Morning Day One – Starting With A Plan

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Day One: Getting up was easy as I had a Morning Plan. I had three items on my to-do list that I wanted to complete before the girls woke up. Because I woke up with those three tasks in mind, I was motivated to get out of bed and get started. In the past I have always had a vague to-do list, but waking up with only three specific items in mind helped me to focus on getting up and completing the tasks before I moved onto anything else.

I even started in on the tasks before coffee was started. What?!?

I believe that this helped me immensely. Other mornings when I get up at 6:00, I may throw in a load of laundry and then spend the first 30 minutes with coffee and my phone. While it’s a relaxing way to start the morning (e-mail, facebook, twitter, and news) it kills my productivity from the start.

I have no intention of giving up on ALL peaceful, relaxed mornings like that. I think that it has a part in some mornings, just not all.

Here is my tip for an early morning wake up:

Create a short to-do list or schedule of your first hour of the day. Be specific. Be realistic.

Starting your morning with a plan. Create a short to-do list or schedule of your first hour of the day. Be specific. Be realistic.

Make the list the evening before. You can wake up, make your coffee, and start in on your tasks for the morning.

Read more about how to use your evening when making a plan for tomorrow.

I cannot take full credit on my productive morning. My girls slept in until 8:00, so I had two Bonus Hours this morning. I can get used to this.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

What a beautiful way to start my morning.

This post is from day 1 of my journey to make the most of my mornings by creating an early morning wake-up habit. Read all about it here: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning.

Productivity – Looking for a Balance

Productivity. Is this key? Or should this be banished from my goals during this phase of life with two little ones?

I read all the headlines: How to Get More Done in a Day. Maximize Your Mornings. How to Get Up Early. Organize Your Home. Declutter in a month. Write a Book in 30 days. (Seriously?) I see them and consider scheduling my next day accordingly. I considered scheduling each and every day out to the hour. Or more frequently…

Looking for a Balance in Daily Schedule
Schedule My Day To Every Half Hour??

Sign up for every 30-day challenge you can find! E-mail me (daily, please) listing my task for the day and I will do it all! Sure! E-mail me every hour!

Then I look at my two daughters and reconsider. Does it matter that I have crossed 7 things off my to-do list by 8 AM? If they are my main focus, does it matter if I get anything else done?

Balance. It’s a balancing act that I’m trying to figure out. While focusing on being mom, I don’t spend as much time doing the activities I used to enjoy. I have mothering and household duties at the top of my list. This is just fine by me; it’s the most wonderful blessing I could ask for. My girls and husband are way more precious than getting on a 6 mile run. But…that doesn’t mean that I need to never workout or enjoy any other ME time. I just need to find those minutes that I’m not desperately needed by my sweet girls.

I want to get more done in a day, but not at the detriment of less quality time with my girls. How do I plan on doing this?

– Get Up Early

– Add snippets of scheduled time to my day

– Waste Less Time…this just may include time online.

– Add efficiencies and organization to my day, so I can truly ENJOY the unscheduled time with my girls. Too much of the time, I’m staring at what I need to clean, cook, and organize and it’s hard for me to sit down and give 100% of my time. A piece of this is continuing my goal to declutter and simplify the home.

What is my starting point??

Get Up Early – I’m setting a goal to get up at 6:00 AM every morning for 2 weeks. I am a night owl TO THE CORE, so this is not easy for me. Why? Getting up early starts with going to bed early. And the girls going to bed early. It’s just a continuous cycle…

I have had months of inconsistency in getting up early.

Productivity Looking for a Balance

When I am up and I have that Bonus Hour before the girls wake up, I enjoy every second and wonder why I don’t do it every morning. So here it goes! Day 1: Success!

What one change made a drastic difference on the course of my days? I decided to make the most of my mornings by creating an early morning wake-up habit. I think you should give it a shot! Read all about it here: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning.

My Mom Knows Best – Exercise, fresh air, and 30 minutes of space

How is it that moms just seem to know what is best? My mom has about a 98% accuracy rate when it comes to this. She was in town to make Christmas cookies, among other holiday festivities. It has been a trying week with my three-old. She is showing a strong-willed, defiant side.

Given her history, I believe this is just a phase. She is just testing her limits and checking out who is the boss of this house. Impatience and frustration are not daily parenting struggles for me. (Worry? That is another story.) This week, impatience and frustration are the name of the game. I am spending much of the day reminding myself that she is watching my every reaction. She is taking notes and I will see it all again. If I flip out and yell…she will add that to her set of tools when deciding how to react to life. I want her to handle her life with grace and patience, so I must do the same. I must model how I want her to act during frustrating situations.

So hard right now. Grace and patience is NOT coming easy.

My mom gave me exactly what I needed today.

Encouragement and…

Mom Knows Best

she watched the girls so I could go on a run. Exercise, fresh air, and 30 minutes of space.

I feel so refreshed right now.

Procrastination Baking – Meringue Cookies

Meringue Cookies

Procrastination Baking: Baking to avoid other more necessary household duties or responsibilities, typically occurs during children’s naptime. After a rough morning.

Any free time I have during the afternoon has drastically been cut short due to lack of napping for my three-year old. Any time I get during the afternoon must start with a quick decision of what I am going to try and get done. I have no time to waste; I must decide. Cleaning, laundry, quick workout, or other household duties. Or…sit down with a book, magazine, or computer. Be productive? Or relax and recharge for the late afternoon and evening? Or bake.

It can be my way to avoid any responsible household duties I may have. And honestly? I want to eat a little cookie dough or brownie batter. It’s the perfect medicine after a rough morning. I have no shame in that.

Meringue Cookies

At times I wish that my procrastination baking was procrastination cooking. Making dinner instead of dessert, would make dinnertime so much easier. But I just don’t find it as fun to cut up raw chicken and disinfect the kitchen many times over, when I could be licking the cookie dough from the bowl instead.

After an unusually unpleasant morning, I have decided that some Procrastination Baking is needed this afternoon. I make a tasty meringue, but typically not a pretty one. So I’m shooting for a little eye-candy in my meringue today. I’m also hoping to finish before I’m greeted by: “I’m all done sleeping, mom”.

So…get out the egg whites and sugar. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. My mixer was working on this for about 10 minutes.

Meringue Cookie Baking

Gradually beat in sugar. Add vanilla.

Baking Meringue Cookies

Fold in chocolate chips. I like to use mini-chocolate chips, as they go further. Less can be added in and there will still be chocolate with every bite. It’s MUCH healthier as you can add less! At Christmastime, I use Andes peppermint baking chips.

Dollop on cookie sheet, covered in parchment paper.

Meringue Cookies

Bake for 30 minutes. They should be just lightly browned.

Baked Meringues. Holiday Baking.

 
Next step: Consume. It’s a lot of sugar, but so tasty. :)

Procrastination Baking - Meringue Cookies.

 

Meringue Cookies
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 egg whites
  2. ¼ teaspoon salt
  3. ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1 ¼ cup sugar
  6. ¾ – 1 cup mini chocolate chips.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Gradually beat in sugar.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Dollop on cookie sheet, covered in parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. They should be just lightly browned.
Notes
  1. Other variations I have tried: butterscotch chips, Andes peppermint chips.
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Distracted By Devices…Finding a Balance

I have been forced to reevaluate this morning. I read two articles regarding the distractions of technology and how this impacts our relationships. These are not the first articles I have read regarding this topic and I have made changes in the past, but they have been small changes. I read two articles this morning that have now motivated even more change in how I use my smartphone.

When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices

For The Children’s Sake, Put Down That Smartphone

I was reading these articles as my daughter ate breakfast. She was facing my back as I was busy reading. She was eating her breakfast by herself, chatting to herself. I was too busy reading to join her. What am I telling her by making her look at my back while she is eating breakfast? She is not worth my time…yikes. Not my intention at all!

And so I shut my computer off.

Distracted By Devices...Finding a Balance. Shutting off the computer.

I would love to just walk away from it, but I know that it will be so much more tempting if it’s still open. All the tabs…showing me the articles I have saved to read.

I sat with my sweet daughter while she finished her banana and cheerios. Eye contact. We had the greatest conversation. When I sit and chat with her I’m amazed at how her little 3 year-old brain works. When I sit and have a conversation with her most of what she says makes me smile or laugh. When I’m “busy” on my phone or computer, her comments are rarely as dear. Eye-opening. There is so much more to cherish in her sweet face and conversation than whatever article is asking for my attention.

Now, this does not mean that I intend for my computer and phone to go away for every second my daughters are awake. I feel strongly that self-directed and independent play is very important. They do not need me constantly hovering around them. I will send an e-mail or read an article while my daughters are awake and playing. BUT…this should be a very small part of my day. My goal is to be very aware. Find a balance. I want to stay away from mindless phone-checking.

Where do I go from here? Here is my starting point:

– Use hours (or at time, minutes) that no one needs me for e-mail, reading news and other articles, blogging, and social media. Goal: Early morning hours would be a wonderful time for this? Currently working on…

– I’m going to find periods during my day when my computer is shut and my phone is off in another room. I have kiddos and household duties to attend to. My device can wait. Goal: Shut down and disconnect to connect.