Monday, July 27, 2015

Time Management Tips for Busy Moms

When you go from Stay at/Work at Home Mama to Working Mama one thing becomes even more important.

Time Management

For me, I didn't want to give up any of the at home things I was doing when I started working out of the house. So I knew one of two things would have to happen. I would either have to give up something or become really efficient with my time.

Time Management was going to be the key to success for this now Working Mom.

How one working mom has become efficient with my time utilizing these time management tips, an A to Z list.

Here is my A to Z list of Time Management Tips for Moms.

A: Anticipate -- Set aside a time of the week when you plan out your week. Is there a day you need to plan some carpooling? What appointments are this upcoming week that you need to plan for?

B: Block your Calendar -- I actually do this a few weeks at a time. I have a pretty set schedule so I can block in the big stuff and just fill in the weekly stuff in my anticipation session.

C: Cross off the Daily Tasks -- add those daily tasks to your DAILY to do list. Yes write SHOWER on that list. Write GET DRESSED on that list. There is something motivating about crossing things off a list. Did you do something you forgot to put on this list? Add it and CROSS IT OFF!

D: Dinner after the Dishes -- Plan out tomorrow's dinner after you take care of the dinner dishes (even if that mean tossing them into the sink to wash a different day --- yep I do that!) This way you don't have to worry about "What's for dinner?" at the beginning of the witching hours, I mean 4 pm.

E: Elsa it! -- What? Come on what do you think of when I say Elsa ... Let It Go! sometimes you just have to Let It Go - quit beating yourself up, God gives us grace, extend some to yourself.

F: Flexibility -- I am not referring to bending over backward to make it all happen. I am referring to life happens and there will times that you just have to bend.

G: GPS -- Use it to plan your routes so that you are  not driving all over town getting your errands done. Do you have to go to an appointment on one side of town, but still need get groceries? GPS and see if there is a grocery store near your appointment.

H: Honey Do List -- I know men hate this list. I am more referring to just delegating. Can your 5 year old feed the dog? Have them do it! Can your 15 year old change the trash cans? Have them do it! You (Sara) do not have to do it all!

I: Intentional -- Be intentional and mindful of your time. If you plan to spend 10 minutes on one task,, don't spend 20.

J: Jump Start -- This honestly has been the biggest stress reliever for me. When I wake up (intentionally) before the rest of the family I get to ease into my day, and not have to be "on" from the moment I open my eyes.

K: Keep relationships a priority -- It takes a village right? Be part of the village, not the one who is always working, always needing to accomplish this or that.

L: Leisure Time with Family -- All work and no play does not make for a happy family.

M: Multi-Task (When appropriate!) -- Folding clothes and ironing - This is a great time to catch up on some podcasts you want to learn from. Making dinner and having to wait for water to boil? Empty or load the dish washer.

N: Notepads -- Keep on handy at all times! You never know when you will need one! Inspiration can strike anytime, any place! Just last night I see a cute (expensive) cart for the bathroom at Target -- Oh I need something like that for circle time! Write down, look for cart for circle time.

O: Outsource -- Hire help if you need to or can. Can't do that, find ways to swap skills with friends. Do you need time to yourself? So does your bestie! Swap time with kids -- win/win! You and your bestie get to recharge and kids get playdates!

P: Prioritize -- Yes, do the most important stuff first. This also means do the stuff that you hate doing first. Get it done and get it over with!

Q: Quiet Time -- You are a busy mom.. Quiet time is necessary to recharge your batteries. For me this is time spent in actual silence, no music, no tv. Just quiet. So refreshing.

R: Running To Do List -- This is not your daily to do list, this is just the on-going list of things you want to get done. As you schedule time to complete these things you will move them from your Running To Do List to your Daily To Do List.

S: Shortcuts My Friend -- It is okay to use sauce from the jar. It is smart to prep your meals before hand. It is okay to use a cake mix. From a dietitian that just did a CPU for us at work -- "frozen vegetables are okay, so are canned -- I just want to get vegetables in them!"

T: Technology -- There really is an app for that. I am not a big app person for keeping my schedule, but let me tell you ... the alarm clock on my phone -- would not be able to function without it! I set it for everything! At work or at home, yep I use it all time. The repeat function saves me so much time. I just set them all up once and go!

U: Utilize Waiting Time -- this ties into appropriate multitasking. Don't try to combine two things that need focus, but if you are waiting for the cake to finish baking this is a great time to sort the pile of mail sitting on the counter.

V: Verbalize! The word is "NO" you need to use it. You only have 24 hours in 1 day. You need to sleep, rest, and eat at least 8 of those. That leaves you with 16. You will need to say "no." And no, it is not a cuss word.

W: While You Wait Bag: You have one for the kids. Toys, books, apps on the phone - you have things to keep them occupied while you are waiting for this or that. Have one for yourself. Toss a book in your bag, write out thank you cards or a note to someone, a knitting project you are working on. You can be productive while you wait it just takes some planning.

X: X out time for yourself. This is a must. If you don't you are going to crash and burn. Speaking from experience. THIS IS A MUST.

Y: You must USE it: It's great if you can make your day work perfectly on paper. You must open your planner and see what is going on. You must look at your lists and get things done. You must use it or none of this will work.

Z: ZZZZZ's You must get them. Sleep is not an option. Have a bedtime routine. Teach your body when to start winding down for the day. Get restful sleep you will be amazed how much more you will accomplish just being well rested.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Coming Soon!

So I did it again ... two months later I am finally updating the blog.

If I have had you as a reader for a long time I am sorry that I do this to you from time to time, but I want to thank you for sticking around.

Life has been gone through another cycle of ups and downs.. Many more ups than downs this time around.. I am not sure I even have the words to explain it all. I will over time - and it gives me some great content to share later!  haha.

I will fill in two things ... I am now a working (out of the house) mama. The balance to make that happen has been part of all the ups and downs. I will fill you in on how that all came to be in a later post, it is totally a God thing. The other is that we are MOVING!!! (Would it be wrong to fill this whole post with exclamation points? - Yes it would Sara, yes it would!)

Not that I am counting, but we get our keys in 59 days (from the point of writing this).

Because of these two major things I would like to say that I am ready to jump in and post new stuff daily! Let's be honest, I am just not there yet, but I am really going to put the energy in and get things continued in the right direction.

Hickman Five Blogging Schedule

Working Mama Monday is for all those trials and tribulations of being a working mom. (And hubby is working a mid-shift job so this is going to be fun! God is really having fun in our lives right now!)

Tell Me About It Tuesday is still for anything I have time to review. Let's be honest, reviewing is not happening right now. I mean for real -- I don't have time for that right now. So the what I am telling you about might take a different spin.  (It may even take a new theme as time goes on --- like maybe Teaching Tidbits Tuesdays)

What's New Wednesday is going to come back. I met a few of you in Vegas and you said you liked linking up, so I will do my best to bring it back! I will also be talking about my latest project, or newest product on Wednesday.

Who doesn't love Throwback Thursday? It may be school oriented, business oriented, life oriented, who knows .... you are just going to have to tune in to see!

Fun-Filled Family - Yep, that is going to be a family post, something having to do with a Hickman Five Adventure or something these crazy kids say.  :)

Saturday and Sundays have not theme, they are my free for all. Maybe even free of posting. We shall see.

This week will not have many posts, seeing that I am going to be writing them and scheduling to make sure they post.  But the week after will start to have regular posts again, I hope.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Heart Belongs to Two Men.

My heart belongs to two men and my husband is perfectly okay with that. 

I have always heard the cliche statement, "You heart will just grow in love and you will be able to love one just as much as you love the other." As women we usually hear this when we are fearful of having a second child. And it is true - you don't love one less so that you can love them equally. You just get more room to love. 

Isn't it amazing that God loves us so much that He gave his ONE AND ONLY Son so that we can have a life with Him! Think about it mamas, HIS ONE AND ONLY SON. 

Could you have done it? There is no way on God's green Earth that I would give up my ONE AND ONLY son. Even if God asked me to, I would be holding on so very tight, I wouldn't be able to let go. Sure, God, yes He is yours, but you gave him to me! You can't have him back.  He has my heart!

Baby Boy, Day 1

The day that Little Mister was laying on my chest (yes in this picture he is not even a day old) no longer brewing in my belly. My heart grew 3 sizes! Yep, I experienced exactly what The Grinch did!. My heart belonged to another man now. My husband now has to share. He is okay with that by the way.  

At the time of writing this Little Mr is 9 days shy of 3 and 1/2.

I love him more today on day 1262 than I did on day 1.  

I love him more today than I did on day 1 because ... 

I have seen how passionate he is ... that will take him to places he hasn't even thought of yet. Oh and he is a thinker!

Just like his daddy he loves to laugh. He loves to make you laugh! When he realizes he made you laugh he won't quit. According to him, "Quitting is a bad thing Mama." Just remember that when things get hard baby.

He is a lover with spunk. Don't let this sweet, sweet darling face fool you. He loves hard. Knock you to the floor with a flying bear hug hard. For him love him hard in return. The harder the better!

Dirt + Cars = One Happy Boy. I am so thankful that he is 3 1/2 now. I can let him spend as much time outside as his little heart desires with minimal supervision. He is so content to take his cars outside and just play in the sandbox or the grass.

Helper extraordinaire in the kitchen. Give him time and he will be doing it all on his own. Watch out ladies, he might have mama's gifts in the kitchen. Another skill that will take him far!

Be still my beating heart. What did I do to be this blessed? I don't deserve any of this. Thank you God for loving me this much and so much more..

He is adventurous, curious, and daring.

Watch out world! He is going to get you!

Full of life since day one. Stolen this Mama's heart from breathe one.

I thank God for him. Even on the days when I can't get pass the fighting, hitting, pushing, arguing and crying -- I thank God for my son. I thank God that I don't have to give up my one and only son. I couldn't do it. I would be giving up my heart.

Mommy loves you Monkey Man. More than my words will ever be able to express.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What's New Wednesday: Link Up

Good Morning Lovlies!

I hope you have had a wonderful week. What's New in your world this Wednesday?

Newest in our world - Hickman #1 will be working from home - eek. I am not sure if I mentioned it but once again he was looking for a job. Seriously we have had the worst luck lately. He has been looking for about 5 weeks this time. I am really hoping (praying actually) that this is the last one.

Funny how God likes to show us He is listening. I have started writing our prayers, things we need on a post it or paper and putting it in my bible. This is exactly what I wrote "God we need Keith to get a job, a career really, that can take care of this family - in abundance. Thank you for all you do." The next day he was offered the job that he accepted. IF it is what they say, it is well in abundance. If it is HALF what they claim it is still more than what we need. If it is 1/4 of what they say it is we are covered . I am hopeful. Next week will show us much more.

What's New on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook?

Teachers Pay Teachers
Teachers Notebook

This is my newest Freebie.. It is a sample of the Bugs, Bugs, Glorious Bugs bundle. It has a little something from most of the resources in the bugs and insect bundle.

I have taken the Bugs and Insects bundle and split it into 8 packets if you are looking for just a portion.  Remember, bundles are 30% off purchasing all the portions individually.

Thank you to all of you who linked up last week! I got so busy that I wasn't even really able to promote it at all. We had over 30 link ups!

Now it's your turn! What's New in your world?

This link up is for your newest products (1 paid, 1 free - TPT or TN) and/or your newest blog post.

Can't wait to check them out!

Review: I Finally Quit by David Ross

When it was presented that Heather Randall of Christian Women Affiliates had a “different” book for us to review and wanted to make sure she had willing reviewers I took a chance. I read the summary of I Finally Quit by David Ross on Amazon. I replied to her, I would be willing to review it. And here we are.  

So, I Finally Quit by David Ross is a memoir with a call to action. David Ross was successful, engaged, and at the top of his game when his world came crashing down and sent him straight off the cliff, metaphorically of course.  You see Ross was all those things, but he was a alcoholic and a smoker.

Ross takes you through a series of “fortunate” events. Horrible, but “fortunate” events that took him from where he was to the lowest of lows and back up the mountain. This time that mountain was a different mountain, one of sobriety. This mountain lead to living, really living, not just existing.

When I read the summary of “I Finally Quit” I thought to myself, okay I don’t really have things that I need to quit … like this. I have other things I am sure, but not like this. His story sounds really interesting and maybe it will give me some concrete tools to pass on smokers and drinkers in my life.  

That was my expectation. Having finished the book I don’t feel like my expectations were met. I know what David used, but he didn’t give any tools on how to take what he did and use it for yourself. The final 10 pages of the book or so are a call to action. The action being join the “I Finally Quit Movement” through the  I felt this was a little like pleading, honestly.

What I didn’t expect was to find myself so incredibly intrigued by this story. I actually found myself wanting to come back to the book and find out more. How did he do it? What did he go through next? I found it amazing that he quit drinking without being checked into a rehab facility.  When you read about what he went through I dare you to not be amazed by what God can do in people’s lives … even when they don’t really seem to know Him all that much. Ross mentions that it was obvious God’s hand was on his life and he talks about one time where he saw an angel. It did not appear that he was actively seeking, or in a relationship with God while all this was happening to him.  

I wanted to know more. I went to, I registered and looked around. He has groups for anything you want to quit -- low self worth, sweets and sugar, complaining -- right now there are 16 support groups. The movement is newer, but the dream of this movement is what got him through the dark temptations.  

His story may be what you need to take that next step into quitting the thing you want to quit. His website might just be the thing you need to connect with the support that is going to help you move to quitter.

You can become a quitter here>
You can pick up a copy of “I Finally Quit” here> The I Finally Quit Movement: Recruiting an Army of Quitters
You can like I Finally Quit on Facebook here>

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What's New Wednesday Link Up!

I know I have basically fallen off the face of the earth. Through each person getting sick over the last few months, allergies, job losses, some not-so constructive criticism and a class at church ... I guess I fell off a bit.

But ... I am back!

So here we are spinning our plates again. I am sure something will fall off again, but then we will just pick it up and get going again. Success is a journey.

What is New here with The Hickman Five

1. I have become a Jamberry Nail Wraps consultant. I know get paid to have pretty nails and help you have pretty nails too!

I am hosting my #instalaunchparty over on Instagram! Come party with me. I was just challenged to join the 25% club! To do that I need to sell 12 more wraps! Want to help? Get your wraps here.

2. I have added more to my Teachers Notebook shop and my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Teachers Notebook is mostly new by adding products that have already been in my Teachers Pay Teachers. It seems like there is a different clientele at both places, so I am enjoying have both stores open. Seeing that I have not been doing as much marketing as I would like on either it is nice that thing have been still selling on both.

Seeing that it is What's New Wednesday I am going to share with you one of the new products that is available on both stores.

This Robot Bundle is has 8 Hands On Resources! You can check it out here on Teachers Pay Teachers and here on Teachers Notebook.

What about you? What have you been up to? Link up below -- please limit product links to your newest (not shared before) 1 paid product and 1 free product. You can link up from either store. You may also link up your newest (1) blog post.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Supermarket Healthy by Melissa D'arabian

"Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well without Spending a Lot" -- yes please! That is exactly what I need. This is the promise that Melissa D'arabian makes on the cover of her recent cookbook "Supermarket Healthy." This book came out of the desire for D'arabian to feed her family of 4 healthy without breaking the bank at all those fancy health food stores.

Something dangerous happens when you pick a cookbook to review from a small snippet of a description and a well worded sub-title. You take the chance that there is nothing in this book your family will eat. The struggle is real with 2 picky eaters in the family. And no I am not referring to the kids. Little Mr. is rather picky and I am in a high sensitivity season where 90% of what I eat sends me right into stomach aches and other delightful things that a lady does not discuss.

When I received this book from Blogging for Books I jumped to flag all the pages of things that we might be willing to try. Let me tell you there are several. I go to make the grocery list to add some of these items to the list to try out some new recipes to find out that The Mr was let go from his job. Grocery budget just went from having some buffer to barebone basics, no extras not trying nothing new. If it is not something we know we will eat, it cannot be purchased.

So I held off on reviewing thinking he might land something soon and we could try out a recipe. Well, he is still looking ...

Seeing this beautiful book sitting there I just had to re-open the pages. I happened to open to a page called "Blue Prints".  These are pages that tell you how to do make xyz without giving you the actual ingredients. So you can step out of recipe box. I could used things I had and still make something newer.

So I tried out one of these blue prints and they are great! You just follow the 2 or 3 steps and you are done.

Here are some of my highly scientific and completely quirky ways that I look at cookbooks - and how "Supermarket Healthy" stands up against them.

1. Is it pretty? Do you want to open it? Do you want to hug it, love on it and treat it well?

Yes. The cover is what drew me in.

2. When you open it ... How many pages do you need to turn to find pictures? Just a few (yeah!)? Are all the pictures in the middle of the book (boo)?

When I opened the book I happened to land on a dual page recipe, but I turned the page and there was a beautiful picture of "Soba Noodles with Garlicky Clams and Fennel" smiling up at me -- not that this picky eater would ever consider putting that in my mouth.

3. Are the recipes easy to read and follow?

Now although I have yet to make one I have read several of them. Very easy! Now, I am somewhat of a natural in the kitchen. I like to be in the kitchen. I like to cook. So ... would my sister who can bake, but ask her to make more than dessert and she might have a bit of an anxiety attack, be able to make these? Definitely! There are no fancy terms or difficult directions.

4. The real test -- would we eat the majority of the recipes?

No. To be honest, I flagged things that we would try, but of the over 150 recipes I would venture to say we wouldn't even eat more than 50 of them. My mom made a good point, the author is from California and they have a different style of eating than we do here in the midwest. That shows in this cookbook.

You can tell that Melissa D'arabian really started this cookbook to take care of her family. Very few of the recipes take more than an hour from start to finish (according to prep and cook times) -- that is good for busy moms, but the recipes are fancier than I would make on just "any night".

Overall, I think this is a good cookbook and worth the investment if you are looking for healthier options while still only shopping at your local supermarket. I also think you have to be more open minded to the things you are eating and preparing for your family to really enjoy this book.

I mentioned it above, but I want to make it clear. I did receive this cookbook from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are 100% mine.


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