The Weekly Ramble

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The weekly ramble: where I blog like it’s 2004.

clean counter espresso

On Monday I woke up to a pristine white counter. See above. FishPapa removed the grout on one section of the kitchen counter and replaced it with bright white. Oh my! It’s like my soul has been cleansed!

Keeping white grout clean has never been one of my strong suits. One of the things I loved about our Kansas house was the formica countertops. No grout to get stained and dingy, shouting to the world that I am not the best housekeeper ever.

I had no idea you could just remove grout. I thought you had to redo the counter tops. For five bucks and a little  elbow grease, I can feel like a new woman. Well, at least my kitchen can. (Post and tutorial is forthcoming. He’s only done one section so far, but I am thrilled! Christmas came early!)

In other news, that espresso machine is over 20 years old. The Great Aunt Cass bought it for us when we got married. It’s still going strong. It’s not as fancy as the Nespresso that we used in France, but since it uses regular coffee grounds instead of pods, it’s a frugal way to have a cappuccino every morning.

Clean grout and a cappuccino? What more could a girl ask for?!

So, what did I do all week?

I don’t rightly know. I’m struggling to fit into each day the things that I need or want or should do.

On the weeks that school hums like a well-oiled machine, I get no writing done. On the weeks when I’m up to speed with my work obligations, school is like a bad substitute teacher. I’d love to find some equilibrium between the two, preferably that I wouldn’t land in a spot where both kinda suck.

The kids and I chatted about it; I figured they could help me troubleshoot and maybe take ownership of some of the solutions. There’s also that whole thing about food and home maintenance. I’m far past the point where “I can’t do it all”.

real life in my kitchen

Their suggestions were interesting — and mostly revolved around food:

  1. I could cook a meal each week IF I got to choose what it was.
  2. We could have a build your own kind of thing, like sandwiches.
  3. We could go back to packing lunches ahead of time. (follow discussion about how there is no room for six lunches in the fridge)
  4. We could have a bar. (No, she wasn’t suggesting we all start doing shots together, see point 2)
  5. We should do those things called freezer meals (said tongue in cheek by my husband in a separate conversation.)

I don’t know that food is our problem as much as fitting in food-for-sustenance and food-for-my-job-as-a-recipe-tester. I don’t have a guest house on a ranch where I can go cook for cowboys and take photos uninterrupted. Ha!

But managing our meal times better is a good place to start and the kids are motivated to do it. So, here goes.

Finding equilibrium.

I guess I’m trying to figure out that work-balance thing. Plenty of moms struggle with this. I know when I only had home and school to manage, I struggled with it. As much as working from home is great, it also doesn’t have too many boundaries. Work never ends, whether that be school, home, or writing. That’s my current challenge.

I unplugged for a month in France. My only obligations were to feed and clothe and entertain/educate my kids. That’s not sustainable in my real life. But, neither is working 24/7. Ha! So, I’ve got some trouble shooting to do. I’m tired of my work never being done.

Legoland Ice Skating

On the flip side of work/life balance, the littles and I got to go to Legoland yesterday for a blogging event. We got to try out the snow and ice skating, the sledding, the holiday food sampling, and basically have fun at the park for a day. I didn’t tell them in advance so it was a super surprise for them. We hung out with Muffin Tin Mom and her family which was super duper fun, so, I guess the whole melding of my life and work isn’t entirely a bad thing.

I am so grateful for this weird, unusual life I have. I just want to do better at it. Know what I mean?

I’m going to get all introspective this weekend, clean my office, work on tweaking my weekly schedule, and try to build in boundaries in my day. I want to clock out from the kitchen, school room, and office for a couple hours each day.

Think that’s reasonable? Or am I just dreaming?

PS. We’ve been having some fun little chats on Facebook in the early mornings, talking about the day’s challenges and brainstorming solutions. Follow me on Facebook so you can join in the discussion. If do already and you’re not seeing updates, that’s Lord Facebook’s efforts to keep me in the dungeon. Go to the Life as MOM wall and click on follow. That should help my status updates see the light of day.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s been happening on Life as MOM:

Pork Medallions with Sherried Shallot Sauce

Here’s what’s been happening on Good Cheap Eats:

New to Life as MOM? Check out this good stuff from the archives.

Coming next week:

  • 5 Ways to Be More Content this Holiday Season
  • Our European Vacation: Brittany
  • Booking It
  • Another “Dinners for $70 or Less” Meal Plan
  • Ways to Observe Advent

Be sure to let me know what stories and articles are helpful to you and what you’d like to see more of in the coming weeks. I want to make your “life as MOM” as fun and as easy as possible.

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  1. Ha! I love FishPapa’s comment about freezer cooking! Maybe it’s time for another freezer cooking book so you can “test” recipes? :-).

    I also struggle with trying to do it all. I can’t juggle it all either, and when I do one well, it just means I’m letting another slip between the house, helping my kids with homework, and my website. One day we’ll figure it out!

  2. “I don’t have a guest house on a ranch where I can go cook for cowboys and take photos uninterrupted.”

    Me neither – and that’s why I love your blog! 🙂

  3. I am at the same place – mostly my work at home job involves tutoring other people’s children, so I have some built in boundaries and time constraints. We are working on independence. My kiddo is great (and I only have one – 6 years old) but left to her own devices she can kill all 5 hrs of tutoring and get absolutely nothing done. We’ve been talking checklists here, but it isn’t the end all be all, we need something else to help her out. The checklists have been helping her get more accomplished without me there to help her out. So does an hourly checkin (in between tutoring sessions). We aren’t there yet, but we are getting better.

  4. I wanted to let you know about a recent new issue for those of us that read through a feed reader. I use Bloglovin’, and since you’ve changed the format on your site, it takes me three clicks instead of two to get to the post. I can’t see the whole thing in my feed reader (like most of the blogs I read), so I click to the site. Then I have another click to read the whole post. The end result is that I’m reading less of your posts than I used to on both of your sites. I’ve been reading your blogs for a long time, so if I think the content is something I might have seen before, I’m less likely to read. I thought that I might not be the only one because of the new formatting, so I wanted to let you know in case it helps you out in some way. I’ve gained so much from your blogs. Thank you so much for all you do, and I don’t want to add something unnecessary to your plate, but if this helps with your business side of things, I didn’t want to not say anything.

  5. This is our first real year homeschooling. I also have a 4 yr old and 2 yr old. Oh, and I’m pregnant. Lol. So just trying to keep up seems impossible. I’ve learned to set priorities. Like laundry and dishes. And IF I dust, cool. If not, oh well. Ha!

  6. Looking forward to the tutorial on how to remove grout! The bathroom floor needs it desperately.

  7. Finding a balance is so hard. This is our first year homeschooling. My struggle has been the balance between home/school and just being Mom. I can’t imagine blogging, too! Thanks for all you do!

  8. I know what you mean. It’s always tough to find a good balance. And then there are the unexpected things that crop up- like stomach virus, car break down, bad weather. It’s an ongoing process to try to find the schedules, etc that work best.

  9. I’m reading this just after finishing HOURS of writing the English program for the entire school year, for nine classes. It tooks ages with breaks for meals, kids, cooking, park, etc. There are NEVER enough hours in a day and I always wonder how you do it!! People wonder how I do it, too. That’s life. We will spend out entire life tweaking, modifying, pondering… but the time keeps going by and we do the best we can. You’ll be SO proud of me… I cooked TWO chickens this evening (pollo con riso) and one is going in the freezer! Yay me! I still have this weeks classes to figure out. Sigh.

    • Yay on the freezer cooking — and planning all that school! I’m tired just thinking about it.

      • It’s the program for the school I work at. I’m a more spontaneous type person so describing everything for the whole year was NOT fun. For the homeschooling we just go day by day! The chicken is labelled and in the freezer. Haven’t had time for the cookies, yet.

  10. Okay, here’s a thought. For the kids who are willing to cook dinner if they choose it, have them choose a freezer meal to make. Then, have them make one for dinner and freeze one for later. You could stock your freezer without much extra effort and they’d be learning the skill of freezer cooking too. 🙂

  11. As chauvinistic as it was when the Man brought home the bacon to the Little Lady waiting for him at home, I have to think it was just slightly more balanced than Moms having to work, raise children (and teach them — oh my!) and keep a home. I think you can have pieces of everything, just not all of everything at once.

    Like a really good buffet, you have learn to pick and choose.

  12. I have a smaller house than most, so “easier” to clean right? Not in my case. I have Only 3 kids, only one of which is a toddler. I adore the many mom blogs but have no clue how they fit it in. I do homeschool, we are down to maybe an hour or two, three to 4 days a week, coinciding with naptime. Checking out this blog has become a “treat”. Forget facebook, I left years ago. No business to promote and my friends have to actually see me in the flesh! I am a new pastors wife and that has its own expectations to weave through. But I am seeing even more things fall away. I admire the Amish in their simplicity. I want to do the things I actually do get to do, well! Time with the Lord and my husbands needs also take priority. I think my balance will come when I accept that I won’t be doing everything others are able to do.

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