Friday, April 18, 2008

Is Chaos Actually My Destiny?

It's quiet in my house. Usually I have to write among chaos but right now my husband and boys are outside doing some lawn work. I often talk about the need for serenity and peace and muse over how great it'll be when I have solid spans of time to just work instead of my yo-yo writing career where I yo back and forth between writing and caring for my family and my slightly neglected house.

I thought it'd be ideal to get really productive this aft while I have some peace so I can take tonight off. We're off to a family gathering tomorrow so productivity today will be vital because on Sunday I have about 50 articles coming in to be edited and prepped for client delivery plus a whack of invoicing and paperwork to do. The quiet in the house is strangely eerie though and I find myself surfing and playing instead of working and here I sit having no desire to work. Why is that? Normally I talk about craving peace instead of working in the madness that is a house full of noisy and messy boys.

Sometimes I think I get my best work done under pressure and with loads of noise. Lately I seem to be most productive when the house is humming. My favourite days back in the corporate world include racing the clock and multitasking so maybe being a multitasking WAHM really is perfect for me because I seem to thrive under pressure.

In September I'll have 2 full days one week and three full days alternating weeks from 8-4 with no children at home so I've been dreaming of the freedom and looking forward to having more valuable family time at night and on weekends because I'll have so much productivity during the day.

But just now I had the terrifying thought that maybe I DO need mayhem in order to be most creative. Maybe I'll have to bring my laptop to the kindergarten class my son will be in and sit in the middle of the craziness and write in order to produce my best work..Yikes!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dinner Tonight - The Almost Perfect Meal

Today's dinner is almost perfect. It is healthy, it is fun and it is easy.

We are making build-your-own submarine sandwiches. Darling Husband stopped and picked up stuff on the way home. It took me five minutes to lay out the several types of meats, slice the two types of cheese, the tomatoes, the cukes and put out the mayo, mustard, butter and sub sauce (aka my Hellmann's Zesty Italian Spritzer).

Each of us (including my Wee boy that just turned four) built our own sandwich and when presented with all the colourful choices, the kids will add veggies to their sandwich because it's colourful, because it's there and because they can use it to pile their sandwich extra high.

Prep was minimal, fuss was minimal and cleanup is going to be minimal as well. And, taste factor was maximized as we all got to pick what we wanted on our fresh, piled high sandwiches. The only thing that stopped this from being an absolutely perfect instead of almost perfect meal is the clean up factors as buying paper plates would've made it 100% perfect.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

WAHM Timesavers

I was washing dishes tonight thinking about this post. I was washing dishes by hand because the dishwasher is still broken. It's broken because hubby has been sick all week and the last thing on his mind has been fixing the dishwasher. If he did dishes once in a while, I bet he'd have fixed it immediately but alas, I did teach The Boy how to wash dishes by hand which is a valuable skill. Wish I knew how to fix it myself but then again, hubby needs to feel needed :)

I taught my son about soaking which can be a time saver and rinsing in hot so that the dishes practically dry themselves and I was thinking about time savers while washing the dishes tonight.

I was saving some time even while washing dishes because although it took me longer to do them manually than it would have taken me to load my dear dishwasher, I was multi-tasking by brewing up some blog and article ideas for this and for a project I'm working on this weekend.

Here are a few things I was thinking about as time savers when you're a busy work at home parent.

1) Delegate. I can't stress this enough. It doesn't always work well but it helps. Even though the kids don't do the best job at cleaning, you can cope with tidy and the responsibility is good for them. I even find little jobs for my four year old like lining up the shoes nicely in the closet or watering Mommy's houseplants. It all adds up. He also does great with the Swiffer Sweeper. Dust gets cleared and it is fun for him (for now, haha)

2) Use cooking spray. Cooking spray rocks because it saves oodles of time on pots and pans. They're so much easier to clean. Even better than cooking spray is tin foil because it can go over baking dishes to save you from washing them altogether. And can be great for wrapping things up as leftovers that go into the fridge because you can throw it out without washing a dish if it doesn't get eaten

3) Zip Loc bags. Use these instead of containers in the fridge and freezer whenever possible. They are much easier to label, much easier to toss in the bin when the food goes bad and great for organizing just about anything edible or non-edible.

4) One pot dinners like with your crockpot and double duty meals. I write plenty of double duty recipes at my Cooking With Love blog. This is where you cook once and eat many times and not even eat just the same thing but getting creative by cooking a roast and then turning leftovers into submarine sandwiches day two, stew on day three and beef pot pies for the freezer for a day after that. They help immensely in terms of saving cooking time.

5) Double duty housework. Clean the bathroom or organize it while your young child is in the tub or dust while watching TV.

6) Fold laundry at the computer. While I'm waiting for pages to load I do things like that including dusting or paying bills, etc. Don't overdo it on multitasking or you'll develop Writer's ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and find yourself less than productive but a bit of multi-tasking is something us Moms are made for.

7) Exercise at your desk. I sit on a stability ball sometimes or lift hand
weights while I work. Sometimes I even rig the stationary bike at my computer and balance the keyboard on the handlebars.

I'm sure I have plenty of other time saving tips I've picked up as a WAHM over the past few years and I'm sure this will be the first of many time saving posts.

8) This last one for today is vital: Loosen standards once in a while. Sometimes you need to just relax or let things go a little. The dishes will keep, your life won't.

Right? Write!