Monday, July 7, 2014

rules to live by

Over the years, I've picked up some good ideas and advice from some of my favorite people as I've watched them do what they do.  When Tommy was born, we lived hours (and hours) away from my parents and Will's parents, but only a couple quick hours from my aunt and uncle.  Since Will was working a ton of hours that included a lot of weekend work, I spent many weekends at their house with tiny baby Tommy, sitting bleary-eyed in the kitchen with Aunt T, watching her buzz around before bed putting things away and getting the coffee ready for the morning.  It was then that I started paying attention to her and the rest of my family to see what tips and tricks I could pick up to make life a little easier.  I've made a little list of those things here today.

1.  Always make your bed.  
It instantly makes your room look neat and tidy and starts the day off with one small accomplishment.  I always feel better about my day when I make my bed.

2.  Get the coffee ready the night before.
Only having to push one little button in my half-asleep pre-coffee state is much more acceptable than having to start from scratch.  I always take a few minutes before bed to get the coffee machine set up.

3.  Read something inspirational every day.
This is a new "rule" for me but one that I'm enjoying very much.  I've started collecting inspiring quotes in a pretty notebook and reading back through them or choosing one specifically to read each day.  Here's one of my new favorites from Mother Teresa:  "Spread love everywhere you go.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier."

4.  Follow the "Ten Minute" rule.
Although one of my children's "chores" (I use that term incredibly loosely here) is to help clean up the playroom, there are nights when I let that slip in favor of a family game or movie or walk outside.  On those evenings, I try to follow the "Ten Minute" rule and spend a good 10 minutes going from room to room and putting things back in their places.  It's nice to wake up to a picked-up house and have a playroom where the kids can easily find what they're looking for.  And I'm always surprised at how much I can accomplish in a mere ten minutes.

5.  Clean up the kitchen before going to bed.
I'll be the first to tell you that this doesn't always happen around here.  But my day is far less rushed and frustrating when it starts without a mountain of dishes in the sink.  I try really hard to make sure things are cleaned up the night before.

6.  Let in the light.
The first thing I do every single day, right after pushing the button on the coffee maker, is let in the light.  I open every shade, push aside every curtain, and take a minute to enjoy the view.  

7.  Put laundry away immediately.
Again, I'll admit to you that this doesn't always happen here at our house.  I could do laundry all day - start the washer, switch to the dryer, fold everything really neatly - and then let the clothes sit in the basket for a week.  But I've been making an effort to keep the laundry ball rolling and put things away immediately (it helps that Tommy volunteered to help fold his clothes and now puts everything away on his own - have I mentioned that I love 7?!).  The sense of satisfaction I feel at this small accomplishment is actually surprising.  I just have to remember that I'll feel that way before I do it so I'll get up and actually do it...sometimes easier said than done.  I've heard other people say they hate putting laundry away, too.  Do you have that problem?!

8.  Don't walk away from the eggs.
When I first started cooking for myself, I cooked everything on high.  The higher the heat, the faster things cook, I reasoned.  And while things did cook considerably faster, they also came out of the pan considerably burnt.  Just ask my husband.  So over time I learned to cool things down and slow things down and actually enjoy the cooking process.  But here's the thing...stuff can still burn on low heat, especially if you walk away and start doing something else while you wait for your food to cook.  (Can you tell I've made this mistake before?)  And so, rule #8 - don't walk away from the eggs.  Even if they're cooking over low heat.  (And maybe add some cottage cheese to try and recreate Uncle Joe's famous scrambled eggs.)

9.  Never end on an even number.
I've mentioned here before my aversion to even numbers (see #12) so let's end on #9, shall we?  Thanks.

So that's it - my list of rules to live by.  What would you add?

Hope you have a great start to your week!

P.s.  I just thought of another one!  Clean from the top down.  As in, dust before you vacuum or wipe the table down before you sweep.  (Thanks Aunt Shelley!)

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