December 16, 2010

Time Management | 5 Great Ways to Spend a Snow Day

The view from my front door...
an hour after I shoveled the first four or so inches!

The snow is falling around the Greater Cincinnati area and my whole clan is home today - the kids are off school, my hubs is working from home, and I'm practically giddy with glee at a day off from the frantic pace of our daily schedule during this busy holiday season.

As a mom, I look at snowy days like today as a gift of time; it's like God knows just when I need these little breaks from the usual run-here-run-there busyness that is life with three active kids.

So as I sit here sipping my 3rd cup of coffee (maybe that giddiness is from over-caffeination?!), I'm making some quick plans to use this day off to catch up, get ready, and get ahead in some of the areas where I've been slacking.

1. Create some Advent/Christmas fun for my kids.

Each year, I usually have my kiddos make Advent chains; this year, between the busy Thanksgiving weekend and the following weekend (my hubs birthday), it fell off my radar.

Rather than making a Advent chain or calendar for the remaining days until Christmas, I'm planning on making a "12 Days of Christmas" calendar that we can enjoy from Christmas through January 6 (The Feast of the Epiphany).

It won't be anything too fancy, just some simple paper origami baskets for each day/child that I can fill with little treats. I have some extra wrapping paper I'll use to make them look festive. Since I'll have the kids help me by each making their own, this will be a good activity for the soon-to-come complaints of, "Mom, I'm bored!"

2. Make some Christmas cookies to keep & gift.

We have some tried and true Christmas cookies we make every year. My daughter's fave are these Jam Thumbprints (they are very buttery - YUM!). My littlest boy loves these Old Fashioned Gingersnaps (they're soft & chewy - YUM!). And my older son likes just about everything so this year I'm making these Fudge Dipped Shortbread Sticks for him.

Of course, the kids won't get all those cookies; some will be for us but most will go into the freezer until next week when they'll be wrapped as gifts for friends, family, and teachers.

3. Get caught up on financial paperwork.

It's the season for falling behind on all the little details. Or it is for me, at least. From Thanksgiving until the end of the year, we are just jam-packed with family events, holidays, birthdays, school events...I could go on and on.

So there are a few tasks I need to sit down and attack in a concentrated fashion while the snow keeps falling (and it is STILL coming down might fast and furiously while I type this!).

--> Review this year's budget and plot next year's budget. If you're new to budgeting, you can read my 4 part series - Back to Basics: Budgeting - right here.

Bible Money Matters also has a good post up about Secrets of a Successful Budget. And I liked this post from Five Cent Nickel: Budgeting Mistakes That Everyone Has Made because it's on the money (pun intended!)

--> Make sure our Limited Purpose FSA $$ for 2010 are maxed out by March 15, 2011. This money is our "dentist/eye doctor" money (we have an HSA for our other health care costs) so this means I need to look at how much we have remaining in our LPFSA; based on that amount, I'll be scheduling some eye appointments for myself and my older son (he wears glasses) so we can get those $$ used toward the doctor visit costs as well as the cost of stocking up on contacts for me.

4. Take a realistic look at my time commitments for the coming year.

Like I chatted about in this post, I am really trying to get a handle on better managing my time in 2011. One thing I need to do is to make an honest account of all of my volunteer commitments and the time required to meet them.

While it's hard to say no to good causes/helping others, I need to do a better job at setting and meeting my priorities. Making a "time-budget" won't be easy but it is the first step toward realizing in black and white that I simply can't do it all.

Anyone else trying to become a recovering typeA personality in 2011? ;-)

5. Have some fun in the snow!!

Eventually, the snow will stop falling today (but not yet - it's still thick as thieves out there). And when it does, it will be time to grab the saucers and head for the hills with the kiddos!

We might even empty out the Lego/MegaBloks/Trio boxes (those boxes make great snow brick molds) and build some snow forts like we did during the BIG snow of February 2010 (pictures originally published on my personal blog, Writer-Mommy):

"The Guardhouse"

"The Castle"

I hope you enjoy your snow day, my fellow Cincinnati-area readers.  Spend your time wisely!

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