Schedule!?

To say that it’s been a little chaotic around here would be an understatement.  Between moving, celebrating a birthday, visiting sick loved-ones, two funerals, and balancing the needs of a family of five, it’s no wonder.

James and I were talking about how to get a sense of order and rhythm around the house and he suggested a schedule.  I initially cringed at that word, but after giving it a bit of reflection into my own past experiences, I realized that I was happiest about the rhythm in my days when I was, in fact, on a schedule.  As a camp counselor, I was on a very strict schedule with every single aspect of the day, from waking up to eating, to cleaning, playing, and time off.  It was nice knowing exactly what to expect with each new day.  And James was on a strict schedule in the military and flourished with it.  So, why not try it with ourselves and the kids to see what happens?

James took it upon himself to do the morning routine and wake up the boys at 7 am.  That seemed awfully early for Jackson, who is a very grumpy person when he’s tired, but I went with it for the sake of the experiment.  James woke the boys up with the date, the weather, and an interesting fun fact as they climbed out of bed, Jack with some help.  The boys got dressed with full supervision, made their beds, picked up their room with dad’s help and then prayed and did stretches with James before being sent into the kitchen to me for breakfast.  I fed them and then we did some school work, reading, and crafts all before 10 am!  I was shocked at all the extra time we seemed to have.   Not only did it give us more time for homeschooling, errands, and playtime, but it gave us all a sense of peace because there was less yelling and fighting.  I wasn’t upset because someone wasn’t doing what they should be doing and they weren’t confused or sidetracked because they knew what to do and had appropriate supervision to succeed at their task.

Lunch and dinner have always been around the same time, but the activities in between vary from day to day.  We still have some work to do to build up to an afternoon and evening routine, but after seeing what happened with the mornings with the new schedule in place, I think it will be worth the effort.

Oh, and since Jackson is waking up at 7 am everyday, sleep easily finds him and bedtime seems to just happen.

Preparations

With 3 days until Thanksgiving and 31 days until Christmas, I’ve kicked us into high gear so we can prepare for the holidays.

A couple of weeks ago, I made an apple pie.  Instead of making just one crust for the single apple pie, I made four crusts and stuck the extra three in the freezer for Thanksgiving pies.  I also roasted a half dozen pumpkins and pureed them over the last month.  Yum, how I love pumpkin!

I knew that we would owe a big check to our food co-op for the local turkey in addition to our monthly chicken order, bi-weekly egg order, and our weekly produce share, so I spread out all of the other extra groceries and expenses due to Thanksgiving during the first couple weeks of Thanksgiving.  I have a hidden bag of potato chips, several quarts of frozen homemade chicken stock, frozen cranberries, frozen pumpkin puree, a few boxes of boxed stuffing (it isn’t Thanksgiving for my husband without it), blocks of cream cheese, 8 pounds of butter, a 10-pound bag of sugar, a few bags of white chocolate chips, and extra baking goods.  This is both for the feast and holiday baking in the coming weeks.  In addition, I planned a few extra meals into the weekly meal plan last week to last us through to Thanksgiving so I have no reason at all to go to the grocery store this week.

I’ll be making the cranberry sauce and the pies on Wednesday, as well as doing most of the vegetable prep so the kitchen will be my husband’s on turkey day.  He makes a wonderful turkey (his secret is the brine that starts 48 hours before the roasting) and his gravy is so good that I freeze the left-overs so I can savor it over the following weeks.  He also makes some mean mashed potatoes.  I’m getting hungry just thinking of all this food!

As for Christmas prep, I’ve been collecting and making gifts all year.  I’m still doing a sprint with gifts, more so than I would like, but my load has been lessened and I won’t be going crazy at the mall or anything.

I took the boys to the local fabric superstore and we stocked up on felt today.  It was on sale plus I had a coupon, so we’ll be a happy crafting bunch for all of December and beyond.  We’re building houses for our gnomes out of the felt and old oatmeal canisters.  Tomorrow, we’ll be  adding a couple of gnomes to our family to celebrate fall and Thanksgiving (we should have done this last month, but time got away from me and this is my last chance to get it done before focusing on Christmas/winter gnomes.)  Then, next week, we’ll be working on a tree skirt to fit our odd-shaped Christmas tree holder and an Advent calendar.  We’ll work on crafting a pocket each day so that next year, we’ll have a place for a little surprise to hide.   More to come on those projects in the future.

Ahhh!  It feels good to have a plan!

Gnomes’ Home

Alex and I created our math gnomes a couple of years ago and they’ve seen lots of play.  It really surprised me how much the boys play with these simple little guys.  I have more supplies to create some seasonal gnomes, which I hope to do for Alex as a Christmas present in the coming weeks.

Tree Stump

This week, we finally made a couple of tree stump homes for our gnomes.  I cut an oatmeal cardboard canister in half and had the boys draw on the windows and a door.   I helped them glue on some felt and cut the doors and windows out for them and voila!  tree trunks.  I got all crafty with Alex’s and used the sewing machine to create a wood-like pattern on the felt before he glued it on.

The boys are thrilled with their new homes!

Here We Go Again

My great-grandma, Alma, passed on Wednesday evening.  She had drastically improved from last week and was being transfered out of ICU to the unit when the doctors told her that she wouldn’t be “allowed” to return to independent living in her home.  I think that was the hope that she was holding onto.

Her funeral is tomorrow and so we’ll have a family filled weekend celebrating her 97 years.

My Hat

My hat is done!  I took time from all the Christmas crafting to knit a little something for myself to keep my head warm this winter.  The yarn is a chunky Malabrigo, for ultimate softness and was chosen for the bright green color.  I spent a gift card to my LYS from my birthday (6 months ago) to get this treat along with a few other lovely somethings.  The Snappy Hat pattern was free.

hat

Maybe I should start thinking about a scarf and/or some fingerless mittens for myself now?  Nah!  At least not until the new year.  😉

P.S.

I know I’ve been focused more on knitting and sewing lately.  It’s a good escape and coping mechanism for all the stuff going on behind the scenes.

I’ve been an incredibly blessed person, growing up in a wonderful family with all of my grandparents close by.  Time has gone by fast and and well, we’ve all aged.  Trips to the hospital are sadly becoming a way of life for us.  Last week, it was my grandpa and now it’s my great-grandma.

Could you please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers yet again?  Thank you, it really means a lot to me.

Farm Playmat

All the fields have been knitted up.  Some could use a few details and the flower meadow has no flowers because I don’t have any wool roving or needles to felt flower onto it, but there’s still time.  I’ll either get the supplies or make due with the yarn I have and using the childhood embroidering skills to create my own style of flowers.

fields

I’m now working on the roads, paths, and river that connect the pieces together and sewing it all together.

I found the cutest pattern for a barn to sew up on Sew, Mama, Sew and if there’s time, I might have to make one for Izzy and/or Jackson.  And if there’s not enough time, Izzy has a birthday in less than 4 months.