My New Routine – Part 3, The Kids’ Schedule

So here we are, the end of the day Monday, and with our crazy schedule, I am just now getting to my blogging duties.

As I had mentioned earlier, today we are chatting about the kids schedule, and how we fit it all in.  I would also like to add at this point that I do not live near immediate family and my husband’s job has him travelling all the time.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I need to be able to balance the activities, along with homework and making dinner.  I make sure the housework I need to get done, is done during the day, my afternoons and evening are spent as a chauffeur, private tutor and chef.

To have time for dinner, let alone time to make dinner is a challenge.  As you will see from the kid’s schedule below, I have little, if any time, to make an elaborate meal.  The worst part is, I LOVE to cook!  I get my fixes in at Thanksgiving and Easter since those are holidays I get to host.

Because of our schedule, I need to make meals quick and easy.  I also need to be flexible, so even though it says taco night, one week may be beef, another chicken, the point is I have an “idea” of what I will make.  I will post in the future a bunch of easy recipes that I use, but this post is already going to be insanely long as it is.

So here goes with our meal plan:

Monday – Pork night

Tuesday – Chick-fil-A or Pasta night

Wednesday – Taco night

Thursday – Crock Pot Meal

Friday – Chicken night

Saturday – Pizza night

Sunday – Open, can be left overs, or whatever may grab my fancy at the grocery store or farmer’s market.

See, simple!

Now that that is out of the way, if you feel like continuing to read, just to get an idea of how to balance everything the kids do, please keep on reading.

Here is a recap of the kid’s activities:

Princess Peach has…

Brownies

Rudy Youth

All Star Cheerleading

Tumbling classes

Video Game Design Class (after school class, yes, our school is AMAZING!!!!…and public J )

He-Man has:

Cub Scouts

House Hockey

Jamboree Hockey

Goalie clinics

Flag Football

Yoga (another one of those amazing school activities)

Princess Peach also has about an hour of home work every night.

So how do we fit it all in, well the things you ABSOLUTELY NEED are:

- 3-4 babysitters on call with at least one who can drive

- Great neighbors and friends

- And you HAVE to do many favors for others, that way you can cash them in without feeling guilty.  Think of it like the golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated.  Not everyone can reciprocate, and that is OK, it feels good just being able to help others, and isn;t that reward enough?

That being said, I have people I call upon that never need a favor from me, in those cases, I always make sure to know what their favorite kind of wine is, or if they just prefer some home baked goods.

Mondays

-          Tumbling every other week, Brownies every other week and Rudy Youth once a month

So for example, today, I picked my kids up from school, no bus today, it gets home too late.  We go straight to tumble class.  I have packed snacks for both kids, a change of clothes and something for He-man to do after he is done his work.  We spend 30 minutes at the gym doing homework, then Princess Peach heads into the gym and He-Man plays on my phone or reads.

We head home and it is dinner (See Monday’s schedule)

Rudy youth days, we are out the door at 6:45, head to Rudy Youth, again, with an activity planned for He-man (of course he gets to stay home when Daddy is home, but that is rare).

We are home by 8:30, where it is bath, prayers and bed (Bath bed and prayers is a nightly event, so I won’t keep repeating this).

Tuesdays…sucks!

-          I work, Flag football, Cub scouts 2 weeks a month, All-Star practice

So because I work from 4-7 on Tuesdays, it makes me taking the kids anywhere impossible, and when Daddy is not home, this is my big favor day.  Princess Peach has to go home with a friend that goes to the same gym.  My son sometimes goes home with a friend after Flag football, but this week, I am paying for the sitter that drives.  She is also very extended family, which is a bonus in the trust department. She will take the kids home, and feed them Chick-fil-A .  When I do not have hockey booster club board meeting, I can be home by 7:30 to go over homework and do the bed routine, which is nice.  I am beat Tuesdays nights, and I teach a class early Wednesday morning, which makes things a challenge too.

Wednesdays

-          I work in the AM, Yoga in the AM, Video Game Design, Tumbling and Hockey after school

Really? I had to torture myself by adding a dance class to teach in the morning.  Luckily, Princess Peach can be with me, and I found the Yoga class to put He-man in at the same time.  After school is such a struggle when Daddy is gone, when he is here, we simply divide and conquer, he goes to hockey, I go to tumbling.  But when he is away, I have to pick up Princess Peach from video game design and then drop her off at tumbling class, drive 25 minutes to hockey, get him dressed and on the ice, drive back to pick her up and drive back AGAIN to get him.

It is now mid-week, are you tired yet?

Thursday

-          My favorite day of the week, All-Star practice.

YES!!!!  That is it.  He-man hangs with me as we watch, when Daddy is in town, he picks He-man up when he gets home from work, but when he isn’t, He-man gets to play on my phone, so he is happy.

Friday

-          Open Gym

Another relatively easy day, all we have is open gym from 6-8 for Princess Peach, this is of course optional, but she LOVES IT!  Daddy usually gets home by now from any trip he is on, so that is my time to relax and watch my daughter run around and smile.  Could it be any better?

Saturday

-          Hockey, Tumbling (and usually a birthday party)

Doesn’t sound so bad, at face value, but did I mention that hockey starts at 6am!  That means we wake up at 5.  Usually this is a divide and conquer day, however this is the day He-man plays games, so I do like to see him, especially since he likes to play goalie a lot.  Tumbling isn’t until 10:30, so the days I get to sleep in are soooo nice.

Sundays

-          Another Hockey Day

We have the Jamboree team games on Sunday and then we have goalie clinics at 4:30.  This seriously interferes with my fantasy football day, but hey, a mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do.

So that is it, the kids’ week at a glance.  Next week I will be writing about how I fit all my responsibilities in.  I am always asked, how do you do it all, you are about to find out.  You thought my kids were over-scheduled, wait until you see what I do to myself!

My New Routine, this is how I get it all done – Part 2 – Cleaning/Organizing Schedule

So let me start this out by saying that no one is perfect, least of all, me!  I have my schedule, but nowhere is it set in stone, and let me tell you, just like all the diets I have been on, I definitely cheat.  That being said, I also feel it is important to have guidelines and schedules, because when I do get it done, I feel soooo much better.

Now, before I delve into this schedule, I need to share 2 HUGE pieces of advice that are essential for supermom wannabes everywhere.

  1. You will never be able to stick to a schedule forever, so give yourself a little wiggle room, that way you won’t quit, you can just pick up where you left off when you have an off day, week, month….year.
  2. When your kids look back on their childhood with a smile, they will think to themselves, “I had such a great mom that spent so much quality time with me”; they will never say “I really am happy that during my childhood our house always looked perfect, organized and clean”.

So like anything in life, we need to prioritize!

So on to the schedule, let me tell you, I am a list person and I love step by step instructions.  Most of all….I love to copy what other people do, I rarely reinvent the wheel, I just tweak it.

Now if your house is like mine, it may be in a constant state of chaos.  Sometimes it may be so overwhelming that you don’t even know where to start.

I found a solution to that problem.

http://www.mysimplerlife.com/2012.htm

LOVE this blog!  But here is a hint…Just start whenever.  I love this because it is set up as little daily tasks, the best thing is, if I have extra time in the day, I may do 3 or 4 days in one, but then I may skip a day here and there.  The point is that it gives you a starting off point.

Next cleaning is my cleaning schedule, now like all the blogs out there; you need to do certain things every day:

Dishes

Laundry

Kitchen counters

Make beds

These things need to be done daily, if you don’t, is it the end of the world? NO!  Just get it done the next day, you just need to try and make it a habit, to make something a habit, it needs to be done daily for 3 weeks straight, then, you will find yourself doing it without thinking.

As for the deeper cleaning items, you need a schedule, so here is mine:

MONDAYS: Bathrooms

Check out: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/07/how-to-clean-your-bathroom-like-pro.html

We have 4 bathrooms in our house, spread over 3 floors. So to be honest, the basement is my lowest priority, I might not get this done every week, but it is also the bathroom used the least.  I downloaded a police scanner app on my iPad, and that is what I listen to while I clean the bathrooms.  Crazy I know, but it is one of my little isms that helps me get through a dreaded task.

TUESDAYS: Dusting

I use the vacuum for the ceiling fans and then I try and get all the rest surfaces done.  The cool part is, when you do this weekly, there really isn’t much dust to handle.  I grab my handy Swiffer handle thingy, and run it through the house.

WEDNESDAYS: Vacuum

I hate vacuuming, and we have a dog, so that is not a good combination.  I start on the top floor and work my way down…Legos be dammed, everything gets sucked up.

THURSDAY: Mop

If I thought I hated vacuuming, Moping is worse.  We have lots of carpet in the house, so my main areas are bathrooms/laundry room, kitchen and foyer.  I sometimes get the bathroom moping done on bathroom day, but it depends on the time I have.  Here is what I do, I fill the sink with water and cleaning solution, and mop right from the sink, saves me the cleaning the bucket step, then all I need to do is wipe down the sink with a Clorox wipe when I am done.

FRIDAY: Sheets

Do I really need to explain?

I don’t really do anything on Saturday and Sundays, I enjoy my time with the family and I also have found that with everyone at home, any cleaning task is futile.

Now as I said in the beginning, I am not perfect and I may follow the routine strictly for a couple months and then readjust, but this has worked for me for quite a while.  I always tell people, my house may be messy at times, but it is rarely dirty!

Now that you have all this valuable information, I will give you a few days to let it sink in, but please tune in next week (Monday), when we delve into the dreaded kid schedule.  How to fit activities, homework, play dates, chores and meals all in our crazy week.

My New Routine, this is how I get it all done – Part 1 – The Overview.

First things first, in order for this to work, I have realized, through my years of trying to become a supermom, that the best thing to do is realize that there is an ebb and flow to the process.  No one system will work for everyone, and no one system will always work throughout time.  The key is to constantly adjust and reassess.

Now, I thought I had a ton on my plate last year…and then this year started.  Here is what we have going on this year (this is aside from being a wife and mom of course):

Vice President of the PTO

President of the newly formed hockey booster club.  (So not only am I the head of the board, but we are forming a new non-profit from scratch!)

Team Mom for our daughter’s cheer team

Teaching Dance after school 1 day a week and a before school fitness class

Watching my friends daughter 3-4 afternoons a week

Class mom for both kids

Front desk volunteer at the kids’ school

Oh, and did I mention, we still don’t have the money in the budget for a cleaning service, personal shopper, chauffeur, cook and personal assistant, so that all goes on me too!

And did I mention that my DH started a new position at work that has him travelling all the time! He was home all of 1 week in September!  Sure, he can work from home Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but we have yet to see that actually happen.

To top off this wonderful year, my daughter is starting 3rd grade, yup, time for standardized state testing and duh,duh,duuuuuuh, real grades!

So how do I keep it all straight and how do I get it all done? Lots and lots of wine…just kidding!  It is called help from my friends Pinterest and Neighbors J

Okay, in order to make this work I needed to figure out a cleaning schedule, a kid schedule and a Mommy schedule.  Both are a daily and weekly to do.  In order to not bore you to death, I am going to break things up in over the next 3 posts.  There will be links to other blogs I love as well as what I have tweaked myself.

The most IMPORTANT thing to remember as you work with me is ALWAYS make time for yourself.  It may be an hour to eat lunch, organizing your boards on Pinterest, playing games on Facebook, or just lying on the bed catching up on your Tivo.  The point is, if you just go, go, go all the time, you will burn out fast and then be useless!  My RULE NUMBER 1 of being a supermomaholic, take a full HOUR for you at least 4 days a week.  Ideally I would say every day, but I am still struggling with that one.  Don’t have it? Find it! I personally notice when I do this, I am much more pleasant to be around, and I actually get a lot more done and stay motivated a whole lot longer.  For me, almost every day at around 11am, I make myself my soup for lunch, turn on the TV, watch one of my recorded shows, the computer is usually on too, and I relax!  If I am out for lunch or volunteering during that time, I try and take the time from 3-4pm, right before the kids get off the bus.  This gives me a chance to unwind before the craziness ensues.

Now that you know my Number 1 Rule, stay tuned for tomorrow, where I will hit the cleaning/organizing schedule.

Decorating on a Dime This Fall

Well, it has been a LOOOOONNNGGGG while since I have decided to blog.  But like every wannabe supermom, life got in the way, I started drowning under all my responsilbilities, and I needed to find a new “system” to handle life.

I will be posting my new system and tools I have been using next week, but I was so excited about decorating for Halloween today, I had to share my mantel:

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How super cute is that!  And so easy!.  I know what you are thinking..”But I don’t have that stuff!”  Well that is the point of my blog today, how to decorate with the stuff you have and accumulate the stuff you want.

Here are your basic decorating tips:

1. Use height! Remember, a flat surface is a boring surface, so vary your heights, you can even use an upside down wine glass and place a pillar candle on top.  Be creative!

2. Stick with a color theme, here I use purple, black, green  and orange, I love this color combo because it adds whimsy to halloween, I am not so much into the blood and gore.

3. Go with your gut!  If you like it, than it is good.  Take a step back every once and a while a rearrange what you see, if it is pleasing to your eye, than it works.

Now for accumulating the stuff.  So this will not help you this year, but it will for next year.  The signs I got for $0.99 at Michael’s last year, AFTER Halloween on the clearance rack, the candles…(the 3 in the middle) Safeway, $3 for all 3 after Halloween and garland (which lights up) was a post halloween steal from years ago.  Every year I pick a holiday to add to my decor and clearance shop after the holiday is over (sometimes even a few days before the holiday happens you can get a steal).  As you know, my family is always on a budget and we only pay cash for things, no credit cards here, so we really have to pick and choose what we buy.  This is the best way to get really cute things for a bargain and people ooo and ahh when they come over.

And isn’t it all about the oos and ahhhs ;)

Support Teachers of Prince WIlliam County

I am not a teacher, I am a parent who is part of a group of parents who are outraged and are  getting ready to fight on behalf of the teachers of Prince William County.  I am appalled by the school board’s decision not give teacher’s a raise or step increase. 

I am reaching out to anyone that wants to join our fight.  We need to tell these politicians that what they are doing is not acceptable and it is their job to serve us or we will not re-elect them next term.

Below is a letter I wrote to Gil Trenum, if you believe what I do and want to join our fight, not only to complain but to find a solution as well, please contact me: Vanessa Bauer, willowhousevanessa@hotmail.com.  Please spread the word, we need a united front of parents who will stand with our teachers.  We will be sending out letters, petitions, e-mails and some of us will be attending the school board and board of superintendent’s meetings. 

We need your help!

 

Hello Mr. Trenum,

 

First, I would like to thank you for listening to what I had to say yesterday at the T. Clay Wood Elementary School Advisory Council Meeting.  I was the lady that spoke during citizen’s time.  I have been thinking a lot about everything you said last night and I was wondering if you could help me out with a few things.

 

  1.  I would love the names of the people on the state level that I need to contact to help our schools get more funding.
  2. I would love a copy of our Prince William County School Budget, where does this $800 Million go?

 

That being said, I know you made mention of liking to use personal examples, so I will do the same.  My husband and I moved here just over 3 years ago from Savannah, GA.  We took a pay cut to come here, a place with a higher cost of living.  He works for the federal government, so we have also not had a pay raise for a while.  When we moved here, not only did we have a pay cut, but it took us 3 full years to sell our house down in Savannah.  I am sure you can imagine what a strain it would be to have to pay rent and a mortgage on less money.

 

I tell you this, because I equate it with the situation the schools are in right now.  Less money, more expenses.  In our situation, we adjusted our spending and made certain things priorities.  Our kids still participated in activities, that was a priority for us, so we cut a little from our food budget, a little from our cable budget, we sent our kids to private pre-school, but we no longer went out to dinner, we conserved on our electric bill and we lived and continue to live on a 0 based budget.  We have no credit cards, we pay cash for everything and we make it work.

 

So, I was thinking, what if we don’t get the funding back this year.  Why can’t we cut a little bit or charge a little more from every program, not so much that would make a huge difference to one program, but enough to give the teacher’s a raise and enough that when you add it all up, it becomes a large amount.

 

Why do we have specialty programs on the elementary school level?  Why are we spending $500,000 to bus kids and pay tuition for them in another county?  And why do you have such little faith in our teachers that you don’t believe that the high school teachers, who are not in IB or AP, are adequately preparing our kids for the future.  And if they are so inefficient at their job, as you said in a roundabout way, why are you ok with our money being spent on sub-par educators, when I know, at least at the elementary level, all teachers at TCWES are amazing and do a great job with “normal” kids that may not be in START or SIGNET?

 

I thank you for your time and in advance for your response.  As I said last night, I am never one to complain about something without being able to be a part of the solution.  I would be more than happy to sit down with you and the board to find this money.  I will do this on a volunteer basis, I just want the great teachers we have to stay where they are and not be forced out of the county because we cannot give them a step increase or a raise.

 

Thank you,

 

Vanessa Bauer

 

How to Make a Lego Cake

Well, my son’s 6th birthday was a huge sucess.  We did a Lego themed birthday party, we had the lego robotics guys come and of course no party is complete without a cake!

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I kind of screwed myself over last year when I decided I was going to start making my kids their cakes every year. I have never taken a baking or cake decorating class in my life so off to youtube I went to learn how to make a cake with fondant.  Honestly, I would never have even attempted anything like this had it not been for my friend, Sabrina, who made her own wedding cake!

When my son asked for the lego cake, my first stop was google.  I came apon this awesome blog, The Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-an-anatomically-co-78117.  She went through the steps needed to make the cake “anatomically correct”.  I took what she wrote and tweeked it for my needs.  I will not go into great detail on what she already wrote about since she has amazing detail in her blog.  I highly suggest checking it out!  But if you want to know more about what I did with my cakes, keep on reading.

Step one was of course to bake cakes: I did 3, 9×13 cakes in French Vanilla;  2, 9×13 cakes in Chocolate and 1 batch of mini cupcakes in chocolate

I started with the vanilla, after they were cooled, I leveled them off.  A  little trick I use is to drizzle simple syrup on each layer before I frost, it make it extra moist!

I stacked the 3 layers of vanilla, with buttercream icing in between, then I frosted the outside with a crumb frost layer, finally I measured about 6 1/2 inches wide and trimmed off the end.  I then thinly re-frosted the cake 1 more time.

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Next step was to work with the 2 layers of chocolate.  What I did here was measure off 6 1/2 inches wide of 1 cake and trimmed off the sides.  I cut the chocolate rectangle in half, these are the top and bottom layers, and the trimmed scraps become the middle layer.  I used chocolate icing as the filler and buttercream on the outside.  Repeat this with both sheets of chocolate cake

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On to the mini cupcakes.  What I did here was trim off the top and bottom of each mini cupcake  then stacked 2 together with buttercream icing in the middle, I frosted the whole thing with buttercream too.

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Once all this is done, it is fondant time.  Yes, I buy it ready made from Michael’s.  I prefer the Duff brand, I find it easier to work with.  I did use some yellow food dye to get the yellow more vibrant and less muted, but the other 2 colors I left as is.

Here is a little tip.  When working with fondant, cover your hands with butter or shortening, it helps keep the fondant soft.

First step of course is to cover your large cake

Next, cover each nub individually, you will need 8 for the rectangle Lego and 4 for the square onesImage.

Attach your nubs the main cake with a little water, I use a small paint brush for this.  Don’t forget to tuck in the bottom of the fondant.

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Finally what I do to make the cake look shiny, is I brush the whole thing with a little water.  Be careful, if you use too much water it will ruin the fondant.

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Lastly, repeat the process with the other 2 cakes and you are done!

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Don’t forget your themed goody bags for the kids!  A big thanks to my neighbor who gave me the left over bags and supplies from her son’s birthday.  I filled them mini lego sets from Target and Star Wars activity sets from their dollar section.   Threw in extra candy I had in my pantry and each goody bag cost less than $5!

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Stay Tuned

So I realized that this blogging thing is a lot harder than it seems, so I am getting help.  Stay tuned, I will returm in the new year with tons goodies.  They are all in my head, the trick is getting them on the screen.  Good thing I have wonderful writer friends :)

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