Front Loaded Days

So...Nine months into having John at home all day every single day since he began working nights, I've finally figured out another part of the strategy to getting things done: Front loading my days.  This is step four in the night-shift saga.  Do you remember all the steps?

#1.  I had to get used to having John about day in and day out just at first. This was helped along by those many vacation days he had to use up from September through December somewhat.  Gracious if I hadn't gotten used to having him around all day long by December, I wasn't ever going to get used to it.

#2.  Rearranging my personal work schedule.  The homemaking routine I'd carved out years ago and pretty much lived by was suddenly not workable at all.  Big projects, little projects, basic housework were all being let go and badly.  I felt I spent most of my time scrambling to do what I could while John was awake and cast in amber when he'd lie down.  I finally decided I'd just have to learn to cope better with the time I had available.  That took me about two months to work out.

#3.  Then I went Back to Basics.  I didn't care about the routines any longer.  I just wanted to get the basic tasks done in each area every month.  Last month I decided to go back to basics and it worked so well that I not only accomplished all the basic jobs, I had time to tackle a few smaller jobs.  I found that if a drawer or cupboard was messy I could set that aside as my quiet work while John was working.  I can't believe how many of those bigger projects could be broken down into mini jobs and were fully accomplished last month.

#4.  Front loading my days.  I've always known I was a morning person.  It's my high energy time. I was missing that energy rhythm as I worked evenings and mid-mornings and scrambled to fit in tasks around meals and naps.  So last night I promised myself I'd slip off to bed at a decent hour, and I'd get up when I awoke at daylight.  I have to admit I've gotten into some bad habits.  As John's work week progresses, I stay up later and later.  And I get up later and then loll about after breakfast, too.  That has never worked well for me and I don't know why I even let myself get so out of good habits.

Last night, I went to bed around 11:40, which is  late, but not terribly so.  I didn't get up at first daylight this morning, but I was up shortly after 6:30.  I cannot believe how much I got done.  Before John even got home this morning, I had done Bible study, stripped the bed, washed and hung to dry one load of clothes and was ready to start a second one, exercised, had breakfast prepped, remade the bed, showered, and had the dishwasher partially unloaded.  After breakfast was cleared up, I vacuumed, folded and put away the second load of laundry after it dried, prepped lunch, sat with John and chatted and started Challah bread  before he laid down for the morning.  I was so fleet footed and ready to tackle just about anything!  This left the afternoon for the sort of quiet piddly work I've always preferred to do in afternoons, reading mail, etc.  And it means that the evening hours are now relaxed, easy hours perfect for leading up to a decent bedtime hour.

I mean to repeat, repeat and repeat.  Perhaps once again I can find time for a fun day once a work week?  I sure hope so!  I've missed my outings and with Katie moving into her own apartment and emptying three quarters of my shed soon...well I've got storage room to spare for any junk treasure I might find.  It would be nice to do the things I enjoy doing: library, thrift, antique, craft, etc.

I thought I'd share a few pictures.  I bought new cushions for the patio set yesterday.  Cushions, umbrella, table and chairs came in under $200 all told.  You'll note the patio is a work in progress.  What you can't see is the big pile of wet hay at the foot of the porch steps or the pile of bricks I've stacked to one side.  I want to make up some flower pots but I'm thinking they need to be a little larger than my usual ones to have impact in the space.  John used the patio for a dry spot to work on the mower. 
I had thought I might paint the furniture the Fern Green from Rustoleum but I kind of like the current color now that I have pretty cushions.

When I removed the old cushions today I noted that they were faded but in very good condition overall.  I'm going to keep my eye out for a pretty sale priced outdoor fabric that I can use to recover.  The old cushions can then be used on the chairs I have on the porch and deck.

I have been completely enamored with the current globe and map trend in decor.  I was thinking about house projects and my need of refurbishing the end tables in the living room and suddenly remembered a map I'd bought at the dollar store.  I did this project this week.  Not finished with it, yet.  I'd like to paint the edge of the table a pretty green I think, although the current wood tone goes well.  I want to seal the top with polyacrylic.

I have so many projects I want to tackle.  That chair next to the table needs a slipcover.  I've been leaning hard towards a cream color cotton duck...

I decided it was high time I stretched myself and learned a new kitchen skill.  Today I made Challah for the first time.  We used to buy a loaf to have for our Shabbat evening but lately I've been making Rhonda's Grandpa's Bread which is a go to recipe for buns, pizza crust, loaf bread.  That's a good bread but I really wanted Challah.  I think the bread turned out pretty.  My recipe made one large loaf.  I decided it was better to make three small loaves.  John and I have already taste tested the smallest, but I have a loaf for two Shabats, lol.  I didn't brush the loaves with egg.  I must buy a pastry brush.  Gracious but I have an ever growing list of little things that would be helpful to have.
This last photo is really meant as a tutorial of sorts for those of you who are unsure of what it means to cut meat 'across the grain'.  When I was slicing the roast the other night I wasn't sure which way the grain ran.  That sometimes happens with cuts like chuck and sirloin tip roast when the grain may actually run in different directions in each section of the roast.

The top piece of meat is cut WITH the grain.  You'll note that it looks like lines run up and down the slice.  The bottom slice is ACROSS or AGAINST the grain.
The way you slice meat is important.  The bottom slice is more tender, easily cut and chewed.  The top piece of meat is tougher...It's incredible that something so simple as how you slice a piece of meat can change the texture of it, but it totally does.  I usually save those first experimental cuts and end pieces to make hash or soup with and serve those that are properly cut as entree or sandwich meats.

Now I am going to start getting ready to settle down for the night.  I want to be sure and front load tomorrow, too!



Louise said...

Is Challah made with regular flour or what makes it special?? Guess I could google it to find out but your answers are always more interesting.

Karla Neese said...

It sounds like you are always heading in the right direction - the one the Lord is taking you. I love that you are not set in stone, but flexible to what He is teaching you, even about how to order your day.

The patio set looks lovely! Nice to see a tiny big of your house. Do you all ever store items under your home? We too live in the same type home and have toyed with the idea for years but have never been brave enough to try it - especially since it would mean trial and error for moisture and dirt protection. Just curious.

The Challah bread looks delicious. It's been ages since I've made any type of bread. Just so little time now that I'm working full time and so busy with church activities! I keep praying that God will help me to make time to have the kinds of routines that will keep our home clean, organized and well-run. It's a very major and long work in progress but I have faith He will help me if I will listen and obey.

I sure do love these little week-ending chats! Have a wonderful weekend!

JoAnn Baker said...

Teri, I love the little table that you made with a map! Did you mod podge it on? I feel like running out to the dollar store to buy a map and try it out myself!

Deanna said...

The bread is beautiful! I need to try that sometime.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Your table came out so cute! I love the whole map thing too :)

Your bread looks beautiful and your new cushions are pretty. I had to buy some new ones this year too. After two years out in that Georgia sun they all begin to fade terribly. Good idea about the outdoor fabric and recovering the old cushions. I wish I had a fabric store close by. I have to drive up to Kennesaw or Austell to buy some fabric.

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