10 Books to Cozy up with this Fall!

Cool, crisp days, a cozy blanket, and a good book = pure bliss. Here are my top picks that I am diving into this fall!

1. The Guest List – Lucy Foley

A modern-day whodunnit! Plus, its on Reese’s Book Club List, and so far, Ms. Witherspoon hasn’t let me down!

2. Untamed – Glennon Doyle

This year’s quintessential self-help book, geared mainly at mothers. Pretty much every person I know and their cat has read this book, and I just need to know what the fuss is all about.

3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

The story of the fictional Old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo, who at the age of 79 decides to give a final interview to an unknown journalist, Monique Grant. Earlier this year I read ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ by the same author and absolutely fell in love with her interview-style writing. This book was recommended by a friend and I can’t wait to dive in!

4. The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

The true story of how Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was imprisoned at Auschwitz in 1942, fell in love with a girl he was tattooing at the concentration camp. I started this book in the summer, and then left it at our cabin! its on order from the library, I can’t wait to read the rest.

5. American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins

A fictional story of Mexican bookseller who has to escape cartel-related violence with her son. I am as intrigued by the story this novel tells, as the controversy surrounding it.

6. Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

The story of a young black woman who is wrongly accused of kidnapping while babysitting a white child, and the events that follow the incident. Another one from Reese’s Book Club, this novel was short-listed for the Booker Prize. While I often steer away from novels involving children coming to harm, this book was recommended from a friend, so I will give it a go.

7. The Four Tendencies – Gretchen Rubin

A deeper dive into the four personality types that govern habit formation. Upholder, Obliger, Questioner and Rebel! Gretchen Rubin has been one of my favourite authors/podcasters since I first read ‘The Happiness Project’ over 10 years ago! In fact, her original book on habit formation – ‘Better than Before’ was one of the main motivators for starting my YouTube Channel AND this blog. I can’t wait to see what she brings in ‘The Four Tendencies’

8. The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline

A survival story set in a Canada where “recruiters” harvest the bone marrow of Indigenous people. This novel is set in my home country and was highly, highly recommended by my best friend.

9. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

The novel focuses on 29-year-old Eleanor Oliphant, a social misfit with a traumatic past who becomes enamoured of a singer, whom she believes she is destined to be with. I am all for a novel that makes me cry, but one that can make me cry with laughter is even more special – looking forward to this one!

10. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone – Lori Gottlieb

A memoir written by a therapist, about being in therapy! I am looking forward to the inside peek into the world of psychologists and what they are really thinking.

Commissionable Links

Chaos to Calm: How I Changed my Morning Routine as a Working Mom

We’ve all been there…. you have 5 minutes to get out the door, the kids are screaming, you can’t find the car keys, and you still have no pants on.  As working moms, the few minutes we have in the morning to get ourselves and kids out the door can be one of the hardest times of the day.  For me, some days felt impossible.  So impossible that a trip up Everest seemed more realistic for me than getting my kids and I out the door on time.  I was arriving late to work almost every day and feeling completely stressed out…all before 8:00am!

After seeing all the success my sister was having implementing routines into her daily life, I figured there must be some kind of routine that I could apply to my life to make my mornings easier.  The lightbulb moment came when she mentioned in one of her videos to “do in the morning what makes your evening easier, and do in the evening what makes your morning easier.”   Problem solved – I needed to move all my morning tasks that were causing me so much stress to the evening before. 

 I started simple with making my lunch the night before, a common practice of many working moms.  One morning chore off the list!   

“If you win the morning, you win the day.”

— Tim Ferris

Next I started putting my clothes out the evening before.  Too many times I have gone to get dressed in the morning only to find everything wrinkly, in the wash, or just not right for the day.  In the evening I not only pick out an outfit, but I make sure it’s clean, and wrinkle-free.  No more 6 am power ironing in the basement while yelling up at my kids to brush their teeth. 

This was all making a big difference, but the real game changer came when I also started laying out my kids clothes for the next day.  I would check the weather and lay out a suitable outfit for each of them in the bathroom.  The reason I didn’t put it out in their room was to avoid the ‘I’M NOT WEARING THAT!” moment.  They can see there is only one option and it was far enough away from all of their other clothes that they can’t start digging through their drawers looking for totally new (and likely, less suitable) attire for the day.

The one habit that made the biggest impact on my mornings running smooth is my ‘prep for tomorrow station’ also known as the ‘launch pad’ in the Flylady system.  I make a point of getting everything I needed for the next day collected and place it in my designated area or ‘station’ ready for me to grab on my way out the door.  This includes any documents needed for the next day, my purse and wallet, my gym clothes, and my kid’s daycare items like water bottles and blankets.  Basically everything that I used to run around like a chicken with my head cut off looking for before heading out the door in the morning. It was a total revelation! 

But wait! There’s more!  I have taken this one step further and actually put whatever I can in my car for the next day…less to forget and less to deal with the next day!   

Over time I have added small things to my evening routine to make my morning easier.  I am happy to say that I no longer lay in bed in the morning terrified to face the minutes before heading out the door.  My kids and I sometimes even have a pleasant time getting ready!  If this concept blows your mind then it might be time to take some of your morning tasks and check them off the night before.

   – Jill

21 Days to a Clean Home!

This system has literally changed my ENTIRE LIFE for the better. My home is cleaner, I argue less with my husband, my kids get more mom time, and I don’t have the weight of a thousand task to-do list bearing down on my shoulders constantly.

However, getting started isn’t always the easiest. We see our favourite YouTubers and Bloggers make it look so easy, and finally feel hope that there actually could be a BETTER way to do things ( big shoutout to Diane in Denmark and How Jen Does It). Then we attempt to implement the entire system in one day, and it’s overwhelming.

We blame ourselves, because we are buried so deep in clutter and laundry, it seems like nothing will work. WRONG! You can and you will find the freedom from hours of housework and overwhelm, you just need to start slow with small changes.

The Flylady website breaks down the whole system into 31 baby steps. I have pared it down to the essentials and fully believe that this program can be learned in 21 days. Commit to going through the steps fully, learn and add a new habit every day, focus on progress, let go of perfection and at the end you will see MAJOR changes.

21 Days to a Clean Home

1. Shine Your Sink

The best way to get started when you don’t know where to start is focus on one small task. Pull all of your dishes out and give your sink a good scrub. Do this at the end of every day to signal that it is time to to relax.

2. Dress to Shoes

When you take care of yourself and get ready for the day, your mind will be ready for productivity.

3. 2-Minute Hotspot

Bring a timer into your cleaning to increase hustle and decrease overwhelm. Pick and area in your home that is overwhelmed with stuff and tackle it for 2 minutes. You might surprise yourself with how much gets done!

4. Make the Bed

Accomplish something first thing in the morning! Keep your bedding simple to make the job go fast!

5. Establish a Dishes System

Load up the dishwasher at night and empty in the morning! Keep your counters clean and clutter-free so you always have a clear space to cook.

6. Make a Weekly Plan

Having a plan makes everything so much easier. Use the free printable to organize your life. Add to it daily, make a mess, write all over it, make edits and hang it somewhere visible to everyone!

7. Power Tidy

Pick a time and make this a daily habit. I like to do it in the evening so my house is clean in the morning.

8. Daily Declutter

You can’t clean clutter! Start slowly with garbage and and do a little every day. This is a never-ending process, bit it gets easier and you get better.

9. Establish a Laundry Routine

Dirty laundry piles, clean laundry piles, folded laundry piles – no more. Establish system that works for you, most importantly – don’t start a new load until the previous one is complete!

10. Floor Check

Clean floors make a home look and feel exponentially cleaner than it is. Use this simple mind trick – do a quick sweep, vacuum, and spot wipe to help your house look clean!

11. Digital Detox

Digital devices and social media suck a lot of time from our day. If you have no trouble keeping up with your friends’ social lives, but can’t seem to find the time to get your chores done, it might be time for a digital detox!

12. Swish the Bathroom

Swish ONE bathroom, once a day and forever avoid the nasty hour long bathroom clean. Keep your supplies handy and quickly get it done after you get ready in the morning! Rotate the bathrooms to make sure they all get a little attention.

13. Prep for Tomorrow

Smooth mornings make for easy days. Getting ready for the next day the night before is a game changer. Clothes set out, gym clothes packed, shoes ready, keys in their place, bag packed, lunches made, check the calendar and communicate plans to everyone involved.

14. Weekly Clean

Aka – The Weekly Home Blessing Hour. This is a quick, once over of your main traffic areas that keeps the house clean with little effort. Change bedsheets, empty garbages and wipe mirrors!

15. Plan & Pay

Consider this your ‘home administration day’. Pay bills, write cards, confirm appointments, and update calendars. Take 5 minutes every week to pay your bills and avoid late charges and overdue notices forever.

16. Anti-Procrastination Day

Pick one small thing you have been putting off, and commit to getting it done. Get it off your mind and lighten your mental load. Make it easy – as you go about life, keep a little list of these nagging tasks and on Wednesday just pick one to check off!

17. Self Care Day

Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. I choose a small thing to do for myself every Thursday to ensure I get that valuable ‘me time’.

18. Car & Bag Day

Take 5 minutes to clean out the car and your purse/backpack/diaper bag so they stay tidy and clutter-free. Make it easy – keep a bag in your car for garbage and empty it at the gas station or whenever you stop.

19. Meal Plan

Meal planning will change your life. First, check the ingredients you have on hand and create a meal plan around those. Shop for the items you are missing and keep a record of meals you like to cook and your family likes to eat. Also plan for leftovers, going out and have at least 5 last-minute, easy meals on hand at all times.

20. Zone Clean

Break up your home into sections (or zones) and tackle one each week for a set amount of time. I try to dedicate an hour each week to deep cleaning the specific zone we are in, but I don’t worry if I miss a day. Make it easy – keep a checklist handy of tasks you have completed in each zone so you know what needs to be done.

21. Weekly Clean

Part 2 of our weekly clean and we are adding dust, vacuum and mop. 10 minutes each in the high-traffic areas of your home and you are done. Miss an area? Not to worry, you will get it next time.

Update on my #20for2020 Goals List!

Just over halfway through the year and it has been interesting to say the least. Some good, some bad and definitely some ugly, I had no idea what I was in for when I made my 20 for 2020 list way back in January. At the time I was heavily pregnant and looking froward to getting my baby in my arms and setting off on some adventures. And, while the ‘setting off’ portion of my plan hasn’t come to fruition, this year has been quite an adventure.

As inspired by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft, here is my 20 goals for 2020 list, and as of right now, this is my progress:

  1. Build a capsule wardrobeNot yet, but this is my next project to tackle. I wanted to wait for my body to ‘normalize’ after pregnancy. I am so ready for this, out with the postpartum leggings, in with the…… well, probably just regular leggings!

2. Find the perfect cinnamon bun recipesuccess in that I have tried four recipes and can now say I am a successful baker of cinnamon buns. Still on the hunt for the greatest recipe of all time.

3. Read 24 booksI have read 10 books, slightly behind but I plan to catch up when the weather turns cold!

4. Keep phone out of the bedroomCheck and check! Additionally I have instituted an earlier bedtime for myself (9pm) which has helped tremendously with the energy needed to entertain all three kids during the pandemic

5. Go on a girls weekendOur original plan for Toad River glamping and a visit to Liard Hot Springs has been stymied by CoVID closures, but we have a backup plan, and it involves a boat!

6. Go camping – Another success! One night in the books, we learned a lot about what NOT to do when camping with a baby and two small kids. We are currently planning a second camping attempt soon!

7. Plant Flowers and Vegetables – Woohoo! I am on a roll. One benefit of staying at home a lot, my garden got a ton of attention and has never looked (or tasted) better!

8. 100000 step dayTraining in progress. Me and 5 friends plan to go for this in early August! Look for daily updates on my instagram stories here

9. Try a new fitness activityFor this one, I have returned to golf after an almost 6-year hiatus. I even joined a ladies league that runs on Monday nights and I am loving it.

10. Stay at a summer cabinAugust! My dad bought a little townhouse in Invermere, a beach town we used to live in. I can’t wait to visit!

11. Get a massage once per month Yes. aside from the 3 months when massages weren’t allowed.

12. Get control of my digital photosStill plaguing me. I have to make a plan, so here and now I declare, this project starts OCTOBER 1.

13. Start a blogIf you are reading this, you know it’s true!

14. Collect favourite recipesHalfway. I have made an effort to print out and write down a few favourites, but have not compiled them yet. Add this one to the fall/winter to do!

15. Monthly date nightsYes, aside from the 3 months when leaving the house was not allowed. We even did a date morning last month – golf and brunch!

16. Plan a winter getawayLikely not happening. Its possible we can go to Vancouver Island for a little green and less snow, but leaving the country isn’t really looking like an option. C’est la vie.

17. Use online grocery orderingYes! I am getting really fast and this one is amazing. I still sometimes got in person, but online ordering has taken so much stress out of my life. Watching Netflix and grocery shopping is my new go-to!

18. Keep a baby book for #3Yes for 3 months. He is 6 months old today, time to catch up!

19. Put up more artHere and there. I realize this may be hard to define. I have put up art in the girls’ room, and the baby room, but does that count as ‘more’? Not sure.

20. Reduce plastic wasteWell, we made the switch to bar soap, but unfortunately bulk shopping has been suspended for the time being. Still trying to make a conscious effort wherever possible.

How are your #20for2020 lists / goals / new years resolutions coming along? Have you had to abandon them completely due to our situation or have you pushed through with a modified version. I love making these fun goals list to remind me of what I wanted to do at the outset of the year, and really, despite all that has happened, I am still well on my way to completing the list and making the most of 2020.

Stay safe and be well,

Steph

7 Tips to Take the Stress out of Decluttering

The never-ending story of decluttering. As long as we are living and buying things and bringing them into our homes, we will forever have to consider the declutter process. There are three ways a person can declutter their extra ‘stuff’

  1. Keep tabs on the amount of things coming into the house and balance it with a regular outflow of items
  2. Do massive ‘purges’ of all of your items every few years
  3. Ignore your clutter, allowing it to pile up, and eventually leave it for your descendants to deal with

In my opinion, and for the sake of this post, let’s agree that option #1 is the ideal scenario. However, for some of us already living the cluttered life, getting to that point can seem impossible, and the sheer volume of stuff we have already accumulated drains our motivation before we even start.

I have good news. It is never too late to start and no one has too much to start. Even better news – getting started is, without a doubt the HARDEST part of this entire process. So with that, let’s get started, one little bite at a time.

Tip #1 – Start with stuff you don’t care about

As I previously mentioned, getting started is the hardest part of the decluttering process. Usually when we start thinking about throwing our stuff away, our minds instantly leap to the things we care most about – mementos, gifts, heirlooms…. that kind of thing. And while we do have to tackle those categories at some point, let’s start with something easier. The kitchen – more specifically, the refrigerator. Your first step on a journey to a decluttered home starts with the fridge. Once shelf at a time, pull everything out and toss all of the expired, rotten and forgotten foods for good. Then wipe down the shelf and put back ONLY the items that you know will be eaten. By starting with the fridge, we are warming up our decluttering muscles without having to make difficult decisions about stuff we actually care about. The fridge is now clean and you are on your way!

Tip #2 – Make a Plan

This goes back to my first point about getting started. Without a plan, this process can feel crazy overwhelming. So, we will make a plan. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and take a 10-minute walk through your house. As you go through, write down all of the spaces that have become piled with clutter. For example – as you walk through the bedroom you might write: bedside table, closet, jewelry box etc. If there is a space that is particularly bothersome to you, put a star beside it. Once you are finished, make a list of places to declutter – STARRED ITEMS FIRST. I call this the ‘decluttering the places that drive me crazy’ method.

Tip #3 – Use a Timer

This is the most simple, and most critical piece of advice. Decide AHEAD of time how much time you have to dedicate to decluttering today. Five minutes, fifteen minutes, even one hour, whatever time you have, that is what you set the timer for. To clarify – do not set the timer for how long you think it will take to finish the job, set the timer for how much time YOU HAVE. Start the timer and get started on the first item on your starred list. When the timer goes off, toss your garbage bag, put donation items in their box and you are DONE for the day. This is KEY to avoiding OVERWHELM and get past a perfectionist mindset.

Tip #4 – Don’t take out more than you have time to put away!

Sometimes decluttering can be a messy business. Have you ever attempted to clean out a packed closet, pulled everything out and then had to abandon it mid-job? Often when this happens, we lose motivation to go back and finish what we started and the closet contents lay spread on the floor for days or even weeks until someone shoves it all haphazardly back into the closet and we are back at the beginning, having made no progress at all. So from here on, I want you to stick to this rule – only take out what you have time to deal with. One shelf at a time, one drawer at a time, one section of a closet. Tackle your spaces in small chunks. It will all still get done, I PROMISE.

Tip #5 – Find a final home for your things

My mom always says, ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. As annoying as it was to hear that phrase over and over as I searched through my disgusting teen bedroom looking for lost items, it couldn’t be more true. One of the biggest mistakes we make when we decluttering is putting items in a less than ideal place ‘for now’. Soon enough, ‘for now’ becomes ‘forever’ and the item is still in the way and not serving its best purpose for you. As you declutter, take the time to decide exactly where you are going to keep certain items and assign them to their homes. Choose places that make sense for the item’s usage and ensure that other people in the home know their locations.

Tip #6 – Don’t declutter other people’s things

Very small children and deceased or incapacitated relatives aside, it is never appropriate to declutter another person’s stuff. In an ideal situation, everyone in the household is equally concerned about the clutter situation and everyone tackles their own stuff and areas until the whole house is an idyllic scene of order and minimalism (sigh.. a girl can dream). For argument’s sake (and the sake of reality tbh), there is usually not an equal effort put forward in the decluttering of a house, which can be incredibly frustrating when you are motivated to get going. There are two easy ways to tackle this issue. First – try to get the other person involved, still remembering that THEY decide what is important to them. Second – assign an area for them to use as they please. For example – my husband and I each have separate drawers where we keep paperwork that is important to us. When stuff comes in for him, I can put it in his drawer and vice versa. This topic has many variations and complications, I understand that, but the moral is, you wouldn’t want someone else throwing out your stuff, so don’t do it to them.

Tip #7 – Practice

Decluttering takes practice. Throwing your stuff away takes practice. At first, it usually isn’t fun and can be really slow. Keep going. Each time you disconnect with an item and let it go, you are flexing your decluttering muscles, and as with any exercise, it gets easier. Work through your whole list of ‘areas that drive you the most crazy’, using a timer, only taking out as much as you have time to put away and soon enough, you will be a decluttering pro!

This really is the never-ending story, and if you truly want to live a decluttered or even a minimalist lifestyle, you will have to be on constant watch for clutter piles and unnecessary items invading your home. However, using these simple tips and keeping your compass set to progress and not to perfection, it will all get done.

Take care and be well

Steph

How a Daily Housekeeping Routine Saved me from Myself – The Flylady System Baby Steps for Beginners

*** FREE copy of the 21 Baby Steps tracker here***

It was in one of those most disastrous seasons of my life, home with a toddler and a brand new baby, when I reached my breaking point. My current method of cleaning and organizing consisted of 1. Clean the house to an impeccable level, get all of my bills paid, organize everything a la Mari Kondo and then, 2. Burn out, neglect all areas of housework and slowly let the house fall into shambles again. It was totally unsustainable and my mental health was suffering from my perfectionist-driven all-or-nothing approach.

Then, I found the Flylady system. I saw what other people were able to accomplish in short amounts of time and how their houses were seemingly ‘self-cleaning’ and I wanted all in. In actuality, my mother recognized my complete lack of routine and introduced me to the Flylady system she was familiar with from the 90’s and its predecessor ‘The Sidetracked Home Executives’ before that. We watched a few youtube videos together from How Jen Does It, A Better Life with Flylady Kat and ultimately landed on Diane in Denmark. After originally attempting to implement the entire sytstem in one day and failing multiple times, I finally attempted the Flylady baby steps. Here is was – the entire system laid out in daily, bite-sized chunks – each adding a little bit more onto the last.

My multiple failures showed me that this was not a mountain to be conquered overnight, after all – as the Flylady Marla Cilley herself says, “Your house did not get messy in a day, its not going to get clean in a day either”. I have been through the Baby Steps as prescribed and after a year of practice, I pared them down to what I felt were the 21 ‘essential’ baby steps.

Here is my version of the Flylady Baby Steps. Download the FREE 21 Days to a Clean Home Printable here and follow along with me!

  1. Shine your sink
  2. Dress to shoes
  3. 2-minute hot spot
  4. Build a Control Journal
  5. Start a dishes routine
  6. Declutter every day
  7. Set out clothes for tomorrow
  8. Make the bed
  9. Digital declutter
  10. Complete the daily flylady mission
  11. Check your calendar for the next day
  12. Do one load of laundry every day
  13. Get to bed at a decent hour
  14. Swish the bathroom
  15. Set items out for tomorrow at your launch pad
  16. Plan for dinner
  17. Add an anti-procrastination day
  18. Car & Purse clean out
  19. Add a day to plan and pay bills
  20. Take time for self care
  21. Implement a weekly home blessing hour
FREE 21 Days to a Clean Home Printable here!

As you go through these steps, focus on what works for you, and what doesn’t. Not everything will make sense for everyone and most things will need some adjustment to fit your life just perfectly. As your life changes, so will your routines, but, having the basics down and being used to getting up and starting the day with the same few habits will make a huge impact in your productivity and mood.

This journey is all about progress, I encourage you to go through the baby steps once and continue on your way. Attempting to do the 21 days perfectly over and over again is an act of needless futility. Learn the steps, figure out what works for you and get going each day with the goal of doing what you can with the time and energy you have. Even two years in, I rarely have a ‘perfect day’ – but I keep going and little by little the house gets clean, and stays clean.

If I can overcome my slobby ways, I know anyone can. You just have to start at day 1.

As always, I would love to hear about your progress with the baby steps, and how you are tweaking them to work for you!

Talk soon, be well.

Steph

Summer Bucket List 2020!

To-do lists, reading lists, cleaning lists, future project lists, even budgeting brings me joy. My favourite type of list, above all others is the bucket list. All the things I dream of packing into one summer before the days shorten and the snow falls. As we add children to our family and the dynamic changes, so does the list. Every summer is different, and therefore every summer bucket list is different. This one is no exception.

This summer we have a (fairly new) baby, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. We are still in the grips of a worldwide pandemic and, for the first time in my life, travel is severely limited. This will not stop us from making the most of every sunny day and having the best possible summer of 2020. We will improvise!

My summer bucket list from last year (2019) looked a little different since I was pregnant and the whole world was open!

I don’t put too much pressure on myself to complete the whole list, and often it just serves as a quick idea go-to for those days when you think, what could we do today?

Here is my official, everything is closed, SUMMER 2020 BUCKET LIST:

  • Build a massive Slip & Slide – on a hill, probably with dish soap for extra slippery-ness
  • Make snow cones – Blender, ice and frozen juice concentrate for this easy summer treat
  • Build a sandcastle – We have a sandbox at home, but I am going to aim high and try to get this one at an actual beach!
  • Swim in the river – Nothing beats a cool swim on a hot day!
  • Go camping – This will be our first year with all three kids (including a baby) wish us luck!
  • Sleep in the tent (backyard counts!) – Likely without the baby. This might be a Dad task 😉
  • Chalk up the whole driveway with art – I have some seriously artsy kids, we just need to get the chalk and let them go for it!
  • Fly a kite – A christmas gift!
  • Library summer reading challenge – I am so thankful they are running this program again despite the library still being closed!
  • Have a bonfire – S’mores and hot dogs optional but recommended!
  • Go hiking – Again, something we have never attempted with three kids, but if we want to have active, outdoorsy kids, gotta start them young!
  • Tie Dye T-shirts – All the cool kids are doing it!
  • Picnic in the park – With teddies, of course.
  • Make huge soap bubbles – My dad was famous for this one, I will have to ask for his help!
  • Go kayaking – No kids here, hoping to get a babysitter and head out with the hubby for a peaceful evening on the lake
  • Pick berries (and make a pie!) – Saskatoons are a local favourite!
  • Paint rocks to hide around town – I just love this idea and my kids are always thrilled when we find one!
  • Backyard movie night – Hot chocolate, pillows, laptop, and mosquito net!
  • Wilderness scavenger hunt – Pinecone, leaf, flower – go!
  • Look at the stars – And hopefully see a shooting star!

Did you see any ideas that you would like to try? I would love to hear how you are making the most of your summer with fun, simple and safe activities, let me know in the comments1

Steph

That time when my house was a complete disaster

I was born a slob. This was something that I was totally ok with. Until I had kids. My kids took my standard-issue messy house, turned it upside-down and shook. By the time I realized how bad it was, I was so completely overwhelmed that I was in tears nearly every other day. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want that for your kids. I don’t want for anyone ever again.

I needed a system, I needed routine, and I needed help. I first learned about the Flylady system of cleaning from my mother, an avid consumer of cleaning vlogs and all things organization. After devouring hours of youtube cleaning videos I figured I had nothing to lose and went for it.

The first thing I did, was what I usually do: go all in, attempt to implement an entire system in one day, get totally frazzled and quit. I would then let everything go, the house would get completely trashed and I would vow to start again on Monday. This went on for a few months, until I eventually read the life changing book ‘Better than Before’ by Gretchen Rubin. From this book I finally gained the invaluable life lesson that new, good habits cannot be established overnight, and definitely not en masse. Like any muscle, habits need to be exercised regularly, and work best when they are added into our lives gradually.

So I chose one habit. Just one. The one that I thought I could stick with and also that would make the biggest difference for the amount of effort required – making my bed every morning.

I made my bed every single day, and from that day forward, it is the one habit that has stuck the strongest, through pregnancy, illness and crazy rushed days. Once I felt like that habit was happening automatically, I added another – loading and starting the dishwasher at night and unloading it in the morning. After that one took hold, I added another, until I was taking care of my house without thinking about it.

Without a doubt, I still have days when nothing happens the home takes a major backslide, but, being able to know exactly what to do each day without much of a thought, makes it a million times easier to take back control and whip my home into shape.

So if this is you, and you are reading this with a pile of laundry beside you, a sea of dishes in the sink and a bed that looks more like a bird’s nest than an adult human’s sleeping surface – I have been there. I have been there and therefore I know you don’t have to be. Start small, pick one habit that will make a difference for you today, and flex that muscle until it sticks.

Start small, start today, keep going. You got this.

Steph

We’ve come a long way baby, and this is just the beginning.

Here I am. Right back where I started when I was lost in a sea of laundry, dishes and diapers. Desperate to find a way to finally get accountable to my homemaking, or to be honest, total lack thereof. I had read a lot about habit forming (because of course, one must research before taking any action, such as, say folding a shirt..) and popular studies agreed that having something or someone to hold you accountable is one of the best ways to help nurture new habits. But where on earth was I going to find a housekeeping accountability partner?? If I asked a friend, it would mean admitting to a friend that I was a complete slob, and my ego just couldn’t take that. I could pay someone, like a life coach, to check in with me regularly and cheer me on as I dusted my baseboards and vacuumed dust bunnies… but I decided if I was going to pay someone to cheer me while I clean my house, I would rather just pay someone to clean my house. Cut out the middleman you know? So I decided to start a blog.

This blog was going to be the greatest blog ever. I was going to find like-minded moms who had the same struggles as me and we would bond over which dusting mitt was the best and what ratio of vinegar to water we would use in our DIY cleaning sprays.

I set it up, sat down to write, got two sentences in and quit. Yep, I quit. After two sentences!! I just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to blog about cleaning! Where on earth would I even start. And that is when it hit me. I love being on camera, and I can talk for hours, why not start a vlog. After all, I was first inspired to find a cleaning system after watching Jen from ‘How Jen does it’ and Diane from ‘Diane in Denmark’ whip through their daily routines with ease and grace. THAT COULD BE ME!! And ‘The Secret Slob’ Channel was born.

Now two years later, that little channel has helped me find my way through letting go of perfection and embracing every little bit of progress I make. As an incredible bonus, the most incredible, positive, uplifting and supportive group of people has formed around the channel and became what I affectionately refer to as ‘the most positive corner of the internet’. If you have ever watched a video, commented positive words of encouragement, , passed the channel along to an overwhelmed mom, or cheered on a fellow secret slob, thank you. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. The Secret Slob channel saved me from a life of stress and overwhelm and every day I get messages from people who it has helped in exactly the same way.

And now, the story continues. The blog is back! I have so many ideas, resources, picture and of course, FREE PRINTABLES that I want to share with my awesome community, and this is where it is all going to happen. I will still keep up my YouTube channel, vlogging is my first love after all, but I am so so so excited to open up this page and really build a place where we can meet and share all of the ideas that make our lives simpler and more joyful.

Welcome to the Secret Slob blog, I do hope you will stay a while.

Steph