Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A DAY IN THE LIFE: OPERATION ORGANIZATION BACK TO SCHOOL SERIES



I was so honored to be invited by Christy and Amy of 11 Magnolia Lane to participate in this Operation: Organization Back to School series today.  Honestly, I'm not the most organized person and am constantly fighting certain problem areas like I'm sure many of you do, so I wasn't sure I had much to share on the topic.  However, I've found a few small things here and there that help our family and me personally stay on track,  so I'll include those throughout the details of my day.  If you're a new visitor today, welcome!  I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find something that you can relate to here.


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Here's my disclaimer for this post:  This is the typical "schedule" I shoot for, but all of these things don't always happen in my day.  I don't keep a disciplined time schedule for my days, more of a routine of different things that need to be done day by day.  Some (more than I like) days I don't exercise, I spend all day running errands and have to cram in computer work at night.  Some days if I have a big project in the works I barely get anything done besides feeding my family (and ordering pizza totally counts as feeding your family!).   I know you all who are Moms can totally relate, your schedule can never be too set in stone.

My day begins around 6:45 a.m.  Since my kids are older, they are responsible for getting themselves up and going.  My son has early morning band practice every day and leaves the house by 6:30, so I don't see him before school most days.  When I get up I fix a quick breakfast for my daughter (she's not a big fan of breakfast) and pack her lunch.  One thing that we did last year that made packing lunches so much easier and faster was to set up a lunchbox station inside the pantry door.  When almost everything we need is right in front of us it's so much more efficient!


My husband usually takes her to school by 7:15.  When he leaves to take her I slip on my tennis shoes and go for a walk- usually 30-45 minutes.  I know myself, and if I don't go first thing it usually won't happen at all.  I generally listen to my playlist as I walk, but I've also been enjoying listening to some podcasts during that time to shake it up a bit.  I have to be careful, though... if I get too intent on listening to a podcast I end up leisurely strolling instead of walking fast.  ;)



When I return from walking my husband has returned from drop-off and is usually about ready to go to work.  I'll make breakfast for the two of us, usually some sort of eggs/protein.  This quiche is in the rotation about once a week, and if we're especially conscious about carbs I'll make it without the crust and just decrease the cooking time.  Always a family favorite!


He usually eats quickly and heads out the door, while I sit down and eat and do my quiet time.  If it's the time of year when I'm in an organized Bible Study I'll work on it during this time, or if I'm in between studies I like to occasionally go back through studies I've already done or do a simple devotional book (I especially like this one and this one).


After that I usually putter around the house a little, cleaning up dishes, watering pots outside, straightening up.  This was watering day!  My tropical plants and succulents get watered about once every 3 weeks or so, I don't really have a set schedule for them.  That's the beauty of those plants... they tolerate infrequent watering and can take lots of abuse!  If I have fresh flowers I change the water in them and re-cut the stems every 2-3 days.



I finally hit the shower at some point after that (yay!) and get ready for the rest of the day.  If I know I'm not going anywhere that day, top knot, no makeup,  and comfy clothes it is!  If I do have plans to be out I'll get completely ready.

At this point I'll hop on the computer and check e-mails, read a few blogs, and work on posts if needed.  If I have a specific project going on I'll use this time during the day to work on that as well.  On this day in particular, I had a phone interview scheduled for our upcoming feature in Better Homes and Gardens (eeeek!!). That's a huge reason to love blogging... I can do business interviews at my kitchen table...with no makeup and wet hair!  ;)  And did I ever think I'd be posting a photo of myself on the internet with no makeup and my hair not done???  Nope!  You can bet I slapped a filter on there, though!  ;)


It's probably obvious, but the thing that keeps me the most organized with my work is a planner.  A good old write it down with pencil and paper planner.  I've tried several different ones, but I really like this one lately that I bought from Target.  It has a large monthly grid, then a page for each week adjoining a "this week" and "reminders" list page.  I keep our family calendar and my blog calendar all in one spot with this one, and these are my favorite pens to do a bit of color coding.


Somewhere around noon I stop for lunch.  Some days Ray comes home for lunch and some days I'm on my own.  I usually have some sort of quesadilla or salad with leftover chicken or taco meat and watch a bit of tv or read while I eat.  Today, it was Taco Salad! I'm not a coffee drinker, so by lunch I'm usually ready for a little boost.  I stick with my favorite iced tea or a soda.



After lunch I do a little more computer work.  On this day I knew I'd be doing a lot of sitting, so I multi-tasked and did a foot treatment at the same time.  I don't find going to get pedicures especially enjoyable or relaxing, but I tried Baby Foot last Fall and I'm hooked!  After a long summer of going bare foot a good deal of the time, let's just say my feet needed some smoothing.  If you can get past the disgusting before and after advertising photos, you might like it too!  You can read my tips for using this product in this post.



Also around this time in the afternoon I start to think about dinner and the kids getting home from school.  I'll do whatever initial prep is needed for dinner, and occasionally get something ready for a snack for the kids when they get home, although half the time they just grab a quick snack.  But, today I made Pumpkin Bread.  I love this recipe because I can throw it together in about 5 minutes, stir everything in one bowl, and pop it in the oven.  It comes in so handy for after school snacks and breakfast as well.


Some days I'll run a few errands before the kids get home from school, or if I need them for the errands we'll go right after school.  Here's another tip that I just recently started doing, and I don't know why I never did it sooner!  I keep a sturdy basket or tote in the back of my car to contain things I need to return or throw small sacks in after I make a purchase.  It helps so much to keep things from sliding around all over the back of my vehicle.


I don't know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with my kids and their phones.  Not my kids.  I always love them.  Just their phones.  ;)   I don't feel good about letting them have free reign with them, mainly because they can be so distracting and time consuming.  A very useful tool, but distracting.  I know from experience!  And I HATE policing their time on their phone.  So, at the beginning of our school year a few weeks ago I implemented a simple system.  When they get home from school, they get 20 minutes of phone time, which they are responsible for monitoring their time (I technically keep an eye on their time too because if they go over they lose phone privileges for a while).  Then, it goes on the kitchen counter while homework and other chores are done.  After all of their responsibilities are taken care of, they can have them back for a while, but I want them back on the counter at 8:00 p.m. for overnight.  They've gone back to using regular alarm clocks rather than their phones and so far we're doing okay with this system but are still working on it.  Any suggestions?  What works well for your family?


One last tool that has helped us tremendously over the past several years is a large family chalkboard calendar hanging in the kitchen.  I have always kept my personal calendar with all of our events, but it's helped so much to have all of our activities visible for the whole family to see and know what to expect.  This chalkboard was a DIY project from an old piece of artwork and has been one of my hardest working projects!


Dinnertime varies for us depending on activities, but most nights we do sit down for dinner together regardless of the time.  Tonight I worked on dinner while Emily worked on her homework.


We had this yummy chicken dish, one of her favorites!



After the hustle and bustle of after school, homework, dinner, and family time many evenings you'll find us right here on the patio.  I hardly ever have a blog post finished until the night before it goes up, so I'm usually putting the finishing touches on those at night.

DIY Striped Pots  ||  How to Paint Ceramics (painted garden stools)


Finally time for bed!  No matter how tired I am, 99.9% of the time I read before turning out my light.  Sometimes it's 2 pages, sometimes it's multiple chapters, but it's what shuts my mind down.  Right now I've been re-reading a favorite series and am still enjoying it even though I know what's going to happen.  Does anyone else do the same thing?


There you have it.  Nothing terribly exciting or earth shattering to report here, but I love my family and our little life and try hard to keep everything running smoothly.

Thanks so much for joining me today, I hope you enjoyed the personal peek into my days and picked up a good tip or two.  If you're new here today, I'd love for you to join my email list!  You'll receive a notification straight to your inbox any time there's a new post on Dimples and Tangles, simply enter your address below.

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Be sure to head over to these fabulous blogs and check out their Day in the Life posts today too.  I know they'll all have some wonderful organizing tips for us as well!

Christy  — 11 Magnolia Lane
Amanda — Dixie Delights
Rebekah — A Blissful Nest
*Megan from Honey We're Home is a Houston area resident, and although she was scheduled to post today I'm sure everyone understands that she needed to re-schedule her post to next week. She and her family are safe and are lending aid where they can to help their neighbors in need.  She wrote a great post from an insider's perspective of how you can help!

Check back next week for round 2 of the series!

September 6th

Amy -11 Magnolia Lane
Sam - Simply Organized 
Erin - Sunny Side Up
Mallory — Style Your Senses
Julie — Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss
Haneen - Haneen’s Haven
Megan — Honey We're Home



If you enjoyed this post, you might like this one too!
So I Married A Blogger (An Interview with my Husband)





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26 comments:

  1. So many great tips Jennifer, I am so honored you shared with us for our series. Thank you! XO, Amy

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  2. Jennifer--thanks so much for linking to your favorite recipes! I am in such a cooking rut right now and I pinned every single one of them to try in the next few weeks. The Baby Foot is also going into my cart (my feet are like a "before" picture and I'm not good at going for pedicures, either). As for phone time, I struggle with it, too. Thanks for sharing your day with us--I loved reading about how you spend your time! ~Christy

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  3. Thanks for sharing some of your useful tips and recipes. What book series are you rereading?

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    1. Hi Wendy, it's the Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury.

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  4. Hi Jennifer!

    Thank you so much for sharing your day with us! It was especially great to read about your cell phone plan - love that!!!

    xo,
    Sam

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    1. Now if we can just keep sticking to the plan... ;)

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  5. I bought some of the baby feet to try but it will be a while before I give up sandals (I'm in the South, we have a good bit of warm weather left).

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    1. We still have plenty of warm weather here, too! my feet just needed some attention now! ;)

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  6. When our youngest was in middle school/high school our phone company came out with a Parental control plan. We could set times and who could and could not call (and the hours they could do so). It allowed her to have her phone for things like alarms, but the convos got cut off by a certain hour. I liked knowing she could always access important numbers in case of an emergency. This was also before unlimited text messaging existed and it kept down the cost.

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    1. Oh, that's an interesting possibility, I've never heard of that. Something to look in to, thanks!!

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  7. Interesting to read of your day. I'm surprised the TV is on while homework is being done...(??)

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    1. I was watching the hurricane coverage and she was coloring a poster for a project at the time. Thanks for your concern.

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  8. Love it, Jen! Great idea with the phone break after school! I need to implement that!

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    1. Thanks Julie. Man, those things are a blessing and a curse!

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  9. Love your tips Jennifer, especially because my kids are close in age to yours, 12 and 16. We have a similar phone plan but the bigger challenge has been managing computer time since our school system provides all middle school kids with an ipad and a mac book for high school students. UGHHH! We added a separate wifi for the kids that shuts down at 10pm on weeknights and 11 on the weekend. It's not perfect, but my high school daughter is legitimately doing school work late and this forces her a bit to manage time and get the on line work done earlier. The 7th grader should be sound asleep by 10 and has no need for wifi that late. We keep the adult wifi password for adults. Have a great school year!

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    1. Great ideas! My daughter's grade all received Chrome books at school this year too... not sure how we're going to deal with that yet!

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  10. I think I am exhausted from just reading about all you do in one day! Maybe I did more when I had a kid the age of yours at home -- I probably did. At any rate, I admire you and all parents raising children in today's world. Now, I just enjoy my free unstructured time in retirement, but this does make me a bit nostalgic for the days when someone depended on me to "keep the world turning" -- so you should value how important your contributions are to those in your family who depend on you.

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    1. The days certainly fly by around here! I do have my share of lazy days too, though. :) The kids are definitely growing up way too fast.

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  11. I enjoy reading your blog and all of the DIYs and styling are topnotch. Question for you...do you ever read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation?

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    1. That is definitely always a goal! I like using the chronological Bible, a simply yearly reading plan that our church gives out, or the YouVersion yearly plans for digital media. Thank you for your nice comments Elaine!

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  12. Love the tips! You are such an inspiration!

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  13. Great tips, Jennifer! I like your "phone schedule" for the kids. My daughter is 9 and we put her on a tablet schedule over the Summer which has proved to be so valuable. It's so hard these days with all of the electronics. However, while Harvey was roaring through, we did allow her to play more on her tablet to keep her a little distracted from the scary news. We are all safe and dry and have opened our home to a young couple (and their 4 dogs) that lost almost everything when they had to release the reservoir. We are so blessed that we were spared and have an extra bedroom to help out. But, since we will be starting school next week, hopefully, we've put our daughter back on a tablet schedule. I'm looking forward to a beautifully packed school activity schedule. I love your snack station. I'm definitely going to implement that one so she can grab a snack before heading out for dance or gymnastics. Also, I'm super excited about your feature! So very happy for you! Happy weekend! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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  14. I'm a displaced Okie! I live in North Carolina now and it's beautiful, but I miss Oklahoma and it will always feel like home.

    I love your schedule! It's much like mine so I must be doing it right! I can't wait to try your quiche recipe and I like the idea of the kids having their phones on the counter in plain sight. Not that my little darling would sneak her phone...bwahahaha!!

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  15. That was fun!
    You look great without makeup! At first glance I thought it was your daughter. :)

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