with about 3-4 jobs. I did the rest. Teaching of how and checking upon completion required…with grace of course. When everyone was finished and had done an adequate job, we celebrated with either a fun activity or a homemade dessert that we made together.

    #3. When they turned 8, 7, and 5, we implemented the same idea with dinners. We bought the Kids can Cook recipe book. They picked one meal a week and helped make the list, then grocery shop for those items. On their night for cooking they cooked with my limited assistance or a siblings assistance if mine wasn’t needed. The other two set the table that night. The one that cooked and I did the clean up. That way they learned to try and cook neatly, because they knew they would be cleaning it up. Were things always perfect? No, but it was much more manageable and they became more thoughtful about what they were doing and how they were doing it. What were the parents doing during all of this time? Father was working about 50 hours per week and going to college 3/4 time. Mom was raising children to be responsible and going to college full time. (We both became teachers.) Our family had more time to enjoy doing things together and I didn’t feel as overwhelmed. It worked pretty well for us and our grown children are responsible and thoughtful partners and parents.

  27. Ugh! Laundry. I so agree with this post on almost every level. I clean everyday, but the house is NEVER clean.

    I love the pic with the kiddos and the shopping cart. Too cute! And they all look like you by the way. :)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and being such an inspiration!

  28. Kathy Fair says:

    Amy, I can relate to the laundry situation, albeit, years ago. Now my daughter gets that chore with hers. Now, I am very lucky, in that, my husband stays home from work Friday’s and does the laundry and vacuuming. And, I still can’t get organized. Anyway, about my being intentional, I have spent more time in prayer and also have been doing more little chores on a daily basis rather than leave it until it becomes monumental. Thanks for your inspiration. According to Lea’s post, the Flylady website is awesome. I may have to use home of her ideas as well.

  29. I also have to look back at how it was when my young ones were all at home. The days that you are experiencing now will soon change to the running with sports, school and church activities. Then they leave home and you have plenty of time to do all of the things that you feel are left undone now! I can remember when my oldest two were small I was constantly picking up toys, etc. when my husband said “Don’t you want anyone to know that we have kids and actually live here?” It kind of put a different perspective on things.

  30. I don’t know if I’ve left a comment here before or not, I’m relatively new to your blog. I want to chime in on the bed-making. I whole-heartedly agree! It just makes you feel like things are clean even if there’s stacks of stuff everywhere else. After 20 years of marriage, my husband still thinks I’m a genius for insisting on made beds each morning. Can’t help with the laundry though, I actually like doing laundry and find the whole process rather peaceful. I know, I’m odd.

  31. Clearing out my over-stuffed closet has been an on-going project for me since last year, and I agree that you do end up feeling much happier and lighter just letting go of the stuff. I have an awesome consignment boutique just up the road from where I live, and for every batch of items I consign I seem to make around $30-40 so that’s also a huge motivator to purge things that I don’t really wear. It’s allowed me to make some choice quilting fabric investments. ;)

  32. You must go to the OAMM website!! Once a month mom does freezer meal plans, with recipes, and much much more. Lots of it is free, some you have to pay for but well worth it. Whole foods, diet, vegetarian, traditional menus. The best site I have ever found for this type of cooking ahead.

  33. Hi Amy your kids are so cute. Your oldest looks like she ready to shop! Check out flylady.net that is a great website on learning how to get things done around the house and has helped me out alot and lends time for being with your friends/family and quilting. You focus on an area a week. It’s a helpful website.
    Well I just finished my first block for the sugar club I’ll be posting later today.
    Cheers

  34. Zoë's Mimi says:

    Yes, I have done something on my mental list…figured out how many quilt tops I have. Where I thought I had 15 or 16, I found I had 23 completed tops and 9 more in the works. (I have not even counted the yarn projects that have been started!) In the spirit of the new year, I also have a schedule to get some of them done this calendar year.

  35. Love your post. All of the things you’ve hit on have been in my mind lately. I love to climb into a made bed at night, but I get up before my husband, so I don’t make it after getting up. I guess now that he is working out earlier in the morning I could do it while he is working out, but it hasn’t been a priority for me. I’m working on getting rid of 1500 things before we move (which will probably happen this June) so yesterday I started on that while getting ready for consignment sale. Over 200 items planned to sell, or donate if they don’t. Noticed the Broncos jerseys in the closet picture, go Broncos (I’m watching the game right now). And yes, the freeze ahead meals make life grand, if you remember to get them out and thaw them. Need to work on that some more as well. Great post. Oh, and I did my sugar block yesterday.

  36. Wow Amy, what timing! I am in the middle of writing a post about my goals for 2014 (though I do like that you call them intentions….I may steal this reference!!). I can relate to the feeling of success and pride when it comes to having made the bed at the beginning of the day. I can also relate to the joy of having successfully had a shower each day…and I only have one child to look after at the moment. You are amazing to achieve what you do with 4 littlies. Thanks for the post, I loved reading it.

  37. I wish I had a smidgeon of your energy!! I do make my bed though – ha!! Even the hubster says why do you need to make the bed every day – I say because it makes my quilts look better! *wink!! I would do it any way – I think it’s from my grandma, who would never allow any of us to even sit on the bed!!
    I need some freeze ahead meals just so I don’t have to stop sewing and make dinner!
    As always, I love seeing your sweet little faces!! L. xo

  38. Amy I love how real you are , it is sometime the simple things done that can change our outlook on life. I went from doing laundry for two to doing it for five adults. When our kids were in school I set two days for doing laundry anything they needed between better be in there.That worked well for us and it wasn’t an endless chore for me. You do an awesome job. I believe the more you live in the moment instead of can’t wait for the next big moment the less you miss things that happened in the past because you are enjoying the here and now. Sew live today now and don’t spend latter
    missing it. Keep up the great job as Mom and wife.

  39. I haven’t really made firm commitments, but I am tackling projects an finishing them. That is huge! I the endless laundry is a shore that most households endure because of the enormous amounts of clothing that we accumulate. In the old days there was no washing machine or drying machine, if we have to do laundry by hand like before we for sure wouldn’t buy that much clothing…lol!

  40. Hi friend! Wow, can I relate to this! THE LAUNDRY! It never stops. I too have been clearing out their closets and drawers and am shocked by how many bags I’ve taken away and there is still plenty for them to wear. Hw did we get here?! My favorite kind of freezer cooking is batch cooking. So I plan to make triple of a meal each week -one to eat that night and two for the freezer and I keep my freezer pretty stocked that way. Since I already have everything out to make it, it’s really not that much more work to just make extras. Lifesaver. And your list is making me want Swedish meatballs :)

  41. Hi Amy. Your blog today really touched me in two ways. Just today I was helping my 25 year old baby with her laundry (I hung out at her apartment for a couple days) She was saying how much she misses me doing it for her. I said if you had less clothes it would not be so hard, we of course had a good laugh over it. The second reason is I have been working on cleaning out and not having so much stuff. I am donating all my Danielle Steele bookd to some wonderful elders who pass them around -saves them a lot of money. This is so much more meaningful than selling them. I also have the pile started to bring to good will. The extra clothes, extra crafts, extra kitchen items gathered over the years, etc., they will all get donated. So I clean up and at the same time help others. Great feelings. And extea better since I am finally going to be a real empty nester. My other daughter with my granddaughter are moving closer to her work so I get to go have my very own apartment. And it has an awesome sunroom perfect for my sewing space. Woohoo for me. Thanks Amy for your continuing inspiration to keep on

  42. I can definitely relate! I have 5 kids 12 and under and the laundry is non-stop! I found that cleaning out some of their closets and drawers definitely helps. I found myself washing clean clothes that had just fallen on the floor and I realized that they have just way too many clothes, especially my younger ones who get hand me downs. We donated several bags right before Christmas and it felt great! By the way, nice Bronco jersey in your closet ;-)

  43. Give those kids’ clothes a visual inspection and a quick sniff . . . if you aren’t repulsed, they can wear them again before they need to be laundered!

  44. Hi Amy,

    I’m about to do a big clean out of my home although I am only one, but I can sympathise how hard and busy your household is. I vaguely remember my mother always saying make your bed when I got up. Their were four of us and she didn’t cope with us at all. This weekend has brought back memories of the past re-surfacing and I have had a heavy heart today. It’s okay I am about to tackle your January Block again as I made a real mess of my first attempt. I got it all wrong. I did post a picture on flickr but deleted it as soon as I realised I had stuffed up. Well I’m trying to put on a brave face on with regards to memories and issues. Well enough of the sob story. I love the clean wardrobes as I need to do that too! Perhaps after all the other cleaning and moving of furniture.

  45. Wow–boy does that bring back memories. All my children have left the nest. Here is a little tidbit I would like to share about cooking. I still do this today. My aunt taught me years ago that whenever you prepare a meal that freezes well, you double the recipe and make one for dinner and one for the freezer. It works great! On busy days, I usually can find a meat loaf or some other casserole all ready to pop into the oven. I too also feel better when the bed is made. :) I enjoy the pictures of your children and your encouraging words. Hang in there. It may be busy now but these are the best years of your life. ENJOY!

  46. I’m interested to know what’s in those breakfast tubes!

  47. I love reading this post and all the advice! I try to make a meal on Sunday which does 2 or 3 meals through the week, but am really bad at using up freezer stuff.
    One suggestion for the laundry is to eliminate pyjamas. Yes, I put clean clothes on my daughter (age 4) before bed, and then she is ready to go in the morning. Saves at least 10 minutes.

  48. You still get more done in a day than I do and I don’t have any children! I will say, freeze-ahead meals are the way to go!

  49. I think everyone feels this constant sense of madness, so you’re not alone! We’re in the process of combining two households, so in addition to the stress of introducing kitties (which is so *not* going well!) we have the fun of sorting through two lifetimes of accumulated stuff, some of which has very deep and painful memories attached to it (my fiance was a Widower and a lot of the stuff in his house belonged to his wife). All you can do is stop, take a deep breath, think to yourself “is this really something to stress and pull my hair out over? No? Okay, one thing at a time.” Deep breath, Amy, you (we) can do it!

  50. It’s like you are reading my mind, except I have 2 less kiddos. The freaking laundry! Trying to be healthy and make yummy meals (that kids will actually eat and won’t choke on)! Ugh! Keep it a secret but I’ve covertly taken a whole trash bag of toys and art projects out of this house in the past two weeks.

  51. Awesome post Amy, and just what I needed. A) Because it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with an endlessly messy, disorganized house, who’s always running late and forgetting 10 other things and B) for providing some good motivation. I, too, am trying to de-clutter my house and simplify things. I would LOVE your freezer meal plan! I totally need to do something like that. Or just have the Downton Abbey staff take up residence would be handy too. Or even just Alice from the Brady Bunch!

  52. Your post made for lots of comments. Seems all mothers deal with the same issues. My children are grown and gone, but I still make the bed every morning and have 1 day a week to vacuum, and do bathrooms. The laundry is still my biggest problem. Oh Well! When my family was all at home, I did subscribe to “have all the ingredients to 5 meals in the pantry at all times” Then I could always make spaghetti, or chili or tacos, without a trip to the store. We lived 10 miles from town at that time.
    You are doing great!!! Four beautiful happy children and great husband, a lovely home and a growing career! You Rock! Don’t sweat the small stuff!

  53. Oh Amy don’t fret about laundry or clutter! You reminded me of when my now 20 and 15 yr old were babies and I would be rocking my sweet baby and all I could think about was the pile of laundry on the sofa. It brought a tear to my eye, because I wasted that precious time worrying about something that didn’t matter. It all gets done and done again for years, but somewhere along the way you stop being “Mommy” and start being “Mom” and you stop being the center of their world. Enjoy your babies and your clutter, because when you look back, you won’t even remember the work. Besides, that’s what closed doors are for!

  54. Oh my goodness, I laughed out loud many times! Especially “does this outfit make me embarassed to be seen with them?” So happy and relieved to hear of other moms drowning in laundry and exhausted by grocery shopping with their littles. But so blissfully exhausted.

  55. I only have the 2 children left at home and still have a mountain of laundry! I find it helps if you become less fussy and only put the clothes into the laundry if they are soooo dirty they practically stand up by themselves!

  56. I love this post!! “Does this outfit make me embarrassed to be seen with them??” made me giggle. Love your guts!

  57. Becky Thompson says:

    Great post Amy! Yes you have a hectic life and Mount Washmore certainly needs attending every day. Routines are the only solution and making your bed first thing is a good one as is the decluttering – you’re on the right track. Routines make everyone feel comfortable and like there is order in their life even if the room is messy or dinner is drive thru. A large calendar big enough to write on where you will see it every day is key to organization. And not just what is due on that day, but preparation – like a note to make the classroom cookies a week prior to the due date and freeze them. The day before they’re due, a note to take them out of the freezer…stuff like that. Create a launch pad next to the door for backpacks, a bowl for keys & purses, etc. http://www.flylady.net saved my disorganized life and I’ve been flying with her for over 10 years now. A quick email reminder from her on what needs to be done in which zone of the house keeps everything in working order.

  58. We have so been there with five kids. When they were teenagers we had 2 football players, 2 who were in band and played hockey. The amount of laundry per day was staggering. We put a load in first thing in the morning, as soon as we got home, as soon as the kids got home and another as soon as all showers were done. It gets easier when they can help put clothes away. Freezer to crock pot meals are an excellent option saves tons of time.

  59. Hello Amy,
    I admire how you handle everything and keep sane. You have so nice children and I also tremendously appreciate you quilts since I first got to “know you on the BoM in 2013″. I am still with you on your 2014 BoM and found of hearing and learning from you. You are a lucke and courageous woman! Wonderful to be able to have so much as you do.