Time for the Little Things

 

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Every year around this time it seems like there are too many things to do and not enough time to do them all. As of today there are only 19 days until Christmas! Kinda makes me want to slap my hands on my cheeks and let out a Kevin-from-Home-Alone style AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

So, as I was looking over the list of things I needed to do last weekend, which included writing this week’s blog posts, getting out our family Christmas cards, doing some Christmas shopping, scheduling a night for making and decorating Christmas cookies, doing 7 loads of laundry, getting groceries, cleaning, grading papers, planning Christmas gifts for my high school students, coming up with more places for Fiddle, our Elf on the Shelf, to hide…yada, yada, yada–I know I’m not the only one with a list like this right now, I realized that nowhere in that list of 20+ tasks did it mention my family.

Sure, I could rationalize it all by saying I was doing all of those things “for my family,” but I decided I wanted to add more things under the “WITH my family” category to my list. It was time to edit my To-Do list.

My To-DO and NOT To-Do List

1. Block out one night per week on the calendar when everyone stays home together.

This is when we can make and decorate cookies, watch Christmas movies, play games, and all of our other traditional holiday activities, often with a fire crackling in the fireplace.

2. Delegate more cleaning and errand tasks to hubby and my older boys.

Many hands make light work! Luckily my guys are all willing to pitch in — I just need to remember to TELL them what needs to be done rather than huff around the house irritably picking up other people’s things like the grand martyr I can be. :-/

3. Cut myself some slack.

I have perfectionist aspirations even though my real life execution often falls short. If I can just lower that bar a little, maybe I’d be more okay with getting Christmas cards out a week or two later, not being so Johnny-on-the-spot about having everything picked up every night before bed, etc. And maybe we’ll pick up fast food a little more often these next few weeks.

4. Reduce the number of blog posts each week.

I had been trying to keep up with a post-every-weekday schedule, and I’ve done that for the most part since last March. However, as I look back at all of my posts, I see there are many that probably could have been combined. Why not do one post per week featuring my favorite outfits rather than posting 3 or 4 separate outfit posts per week? Why not indeed. So starting THIS WEEK, I’ll be scaling back the number of ETS posts to maybe 2 or 3 per week.

5. Push back the opening of my Everyday Teacher Style online store.

I was spending a lot of time lining up products and getting my store functionality set up, but the timeline is just too steep. I really want to have time to order samples of all of my products to make sure they look the way I want them to before I rush out and throw them online for others to buy. Stay tuned for that, but it may be a few more weeks as I tweak products based on what I see in the samples.

6. Get up 5 minutes earlier each morning to spend time with God.

I usually do my heavy-duty praying right before bed each night, but it seems like I’ve been falling asleep right in the middle with my conversations with God — or worse yet, falling asleep without praying at all — lately because I’m so exhausted. I already get up at 4 a.m. to go to the gym, but 5 minutes earlier won’t kill me and it will give me time to do a devotional study I’ve been wanting to do. I signed up for the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College’s 2016 Advent daily email devotional Where the Light Shines Brightest. I’ll let you know if it’s good.

7. Reduce the amount of Christmas decorations we I put up.

This year I had the boys dig out all of the boxes of Christmas decorations and then I went through them to do a little organizing and promptly had them put about half of the boxes back. I selected only items that are very special/sentimental to us or that were cheerful to look at. We focused on the mantle and the tree and cut way back on the rest of the house. It was refreshing and NOT exhausting! Plus there won’t be as much to put away. Check out our mantle decorations below!

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Here’s the whole mantle. This year I fished out all of the red and white decorations and the brightly colored ball ornaments. Looking at this cheerful mantle makes me smile every time! Here are some close-ups.

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Don’t you love these colors? At first the boys were a little leery about having all of the pink and purple added, but they really set a bright and cheery mood. And, I’m enjoying the fact that every corner and shelf of the house is NOT crammed full of Christmas knickknacks. Merry & bright, yo!

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