Sunday, March 30, 2008

Writing Procrastination and Procrastination By Way Of Blogging About Procrastination

I'm a very productive person but find myself procrastinating at times by doing one thing to avoid another. The thing is, I'm never really slacking though.

I write to procrastinate from housework and I do housework when I'm taking a break from writing. When does a WAHM take a real break? It took a mini one today by having dinner with the inlaws but usually a break from work is housework and I'm often multitasking while I work because I'm folding laundry and sometimes deskercising while working too.

Anyway, tonight I needed to procrastinate from work although I'm not sure why because the assignment looks really easy but there's a lot to do before I can go to bed but I felt inspired to blog instead so I wrote four new recipe additions and submitted them to Cook it With Love. That made me hungry even though I've already eaten dinner and dessert and then a granola bar an hour ago.

So, then I decided to log all my food eaten today on which tells me about my caloric intake, where my calories are coming from and tells me about any nutrition deficits by analyzing the nutrients I've eaten. I need to drink more milk before going to bed. Logging all my food now tells me what I've eaten today so helps me plan any late night snacking so I don't overdo it.

Ok, so I'm here procrastinating but disguising it as blogging about procrastination still because...because I don't know why. I don't really know why I don't just get that assignment done. Let me tell you first about the four recipes I posted tonight:

Raw Broccoli Salad: I love this salad and the fact that I am thinking about it must mean I'm really ready for bbq / picnic season. Daydreaming about summer is a way to not get your work done in the cold of winter.

Carmella Soprano Lasagna: I wrote the post up last week but forgot to save it so re-wrote it tonight a little ago to procrastinate that project. It got written after ten minutes of looking for it on my computer.

Cesar Salad: I wrote it because it goes with lasagna. I need to go back and relink that new link in the lasagna post.

Bruschetta. Not sure what prompted that one but that one probably reminded me to dig up the lasagna.

Ok, I'm going now but am going to make a cup of decaf green tea first and check twitter first and THEN get that dang assignment done. Oh shoot, look at the time, need to bathe the Wee boy and do the whole bedtime routine first.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour 2008: Monopoly, Candle Wax Burns And Buzz Cuts Oh My!

So Earth Hour 2008 was rather eventful. We turned off the lights, the four computers, the two televisions and lit lots of candles around the dining room table with the plan for a game of Monopoly.

Just before the lights went out, my inlaws presented the Wee Boy (4) with a new Nintendo DS. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that he's rather addicted to video games. The Boy (12) wasn't allowed anything that wasn't educational until he was almost 8. He didn't have his first game boy until he was 9 but 'tis not as easy with a younger child when the older brother is an avid gamer. I'll have to establish usage rules.

Wee Boy knows he's only allowed games Rated E for Everyone and funnily wouldn't even watch a G rated movie with his grandparents until I stopped in to say that it was ok that it wasn't rated E. Good boy :) Bad Mommy that he's learning to read his ABC's by way of video game rating system. We do educational mostly and lots of fitness on the Wii, honest :)

Anyway, tonight we sat down and Darling Husband, The Boy and I started on Monopoly. Wee Boy sat with us with his new Nintendo DS.

We're playing for what seems like forever and I really don't love Monopoly beause DH is a ruthless player who crushes us every time but oh well.

First, DH starts to complain that the scented candle on the table is giving him a headache. It wasn't scented but his parents are downstairs in the basement during the winters and I know my mother in law loves scented candles so I assume it's her but decide to move the nearest candle away from Hubby's spot. The tea light isn't self contained in one of those tin thingies (that's the technical term. Uh huh) so the hot wax starts oozing all over me. I screech and drop it and there's purple hot wax all over me and the carpet. I get to the sink and run the water and start scraping the burning wax off my hands and my wedding rings. "It has to be 9:00 by now. " DH bellows. I turn the light on and inspect the purple wax and my purply looking sore fingers. "Oops, 8:52". Dh shouts from the bedroom. I turn the light off. Sorry Planet Earth.

I slather Aloe Vera all over my hands and we get back to being destroyed by Mr. Trump the Second who's ready to wipe the floor with us.

After a few minutes we decide to turn the lights on as it's about 9:10 and DH starts blowing out the candles with some quick jerk kung fu wrist action. We're all impressed so we bring him all the candles one by one to see his mad moves and the last candle was a large pillar one that was filled with a pool of wax. DH miscalculates his Kung Fu and the candle flies up in the air and wax lands all over Wee Boy. His hair was covered. How he didn't get burnt, I'll never know because when the teensy weensy tea light landed on me it really smarted.

I put him in the tub and tried to wash it out but it looked like an immovable severe case of cradle cap. I headed downstairs and my mother in law pulled out her haircutting kit and sweet Wee Boy's cornsilk curls ended up all over the floor. Sigh.

It's now 10:43 pm. The candle wax incident got me out of Monopoly though although DH and The Boy are still at it (The Boy just got hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk though. I hope he kicks Daddy's butt!) and Wee Boy with his new buzz cut has traded the Nintendo DS for a large bowl of popcorn. An eventful Earth Hour at my house!

Praise The Lord, A Dandelion!

This winter started in early November. We've been dumped on and dumped on. The Boy has had more snow days than you can shake a stick at and I'm fed up. It's the end of March and we have 12 foot snowbanks on some corners and our back yard has what I call a snow wall because the snow blows in off the lake and creates a massive snow wall behind the house. Last year the snow wall wasn't gone until spring had been in full bloom for several weeks because it was so big. This year I'm afraid it'll be here until August!

But I'm starting to see dirt patches. I'm starting to hear the geese return and hallelujah my husband saw a dandelion yesterday!

No one loves dandelions on their grass; except kids. People poison their lawns to get rid of those durn things and when your kid gives you a bouquet of them of course you have to be polite and say they're beautiful. When they go to seed you have to pretend with your toddler that you're blowing wishes when really you wince knowing you're increasing your dandelion problem next year by spreading the seeds around.

As a side note I had to do a project last year on the health benefits of dandelions and was astounded at how good they are for your liver; but I digress. Yesterday darling husband was at school and was walking innocently outside when he heard shrieks and screams of blissful happiness. Two women were huddled over a tiny patch of grass that was amid dirty old snow, marveling at the beauty of the little yellow weed. It may still look a lot like winter around here but hallelujah, Spring is near!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Protecting The Easter Bunny From Daddy

We're gearing up for Easter and this writing wahm is trying to keep the real reason for the holiday in mind. It can be tricky when your kids see chocolate bunnies dancing in their dreams.

Yesterday, Wee Boy (just turned four) says something about chocolate and I tell him, "We do celebrate Easter with chocolate and bunnies but we need to remember that the real reason for Easter is that Jesus died for us so he could save us and we could go to Heaven."

He looks at me and says, "But who's gonna save the Easter Bunny from Daddy?"
Daddy is a hunter and frequently talks about hunting for bunnies at Easter and reindeer at Christmas.

A few years ago when The Boy(now 12) was smaller, he was really concerned about Daddy catching the Easter bunny on Easter Sunday but Daddy slept late. Funnily, when we woke up to hunt for Easter eggs,he realised that the Easter bunny played a trick on Daddy. He put Daddy's shoes up on top of the chandelier. What a sight! The Boy was in his ether.

Happy Easter everyone. And, if you're gonna indulge in the kid's chocolate treats, go for the good stuff and make it worth while! We chose to buy the really good chocolate this year :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Having Houseguests Amid WAH Mayhem

It's March break here so The Boy is off school for a week. We've had SO much snow this year it didn't even feel special because he's been off school sooooo much.

Anyway, I arranged for my sis and her two kids to come visit. Her older child is my older son's age and her daughter is a year older than my Wee Boy so I thought it'd be good for the kids to have some company since we didn't have any real plans to go out.

I figured I could work like crazy the day before she came and get by with checking e-mails just a few times to keep things manageable with work for the 24-35 hours she was planning to visit for.

Well, the freelancer's life isn't smooth most of the time and of course I had a broken dishwasher and 6 loads of dishes to do the day before she got here. And, I had a massively overflowing basket of laundry (broken down washing machine too. Don't ask! Our appliances decided to boycott us all at once, it seems.) I had to get the house clean and guess what? I had LOADS of work.

I'm not the perfect housekeeper but I do get incredibly anal about the house being clean when company is coming. I have to make sure even the cupboards are clean should my guests have to go rooting for anything. I really do put myself under enormous pressure when people are coming.

Two days before sis is due to arrive, workload starts flowing in with the force of an avalanche!


One of my client throws work at me with no warning. Anything that comes has a 72 hour turnaround time and I never know how much I'll get. They threw a bunch of work at me.

Another project wasn't going smoothly with the team member I had assigned it to and because I had to bounce it back three times I finally just decided to do it myself because it was a new and picky client and it needed to be "just so".

Now I had 2 rewrites and 8 new articles more to write in the next 48 hours and more clients sending me work. I also have multiple projects already going on and work coming in by the truckload to be edited and checked before going off to the client. Plus...half the team is busy with other clients of their own this week. YIKES!

Choices: Cancel or Muddle Through?

I had two choices. I could either cancel with my sister or I could make the best of it. If I canceled, she'd be disappointed and she really needed to get away for a day.

Even more importantly, my kids needed some stimulation. Wee Boy was cleaning his room for his very first sleep over in his room because my niece was going to camp out on a mattress on the floor beside him. For him, it was huge!

The Boy was excited too. It's his school break and all he'd done so far was play video games.

Me, I knew I could use a visit from my sis and some laughs even if it would be a challenge to clean, entertain AND keep my clients happy.

(Also, I haven't had company in a while and my house could do with a good sprucing!
Did you know that the best way to get your house clean is to plan a party or invite someone over? It is for me!)

So I decided I'd get through it. I told my sister I had to do some work while she was here and if she was ok with it, I wouldn't cancel. She said it was fine. She played on my sons' computer while she was here and although I did get a lot of interruptions I was able to get everything that HAD to be done finished.

The Outcome?

I'm knackered but:
1) The kids had fun
2) My sister was happy
3) I got to have a few laughs and my sister brought me a gift of some bath gels, hand cream and three brand new mascaras which made it a bit Christmassy
And... The house is now clean which gives me more juice to get my writing marathon of work done this weekend. I always work better and smarter when the house is clean.

If I'd canceled, we'd all have been disappointed and one of the reasons I want to work at home is because of flexibility.

Sometimes you have to make small sacrifices to manage your writing career but you have to live a little too otherwise, "What's the point?"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The House Doesn't Have To Be Perfect ...The Writing Does

If you are a working freelance writer, you will inevitably get a messy house. Unless you don't really write for the money and can afford a housekeeper....

My dishwasher broke down in the midst of a very hectic week with multiple deadlines and a few snafus due to staffing issues. What a nightmare! I love that the Flylady tells me to shine my sink before I go to bed at night. She's absolutely right that waking up in the morning with a shiny sink will help me start my day off right but I'm staying up until 1:30 am writing and am back up at 7:30 writing. The dishes have to suffer as the writing cannot.

The writing pays the bills... to bring the food to the home... so the family can eat... and the dishes can get used... so the dishes can need washing (and so I can buy the replacement part to fix the dishwasher.) Therefore, writing supersedes dishes on the priority list.

And the green grass grows all around all around, and the green grass grows all around.

Besides, writing is more fun...

Here's how I'm getting through it:

-Teaching The Boy how to wash dishes. He's 12 and on spring break from school and at his age I was doing dishes by hand and a heckuva lot more housework! He doesn't love it but it's a necessary skill.

-A coffee spoon is ok to use for your yogurt even if it's for the Wee Boy who's just turned 4. Mommy can lick the drop of coffee off and move on. No need to get a fresh spoon (especially if the cutlery drawer is empty.) Wee Boy looks at Mommy oddly but accepts that this is ok.

-Sandwiches. Sandwiches don't need pots. Boy and Wee Boy can make a game out of making sandwiches for lunch on paper plates so Mommy can keep writing. I think pizza sounds good tomorrow (as well as sending darling husband to the appliance repair shop)

-Lessened standards for the week. Why stress if I can't do much about it? I find that the more stressed I am, the less productive I am.

I might have a bit of a messy house but my work needs to get done. I'll ask for help from the husband and the boys and even if things aren't clean to my normal standards, I'll just get through it as best as I can.

Gosh I love that dishwasher....

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Links: WAHM Fun

Three ways to have fun :

1) Get connected with other work at home moms. My favourite time waster is It's a great forum and I've connected with many online friends and colleagues there as well as gotten some great writing gigs.

2) Here is some fun for your kids while you're working: Funbrain. It's a new thing for my little one to work while mommy works so I have his art easel set up near my desk so he an work while Mommy works and Daddy's computer recently got put near mine so he can keep busy helping me keep busy too.

3) Here's a fun way to get help getting organized too...join Flylady

Saturday, March 8, 2008

WAHM Timesavers: Soup!

When you are a wahm you can have days where it's difficult to manage the house and the job but soup is a great idea for doing multiple things.

First, soup is economical. You can make many meals out of a pot of soup. It's very budget friendly for using leftovers and for stretching the dollar! It's great for lunch or for dinner and a hearty meal can be made with some rolls and a salad.

Soup is nutritious. If you are like most parents, you want your family to eat well. Soup gives you a great opportunity to get vegetables into your kid's diet. If they don't like it much, they might like it when they don't know what it is. Pureed and creamed soups can help you disguise healthy for yummy. Puree a soup with loads of good stuff and add milk and cheese and make a great vegetable chowder. You can also lose weight eating soup if you go for low calorie soups.

Soup is easy to make. A few minutes invested can yield a great meal that practically cooks itself and in only one pot! The crockpot is a great friend to soup as well!

Soup goes a long way so when you make a pot, make extra and freeze it to bring it out on another day. I once read a tip about keeping a container in the freezer and adding all your leftover vegetables after each meal for several weeks until it was full. Then, make a great soup out of it. I wish I knew who to credit this tip to but must say it was great advice that has helped me get more mileage out of leftovers. I have turned into a great soup chef. Here are some great bases as well:

-tea. White tea is great when you're sick for antibacterial properties. Green tea and regular tea work great as well and for something different, try using chai tea as a soup base.

-Bovril. Beef, vegetable and chicken Bovril are staples in this WAHM's house. I love it!

-Motts Clamato or V8 juice makes a great base for Sacred Heart Soup or any other vegetable soup.

-Campbell's Tetra Packs of Soup broth. They can go in the fridge and a little goes a long way.

Experiment with different recipes and with textures and don't shy away from spice. A great way to get soup to be a winning meal in your house is to fill it with flavour and cook it with love.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

This WAHM Finally Got High Speed!

I moved to my house in September of 2005 and all we had was dial up. I had recently left a high tech job in the IT sector and was yearning for a simpler life in this small town by the lake. Little did I know this rural pocket outside of town didn't have any technology. No cable, no internet and no natural gas. So we had a satellite dish put in, we begrudgingly use electric heat and I dealt with dial up.

In early 2006 I serendipitously launch my writing career and while I found dialup difficult, it was all I had so I had to make it work. two years later I have a small writing agency of my own that was started on dialup internet with a dinosaurus of a computer.

I got high speed installed two days ago and must say that I feel like a new person who can meet and achieve my writing business and career goals for 2008. I'm giddy. I'm paying Paypal invoices in record time, I'm downloading files instantaneously, researching multiple sources of information for work is taking a fraction of the time and I'm doing my article directory submissions in half the time. I'm in awe! (So is my twelve year old who is downloading music right now!)

This Mom aims to have more productivity in the work day so I can do a little more with a little less time and hopefully earn more money! Zoom zoom zoom!