After posting about deciding to use my Palm Centro for my Task Lists, I found using it to manage my tasks to be very effective.  I have been going through some health problems which have left my short-term memory very lacking, but if I put a task right into my Centro, the task would get done.  However, I spilled coffee on my Centro about a week and a half ago.  I took the battery out immediately, but the coffee had gotten INTO the screen and took over a week to dry.  Because the coffee had milk in it, I was really afraid the touchscreen would be history.  Tuesday night my husband took the phone apart to see if he could clean it up, but the coffee had actually gone inside the sealed screen piece.  It obviously wasn’t liquid tight!  There was no sign of the coffee anywhere else – I don’t know how it managed to go right into the one place we couldn’t clean up.

We didn’t have much hope of the phone being any good anymore, and I was prepared to buy a new one off of eBay.  However, after my husband put the phone back together, he put the battery in and it powered right up.  Amazingly, the touch screen still works perfectly!  It’s not pretty, but I am just thankful to have a working Centro again.  🙂  I can put up with the messy screen for another year until we’re eligible for our “new every two” phone upgrade.

Meanwhile,  I am relieved to have my brain back.  😉  Things were slipping through the cracks pretty badly during the time I couldn’t use the Centro.  I’m also thankful to have my qwerty keyboard back.  I temporarily went back to my old phone so that I would still be able to be in touch with my family if I was out.  It is just a plain-jane phone with a regular number pad, and texting is a royal pain on it!  I didn’t do any more texting than I had to when I was using the old phone, but I find it to be a real time-saver at times and am thankful to have the qwerty keyboard back.

It might seem like a “minor” thing, but I’m glad to have my mp3 player back, too.  I’m able to listen to podcasts on the go without headphones.  This means I can listen in my car.  I have an older, no-frills vehicle which only as radio.  It doesn’t even have a cassette player that I can plug an adapter into to listen to CDs or mp3s.   With my Centro, however, I have a mobile player that doesn’t require headphones.

Can you tell I’m delighted to have my Centro working again?  🙂  Do you have something that you use to keep you on track?  Have you ever felt lost when you didn’t have it for some reason?

I have neglected to post on how the Eat from the Pantry Challenge has been going for me this month.  I inventoried the food we have in the house and discovered that we have about 6 weeks worth of main dishes to choose from!  However, we eat a LOT of fresh produce.  In fact, produce is the major portion of our grocery budget.  We also order every 2 or 3 months from a company that sells discounted foods by the case, and this happens to be one of the months that our group is ordering.  Because the foods available to order change constantly, it is important to order foods that I know our family uses when they are available.

Based on that, I’m planning to spread out my challenge over 2 months.  My goal for this month and next is to spend less than 2/3 of what we normally spend.  I am placing the order for the discounted foods, but I plan to not even open the boxes of dry goods until the pantry is more bare.  I have more than one freezer, and one is almost empty.  I plan to defrost and clean one of them this week, and the frozen goods we get with our order will go into that freezer while we focus on emptying the other.

So far, I am on track with my goal of spending less than 2/3 of what we normally spend!

Well-baby Checkups

Posted by: Bethin Babies, Mothering

I apologize to those who tried to visit in the last 24 hours and were unable to do so.  For some reason, my data server was down, and I was completely blocked out of my blogs last night.  Thankfully, an email to my hosting service got me back up and running today.

When I was a brand new mom 19 years ago, I had my baby in for her checkups on the exact day that she turned 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, etc.  By the time I had the next baby, I realized that it wasn’t critical that the schedule for checkups be quite so precise.  😉  As time went on, it also became more apparent to me that my little ones usually picked up germs at the doctor’s office, and I was even less ready to take them to frequent appointments.  From my 6th baby on, I have taken them for their first few checkups to make sure they were growing well, and from then on I pretty much take them only when they are sick and need to go.  We delay immunizations, so there’s no need to be following the infant vaccination schedule.

Today, I took my baby in for her 4-month checkup.  It just so happens that she turned 5 months today.  🙂  She laughed and cooed at the nurse practitioner and just generally made everyone smile.  😉  I was delighted to find out that my little one has gained enough weight to take her from just barely falling into the 10th percentile to almost making the 25th percentile!  I really wasn’t worried, because it is very apparent that she is happy, healthy, and a little chubby, but it is always nice to have “official” confirmation.

Do you take your babies in for all of their well-baby checkups on time, or are you more relaxed about it?

I have been on both sides of the fence regarding schedule feeding and demand feeding of babies.  After 8 babies, my conclusion is that what works for one baby isn’t necessarily the best for another baby!  Most of my babies have thrived on a schedule and could handle a four hour schedule by the time they were about a month old.  (Mind you, these are not rigid schedules!)  They were big babies to start with (mostly over 10 pounds), and they remained in the upper percentiles for both height and weight well into their first year.

My current little one, however, has been a different matter.  She was “only” 8 pounds at birth, dropped down to 7 by the time she was 4 days old, and did not gain back to her birth weight until she was 5 weeks old.  I was feeding her every time she cried and many times when she didn’t!  Any time she acted as if she might be willing to eat, I fed her.

Well, my baby will be 5 months old this week, and she is still a petite little one.   I am no longer worried about her weight because she is healthy and happy, is developmentally on target, and definitely does not look malnourished!

I do, however, feel that it is time to get her onto a routine.  She does go 3-4 hours between feedings during the day, but they are not at set times.  She sleeps 8-10 hours at night, but doesn’t have a consistent time that she wakes up.   She “cluster feeds” at night, eating frequently from about 5pm until about 11pm.  I don’t mind the cluster feeding, because it does mean that she sleeps through the night!  However, it is very hard to schedule things during the day since I don’t have set times that I know I’ll be feeding her.  We live 30-60 minutes away from grocery shopping, church, doctors, etc., and it is hard to arrange it so that she is either fed just before we leave or she is just ready to go down for a nap when we leave.

I decided that, starting this morning, I am going to waken her early in the morning on MY schedule and hope that it will make her bedtime earlier, as well.  In addition to that, I am going to try to feed her on a schedule the rest of the day that is based on the time I wake her up.  That will allow me to know what times of the day I can schedule appointments, and will hopefully allow me to get more done in the home.  If I know what times I will have available to work on a project, I’m more likely to schedule it into my day and actually accomplish something!

So this is day one of the new plan.  We’ll see how it works!

Cranberry-Orange Scones

Posted by: Bethin Cooking

My daughter made scones for the first time last night using a recipe from Gold Medal Flour.  It is definitely one to add to the family recipe book!

The recipe for Easy Cranberry-Orange Scones is from a digital cookbook that can be opened or downloaded here.


Task Lists

Posted by: Bethin Home Management, Time Management

Almost 17 years ago, my husband’s company sent him to a Franklin Time Management seminar where he learned to use the Franklin Planner.  He was so impressed by it that he came home and told me that he wanted me to use the spouse discount and go to one myself.  Believe it or not, I was able to go with my 6 week-old infant!

We have used the planner off and on through the years, but the paper planner eventually became less useful to my husband and I had a problem with carrying yet another item with me in addition to everything moms need with them.  😉  We looked for a software program that would work and explored PDAs.  By this time, Franklin had become Franklin-Covey, and their product line had changed.  My husband bought the Franklin-Covey Time Management software, but it wasn’t right for him.  I started to use it and loved it, but I didn’t have a way to take it with me.  I found a used, outdated Palm PDA for $30, so I was able to sync with the desktop.  More recently, we both upgraded our cell phones to Palm Centros.

To my frustration, my Franklin-Covey software doesn’t sync with the Palm task list.  Franklin was  a pioneer in the PDA world with the Palm Pilots, so you would think they would sync the basic functions!  I found a 3rd party application, but it is kludgy, at best.  Last week, I realized that, since I always have my phone with me, I can just use the built-in task list without worrying about syncing.  I’m hoping that it will help me do a better job of getting the basics done!

What tools do you find useful for keeping you on task? and have teamed up together to issue a challenge to eat as much from the pantry and spend as little at the grocery store this month as possible.  This couldn’t come at a better time for me for two reasons:  I’ve been thinking that we really needed to clean out our stockpile and extra medical  bills mean that the grocery money will be welcome elsewhere.

My goal for Monday is to plan my month and decide on my goals for the challenge.  I’m looking forward to seeing just how little money I can spend this month to feed my family of 10!  (Okay, so the baby is still nursing, but I do have 4 teenagers.  🙂  )

In time for the new year, this will be a place to talk about things related to running the home.  I plan to do reviews, host giveaways, and provide tips and resources to help those of us who are Home Executives!