Friday, December 7, 2018

Christmas Traditions

Recently I was asked if we (my husband and I) had any Christmas traditions.  The question caught me off guard a bit and I struggled to come up with an answer.

My memories of Christmas traditions are a bit foggy and fragmented.  It feels like my life has been split into three different chapters so far; living in Texas, living in Illinois, and living in Michigan.  Both moves brought on big changes.  And yes, even traditions can change.

A rare snowfall at our home in Texas.

The tiniest snowman you ever did see.

When I think of my family's holiday traditions, my Texas memories come to mind first, because that is where I spent my childhood and I think it's the time in your life when Christmas feels the most magical.  Yes, Christmas is not about presents, but about the gift God gave us.  Nostalgia seems to reign supreme though when I think of past Christmases.  Thinking of my childhood Christmases in Texas brings to mind:

Baking so many different kinds of cookies with my mom.  Sugar cookies, candy cane cookies, meringue kisses, etc.
Going to church on Christmas Eve and participating in the church Christmas program.
Setting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
Dancing around the Christmas tree whenever "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" played on the radio.  I was the only one who did this.  I was a goofy child.
My parents wouldn't put out any presents until after we had gone to bed on Christmas Eve, making Christmas morning a big surprise to see the wrapped gifts waiting for us.
Decorating the stair banister with garlands and big red bows.
Putting out the nativity set.
Putting up our stockings at the fireplace.
Whatever little snow managed to fall, we would rush outside to play in it and attempt to make forts and snowmen.
Receiving a box of baked goods from my Grandma Rooney every year that she would ship to us all the way from Kansas.  Oatmeal Frosties, Rum Balls, Date Nut Roll, and sometimes the coveted "Goodies", a chocolatey marshmallow concoction that was entirely too sweet but oh so good.

These memories bring a smile to my face and nearly tears to my eyes.  The Christmas of my childhood was cozy, warm, full of family and treats, and eternally hoping for snow.

One of the first snowfalls at our new home in Illinois.

Moving to Illinois brought changes to our Christmas traditions.  My memories of Christmas in Illinois are foggier and harder to distinguish.  We still baked cookies, put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving (though sometimes I had to be the driving force behind it to get everyone to decorate), and went to church on Christmas Eve.  But we were getting older, and some of us weren't happy about the move and the changes, which sucked a bit of the fun out of the traditions we used to enjoy.  Things just felt different.  My sister went off to college the year after we moved and started dating the man who would become her husband.  This would bring on more changes, learning to share holidays and knowing there would be years when we wouldn't be all together.  Growing up can be tough.  Very rarely do things stay exactly the same and we need to learn to be flexible and enjoy new traditions.

Our family's Christmas tree in Illinois.  Check out my mad photography skills!

Noah and I have been married for about four and half years.  It feels like such a short amount of time, not really sufficient enough to say that we have any Christmas traditions.  But actually, we do.

We put up and decorate our little Christmas tree.
My husband's father is half Hispanic, so we participate in the family's annual tamale-making party.
We attend church on Christmas Eve.
After spending time at our own home Christmas morning we go to Noah's parent's house for quality family Christmas time.

It is a short list so far.  Keep in mind though, we enjoy traditions not because they are numerous, but because we do them with the people we love.  Now that we have Adeline and another little one on the way, I look forward to the "magical" feeling of Christmas as they grow up.  I can't wait for them to be able to help decorate the Christmas tree, bake cookies, sing with us in church, and learn the joy of giving gifts.  

Our first Christmas tree together.

Cramming tamales into the pot to be steamed.

There are a few more specific things I want to add to our little list of traditions:

Baking my Grandma Rooney's Date Nut Rolls.
Baking Spritz.  They are Noah's favorite cookie and we say every year we're going to to make them but it still hasn't happened.
Having fresh cinnamon rolls with breakfast on Christmas morning.

Can you tell baking is one of my love languages?

Technically Adeline's first Christmas, though she was still in the womb at this point.

At least while our kids are young, we're planning to spend holidays at home.  Traveling with little ones is stressful, and trying to travel in Michigan late in the year can be a gamble with the weather.  I look forward to eventually spending Christmas at my parent's house again, but until then I hope to re-create the cozy, loving Christmases of my childhood for our own munchkins.

Traditions are wonderful and coping with change can be hard, but there's no reason we can't use change as an opportunity to create new traditions.  I love my in-law's tamale tradition, I love that we all attend church together, and having copious amounts of cookies around is never a bad thing.  I've really enjoyed our quiet Christmas mornings at home and I can't wait to see how Adeline experiences Christmas this year now that she's a little older.  

Adeline at Christmas, 2017.

So here's to Christmas traditions, new and old, and the people with whom we share them.  May they help us slow down this time of year and bring us closer together as we remember and celebrate the greatest gift of all, God's son Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!

My side of the family together for Christmas in 2014.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

My First Solo Canning Experience: Tomato Jam

Every year we have very ambitious plans for our garden.  And at the end of every summer we say, "I think we should scale back the garden next year."  So far that hasn't happened.

This year we especially had trouble keeping up with our large garden.  In June we were very busy with photography, July brought on ridiculously high temperatures for Michigan (this native Texan doesn't handle the heat as well as she used to), and then we were dealing with my first trimester pregnancy nausea and exhaustion.

Out tomato plants shot up before Noah could properly cage them, and many of them grew so big they tipped over their cages and their long branches re-rooted when they touched the ground.  The green beans quickly grew into not very tasty giants before we could pick them at a decent size.  The beets, brussel sprouts, and garlic never came up, and the pumpkins and squash withered away in the heat.

On the bright side, our asparagus has been doing wonderfully, the heirloom black cherry tomatoes Noah started from seed had no problems at all, our first attempt at growing potatoes was a success, our homegrown snap peas were delicious, and we've enjoyed several tasty handfuls of berries from our brand new raspberry bushes.

Now that I'm into the second trimester and no longer perpetually nauseous and exhausted, I've been trying to make the best of what's left of our garden produce.  Since we have so much canned salsa left over from last year and our Roma tomatoes didn't do very well this year, we didn't have much of a use for our hot peppers we grew this year.  Not wanting to waste them, I picked all of the ripe peppers and strung them up to dry so we can turn them into our own red pepper flakes.  We have sweet peppers growing too and I'm planning to to pick, chop, and freeze as many of them as I can.

We've had tomatoes occupying part of our fridge all summer and I wanted to do something with the remnants besides just chucking them in the freezer.  I knew there was such a thing as tomato jam but to be honest I don't think I had ever tasted it until I made some of my own.  I remember coming across the website Food In Jars at some point earlier this year and I found it again when I started researching recipes for tomato jam.  During a recent trip to the library I wanted to see what kind of canning cookbooks they had on the shelves and the cookbook Food In Jars was staring right back at me.  The tomato jam recipe looked easy enough so I planned to make it within the next few days.

Every year we've had a garden I've helped my husband can tomato sauce and salsa, but this was my first solo canning project and I was very excited about it.  I used mostly yellow tomatoes (I don't remember the specific variety) because that's what we had the most of that needed to be used but also threw in some Romas and red cherry tomatoes.  The yellow tomatoes were very watery so as I was chopping up the tomatoes I put them in a colander set inside of a large bowl to hopefully drain some of the extra liquid and cut down on the boiling time.

A single batch of this jam recipe is supposed to simmer and thicken to jam consistency in about two hours and fill four 1-pint jars.  I had enough ingredients to make 1.5 batches so I knew between the large amount of the tomatoes, and the majority of them being watery, my simmering time was going to be longer.  I think I also started with the temperature being much too low though because it took about four hours for the jam to reach the right thickness.  The house was very hot, humid, and filled with the spicy aroma of tomato jam when Noah came home from work that day.  Once the jam was ready, the canning was quite easy and the 1-pint jars process for only twenty minutes.

I prepared six 1-pint jars even though just looking in the pot of jam I knew it was going to be a struggle to fill four jars.  And I was right.  I was able to sufficiently fill three 1-pint jars but ended up being a bit short on the fourth jar.  It still sealed just fine, but I'm using it up first just to be safe.  Why did I barely fill four jars when I made more than a single batch of jam?  I think it's because of the tomatoes I used.  If I'd had more Romas to use (a much more dense tomato) then there wouldn't have been as much fluid to evaporate and I probably would have ended up with more jam.

The flavor of the jam is very unique.  When I first tasted it I thought it tasted like some kind of fancy ketchup.  But it's more complex.  It's more like barbecue sauce mixed with sweet and sour sauce.  Sweet, tangy, loads of flavor from the spices, and surprisingly not overly tomatoey.  So far I've tried it on scrambled eggs (delicious!)  but I think it would also be good on grilled sandwiches, in place of ketchup on burgers and such, and used as a thick dip for egg rolls.

This will probably be my only canning venture for a while as the garden is nearly done producing (unless we pick a boatload of apples and I get a hankering to do some more canning), but I greatly enjoyed making tomato jam.  It makes me excited for when our raspberry bushes and fruit trees are more mature.  I have grand plans to can all sorts of jams and fruits in a few years when we're drowning in peaches, cherries, and raspberries.  There was even a recipe in the canning cookbook for pickled asparagus, so who knows, I could be trying all sorts of new things in the future!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Victorian Lattice Crochet Blanket

This is the latest blanket I have crocheted.  I made it for our newest niece, Renata.  She is so cute!  We can't wait to see her hopefully later this year.  We also get to be her godparents!

This blanket involved a lot of stitches I hadn't done before, and it was the first crochet blanket I've ever made with crocheted squares!  In the past I've made blankets either in rows or in a round.

The pattern I used for the squares came from Ravelry.  It was an easy pattern to follow after doing a couple squares, but I still followed along with the pattern for each square I made.  It isn't one of those patterns that you can quickly memorize and do without the pattern.  Not for me, at least.

I really like the little shapes and openings that show up in the square as it is being made.  It looks quite fancy without being over the top or too complicated.

The technique I used to join the squares was new to me.  I wanted a stitch that would keep the joins flat, because so often joining crochet motifs produces a ridge between the pieces, and I don't care for that look.  The method I ended up using is called a flat slip stitch.  I loved the effect it created and it didn't ripple the squares at all.

For the border I used the fairy shell stitch and crab stitch, which both came from my book of crochet stitches.  The shell stitch is very delicate while the crab stitch adds a neat twisted look to the edge of the blanket.

Not only were all of the new stitches fun to work up, but I also love the color combination I pulled together for this blanket.  I think I will be making more crochet square blankets in the future.  

One of these days I'll put together a blog post featuring all of the blankets I've made for our nieces, nephew, and our own daughter.  I think I'm up to eight blankets so far.  That's a lot of yarn!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Adventures In Landscaping

I am very much a haphazard and novice of a gardener.  I tend to move around and rip out plants on impulse, always wondering if something would be better off somewhere else, and probably planting things where they shouldn't be.

Besides doing some gardening with my parents as a kid, I don't have a lot of experience taking care of plants.  Fixing up our landscaping is the first time I've been responsible for growing so many plants at once while also trying to make everything look nice.  It'll probably be a few years before our landscaping is properly done and grown in with everything coordinating with each other.

My mother-in-law recently gave me several beautiful Hostas to plant in this blank space at the back of our house near our clothesline.

Before it had just rocks in it.  That's it.  I didn't really care about the space because it looked so boring and I didn't see much point in planting anything there.  Noah thought it might look nice with some Hostas and Mary had some giant ones in their landscaping that needed to be separated, so we stopped by one Saturday afternoon to check out what they had.  I was originally thinking we'd get two or three Hostas.  Well, she had such a variety in color that we got a bit of four different kinds and I later separated them further to make a nice symmetrical pattern when I planted them.

The space looks so much better with some vegetation.  I pushed aside the rocks, ripped a hole in the plastic underneath, and dug a hole for each plant.  I've left the rocks pushed away from the plants for now to give them a chance to grow and get acclimated to their new home without being crowded.  I think they're going to look even better once they've filled out some more.

This little area has been very difficult to deal with.  It was full of rocks, tree roots, and plastic.  I ripped and dug it all out to make it suitable for planting.  It's hard though to find plants that like both shade and somewhat sandy soil.

I planted a bit of Creeping Jenny in this smaller section to see how it does.  (Thanks to my red Cardinals ruler, you can tell I used to live close to St. Louis.)  I'm thinking I will put some in the bigger section too if it does well or maybe some other kind of ground cover.  Perhaps some Periwinkle?  I did sprinkle some flower seeds in the bigger section just to see what would happen.  It looks like some of them might be sprouting finally.

My parents gave me a Lilac bush from their home in Illinois last month.  They said it won't bloom this year because they chopped it off too short previously.  I've been so bummed about not seeing it bloom after seeing Lilacs blooming everywhere else around us.  Turns out we had a Lilac bush already!

This little guy is a Dwarf Korean Lilac.  When I was first trying to figure out what it was, my instinct was that it was a Lilac because of how the blossoms are grouped.  The leaves were far too small and round though so I figured it must be something else.

I'm so happy to have a blooming Lilac!  I think it might need some pruning, and I'm wondering if it would be better off planted a little further forward away from the house, give it a little more room.

We have this neat little garden box wrapping around one of the front corners of our home.  It is chock full of Daffodils that I don't think have been separated in ages.  They hardly bloomed this year, I think because they're way too crowded, and the soil in the box drains too quickly so they didn't get enough water.  We've decided it would be better to plant certain succulents and other drought tolerant plants here instead.  So eventually all of the daffodils we be removed, though where I will put them I'm not sure.  If anyone wants some Daffodil bulbs when I dig them up in the fall, let me know!

These hens and chicks were already here at the house when we moved in but they were in that big shady spot by the back door.  They are much happier here in this bright sunny garden box.  They've perked up so much and I love the dark purple showing up on the tips!

Over here on this side of the garden box we have more Daffodils.  I already dug up and transplanted a cluster of Tulips that weren't doing well and put my new Ice Plant there.  It actually flowered the other day!  The Ice Plant should eventually spread out and take up more space in the garden box.

This adorable little plant is a Sea Thrift.  It should get bigger, acting a bit like bushy ground cover, and put out more flowers.  I love the tiny little round flower heads.  They remind me of Alium.  I would love to get a few more of these and alternate them with succulents in the garden box.  It's such a whimsical little plant.

This is the biggest section of landscaping we have.  

I'm not a huge fan of the Boxwood Bush.  It looks nice, yes, if you're into boxy plants.  And it was actually quite easy to prune.  But I love flowers and pretty much every time I plant something I want it to have some kind of flowers.  So we're thinking about removing the Boxwood and planting something else there.  Peonies?  Roses?  Daisies?  I'm not sure.  There are so many beautiful flowers I have a hard time choosing what to plant!

This adorable little plant is a Ranunculus Noah gave me for Mother's Day/my birthday.  The flowers are so gorgeous!  I love the deep orange color, almost kind of a red shade.  This picture doesn't do the beautiful color justice.  The local bunnies kept nibbling on the blossoms so Noah made a little cage to protect it.  I love the seemingly endless layers of petals.  Such beautiful little flowers!  Supposedly when its growing season is over I can dig it up and keep it dormant in a pot over winter and then plant it again next year.  We're in Zone 6 here and it won't survive the winter if I leave it outside.  I hope it works to plant it again next year.

I planted some Daffodils around the edge of this landscaping that I dug up and separated from where the Drawf Korean Lilac bush is planted.  They had a bit of transplant shock and didn't bloom very well so I'm hoping for better blooms next year.  I have also planted Irises in this section.  In a back corner I found several Irises and Day Lilies crammed together.  The Lilies bloomed last year but the Irises didn't.  I dug them all up and moved them here.  The Irises are putting out fantastic leaves, as you can see, but they aren't blossoming yet.  They might need another year to adjust to their new home. 

Here are the Day Lilies I transplanted from the same place where the Irises were growing.  They're doing fantastic so far!  I'm thinking though that some mulch or something would be a good idea over here.  Or ground cover?  You can put ground cover around Lilies and Irises, right?

This giant strip of dirt and dead grass is supposed to be my patch of Wild Flowers.  As you can see they are doing splendidly.  Haha!  No, they aren't.  There might be something finally sprouting, or they might just be weeds.  Only time will tell.  Maybe I didn't water them enough at first, or maybe the seeds were bad.  We'll see.

And so ends our landscaping tour!  I'm learning quite a lot this year about plants, the main thing being that instead of doing everything in a manic frenzy and constantly changing stuff around, it's better to move things around to start with and then slow down and let them be, let things grow and see how they do.  Then you can make changes again later or the following year.  It's very exciting to plant something and then see how it changes over time.  I'm so excited that my Ice Plant bloomed already!  And I can already see changes to my Creeping Jenny after planting it nearly a week ago.  I really love spending time outside, tending to my plants.

But seriously, if anyone wants some Daffodils, let me know.  I honestly don't know where I'm going to put them all.

Monday, March 26, 2018

My Undying Love For Clawfoot Bathtubs

Very faint memories bounce around in my head of one of my grandmothers having a clawfoot tub in a giant old farmhouse where she once lived.  I must have been very young when I first saw this tub, and I remember thinking the clawfeet were scary, but those memories have stayed with me over the years and continue to fuel my obsession with clawfoot bathtubs.

A post shared by Edelman (@edelmanhome) on

When we were house hunting we came across a home with a clawfoot tub.  My heart skipped a beat as we flipped through the pictures on Zillow.  We arranged to see it the day after it came onto the market but our realtor called us the morning of the showing and said that there was already an offer and asked if we still wanted to look at it.  We were in the process of inspecting a different home (the one we ended up buying) so we decided to not see the house.  My clawfoot tub dreams were dashed.

If we had a bigger main bathroom or more than one full bathroom (and a lot of money), I would be campaigning to have a clawfoot tub installed in our home.  Alas, my clawfoot tub fantasies will remain in my head.

We do have great plans for our main bathroom.  Noah has already installed a brand new countertop, sink, and faucet.  We previously had a black, oddly textured counter which has been replaced with white and grey marble-patterned laminate.  It's amazing how much light bounces off of the new counter.  The bathroom is so much brighter!  Eventually the shower, flooring, and toilet will be replaced and we will paint the walls and built-in cabinets.



I say "we", but really Noah has done most of the remodeling work so far in our home.  That's what happens when you move in a week after having your first child.  But I've been able to help with painting and organizing.  A lot of my time is spent cooking, keeping our home clean, taking care of our daughter, and dreaming of clawfoot bathtubs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fixing Clothes Dryers and Scraping Wallpaper

There's nothing quite like opening up the back of your clothes dryer and watching a bunch of matches fall out of the flex hose that is supposed to be venting to the outside.  This was our adventure on a recent Friday afternoon when I informed Noah that the dryer was no longer heating up.  Exactly how you want to start your weekend.

Thankfully, the matches no longer had their flammable heads (I'm guessing they disintegrated in the clothes washer before getting to the dryer) and we were able to fix the dryer by installing a new fuse.  We also gave it a good vacuuming to get rid of the lint, dirt, and matches that were clogged in various places.

Such is life when you own a home.  There's always a surprise waiting around the corner.  Like when we discovered, after living here for several months, that one of the bathroom cabinets wasn't even a cabinet but some sort of drawer that tipped forward, like for storing towels or laundry.  Or when we had a huge storm one night and found water dripping from the middle of the doorway to the laundry room.  And the various things done by previous homeowners that make you ask, "Why did they do that??".

One of those "Why did they do that??" moments happened when we looked at our home for the first time with our realtor and noticed they had painted over a wallpaper border in one of the upstairs bedroom.  It looked like an easy enough fix, and we were able to scrape the paint off of the wallpaper very quickly, but then the project was stalled for several months because we couldn't figure out how to remove the wallpaper.  Perhaps they used a strange glue to attach it or maybe we just didn't know how to do it properly because we hadn't done it before.  We used water, scrapers, and some sort of wallpaper remover borrowed from Noah's mom.  All of this couldn't remove it, so we shelved the project for quite a while.

Eventually we got to thinking about it again and Noah's mom came over one day to work on it, armed with a giant sponge and a bottle of fabric softener.  She worked tirelessly for several hours and was finally able to finish the section of wall we had worked on before.  A week later we decided to tackled the remainder of the wallpaper ourselves.  Either a sponge and really hot water is all it takes, or maybe a different adhesive was used on the other side of the room, but we were able to scrape off the rest of the border in only two hours with both of us working on it.  We used a sponge to continually saturate the wallpaper with very hot water and then I used a wide scraper to remove the bulk of the paper and as much glue as I could while Noah came along afterward and removed the rest of the glue with a smaller scraper.  We were so surprised that it took us only two hours to remove the wallpaper after avoiding the project for months.

As you can somewhat see in the picture below, whoever put up the wallpaper border had also filled in the spaces between the panels beforehand so that they would have one continuous flat surface for attaching the border.  That filler is going to stay there because honestly it wouldn't be worth the effort to dig out all of those grooves.  It'll become part of the character of the room.


After spending time wiping down the walls and scraping off remnants of glue and scotch tape, the room is ready to be painted!  This bedroom is one of those rooms where everything is painted the same color.  The walls, ceiling, outlets, switches, and part of the trim are all painted the same light green.  The rest of the trim and the doors are painted a darker green.  We'll be painting the ceiling, trim, and doors white and then use the same blue paint from our bedroom and the nursery on the walls.  When this little bedroom is completed we'll finally have a proper guest room!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Thrift Store Finds

Pregnancy and breastfeeding do weird things to your body.  I've lost all of the "baby weight".  I'm actually lighter than I was pre-pregnancy, but I'm also a completely different shape.  My shirts are too small and I have to wear a belt with the only pair of jeans that fit well enough to wear out of the house.  So, my rib cage expanded and my butt got smaller?  Whatever happened, I've been telling Noah for months that I need some new clothes.  I finally found a good amount of new (to me) clothes to get rid of my wonky, worn out pieces that I should have eliminated a long time ago.  Didn't find any pants, but I've always had a hard time finding pants at thrift stores.
The majority of my clothing comes from thrift stores, and usually just one in particular.  Africa's Child Thrift Store is my favorite thrift store.  When I moved to Michigan I checked out all of the thrift stores in Holland (where we were living right after we got married) and settled on Africa's Child as my favorite.  (They also have a location in Grand Rapids!)  Their store is very clean, they put out good quality items, and their prices are very reasonable.  One of my favorite things about this store is that they help support ministries in Africa, hence the name.  Here is their mission statement from their website.
The mission of Africa’s Child, a faith based, Christ centered ministry, is twofold:
  • To transform lives with financial support by giving 100% of store profits to African ministries.
  • To empower and employ African ministries who share our faith to bring physical, emotional and spiritual healing to the orphans, vulnerable children and their caregivers.
We're always looking for ways to save money, but it's great to know that even in my thriftiness the little money I spend can go towards a good cause.  I do purchase mostly clothing from Africa's Child, but I have also bought yarn, fabric, sheets and curtains (which turned into other things during sewing projects), and an end table for our living room.  I'm always scoping out their ever changing furniture selection hoping that a perfect little armchair might pop up someday.  A girl can dream.
Here's a look at what I found during my most recent trip to Africa's Child.  Adeline came with me and was such a good little shopper.  I even found a few clothes for her!  Hover above or click on each image to see the brand and price.

Active USA Jacket - $3

American Rag CIE dress - $5

Her Majesty slip - $3

Mossimo dress - $3

Old Navy orange skirt - $3

Pure Jill cardigan - $3

Express soft t-shirt - $3

Orvis green blouse - $3

Mossimo green and blue t-shirt - $3

Circo 18 month onesie - $

Old Navy 18-24 month pants - $1

Baby Gap 2T pants - $3

Shopping at a thrift store can make such a difference in how much money you spend.  You don't have to sacrifice quality to get a good price, and sometimes your money can even support a good cause!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

My First Week of Loop Scheduling

Keeping up on housework has always been a struggle for me.  It feels like I spend all of my time cleaning but at the end of the day it looks like nothing has been accomplished.  I've never been able to stick to a schedule of doing certain tasks on a regular basis.  Suddenly noticing the dirt and dust that has built up serves as my reminder to pull out the vacuum.

I stumbled across Loop Scheduling a while ago.  A simple Google search will bring up plenty of blogs proclaiming the merits of Loop Scheduling and offering free printable schedules with blanks and check boxes to fill out.  I prefer good old fashioned lists.  And we don't have any ink for our printer, so I couldn't print out a schedule even if I wanted to.

I've ended up with four different lists of varying length.  "Daily", "Weekly", "Monthly", and "As Needed".  If something needs to be done more than once  a week or month, then you list it multiple times spread out through the other tasks on your list.  Here's a peek at my lists.


My Loop Schedule adventure began on a Thursday and I didn't do anything from the lists over the weekend other than keep up on daily tasks.  My goal is to complete my weekly list during the Monday-Friday stretch of the week so that on Saturday and Sunday I have to concern myself with only cooking and washing dishes.  Here is a rundown of how my first week went.  I'm mainly focusing on the weekly and monthly tasks in this write up so I haven't included what daily and as needed tasks I've accomplished each day.

Day 1 - Thursday

Tasks completed: vacuum main level, vacuum upstairs (and stairs), sweep, dust, wash bedding (monthly item)

I'm always very enthusiastic when I start doing something new so I knew I was going to accomplish a lot on my first day.  I also ended up rewriting the lists on the first day because I realized there were things on the weekly and monthly lists that would be better put somewhere else.

Day 2 - Friday
Tasks completed: bathe Adeline, clean laundry room and steps

Not as productive of a day because I had a headache almost the whole day.  And yes, I need to write on a list that my child needs a bath because I honestly forget how long it's been since her previous bath.

Day 3 - Monday

Tasks completed: clean stove, clean main bathroom, clean small bathroom, wipe down kitchen cabinets (monthly task)

I was supposed to clean the stove on Day 2, but didn't have a spray bottle for the natural degreaser I wanted to try, so we bought one over the weekend and I cleaned the stove on Day 3.  There is flexibility in the Loop Schedule.

Day 4 - Tuesday

Tasks Completed: none

Besides folding laundry and tidying up the kitchen (and baking bread) I didn't do much housework, and didn't do anything off of the monthly or weekly lists.  The weather was quite nice for February in Michigan so I spent time outside working on the landscaping.  I dug out every single decorative rock buried along on the border of the landscaping and dug up some bulbs crammed together in a small corner so I can move them to a bigger space.  Adeline spent some time outside with me but I don't think she was a fan of the wind.

Day 5 - Wednesday

Tasks Completed: bathe Adeline

It was another day of beautiful weather so I spent more time working outside and didn't do much housework.  My body is sore now from digging, moving rocks, and pushing the wheelbarrow around.  It was so enjoyable though and I really loved being outside.  Adeline came outside with me again and got to eat some dirt and leaves for the first time.

And now we're back to the day of the week that I first started Loop Scheduling: Thursday.  I'm actually down to the last item on my weekly list and then I can start over again at the top.  I can tell the house is in need of tidying after spending the past two days working outside, so it's a good thing "vacuuming" is next on the list.

Overall, I think my first week went well.  There really is a lot of flexibility in Loop Scheduling.  Those couple of days where I did several tasks in one day enabled me to spend two days working outside and still nearly finish the whole list in one week.  Some days I'll be able to complete several items on my lists while on other days different things will be requiring my attention, but I can always come back to the list and continue with my schedule.  I'm really hoping I can stick with Loop Scheduling and be better about keeping our home clean and functional.

To end this blog post, here are a few simple tips I came across during my first week of Loop Scheduling:

Keep your schedule as short and basic as possible.  I do think my lists are a bit long, but they started out being even longer before I moved laundry to the "as needed" list.  You don't want this to be an intimidating to-do list that will never be conquered.  Keep it realistic.  You can always add more items later on after getting in the groove of completing a Loop Schedule.

If completing one task logically leads to starting another one, then put them on your list in that order.  Vacuuming and sweeping stir up a lot of dust, so it makes sense to me to list "dusting" after these tasks.

Group similar tasks together so that if you are able to complete more than one task a day then you don't have to haul out the vacuum or certain cleaning supplies more than once a week.

Let me know if you give Loop Scheduling a try!  I'd love to hear about your adventure!