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Embrace the Seasons

I worked in the corporate world for almost 20 years.  In the corporate world, every day of my life was the same.  Get up.  Go to work.  Come home.  Do evening activities.  Go to bed.  Try to cram in a workout.  Try to cram in some me time.  Repeat.

As a homemaker, my days are different throughout the year.  It looks like this:

Fall: Ahh!!! Back to school.  I’ve got to get my Girl Scout Troop off the ground.  Ahhh!!! I’ve got to help out with Cub Scouts.  Ahhh!!!! I want to volunteer at school.  OMG!  Every night and weekend is full of activities for the kids.  It’s halloween already?  I’ve got to prep for Thanksgiving!  Oh no!  I’ve got to make all my Christmas presents.  I’m so overwhelmed.

Winter:  Phew.  The Holidays are over.  Volunteering activities are moving along at a manageable rhythm.  It’s cold out, let’s sit by the fire and do nothing all day.  My husband is at work.  I should be working all day too!  I feel so guilty.

Spring: Ugh.  I can’t get motivated!  Winter’s over, but I don’t want to get back into a routine.  I don’t want to clean my house.  I want to waste my days like I did all winter.  I can’t get motivated.

Summer: The kids are home.  I have tons of energy.  I want to clean the whole house.  I want to do all the house projects.  I know I should be outside.  It’s too hot.  I want to take the kids to cool places all day.  I can’t fit everything into one day.  Holy cow!  We are traveling so much.  I’m annoyed that I can’t get any of my chores done!

As you can see, the days are NOT all the same, and I am very upset by this.  For 2 years, I tried to make all my days the same.  I failed.  They are not the same, and I feel bad that they are not the same.  Well, no more!

I am making a New Year’s Resolution to live seasonally.

September: Just keep up with daily routines.  Do the dishes.  Do the laundry.  Pick up stuff laying out around the house.  Sweep.  Use FlyLady’s “Crisis Cleaning” once a week to get the downstairs clean.  Get the whole family involved.  Focus on the areas that guests will see.

November:  The daily routines are now a habit.  We’ve ironed out the schedule for our extracurricular activities.  Now we can get the house in order.  This is a whole family effort!  Make a list of the messy areas.  Divide and conquer.  Get the house neat.  For me, the week before Thanksgiving is cram week.

December: We are in maintenance mode people.  Stick to your daily routines.  Tidy the house daily.  Clean the house weekly.  Focus on your Basic Weekly Plan.

January: Keep up those daily and weekly plans.  Now is the time to do indoor projects.  This could be house projects.  This could be crafting gifts for people.  It could be peeping freezer meals.  It could be learning a new skill or starting a social group.

May: Stop the projects.  Keep up the Daily and Weekly chores.  Start planning and prepping for summer.

July: We are in summer.  Just do your best to keep up the daily and weekly routines.  Finish the chores by noon.  Do something fun every day for just 2 hours.

That’s it.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

 

Quick Freezer Breakfasts for Weekdays

When I envisioned myself as a homemaker, I thought I’d be serving my family full breakfast every day like they do on those tv shows from the 50s.  Boy was I in for a rude awakening!  My son has to be out for the bus at 6:30, and there is no way I am making pancakes at 6 in the morning.  It’s not good for our timelines or our waistlines.

What to do?  Freezer cooking to the rescue! I am going to stock my freezer with these breakfast staples

  1. Breakfast Burritos
  2. Breakfast Sandwiches
  3. Quick bread

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A Year In the Life of a Girl Scout Leader

It’s day I don’t know of my NaNoWriMo challenge.  I’m trying to write a post a day for the month of November.  I’ve decided to allow myself to write a post each weekday and skip the weekends.  So, without further ado, on to our topic for today’s post.

How to run a Girl Scout Troop.  Sounds easy, right?  Ya, I thought so.  The lovely volunteer paraphernalia makes it sound like you can lead a troop in a few hours a week.  It’s simple right?  Just buy some supplies and spend an hour at the meeting.  Ya no.

What I actually did as a Girl Scout Leader:

  1. In September a parent registers her daughter for Girl Scouts.
  2. In September, or October, a parent meeting is held to identify 2 leaders, a cookie parent, and a fall product coordinator.
  3. In October, Volunteers complete the Volunteer Process.  All Volunteers, including leaders fill out an application and receive a background check.  They then attend 5 hours of training in person or online.
  4. In October, Leaders collect Health form, Families Make it Happen, and Annual Permission Slip.
  5. October-November is Fall Product season.  Since fall product is so early in the year, many troops opt out.  New troops just can’t get through the volunteer process quickly enough to participate.  Established troops that participate, do receive a larger percentage of the profits than they would from cookie sales.  But troops in my area do not have booths to sell fall product.
  6. December-April is cookie season.  The cookie parent, often one of the leaders, orders is responsible for managing cookie sales for the troop.  This includes ordering, transporting and storing cookies, ordering and distributing prizes, collecting and depositing money from cookie sales, and scheduling cookie booths.
  7. In October, the girls select their year plan.
  8. In October – June, the Leaders plan, purchase supplies for, and run the 15 Girl Scout Meetings associated with a year plan.
  9. In February, my community holds Brownie and Junior Lock-in.  This is an indoor overnight event.
  10. In February-May, my community plans and attends Camporee.  This is an overnight camping event held each spring in my community.  Leaders can join the Camporee Committee to plan the event.  Girls can participate in a patch design contest, and make swaps for the event.
  11. In October-June, leaders work with the girls to schedule outings.  The year plan that my troop is following has a hike, a campfire, an overnight camping trip, and letter boxing.
  12. In October-June, leaders attend monthly Leader Meetings.  Leaders for all of the troops in the community get together to learn what is happening in our area.
  13. In June, the girls complete a Take action project.  The Leader works with the girls to plan, perform, and reflect on a project in the community.
  14. When Available, leaders attend First Aid training.  One leader for each troop must be trained in first aid in order to attend any field trips.
  15. In Fall or Spring, leaders attend BOLS Training.  One leader must be trained in Basic Outdoor Living Skills to attend a camping trip.  This is a 3 day class, where you plan and attend a camping trip.

So, as you can see, it is NOT 3 hours a week.  I think Girl Scouts does a great disservice to volunteers when they post on their website that you can be a volunteer in 3 hours a week.  When I see that as a parent, I think “What the hell is wrong with these Girl Scout Leaders”?  Why can’t they get their act together, it should only take 3 hours a week to run a troop.  They don’t need me.

Umm.  No.  You need to tell the parents all of the things that need to be done.  You need to tell them how much work there is.  So that they realize that their leaders can’t do it alone.  And they certainly can’t do it alone if they have a full-time job.  So we all need to help.

And then comes the hard part.  How do I as a leader, figure out the little piece that someone can do, and use that help free up my time?  Well that’s what I am working on this year.  I’ll give you my ideas in my next post.  Because right now, I need to go plan a Girl Scout Meeting!

 

 

 

Day In the Life

Just a quick update to keep up with the daily posts. 

Must do Today:

  • Schedule parent Teacher Conference 
  • Gather supplies for tonight’s Cub Scout meeting 
  • 1 load of Dishes
  • 1 load of Laundry 
  • Use the brown banana before it rots
  • Check due dates for library books
  • Tidy up enough to walk through each room
  • Make dinner
  • Sweep
  • Clean bathrooms 

Nice to do Today:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Split wood

Meal Plan Monday

We had a storm on Sunday night into Monday which resulted in a power outage and two trick or treating events.  As a result, this week’s meal plan features lots of quick meals.

Featured Recipes:

  1. Dump Soup.  The power was out on Monday, and I needed to run all over town running last minute errands for Girl Scouts.  Dump Soup to the rescue!  Dump soup is something I learned on our 3 week camping trip last summer.  You basically dump a whole bunch of cans in a pot and add some spices.  My favorite actual recipe is Cub O’Soup the Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook.
  2. Breakfast Burritos.  I cooked up some hot sausage and eggs.  Opened up a can of refried beans, and a can of diced tomatoes.  Put it all in a gluten free wrap and froze it.
  3. Breakfast Sandwiches. I cooked some eggs in Wide Mouth canning jar rings.  I broke up the yolks a little.  I toasted up some gluten free hamburger buns from Aldi, because that’s the closest thing to english muffins they had.  Added some shredded cheddar, and some ham.  Froze em.
  4. French Toast Casserole.  See last week’s meal plan.
  5. Muffins.  See last week’s meal plan.

 

Bless Your Girl Scout Cookie Parent

A few years ago, my daughter became a girl scout.  I joined as a third leader for the troop.  One of the dad’s was the cookie parent when I joined the troop.  I was grateful that I didn’t have to be the cookie parent. At the time, I didn’t know what was involved in the job of cookie parent.  It wasn’t until the following year, when I took on the role, that I realized how much responsibility there is.

Back when I was a kid, I sold Girl Scout cookies door to door.  I went back to deliver them.  We spent an afternoon at the A&P trying to sell even more cookies.  If we did really well, we earned a badge or a prize.  I never did.

Back then, I’m sure being a cookie mom was challenging.  My mom certainly didn’t want to keep track of money and fill her living room with cookies for a month. Today it is even more challenging to be a cookie parent.

Here’s a list of what the cookie parent does:

  1. In October, the cookie parent must complete the volunteer process. They apply online, receive a background check, and receive 5 hours of training in Girl Scout policies.  Since it will take at least 2 weeks to complete the background check, you should get started in October.
  2. In December, the cookie parent attends an hour of in-person cookie training.  At this training, they receive the cookie packets for the troop, learn about this year’s theme, products, rewards, cookie dough, ebudde, digital cookie.  Since, the training is only an hour long, it only hits the highlights and changes.
  3. The cookie parent must learn ebudde (the tool used to order cookies and prizes) and digital cookie (webpages to sell cookies online) on their own.
  4. The cookie parent ensures that all of the girls are correctly entered into ebudde.
  5. At the beginning of January, the cookie parent distributes cookie packets to the parents and collects the permission slips.
  6. The cookie parent collects the cookie money from the parents and deposits it in the troop account.
  7. At the end of January, the cookie parent collects order forms from parents and enters all the cookies from the girls order forms into ebudde.
  8. The cookie parent is for entering some digital cookies into ebudde.
  9. The cookie parent is then responsible for ordering initial rewards earned from take orders.
  10. The cookie parent is responsible for picking up, sorting, and storing the cookies for take orders.
  11. The cookie parent fills out alert forms if necessary, to prevent money being drawn from the troop account if there is not enough money.
  12. The cookie parent is responsible for picking up and distributing initial rewards.
  13. In March, the cookie parent is responsible for scheduling cookie booths in ebudde.
  14. The cookie parent is responsible for entering cookie booth orders into ebudde.
  15. The cookie parent is responsible for picking up, storing, transporting cookies for cookie booth.
  16. The cookie parent is responsible for returning unsold cookies associated with the booths.  Cookies must be returned the Monday following a cookie booth.
  17. In April, the Cookie parent is responsible for ordering, picking up and delivering final rewards.

So ya, you’d think there’s a small list of things that a cookie parent does.  I know I thought that.  It sounds simple, order cookies, collect money, distribute prizes.  But no.  It’s like 5 months and more than 17 steps.  So, if you are blessed enough to have a cookie parent in your troop, I hope that I have given you an appreciation for what they do.  And if you are a cookie parent, THANK YOU!

Why I have never done NaNoWriMo

Day 2 of my NaNoWriMo series, well really day 1 since I got started late.  But since I got started late, I have to write 2 posts today, to catch up, right?  Ya.  We’ll see if this enthusiasm lasts.

So today, I am telling you why I have not done NaNoWriMo before.  I wanted to do it.  I really did.  But no novel ideas.  So here I am writing a blog.  But I’ve never spent an entire month on the blog.  I’ve never posted everyday.  Why?

And the answer is November is the worst month to write.  Here’s why…

  1. Girl Scouts.  The official Girl Scout Year starts October 1st.  Ya.  I think the thought process is that the girls attend a recruiting event in August or get a flyer from school in September.  And by the time they are all registered, it’s October.  So, then you need to have a meeting with all the parents to pick 2 leaders, a cookie mom, etc.  Then you need to get all your background checks and training.  Then you need to hold a meeting with the girls to pick your year plan.  Which means that you aren’t really ready to plan out your year until November
  2. Cub Scouts.  Same as Girl Scouts.  But give up your weekends to sell popcorn, and collect food donations.
  3. Boy Scouts.  Same as the previous 2.
  4. First Lego League.  My son did lego league.  He had a terrible experience.  The coaches were horrible.  They had no background in math or science or engineering.  They played favorites with their own kids.  They let other kids wreak havoc.  I’ve decided to coach my daughter’s team.  I can’t sit around and complain about the horrid coaches if I’m not willing to show them how it is done.
  5. Thanksgiving.  I host Thanksgiving at my house for both my side and my husband’s side of the family.  It’s usually around 17 people.  My in-laws stay overnight.  I used to try to get the house neat and clean and decorated and cook everything when I was working full-time.  My mother in-law would still complain.  This used to stress me out immensely.  Now, I don’t bother.  I decorate the table.  I tidy up enough that we can move.  I do my normal weekly cleaning.  I cook a pie and some stuffing.  We deep fry the turkey.
  6. House Projects.  Our house needs some work.  My husband and I moved into this house in 2001.  We had an addition put on in 2005.  It went horribly.  When I quit my job in 2015, I wanted to paint the kids rooms, the hallway, the kitchen, the bathrooms, our room, the library.  I’ve finished one bathroom, our room, the kids rooms.  I am in the middle of the upstairs bathroom repaint.  It’s a mess of sparkling and sanding.  I am so overwhelmed.  It will never get done.

So ya.  I say this is what November is like, but really, this is what my life is like.  And that my friends is why I never could get the blog off the ground.

NaNoWriMo

I don’t remember where I first heard about NaNoWriMo.  I’m pretty sure I discovered it when I was big into bullet journaling.  A couple of people that was subscribed to on YouTube were doing NaNoWriMo vlogs.  I thought it was so cool.  I really wanted to participate, but I had no ideas for a novel.

So this year, I have an idea.  I can do a blog post each day for the month of November!  This is a brilliant idea.  I’ve had such a hard time being consistent with the blog.  I think that this month will help me build up a base of blog posts.

I’m already off to a bad start!  Yesterday, I went to my favorite coffee shop, got myself a mocha latte, and pulled out the laptop.  But, I just could not do it.  Not in the right frame of mind.  At first, I wasn’t sure why.  It was a sunny day, so you might think that I was gazing out the window.  But nope.  There were lots of people, so you might think the noise was distracting.  Nope.  I was actually afraid that someone would read over my shoulder.

I was nervous that people would find out what I was writing about.  That’s right, I’m writing a blog, and I’m afraid that people will read it!  Ugh.  I’m afraid that people will laugh at me for writing a blog about being a homemaker.

Well tough cookies.  I’m going to write the blog I need.  Right now, I’m a homemaker.  A homemaker with 2 school aged children.  I do not know any other homemakers who have children that go off to school all day.  By the time the kids go off to school, Mom gets a job.

Well, I’m the opposite.  I’m the one who went to work when her kids were babies, and quit working when her kids went to school.

I’ve been told that there are others like me.  Moms whose kids are in school, and they are still home.  But I don’t know them.  I don’t see their blogs.  All the bloggers and youTubers I see have babies or homeschool.  I don’t, and that makes me feel abnormal.  And that makes me feel alone.  But, I have been told that there are other women out there, whose kids are at school and they are still home.  So if that’s you, I’m writing to let you know that you are not weird, or broken, or alone.

But I’m also writing this blog for someone else.  I’m writing this blog for the working mom, the career mom, who’s curiosity is peaked by all these mom blogs and wonders what the hell homemakers do all day.  Because 3 years ago that was me.  And it fascinated me.  It looked like a dream.  Never having to work.  I envisioned long days on the couch eating bon bons and watching soap operas.

So, if either of these people are you, welcome.  And if neither of these people are you, welcome.  I’d love to hear who you are.

Meal Plan Monday

Welcome to the first installment of Meal Plan Monday, where I will share with you my meal plan for the week.  This week I included a shopping/make ahead list.

Recipes included in this week’s meal plan:

  • Apple Bread – You can use any apple quick bread recipe.  I tripled this recipe, added a cup of apple, and cooked for about an hour in a bread pan.
  • French Toast Casserole.  I modified this recipe by replacing the bread and blueberries with the apple bread above.  I serve it with extra maple syrup
  • Ham Casserole – I mix 1-2 cups of ham steak cut into bite-size pieces, 1 package (5 servings) frozen peas cooked per package directions, 2 packages liveGfree macaroni and cheese made to package directions.
  • Chicken Soup – Mix 2 cups leftover cooked or canned chicken, homemade or boxed chicken stock, leftover carrots and potatoes.  Heat until warm.
  • Protein bars – You can make any protein recipe you like.  I’ve used this one in the past.  I’ve also used Kind bars or liveGfree bars.

Meal Plan 10-23-17

The Gluten-free, Organic Mecca, AKA Aldi

My husband refers to Aldi as the gluten-free, organic mecca.  In my area, there are two Aldi stores.  Each one is set up a little differently, and each one seems to have slightly different products. Both have a decent gluten-free and organic selection.  One of them is across the street from whole foods, so that may play a part in the organic selection.

Gluten free or Organic foods that I buy at Aldi:

  1. Gluten-free bread.  Aldi’s gluten free brand is liveGfree.  Their bread comes in small loaves of whole grain or white.  The price is the lowest that I have found for loaves this size.  The bread itself is a soft bread.  It is more like wonder bread than Udi’s.  We like it for sandwiches and french toast.  They also have wraps, hotdog buns, and hamburger buns.
  2. Cereal.  The Aldi brand for cereal is Millville.  I’ve heard that this is General Mills.  I buy their Corn Squares and Rice Squares.  They are gluten free and come in a large box which is about half the price of name brand cereal in my area.
  3. Pancake mix.  Aldi’s liveGfree offers several baking mixes.  They have recipes right on the box for pancakes and biscuits.  In a pinch, I’ve even used this to replace all purpose flour or gluten free flour in recipes.
  4. Chocolate baking mix.  This box has a recipe for brownies and double chocolate cookies right on the box.  I’ve made both.  The batter comes out quite thick.  I’m talking so thick you can’t pour it, and it takes some effort to get the powder all stirred in.  Fear not, the resulting brownies and cookies all get eaten in my house.
  5. Cake mix.  This one makes decent cupcakes.  In a pinch, I use it to make muffins.  Just throw in a cup of berries.
  6. Other baking mixes.  This week I picked up the cornbread and cheese biscuit mixes to try.
  7. Chips.  We buy Aldi’s organic brand (SimplyNature) corn chips.
  8. Salsa
  9. Organic canned tomatoes
  10. Organic whole chicken
  11. organic salad greens
  12. organic applies
  13. organic grape tomatoes
  14. organic milk
  15. organic, cage free eggs
  16. lunchmate lunchmeat.  Whenever I buy prepackaged lunchmeat at the grocery store, the packages are tiny.  Not so at Aldi.  And they are gluten free.
  17. Coffee.  Aldi has a nice selection of organic and fair trade coffee.
  18. Gluten free chicken nuggets.  I use these to feed the kids on nights when my husband and I go out.
  19. Gluten free snack bars.  These things are NOT healthy.  They are tiny sugar bombs.  But they are only 100 calories, which is a good size for my daughter.  I use them in lunches when I don’t have time to make protein bars.

Gluten free products I won’t buy at Aldi:

  1. Gluten free pasta.  The liveGfree pasta is a brown rice pasta.  My husband does not care for rice pasta.  He is a corn pasta man.  So, sadly, I must go elsewhere to buy barilla or some such.
  2. Gluten free frozen pizza.  These things are individual serving size.  They are tiny and they cost a fortune.  I also remember that I could not cook 4 of them all at the same time, which was massively inconvenient.

 

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