Author: jj2edwards

Has There Been Progress?

by Jennifer

I am quickly discovering that there is a flaw in my plan, a snafu, a fly in the ointment – there is a disconnect between posting regularly and my new method of task completion. It is proving difficult to accurately track progress when tasks are taken in such small sips that they can’t always be quantified. I have been pondering this for several weeks and still have no clear idea for corrective measures. Hmmmm, what to do? Well, since one of my goals this year is to simplify I shall let things fall into place as they will.

There, I feel calmer already!

Now to the progress so far this year:

Use Skills:
1. I have tried several new cupcake recipes and shared them with neighbors, friends and teachers. Because of the yumminess being passed around I have been commissioned to make mini cupcakes for a babyshower in March. Getting paid for something so yummy is a bonus!

2. I knit LaLa a scarf (Totally Fabulous Scarf – I think it is ugly but she loves it), completed a pair of handknit socks (Ichabod’s Bad Night Socks), finished knitting a shawl with my Christmas yarn (Pomegranate Shawl) and knit matching cowls for LaLa and I (Bandana Cowls).

100_1921100_1924100_1904100_1925

Try New Things:
1. The new cleaning products are working well but I need to add some essential oils or make some infused vinegar because both kids complain about how gross it smells. I’m on the look-out for an allergy/pet carpet cleaner too so it must be time to search pinterest again.

2. Bleu Cheese has been haunting me. Because of this I have discovered that it is tasty on burgers (from Granite City) and also on pizza. Oh, and it is also yummy on turkey sandwiches.

Try New Techniques:

1. I sampled a new knitting technique in December when I knit five new stockings for Christmas (yes, I am insane!) Fair Isle, or stranded knitting, has always befuddled me but this year I will master it, or at least become familiar and comfortable with it. I knit a hat (First Fair Isle Hat) and picked up a great tutorial that will walk me through six more projects.

100_1932

2. I spun bunny fur! One of our local farms raises English Angora Bunnies and I purchased a small amount of fiber last summer to try. It is amazingly soft but the fiber sure floats around in the air during spinning. Maybe that was why both cats were drawn into the room? I would like to try some more but I need to wait until the weather is nicer so I can spin outside.

100_1929

Research SPD, PDD-NOS and Anxiety:

After reading many blog posts, searching through my books and having discussions with Topher’s OT I have ordered a weighted blanket for him. He is a sensory seeker and comes home from school so wired that he crashes into everything in an effort to signal his brain where his body is. Hopefully the blanket will provide him a safer and less boisterous way to self-regulate. Maybe it will help him sleep better at night too…

Simplify:

1. Since we have been using safe cleaning supplies the kiddos have taken over bathroom cleaning. Three cleaning tasks eliminated from my list – yippee! Topher does a much better job than his big sister. LaLa is planning to have a maid and housekeeper as an adult and feels that learning the correct methods of cleaning are a waste of her valuable reading time.

2. The playroom has been rearranged, the new storage boxes have been purchased, the built-ins are undergoing a transformation, the toys and books are still being sorted and both children are doing a great job tidying up every night. Now I just need a few pieces of artwork and decorative touches and that room will be complete – for a while anyway!

3. I have reclaimed a small part of my fiber studio. In theory it is the dining room but since the kitchen was remodeled no one eats in there and it seemed like a waste of space to me. Now I am turning it into a lovely little sitting room filled with my spinning wheels, loom and office.

100_1937

Be Mindful:

This is ongoing as I try to experience mundane, ordinary or boring activities as something to cherish. This is going to be a tough sell as there is little about certain tasks to cherish. Unless I reward myself with chocolate…..

Advertisements

Honeybee Tasking?

by Jennifer

I am the kind of person that has always started a task and completed it before moving on to another.

As a single person, and also as part of a married couple I was still able to make my single task method work. Then came my sweet O. Okay, things had to be rearranged a bit but since my primary focus was taking care of her I could still carry on as usual. Then my Topher joined the family and the single task idea was getting a bit more challenging but still do-able. Then came major Adrenal Fatigue. That just made me so tired that one task a day was about all I could manage! Now both kids are in school full-time and my fatigue is under control so one would think I could merrily continue with my one-task mentality.

BUT,

one would be WRONG!

I find myself struggling to complete anything without ending up angry, or frustrated, or just giving up and knitting instead. As much as I love to knit (the kids can attest to that) that is no way to successfully maintain a happy home. I needed to gracefully concede defeat and try something new.

I am going to call my new method of accomplishing my tasks as Honeybee Tasking. Honeybee Tasking? What the heck does that mean? Bees are busy all day gathering nectar from hundreds of flowers but they don’t spend too long at any one, and sometimes they go back to the same one several times before heading to a different clump of flowers and starting that special bee dance all over again. I know this because the patch of wildflowers in our back yard attracted plenty of bees and butterflies this summer and I spent many lovely afternoons watching them. So instead of focusing on each task I am going to start tasks, stop tasks and revisit them as my schedule and energy level allow. Maybe this will drive me completely insane or, just maybe, I will find that buzzing happily from one flower to another is my new way of “bee-ing” productive!

Cupcakes are good for your heart!

by Jennifer

I like cupcakes, plain ones, fancy ones, gooey ones – I just like cupcakes.

BUT,

I never knew that baking and decorating cupcakes could make my heart swell just like the Grinch’s at the end of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Last week was LaLa’s half birthday. She is a July baby so she never gets to celebrate her “real” birthday with her school friends thus treats on her half birthday. She requested chocolate candy cane cupcakes with pink frosting. Easy peasy! I took the kiddos to school, tied on one of my vintage aprons and started mixing. I filled the liners partially with rich chocolate batter, added some crushed up candy canes, covered that with more batter and popped them in the oven. While they were baking I whipped up some pink frosting and then decided to dip some mini candy canes in milk chocolate to put on the top of each cupcake. I was creating something special for my daughter and using my candy and cake decorating skills – what could be better? Then it hit me – O is in fourth grade and I only get to make birthday cupcakes one more time for her before she goes to middle school! When did my sweet little girl get so big?

I try not to get too emotionally sloppy about these things but, geez, I have a mommy-heart! I was feeling more than a bit sad but didn’t want to make a big deal out of it with O, tweens can be so touchy! So imagine my delight when she came running to the car that afternoon with a huge smile and told me how awesome the cupcakes were. I only teared up slightly but was able to cover it with a pretend sneeze.

Now comes the heart-swelling part!

LaLa came home after school yesterday and asked me to make MORE cupcakes for her class! They had earned a special movie day and she wanted to share treats again. Yippie for me! This morning I once again dropped the kiddos at school and started to bake. This time, as I mixed the batter I thought about O. How her smile lights up a room, how her eyes sparkle when she is happy, how she jumps just a little when she is excited because her body just can’t contain all the joy she is feeling. As I filled the liners with the yellow batter and added caramel and chocolate I remembered watching her sleep, not just when she was a baby but last night too. I remembered her delight in scrubbing a floor like Cinderella and the graceful way she chased butterflies. Whipping the sweet butter flavored frosting made me think of the wonderful stories that she imagines and shares, the elaborate plans she makes when she is enthralled with something and her strength and determination to do things her way. When I garnished the tops with a few pieces of popcorn I knew that these cupcakes had more thoughts and memories in them than any other cupcake in the world. Although they disappeared within minutes of delivery to the class and received rave reviews I will remember them as much more than a sweet treat.

Simple, maybe, but it sure made my mommy-heart happy! Now, I wonder if they will ask for more cupcakes soon…

Cleaning and Sorting and Tossing, Oh My!

by Jennifer

So far this month my efforts have been centered around clearing out the things we have too much of, sorting what we are going to keep and finding better ways to keep the house clean. Sounds pretty boring but wait, it really can be a very freeing experience! Really! No joke! I have to admit that this creates chaos and for this family chaos is BAD! For OCDish me, it makes me crazy to have clutter all over. For “transitions are hard for me” LaLa it can cause major anxiety. For sensory-sensitive Topher it’s just overwhelming.

BUT,

in the end we will have an organized, clutter-free, naturally cleaned home that makes us all feel better!

What I have completed so far to make this a reality?

First: I sorted through four years of professional pictures (dance, sports, school and just regular visits to our favorite photography studio.) Let’s just say that the stack was over 6″ tall and leave it at that! Once that was done it was time to collect everything necessary to get those photos into albums. After sale shopping at Michael’s I have the albums and decorative papers ready to go.

Second: I started working my way through all the boxes of toys in the playroom and basement. This task will take some stamina as there are way too many to attack at one time.

Third: I have been madly pinning all kinds of natural cleaning tips to use instead of chemicals. I have cleared out the cleaning supplies and replaced them with the following:

100_1883

On the surface it doesn’t seem like much but each box sorted, each picture placed in an album and every spray of vinegar is creating a better home for the people I love and that is no small thing.

NYR’s, I despise you!

by Jennifer

First I need to thank my niece, Erin, for inviting me to take part in this project – Thanks Erin!

Now, on to the resolutions part.

I despise New Year’s Resolutions (NYR from now on.) This doesn’t really make sense since I am a planner and a list maker so why this deep feeling of resentment? Instead of making me feel better about my life or in control they just make me feel inadequate.

BUT,

I like to make goals for myself so I need to rethink the whole NYR idea, to find a way to make it acceptable to me. A way that doesn’t allow for a self-esteem hit in mid-March. So instead of a list of specific goals I am going to compile a list of things I would like to accomplish, experience, share, create etc. and log them as I go. That way at the end of the year instead of feelings of resentment I will have a wonderful list to reflect on for 2014.

So here is a beginning list of accomplishments, experiences, creations etc. to look forward to in 2013:

1. use the skills I have (ie. knitting, weaving, spinning, cake decorating, writing, reading, organizing etc.) more often and in new ways

2. try different foods/activities/adventures/books/etc., even ones I haven’t previously liked

3. learn new techniques for the things I already do well

4. research SPD, PDD-NOS and childhood anxiety so I can be a better advocate for my children

5. simplify

6. try to be mindful and present in the moment

Take that NYR’s!