25 April 2011

Goalposts: The Obvious Edition

Last week I laid out some of the goals I'm hoping to hold myself accountable to.  First up?

A Cleaning Schedule That Involves the Kids.
I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about how I envision the house looking, what makes things easier for me, what age-appropriate chores the kids can help with, and how much (or little, in the interest of honesty) time I'm willing to devote to cleaning.  Here's what I came up with:

*I envision the house looking like something out of a magazine.  However, I loathe cleaning.  While the two aren't mutually exclusive, they are at odds.  Add 3 kids, a cat that sheds tumbleweed-sized fur balls and a desire to spend no more than 30 minutes per day cleaning, and the first thing I need to do is lower my expectations and don't let the desire for perfection get in the way of just getting something done.  

*Thinking about what makes things easier for me led directly to my list of chores to do every day:
     *putting the kitchen to rights (loading dishes, wiping 
       counters, putting away placemats, getting the coffee 
       maker ready for the next morning) every night.
     *scooping the cat box (on Wednesdays, change the litter 
       completely since trash day is Thursday)
     *clean off my side table (next to the couch)
     *take recycling out to bins.

*I am extremely lucky to have a cleaning dude twice a month (best birthday/Christmas present EVER, mom!).  Because of that, my list of chores to do weekly is pretty short:
     *vacuum tv room twice a week
     *vacuum rest of house
     *change sheets on beds
     *change towels in kitchen & bathrooms
     *water plants (inside & out)
     *laundry:  Z, the girls, mine, sheets & towels
       (darling husband does his own)
     *wipe down bathrooms

*The girls (5 and 3) can most definitely help with keeping things clean.  As Z gets older he'll be expected to help, too, for now we'll model picking up toys after we're done playing.  We tried breaking down chores between AJ and Ellie, and usually ended up with "but I wanted to do that!", or "but why do I have to do my chore now and she doesn't?"  So for now, the chore belongs to both of them (especially since they'll need supervision).  Their chores:
     *put away placemats & take napkins down to laundry
     *wipe off table after meals
     *take recycling out to bins
     *water outside plants

Right now I am writing the list down in my dayplanner so I can make changes as we start out, but eventually I want to have a checklist with daily and weekly chores.  For the girls, they each have a dry-erase chore chart like this:
This is what the lists look like broken down:

You can see on the bottom my meal plan for the week.  Which brings me to my second goal:  get 5 fruits and vegetables every day.  Thanks to the stomach bug the kids all shared last week, I've mainly been concentrating on my eating.  It quickly became apparent that in order to get 5 servings in, I need to actually feed myself.  In other breaking news, water is wet, and fire is hot.
Seriously, though, there are too many days when all I've had is coffee for breakfast, yoghurt or a granola bar or a couple bites of the kids' PB&J for lunch, and then I'm cranky and craving chocolate and not carrots.  So in addition to planning out the dinner vegetables, I'm making an effort to have something in the morning.  My favourite so far?  A green smoothie!
There are tons of links to recipes online, but I've kind of winged it with the stuff I've got in the fridge and I haven't been disappointed yet.  A little milk, some strawberries, blueberries, or banana, a big handful of kale and a couple of ice cubes (to make it frothy), et voila! My only issue is with our POS ancient blender, but I'm adding this to my wish list -- supposedly as good as a Vitamix yet $400 cheaper!

Later this week I'm going to share how we're trying to incorporate the other 5 things -- time to create, be outdoors, learn, exercise & clean into our schedules.  I'd love to hear what goals your family has & how you're working towards them!

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