Tuesday, June 28, 2016

42 Just Three Things - Hey There!

Heeeey everyone!  How are you guys?  How is your start to summer?  It has really become amazing in the weather department here in the Midwest and I couldn't be more thrilled about it.  As someone who is naturally cold ALL of the time (I am the girl who will wear a sweater in Florida in July), I live for warm and sunny days!

First of all, I really want to thank you for all of the comments and conversation in last week's home office post.  It was fun to have such great engagement, and it felt like the good ol' days of blogging.  It got me thinking about how I have been wanting to get back to a "coffee with pals" feeling around here; where we just chit chat about random things we love, things that don't quite work out as planned, our favorite foods/recipes, books, tips and tricks... Those small purchases for the home or even free re-arranging that creates a fresh new look, but might not warrant an entire post.  And I always love a good Craigslist find!  It might be just some general iHeart Organizing news, a life topic, a home topic or maybe a small organizational tip, but those are the only parameters I am setting.  For months I have been trying to mentally organize how I want these posts to look, and I am finally deciding to run in the opposite direction and am just going wing it. #wildchild


I actually wanted to start something similar back in December, and tried with an overly long "Happenings Around the Abode" post.  Truthfully it was just too much to put together, write and read, although I really loved the overall concept.  So this time I am going to try and condense my thoughts down to three bullets, and just try to do these posts more frequently, maybe a couple of times per month and see how things evolve.  We can't work on projects around the clock and I miss you all when I am not posting a tutorial, so what do you think?  Good idea?


ONE

Last weekend I was scrubbing tirelessly to remove some stains from our cast iron pot, and I was thisclose to cursing and giving up until I remembered I had some Bar Keeper's Friend Soft Cleanser.  I had heard that this stuff is magical for cleaning so I gave it a whirl and sure enough, I was an instant fan.  I had previously tried everything from baking soda to scrubby sponges and my arm was ridiculously tired, but with the Bar Keeper's I just applied it on the trouble spots, let it sit for a minute or two, and then used a mildly abrasive sponge to wipe away the stains.


I was so excited about how well this stuff worked that before I knew it, I had scrubbed down every last pot and pan in our cabinet!  This might be old news to some of you, but it was too good not to share for those like me, who had zero clue how fantastic this stuff really is.


TWO

The kids are home for summer!  I am always a split decision parent on this time of the year; I absolutely LOVE having them home and am so grateful for the opportunity to soak up these quick and precious years with them, but miss my quiet time and my ability to get anything accomplished.  It tends to take us a few weeks to find our groove and then we really hit our prime just in time for the boys to head back to school.  Then the next summer comes, and they are all at different life stages and needs and everything is rocked again.  Here are a few posts I have shared in terms of figuring things out in the past, we have tried summer schedules and routine/chore lists.


I have definitely learned that my kids thrive on routines and boundaries.  When they know their expectations up front, we struggle much less than we do when we just let things go willy nilly.  I am already in the process of updating my printables and making sure they know what is expected out of them in terms of chores, general daily commitments and technology time this summer.

Random thought: This hot spot in our garage continues to be a daily lifesaver.


Anyway, where I really struggle is with the work boundaries.  Although they are all at ages where they are quite self sufficient, it seems as though they have trouble understanding my work hours.  If I am in the house, they will hunt me down and ask me for a cup of water, to tattle on one another, to ask if they can go play or have a friend come over (x3), to give me surprise hugs, to inquire about how to do a chore they have done a hundred other times without question... they really crutch on me even if I push back.  In their defense, it also goes the other way.  As I sit here typing, I am listening to their footsteps above (and the occasional dreading that the ceiling about to come crashing down from overhead), their disagreements I want to help them through, the door opening and closing and kids knocking every few minutes.  Even when I set strict "No Mom Hours", we all have a hard time sticking to it without interruption and finding the best practices for implementing them. Of course, the obvious solution is to just leave and work somewhere else, but that really isn't practical for me.


I am asked so frequently about finding a good work/life balance, I thought it would be nice to hear what you all do during summer months?  Any suggestions from fellow work-from-home parents?  How do you juggle all of the activities and commitments, some summer fun bonding and also getting work done?  All tips welcome!  PLEASE!


THREE

I have been reading Vanessa's blog, Decor Happy, for quite some time now; her home is one of my all time favorites on the www.  I am infatuated with her use of color, the wallpapers she brings into her spaces, and that she creates looks that are relatable and obtainable. #sogood

via

Her home was recently featured on Canadian Living's website, and I just wanted to share that lovely eye candy with all of you.  She is definitely my "One To Follow" right now.

__________

And that is all I have for today, I am off to baseball with the boys!  Feel free to comment on any of these quick topics, or let me know what other types of items we can chit chat about down the road.

42 comments:

  1. Sounds like you're going to just have to be a lot more strict with your boys. I know it's super hard, but if you have to work, you have to work. If I were you I'd be investing in a sign for the office door with a reminder you're on the clock. I'd also be buying some noise canceling headphones and putting them to use. If the boys still bother you, I think you're going to have to consider punishing them. Seems like you've spoken to them multiple times, but they're not listening. Yeah random hugs are great. But if you were in an office they wouldn't be able to do that. Bothering you over every little thing? If you got a million calls and texts all day at an office you'd be fired. Besides, all the interruptions delay you from finishing in a timely manner.

    If I were you I'd call a family meeting, lay it all out for them. I'd post a work schedule and let the boys know, unless it's an emergency (my mother used to say unless someone was bleeding from the head or about to be seriously injured she didn't want to know) they can't barge in on you. If they do, then you're going to be punishing them. You need to make good on your end too. If you're going out there to intervene or just hang during your work time it sends a mixed message. So stay out of their space and in yours. Do whatever you have to do to ignore them and stay focused. It's better for you, and better for them. Cause then you'll finish faster and can get back to having fun without being stressed!

    And omg, that foyer. I'm in love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks koolchicken! Great points, especially love the noise canceling headphones idea. Maybe I will have to add a door to my office too ;), but I will definitely be posting my work hours for them!

      xo

      Delete
  2. Hi Jen. I haven't commented in ages so thanks for the "invite".

    Great to get all your news! I love a bit of the personal. Especially as we are coming up to winter holidays here in Australia. I am a work-from-homer and have decided the best way is to have a few day camp days lined up. Not whole weeks, just a day or two a week so I can power through some things, or even just to exercise. It makes me a happier momma and also the kids love it because as much as I'd love to be a fun mum, I am not great at doing cartwheels/playing hide n seek etc.

    I feel I need to have another look at our morning routine. Despite having a good routine, it still takes me a long time to actually get the kids dressed/encourage them to get dressed. So not something I love, but something I am thinking about.

    Enjoy the heat. it is cold here (not by daytime temperatures by your standards, but because houses aren't heated it feels colder than the US).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you took a moment to comment Eliza. :) We have quite a few activities planned for the boys all summer long, but very few landed where they are all gone at the same day and time... I am definitely looking into a few more options though.

      Best of luck to you as you work through your morning routine! And waves from afar ♥

      Delete
    2. Ah yes I see your problem! Definitely harder to organise activities for the same day with all three. That I have not managed yet (although I only have two!). Best of luck.

      Delete
  3. i'm buying that Barkeepser's soft scrub. Need help. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow Jen! Thanks so much for your kind words - so flattered. Really appreciate it. I just adore your home too. #mutualadmirationsociety I love your new 3 Things series - great idea. As for juggling in the summer, I found that camps one week in July and August plus a lighter workload which I worked towards prior, was key. Have a great summer with your adorable boys! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was me(Vanessa)above! I wasn't signed in to Google. Thanks again.

      Delete
    2. That means so much coming from you Vanessa! ♥ My day is made!

      Delete
  5. Definitely it is a balance. We are raising three teenagers and one eight year old. I work full time, started blogging and have four children. I am surprised I haven't gone crazy yet. It is all about organizing your home and having them each handle their chores. It gets crazy sometimes, but I wouldn't change it for the world. You are doing an awesome job and your boys will never forget that when they are older. They grow so fast, we need to enjoy every minute of this thing we call life! Take care!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, and it sounds like you are doing amazing things Mama! ♥

      Delete
  6. I am a homeschool mom, and it is very rare that I get a moment to myself, someone above suggested camps, I don't know how your area is there, but in NC we have year round school and year round day camp options, from sports, science, ice skating, and everything in between. Every few months I put both of my kids in a camp and I can get things done that week. My second suggestion would be to lower your expectations/workload for yourself during the summer. Take the time to read a book with your boys outside under the shade of a tree, or maybe indulge their curiosity when they ask you why the stars glow, and find out the answer together. I am not great at these things, I am a list person, and I like to check things off. I am usually concentrated on what I am doing, and ready to move on to the next thing right after. I need to be better about "reading under the shade of a tree" and just letting the small "interruptions" become special moments that may mean the world to our little ones. I am striving for a better balance in my life, less activities and distractions, and more peace and calm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your thoughts, and I agree that I probably feel some internal guilt because they are at such exploratory and busy ages and I know my time is limited. It really is all about finding the right balance, whatever that might be. ♥

      Delete
  7. This is a great idea! I always enjoy reading your posts, and quick updates like this are among my faves.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Jen! I also haven't commented in quite awhile, but I just love your personal posts. I'm a work at home Mom too. This is my second summer with all 3 of my kiddos home (they are younger - 6,3, 18 months). After last summer (craziness), I came into this one with a plan. We follow a simple themed day to help keep the kids occupied and having fun. Make it Monday, Trip Tuesday, Wet Wednesday, Think-About-It-Thursday and Fun Friday. It's really helped me keep balance with home and work. I feel good if my kids have one "fun" event planned for the day. We try to do it earlier in the day and then rest/have free time in the afternoon -- which gives me a few hours to work while my older two play and my youngest naps. Also, on the days that I have a lot more work to handle, I force myself to get up earlier than everyone. Even though I'm not quite a morning person, I've found that I am 10x as productive when I wake before them and just knock out as much work as I can. This maybe happens once a wake. My other go-to when I have a lot of work is to plan a work night in advance where my husband knows that he is responsible for the evening (dinner, playing with the kiddos, getting them ready for bed, etc). This was all based off of advice I recently read about entrepreneurs have the freedom to work whenever, so we should stop trying to fit the standard 9-5 schedule and work when we are most productive/least distracted. And lastly, I have to cut back on my work schedule in the summer -- it's just not realistic to work the hours that I can during the school year. Love your personal posts, keep 'em coming! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your day of the week theme idea sounds like a really great compromise to spending time with the kids and then feeling good about taking the time you need as well.

      I am a night worker, and tried to stuff that for a few years to become a morning person and work 8-5, but definitely noticed my productivity shifted when I wasn't working during my odd prime hours...

      Thank you for the ideas and suggestions, they have me thinking a little differently.

      Delete
  9. Something that might help in addition to having clear working hours is spend a few minutes between tasks getting up to go get a drink, take a lap around the house, etc. This creates a clear "break" time that allows your kids to ask you those questions, show you their new trick, get help with a snack. If your kids know that they can anticipate you taking a break every hour or so, they might resist coming interrupting and instead save those thoughts for your break time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a genius suggestion, good for both myself and the kiddos! That would definitely help!

      Delete
  10. Loved this! One of my favorite parts about reading your site (I think I've been reading for about 3-4 years now) is how your lovely personality shines through, so this was definitely a treat! :)

    I have a wall office I'm thinking of redecorating. Right now I have some floating shelves on it, but I feel like they are cluttered and kind of feel like they are squishing my computer - they're not literally, but the feel...well, feels 'cramped' if that makes sense. I'm thinking of taking one of your tips and removing everything and then only adding back the essential + things that 'spark joy'. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a wonderful idea! Not to mention, a no cost change that will make a great difference in how you feel about your space. :) Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  11. Great post Jen, I've missed reading your insights! I don't really have much to add, except to say that last holidays we packed in too many activities. This midyear break, my 2 boys have a couple of days each week at Vacation Care (like your Summer camps, but through the school) and we have a list of things we'd like to do (not too long!). I will be doing the balancing act as well, trying to compose and rehearse while they're around.
    I like the 'defined breaks' suggestion above to save interaction for. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh Jen, I am so with you on the boundary setting issues! My husband literally just discussed this with me this morning. The problem is I usually wait until my hubby gets home to go into the office because I know he can watch Sam, which impedes on our family time together. Sam is our only and he is seven and he's "bored" a lot. I tend to feel guilty since he has no siblings so I give in to easily to entertaining him or allowing him to watch TV or play a video game just so I can get some blogging/work done. The thing is I know I should "let him be bored" and solve problems on his own. It's good for him. I like the idea of working for 45 then taking a brain break for 15 min (as he does as school) and checking on him or getting him started on another activity. If I could get 45 uninterrupted minutes well...I just might get some work done! Hope you find a solution as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point Autumn, I agree it is OK to just let kids be bored for a bit, and not always worry about activities and entertaining them. I know it's good for them and that many kids generations ago were raised that way, but sometimes that mom guilt still creeps in... Best of luck as you continue to find a balance that works for you all.

      Delete
  13. I also work from home running my monogram business and I work part time at our church (where 90% of my work is done from home- mostly computer/website/email work). I have a 3 and 6 year old. It's HARD. People hear that I work from home and immediately say how lucky I am and blah blah- which is SO TRUE and I am so grateful to be able to do what I am doing. But it's not all rainbows and unicorns. I work on monogramming 2 days a week- usually 4ish hours each day. During that time I specifically tell my kids what I am doing and have activities set up- a movie and quiet room time. Then an art project. Days I work for church I usually work early or stay up late or catch 30min-1hr here and there. It's definitely not easy and I am interrupted a lot. But it's getting better. Also I swear my kids fight ALL THE TIME (but always want to play together), so I either make them go where I can't hear them or they have to have separate play time. Maybe if you designate work hours (not necessarily the same day every week) that is technology time for them. Save something like that for a treat? Or rent a movie. Not sure how much you work- hour wise. But an idea for getting 2 hours here and there. I try to be fully engaged in work so that I can get "done" so that I can fully engage with them when I'm not working. I can't do the pseudo work where I'm playing with them and checking my email. Also we have chores set up and they know there is no pool or play outside the house until the chores are done. Good luck! I love following you guys!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I work from home year round and have 3 kids older than yours now, but I've been doing this gig for the last 11 years. I move my work up to my bedroom during the summer so I am a little more out of the traffic flow. I also set aside Fridays for Fun Friday. We do field trips that day - water park, pool, amusement park, cool play ground in a neighboring town - which helps cut down on the mid-week requests. I have generally found that letting them have their friends around keeps them more out of my hair and happier than when I try to restrict it. They also then go to their friends houses which is helpful too! Finally, I also shift my hours to more early morning because they are sleeping later and cut back a bit too. My schedule is flexible and I am paid on an hourly basis so I am able to do this which I know is not possible for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great tips! We have been trying to do the Friday play day too!

      Delete
  15. Loving the more conversational tone/just picking a few things at random to share, recommend, discuss, etc.!

    As for the boys... my vote is for keeping the door open ALWAYS for surprise hugs... but I wish you the best of luck with the rest of it! Sounds tough, but you guys will figure it out!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Jen, I'm Connie and so happy to see your frequent posts lately!

    I am a mom who has worked from home all my career, and my girls are now 19 and 23. When Shea and Tory were under the age of 8, we sent them to a sitter because I had to treat working from home as if I was going to an office (I was in sales and traveled a lot) After that they were at home. I tried it all, so I thought "Ask the girls what they think!" Here's what they said:

    1) Seriously. Mom, you feel guilty about so much stuff like this its ridiculous. We were fine and glad that you were at home

    2) We loved going over to our cousins and our friends houses when we could, even if it was once a week. (I traded with my sister and another mom: we each took a partial day off and took each others kids.)

    3) When you let us know to be quiet or don't interrupt it was fine.

    4) Now we know how to work out of our home and manage interruptions (both would like to work from home when they have kids)

    My addition: When things got completely crazy, I pawned the kiddos off on my sister or their grandparents, packed up my laptop and sat at my favorite coffee house with awesome Zen vibe and worked like a dog. Change of scenery was great for the productivity!

    Good luck - and listen to suggestion #1 from Shea and Tory! You are an awesome Mom and wife!

    Connie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this so much, thank you Connie!! ♥

      Delete
  17. My sister works from home, and she leaves a notebook on the kitchen table for her kids to write down things they want to tell her or show her during breaks. It helps her kids to know that what they want to tell her won't be forgotten, and that their mom will take time to hear it when she isn't working. Also helped when they fought. They would write the "tattle" on the paper, and if it was still an issue at break, then they could get help from mom. If they were able to solve it themselves, the "tattle" was disregarded, and everyone was happy. There was a sticker on the office door that said "Mom's at work- use the notebook!" Plus its a bonus tiny summer writing activity!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just started something similar late last week and it has been quite helpful! Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  18. That garage hot spot is a dream come true, and I can so relate to the struggles of work-life balance. I do, occasionally, leave the house to get some uninterrupted work time in a local cafe, but then I find myself spending a good amount of the time missing my family and wondering what everyone's doing at home. Ahh! :) I hope you're having a great summer!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Jen! Where are your adorable now magnets from? Happy summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The gold magnets are Kate Spade, they were a gift from a friend. :)

      Delete
  20. My girl (10yo) is home all day now but I have to study for my exams... I was afraid that she wouldn't leave me alone and I really need quiet time on my own to study. I talked to her and explained very clearly what I had to do and why, how I needed her help, and the exact time of the day I was expecting that she would have fun without me. She's been great so far (well, most days)!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I discovered Bar Keeper's Friend Soft Cleanser last year after spending months being unable to get rid of the hard water spots and soap scum on my new house's shower walls! Turns out it is absolutely great to wash the tub as well as the yellow stains the hard water leaves in the toilet bowl. I let it sit for a few minutes and I barely have to scrub! Definitely a game changer here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never thought to use it in the bathroom, thanks for the tip!

      Delete
  22. Love the idea of your 3 Things! I've been coming across so many things I want to say on my own blog that don't fit into my organizing or green cleaning categories. This was very inspirational! Perhaps I need another category...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love the chatty posts! I really enjoyed your happenings around the abode post, but I agree that the formatting of this one is a little easier. So happy to hear from you more often!
    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Com
    XO, Jaclyn

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hello! I am new to your blog, and I just wanted to say hi! I have already been so inspired, scrolling through a bunch of your posts :). I love the idea of frequent posts with little tidbits and updates. It's too much pressure to only post when you've completed a big project!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I too use the Bar Keeper's Friend on water spots in my shower - glass and tile! It is fantastic!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love this post so much!!! I use Bar Keepers on my white sink....but I've never seen the soft gel version, I know what's coming home from the store with me next time!

    ReplyDelete

IHeart you taking a moment to comment! Although I absolutely appreciate, consider and read each and every comment, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like. This blog is my happy place, let's keep the drama at bay!

Don't see your comment? All comments are moderated and may take a moment to appear.

Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...