Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekly Rhythm

We are at the point that we have a weekly rhythm. A rhythm is different from a schedule because it's a bit more flexible. Ours seem to change season to season a bit.

Can I just say we are so ready for spring? I just set up my first play date in weeks and of course Madeleine had to throw up tonight. Madeleine is going stir crazy too. The second Baby X leaves and the door shuts, Madeleine is grabbing her shoes to go outside.

Spring is coming though. The first baby calves were born at our dairy farm this week and next week is supposed to be mostly in the 40s. I'm SO excited.

But back to the weekly rhythm. This is what we got.

Monday - Laundry

Tuesday - Making snacks

Wednesday - Baking

Thursday - Library/ Farmer's market 

Friday - Play date

Saturday - Errands

Sunday - Family day

I like our rest of the year schedule a bit better. The farmer's market near us is only open once a month in the winter so we have to drive to the one 5 miles away. The nice thing is it's in the large local dairy's parking lot. So we get to grab milk and cheese too. The prices are also a lot cheaper. But I like grocery shopping during the week better, its less crowded and I'm not so tired from doing all the errands. 

But I think some rhythm is much better than none. I'm a lot happier when I don't have to plan out most of my week. Also, Monday (laundry), Friday (play group), and Sunday (church) we automatically have social activities. It's nice knowing that I will see other moms and hang out with them at least 3 times a week with little effort.. 

I have a daily rhythm and a cleaning schedule that goes a long with our weekly schedule. The cleaning one is very lose since our home is so small. I'll try to share it sometime. 

So my question of course is do you have a weekly rhythm or schedule? How did you set it? Does it change throughout the year? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kitchen stuff

 Have you heard about this book?
It was published here in the US in October last year and now it's all over the place. I've seen so many articles on it and I'm even part of a facebook group that is just dedicated to her process. (There are just under 4,000 members now and about  new people are 500 add every few days.) Marie Kondo is apparently a huge celebrity in Japan. So logically, I was curious about this book.

The first hiccup happened when I was #9 on the waitlist at my library! What? I never have to wait for books. I was pretty peeved. But then on my decluttering groups, I started hearing about people who were #367 or even #523...I stopped complaining after that. On Friday, I received an email that it was waiting for me at the front desk. :)


This weekend I read it, and I didn't really find that it was a must read for me. A big reason for this is that a lot of the information is online. I already knew about 2/3rds of the book just by reading articles and looking on pinterest. Another thing is that our home isn't a hopeless mess. It's pretty organized. That's not saying that her ideas aren't helpful, just some of her methods I found that we have our own system that works just as well. A few of her ideas I already do, like emptying my purse every day.

Then of course were the things I did find interesting.

1)  She says never let your parents find out what you are getting rid of. It causes them anxiety.
2) She was hired by a lady that was really organized but hired her to help figure out what was "off" about her home. In the end, they decided that there was too much "word clutter". Every time this lady opened up a cupboard or looked at something, her brain was confronted by information. I thought this was really interesting since I had just emailed an article to Matt earlier this week about this very subject. 
3) There is this thing she called the younger sister thing where you pass off all of the things you feel guilty about getting rid of to your younger sister even if she doesn't want them. 
4) She said in order to keep a clean house you need to have a vivid image in your head to motivation you. For us originally it was to have enough room that kids have enough room to play and that we wouldn't fight over the house. Now that we are getting to the point that it's very manageable that vision is expanding. Like a place to have people over or so we know where absolutely everything is. 
Madeleine's room has reached that point. When we get her ready for bed, I can actually tell if there are any toys that aren't put away. It's nice and it's a relaxing thought that I won't find any toys around the house when I reset to zero at the end of the night. 

I finished reading the book and Matt asked me what I wanted to do now that Madeleine was asleep. I told him I wanted to take everything out the kitchen since the furniture was out of the living room still from book club. So we did. Here is what it looked like.

We were pretty happy to see that we actually use 80% of this stuff on a weekly bases. We pared down a few of the 20% that we didn't use weekly or were broken.

It was lovely putting everything back. We have had so much empty space in our kitchen. So when we put everything back we were able to condense it down a bit. I was able to make Madeleine her own little shelf to keep her things and we still have an empty cupboard left that I put the craft supplies that Madeleine uses while I cook and extra lightbulbs. 

We also found out that we have a few things we really need to upgrade or replace. All of our measuring spoons and measuring cups are broken, and we need a long term plan for cups.

So yes, this is everything in our kitchen. It's about as minimal as we'll get as long as we keep up our currently diet and lifestyle.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book club

I was so nervous about book club for a lot of reasons.

1) Our home is small.
2) I had never hosted a group this large.
3) I have never hosted a book club.

So I was learning a lot of new things.

First thing I did was clear the living room. Thanks to our anniversary dinner, I knew that our couch could fit in the closet. So during nap time, I moved all of our living room furniture out of the room. The kids had so much fun playing in there. We kicked balls and painted it was great!

Then at 6, Baby X got picked up and I got to work. Matt had come home a little early to grab chairs that we were borrowing from the community room. We only have enough seats for 4 people, so it was either that or sitting on the floor. It worked great! 

Matt tried to put Madeleine down for bed before leaving to teach a class. Madeleine popped out of bed right before the first person came. Out of 20 people that signed up for book club, 7 came. That's pretty good right? 

We discussed the basic rules of our club and then started chatting about the book. I had notes and questions prepared beforehand, but we ended just talking about whatever we felt like in the book. This book has so many different discussion topics and we had plenty to talk about. We talked for an hour about it before people needed to go home. Most people told me after that they still had a lot that they wanted to discuss. That's good right? 

I'm not sure if everyone liked it, but I enjoyed it. I think the lack of structure would have not done as well with even a slightly larger group. I'm not sure how to handle that in the future. I think I'm going to drop in on one of the library's clubs and see how they handle it. The only one I can go to is the mystery one, which is one of my least favorite genres.

The book we are reading next month is Free Range Kids. It's technically a parenting book but I think it says a lot about our culture's lack of media literacy. I'm excited for it.

Any tips for how to run larger groups? What have you found is the best way to have discussions? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Life Update

I'm counting the days down for winter to end. We haven't had almost any snow. There is about 4 inches in the backyard and 2 in the front, but it's been cold! Yesterday morning it was 2 degrees when we woke up! The first signs of spring are coming though. The sun is now waking up with me and it is no longer dark at 4:30. Thank goodness that was my least favorite part of winter. We can actually bike every once in a while now again.

We have been sick literally all winter. Right now Baby X and Madeleine have a very mild cold. We have a system going. Baby X gets it first. Then Madeleine a few days later, and right when Baby X gets better, I get sick. Usually right before I get better, he is already sick again. It's a bit strange for me, since usually we only get whatever sickness is in the neighborhood (which isn't much). But since Baby X has an older sister, we also seem to be getting more of the daycare sicknesses. 

Other changes, Baby X is mobile, and Madeleine has dropped her nap! I'm hoping in Spring, she'll start napping again. She's so tired by 3:30, but she refuses to nap. I think more outside play will cure it though. That's been killing my free time during the day.

Things that are going on.

I'm hosting my first book club meeting tomorrow! I'm so excited. The first book I chose was Geisha: A Life. 10 people are supposedly coming. I'm going to borrow chairs from our community room since we got rid of most of our seating. I have a long list of discussion questions and some food. I think we'll have a good time!

I started a knitting class at the local community program. I went to one class so far and finished my first project. I'm going to have to practice a lot to get any good. Maybe one day I'll get as good as this man who knits for penguins.

My first project was fingerless gloves.

Matt got me Season 5 of Boy meets World so we've been watching that. It's so weird to me how different sex and beauty standards are in this show. In one episode, Topanga spends a week at Cory's house for Christmas. Cory is her boyfriend of 15 years they say at this point? And she packs a mumu!!! You can't tell in the photo below, but that's the scene in which she wears it. Talk about the most unsexy pjs ever. And the funny thing is when she wakes him up at 3 am to talk, he at first was hoping it was for something a little less innocent. 

 We have also been watching Friends. We aren't getting into it as much. I'm starting to realize, I like Friends episodes in random order. Watching them in order causes a lot more yelling at the characters, but thanks to What are you look at? 150 years of Modern Art, we were able to figure out the painting in Chandler's office.

Kandisky - On White II

I bet your life is complete now right? ;)

I'll let you know how my book club goes.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Behind every great man

I love non-fiction books. I have a love/hate relationship with fiction, because fiction is at the mercy of the writer. The characters, the settings, all of that depends on the skill of the author. Non-fiction doesn't have that limitation. Even if the writing is poor, usually (there are definitely exceptions) the story and people are interesting enough to keep my interest. Real people and real life has minute details that fiction is frequently lacking. There are plot twist, random quotes, and incompletely or unhappy endings. 

Lately, I've been reading a lot of history books that took place in the last century, and I keep discovering something over and over again.

"Behind every great man is a great woman."

And it's completely infuriating. In these books, I keep finding strong women that are interesting, powerful, and inspiring. The thing is in my education they have always been hiding behind great men. The men I have been taught and quizzed about for years in classes, but these great women were just footnotes. 

I find it sad. I have a college education, but if it wasn't for my own personal study, I don't think I would recognize most of these women's names. I called Matt up asking him if he could recall any famous women (his memory is so much better at facts than mine) and he told me he could only list off a few. Of those women, a good chunk were women that I had read about and discussed with him. 

I feel like my own personal history as a woman is incomplete without knowing these stories. I remember reading Riding for Freedom, Clara Barton, and Girl in Blue just to name a few when I was homeschooled. These women I did look up, and probably my mom did too since she gave me the books, but once I started in public education my knowledge of these women halted.

I keep realizing that it's my duty to teach Madeleine the history of women. To teach her about the famous and not so famous women in history. To teach her about housework, cooking, and other "womanly" skills that have been passed down as traditions as women, but it's also my job to teach her that her place in history isn't just to stand behind a great man. She needs to know that she can be great all on her own.

(Here is a picture of Miss Caroline Herschel, the astronomer. She was the first woman scientist to be paid, and we have a painting of her in our hallway.)