Archive for the ‘One Bite at a Time’ Category

I have to say that I’m a little proud of myself for sticking with One Bite at a Time for 11 whole weeks already. ¬†Blogging about it hasn’t gone quite as well, but at least I’m doing the work! ūüôā

Last week was Week #10 and it was a difficult concept for me — trying to Establish a Morning Routine (#3). ¬†The reason it was hard (besides dealing with “springing forward” and losing a precious hour of sleep), is that Tsh wanted the focus on things for ME. ¬†Things that would help start the day in a nice way for ME. ¬†This was not about chores, household organization or being a good mom. ¬†This felt like it needed to really be sort of a “spa moment” in the day.

So the first thing I came up with was painting my nails. ¬†At MOPS a few weeks ago, we had a “nail station” and I realized that I NEVER paint my nails any more. ¬†Mostly because I then never can be bothered to REMOVE the chipping, peeling paint. ¬†And 900 years ago in Mrs. Brizendine’s 7th grade class, we were told by a guest speaker that we should NEVER have chipping nail polish. ¬†For some crazy reason that stuck with me. ¬†But a lot stuck with me from that school year including a love of Louis L’Amour and my a strangely enlightening conversation during girl’s PE one day about Kegels. ¬†But I digress…

I had just bought some new fingernail polish on sale/with coupons at CVS and so I decided to add that to my morning routine.  Painting on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, removing on Friday and Monday mornings.

But that didn’t seem like enough.

It took me all week to realize that I wanted to incorporate something into my morning routine that I wish I had time to do.  That I always PLAN to do but never GET to do because the necessities always get in the way.  There are two things right now that fall into that category (well, there are millions, but two on the top of my list):  Project Life (my new non-scrapbooker-scrapbooking attempt) and Blogging.

So, I’m excited to say those items have been added into the schedule for Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday mornings.

The basic morning routine is: ¬†BIG glass of water (realized I prefer to take my coffee in my new big coffee travel mug in the car in the morning), devotional time/prayer, nails/blog/PL, Daily Plan and off and running for the day…

Week #11: ¬†I was still processing/working through the idea of last week’s bite during most of this week. ¬†So I’m cheating this week and doing #28: ¬†Creating a Monthly Budget. ¬†We have been doing this faithfully for about four years based on Dave Ramsey’s stuff, and so I can cross this one out without hesitation. ¬†I have also designed a better plan for picking up our cash at payday from the bank — just dragging the kids with me (because for some reason they always have a kid’s movie playing in NFCU!).

Not sure what I’ll do for next week… have a few days to decide.

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I didn’t do anything for week 9 and forgot to post about week 8. ¬†Oh well. ¬†Moving on. ¬†ūüôā

During Week #8 of my walk through One Bite at a Time, I focused on #16 – Schedule regular date nights. ¬†As I mentioned, we are swapping date night babysitting with some friends and it is working fantastically! ¬†That means we only get to go out every other week, but it seems more frequent than that because it’s at least a regular thing! ¬†We went last week to The Linkery, a local food restaurant I’d wanted to go to for over a year. ¬†They make their own sausage and have a great collection of cheeses and other yumminess as well. ¬†We loved our dinner and had fun just enjoying each other, knowing that we wouldn’t have to spend half our date night budget on the babysitter! ¬†So BIG success with this one.

This week, I’m going to try to “complete” what I’ve have already begun with #18 (Get more Sleep), #19 (Dump your brain), #39 (Create a daily to-do list), & #47 (Wake up earlier) by attempting to work out #3: Establish a Morning Routine.

When I read Tsh’s thoughts on this, the thing that struck me is that she’s not talking about the chores I will do first thing in the morning. ¬†She’s talking about how I want to start my day for me. ¬†What is it that I can do first thing every day that will set a nice tone for the day? ¬†Things related to me and not others. ¬†In other words, I will Eat My Frog (#1) after the morning routine — not as part of it. ¬†She had a number of suggestions — some of which apply to me, some don’t. ¬†So I need to give this some thought. ¬†I know that a devotional time will be included because I’m already doing that now, but then I often get sucked into stupid FaceBook or something like that and don’t really have a nice start to the day. ¬†SO. ¬†Going to mull a bit and come up with something that sounds warm and inviting to me. ¬†Maybe that will help me get out of bed.

Make sure these five tasks focus on you, and not others. Don‚Äôt check your e-mail or Twitter, don‚Äôt make your kids‚Äô lunches just yet, and don‚Äôt return a phone call. Those things will come in just a few minutes‚ÄĒ first, do these other things that feed your soul. Discover a sweet morning routine that fills your cup.

Will keep you posted.

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Missed posting last week — so have a bit to update here:

During Week 6 I tackled #39 from One Bite at a Time: ¬†Creating a Daily To-Do List. ¬†I have to say this has probably been the most transformative Bite thus far. ¬†I’ve been doing it for two weeks now and I feel so efficient. ¬†I have to say that simultaneously I am also exhausted at the end of each day. ¬†But I’m exhausted AND accomplished — which makes it ok.

The most interesting part of this exercise has been that it has taken me back to my pre-electronics days. ¬†I started using DayPlanners in high school and continued those into college. ¬†At one point ¬†in college, I developed a system based on my own “week at a glance” charts that I would custom make in Paint on the earliest Macs housed at my Communications Department job. ¬†These were color coded and “textured” to indicate work hours, study hours, classes, exercise time, etc, and were kept in my three-ring binder. ¬†I kept to those schedules religiously. ¬†In fact, I’ve still got boxes of the old ones in the garage! ¬†Later I fell in love with the Lonely Planet yearly calendars that gave me just enough space to jot down any details I needed too while entertaining me with travelogue shots…

Yet, since the first Palm Pilots and other gadgets, I’ve tried to be hip and cool and keep my schedules “paperless.” ¬†I’ve had an iPhone for a couple years now and have purchased app after app to try and organize everything from appointments to chores to housecleaning to worm medication for the dog. ¬†I’ve used a lot of them. ¬†And many of them are very, very nice, but in the end, there is something that my brain really likes about a physical list that can be scribbled on and altered and touched. ¬†I think part of it is that I’m very visual (taking tests I could always picture where the answer was on the page in the book — not photographic memory at all, but just very much on the visual end of the spectrum). ¬†And I think inputing a meeting into an app that organizes it so beautifully into the whole loses some of that visual “pop.” ¬†For instance, I write things bigger when tasks are a bigger deal or underline or CAPITALIZE or write a note sideways that is just a secondary thought. ¬†That kind of thing is hard to translate into a computer program.

So when I started with Tsh’s Daily Docket, I decided to do it sort of in a weekly fashion. ¬†I printed five of the single sheet Daily Dockets and one of the two-to-a-page Dockets. ¬†I stapled them together and labelled them Monday-Friday (single) and Sat-Sun (double). ¬†I then added in all the appointments for the week (from my iPhone & iCal — which means these are still very necessary to keep the “whole”). ¬†From our calendar (Brent’s Duty days, my Weight Watcher hours). ¬†And from my brain that had not yet been dumped into iCal (Jake’s costume prep, Valentine’s cookies, etc.). ¬†Next I added in the meal plan and made any notes necessary (crock pots that needed to be started in the morning).

At that point I just waited. ¬†I did my Brain Dump (#19) at night before bed, and then the next morning I used it to fill in that day’s Daily Docket after my devotional time. ¬†The most empowering part was picking the three MITs (Most Important Things). ¬†Because I knew if the long list of 10 didn’t get done, I’d still feel good accomplishing the MITs. ¬†I also love that she’s got a specific spot for “blog and/or work” because then I can remember that blogging is a priority for me and can keep my Okinawa Hai to-do’s separate from the “life” list.

And it has been VERY successful. ¬†I even bought a new clipboard/notebook thingy at Target that allows me to clip the Daily Dockets on the front, and use the notepad inside for my nightly Brain Dump. ¬†I’m also storing old “weeks” behind the notepad so that I can refer back if necessary. ¬†It’s really going great!

For Week 7, I chose #47: ¬†Wake Up Earlier (and use Kaizen). ¬†This has been only mildly successful. ¬†I am not a morning person, never have been — so this is very difficult for me. ¬†But I’m finally willing to admit how much smoother the universe runs when I am ready for the day. ¬†When I’m not late before I even get started. ¬†Being up BEFORE the kids is like my worst nightmare, but I’m truly able to say that it’s a good thing. ¬†And I’m striving towards that.

I started the week just trying to get up on “time” — which is 6-6:15am. ¬†That gives me nearly a half hour before the kids get up and allows me to have devotional time and get my daily docket ready. ¬†BUT, I’m realizing that another half hour to do somethings around the house — start laundry, get Jake’s lunch ready, straighten things a bit, do an Oki Hai post — would really lighten the load of my day. ¬†And it would also mean I’d get to actually see Brent for a few minutes each day before he leaves for work. ¬†However, after consulting my handy sunrise/sunset app, I found that 5:30am will be dark about 80% of the year. ¬†That is rough for me.

So, I managed to make it between 6-6:15am this week, but I’m going to back it up a bit more for this coming week and see how things go.

And for that reason, I chose an “easy” Bite for this coming week: ¬†#16 — Schedule Regular Date Nights. ¬†Thought it was a great thing to start right after Valentine’s Day and our lovely Valentine’s massage date. ¬†I’m always reminded how important date nights are when we have them. ¬†And now that we have a great babysitter on the hook, I told Brent that we need to make Date Nights a bigger priority in our budget when we are finally out of debt next month. ¬†BUT, then I realized we shouldn’t put it off til then. ¬†So I called a friend of mine, who very unfairly has only ONE child, and said, “Hey, wanna trade kids for date night?” ¬†She had been trying to prioritize the same thing and oddly thinks it’s fun to have ALL of my children to play with her daughter. ¬†So she said she is IN.

We had her daughter over on Saturday afternoon/evening and they were able to have a lovely date enjoying yummy Italian food at a local restaurant. ¬†The kids totally entertained themselves and I fed them orange dye #14 with cheap Mac N Cheese (and oranges and edamame – I’m not a total loser!). ¬†It’ll be Brent’s and my turn to go out this weekend. ¬†I’m thrilled to have a regular plan for spending time together without the kids. ¬†Because as Tsh said,

We like movies that aren’t always animated. We like to play cards, drink wine and beer, and not cut up each other’s food. We also like to stay up later than 8 p.m.

Here’s to time with the most important person in my life.

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Head is still above water. ¬†I wouldn’t say I’ve ARRIVED yet, but I’m managing to keep moving forward. ¬†Laundry went a little better this week than last. ¬†Slacked a bit on the water drinking, but not horribly. ¬†Spent lots of time working out details with Brent last week. ¬†Withdrew all our cash for envelopes on payday this week.

And the Brain Dump (#19) from One Bite at a Time was this week’s new task. ¬†It was an interesting exercise. ¬†Lately, I feel like so many of my thoughts end up flying out of my brain and into the stratosphere never to be heard of again. ¬†The brain dump idea gives me a time/place (bedtime/in bed) to just sit and mull and write down everything that is on my mind that needs to be done. ¬†I’ve never really been one to struggle falling asleep, but I feel an even greater peace laying my head down when I’ve sort of flopped everything out on the paper.

However, what I found was some frustration at what happened with the Brain Dump. ¬†Which was… ¬†nothing. ¬†Because I don’t have a method for organizing that stuff, it just sat there in my notebook. ¬†I did refer to it a couple times to see what I’d hoped to do, but that was about it. ¬†SO, have decided to tackle #39 for this coming week:

Create a Daily To-Do List!!!

I absolutely love what she says about this:

“But I‚Äôd say the number one enemy of productivity in a mom‚Äôs life, especially when she has very small children at home, is trying to do too much.

Don‚Äôt get me wrong‚ÄĒwe have more than tons to do, and I for one have never accomplished everything I‚Äôd ever needed to do in one day. But that‚Äôs the very reason why trying to do too much will set us up for failure. To put it bluntly, if we think we‚Äôll successfully check off a 20-item to-do list within 24 hours, we‚Äôre kidding ourselves.”

SO true. ¬†And as a Planner at heart, I love making lists but they invariably lead me to my number one nemesis: ¬†FAILURE. ¬†When I have a list of 903 things to do, I obviously will fail and that’s never good.

Tsh also mentions that she has tried every organizational system under the sun but that they are always too rigid. ¬†I have found the same problem with all my lovely iPhone apps. ¬†My most recent failures have related to setting LITERALLY about 23 alarm/reminders per day on my iPhone. ¬†Instead of them helping to structure my day, they just become another thing that I basically hit “snooze” on. ¬†Rather than being helped to keep a schedule, I find myself going to the app just to clear my overdue reminders. ¬†FAILURE again.

The main suggestions that Tsh makes is to take your Brain Dump and pick 10 things to do. ¬†And then choose three of those to make your MITS (most important tasks). ¬†Then if all you get done is the three, you’ll still feel you accomplished the biggies. ¬†And if you get to more or all of the 10, you’ll just feel like a genius! ¬†And THAT’S what I like.

I’m going to dry her downloadable form this week and see how it works for me. ¬†You can find it HERE if you wanna join me (there is the full Daily Docket and the Pocket Docket).

And so here we go.

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This last week went better but it’s getting tough keeping all the balls in the air. ¬†In general, the 52 Bites aren’t things you do once. ¬†They are tasks that you are attempting to incorporate into your everyday life. ¬†So now, having completed week four, I should have four new weekly tasks that I’m maintaining. ¬†At this point, since I doubled up one week, I should have:

1.  Envelope system Рcheck

2.  Drink more water Рcheck (and truly making a difference in my life, I think)

3.  Weekly meetings with your husband Рcheck-ish (was done over dinner last night РI think better as a sit down just the two of us)

4.  Earlier bedtime Рcheck-ish (somewhat successfully this week Рprobably 11pm, not quite back to 10:30pm as hoped)

5. ¬†Eating my frog – check-ish (did better this week, but still can’t figure out when “first thing in the morning” is… is that really before my devotional time, before waking up the kids, before getting ready for the day? ¬†Or is it the first thing I do once I’m home from taking Jake to school, which is often not til 11am after going to the gym… ¬†I think it should probably be first thing after my devotional time — before waking the kids, but then that plays into #47: Wake up earlier, which I have NOT started yet. ¬†So. ¬†Like I said, check-ish. ¬†Better than last week.)

So, will continue to work on these and add…. drumroll please…

#19:  Dump Your Brain

I think this is a perfect one for me to try this week because lately I just feel like I’m soooo full of info. ¬†So full of things to do. ¬†And I keep forgetting things too. ¬†I’ve tried to use my iPhone app called Awesome Note, which I really like, but if I don’t take the time to set a “due date” and just throw the item in there, it tends to get buried and I forget about it.

The idea with dump your brain is to just get it all down on paper and then allow that paper to dictate your daily to-do list (#39).  I know we all try so hard to be paperless and to just use our gadgets, but maybe sometimes, the ole paper and pen is the best.  I think I must have already been feeling this way because I purchased this cool notebook at the end of December.

I decided to use it for everything — my morning devotionals, all the “getting kicked out of the Navy ERB” note taking, my notes for my Weight Watchers training, meal planning… ¬†Everything. ¬†I like it because it has a date you can circle at the top which allows me to feel a bit of organization.

She mentions that some people could do this in the morning, but that she’s too sleepy then. ¬†I think I agree that doing it just before bed is best for me. ¬†Dump all the info and then maybe organize it a bit in the morning to get an idea of things to do that day. ¬†SO. ¬†Will give that a shot this week.

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Hmmm. ¬†So, it’s probably good I attempted two this week since I was only able to manage one.

We had a rough week.  Spent two days (18 hours total) in Navy seminars meant to explain to us all the ways they are helping (and not helping us) after kicking us out of the Navy after 14 years of faithful service.  Pretty much mind blowing and heart hurting and hopeful and infuriating and helpful and all that.  Simply put? Exhausting.

The silver lining was that I spent a LOT of good time with my awesome husband. We even managed dinner out one night during San Diego Restaurant Week (a great deal on a dinner we couldn’t normally afford). ¬†So, I definitely managed to do #13 – Weekly Meetings with your Spouse. ¬†We spent a lot of time this week discussing hopes and dreams and fears and concerns, as well as the daily details of schedules, pickups, meal plans and potty training (which is still going well, btw!). ¬†And I’m hoping to make it a Sunday night tradition (unfortunately probably not including the yummy dinner out!).

The eating my frog thing (#1) did NOT work. ¬†We were out of the house by 6:30 on the meeting mornings, Monday was a day off, Thursday we had Nature Adventures and Friday I had to buckle down and catch up on tons of work. ¬†SO, no “good laundry practices.” ¬†Will try again next week.

Have nicely continued with the water drinking and envelope system, so hanging in. And after the coolio appointment with my nutritionist this week, who is helping me work on reviving my adrenal glands, I’m going to try #18 – Get More Sleep.¬†Shooting for a 10:30pm – which puts 6am at the top of a 90 minute sleep cycle.

And uhhh… ¬†evidently I’ll try to start THAT new plan tomorrow. Good night (or good morning technically!).

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I wrote about the book, One Bite at a Time HERE and I wanted to update my progress:

Week 1: #48 – Using an Envelope system.

This was an easy one for me (and it was the last day of the week when I started) because we already do this (thanks, Dave Ramsey!). ¬†I don’t do traditional envelopes, I actually have this fancy app for my iPhone called, amazingly, Envelopes. I withdraw all our cash on payday and subtract on my phone as I go. ¬†Highly, HIGHLY recommend.

Week 2: #34 РDrink more water.  

I did some reading and it seems that 2 liters is the rule of thumb for women (not counting water you need if you exercise). ¬†So I figured out that our Juicy Juice bottles are 64 oz (nearly 2 liters) and so I’m filling one of those each morning and trying to finish it by around lunchtime. ¬†That way, anything beyond that just puts me over the 2 liter mark.

It’s gone really well this week and I think some of the brain-fog I’ve been experiencing was reduced this week. ¬†Last night is the first time I finished the bottle right before bed. ¬†So, on the whole a successful week.

This next week I’m going to go ahead and attempt… wait for it… ¬†TWO new ideas. ¬†I know, pick yourself off the floor. ¬†I figure that eventually there will be a week I’ll flake on, so if I can get a bit ahead, that will be ok. And I’m really needing these next two so…

Week 3: #1 РEating your Frog & #40  Plan Weekly Meetings with your Spouse.

Eating your frog relates to doing the thing you most dread first each day so that it’s a cake walk from there on out. ¬†I have been thinking for the last three weeks — wondering what my frog is… ¬†And I couldn’t figure out. ¬†I mean, there are MANY MANY things I hate to do — how do I pick just one? ¬†But then it hit me. ¬†What is the thing that just never GETS done. ¬†That would clearly win the prize as the thing I hated the most, right?

So I looked around the house and it was crystal clear from the piles of CLEAN clothes on every possible surface — on my bed (placed there in the morning with the HOPES they will magically fold themselves, but by 11pm must be moved into some sort of other container so I can sleep), in every possible basket shaped vessel available in the house, in a pile on the couch, in overflowing baskets in front of the dryer… ¬†I don’t mind DOING the laundry. ¬†I don’t mind starting the washer and moving things to the dryer. ¬†What I hate is FOLDING AND PUTTING AWAY clothes. ¬†SO. ¬†That’s my frog.

Before I came in to do breakfast this morning, I folded 3 big baskets of clothes. ¬†Last month, I had put little signs in the boys rooms on their shelves (to indicate short/long pants, short/long-sleeved shirts, underwear, pjs, socks) and had taught them how to put their own clothes away, so once I folded this morning, they came and put things away. ¬†Granted, I didn’t put my OWN clothes away, but that is because of THIS project I started yesterday (refinishing my grandparent’s dresser).

And as for #40, Brent and I had a very busy week last week and this week isn’t looking much better. ¬†We “missed” each other quite a bit — forgetting to fill the other in on appointments/meetings and just didn’t get to touch base much. ¬†So, I think a weekly meeting is a great idea and I hope we can work it into being a habit quickly. ¬†We will start tonight after my Weight Watchers training.

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