Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

LEANing My House – The Revelation – Part 1

No, that’s not a typo.  I can’t really talk about cleaning my house.  At best, I’m a work-in-progress with that goal.  But, as an industrial engineer focusing on life at home with little ones, I can take the opportunity to search out ways to use my background to make things run more efficiently, and that’s what Lean Systems are all about.  I haven’t done a very good job of this in the past, but recently a new opportunity has presented itself.

A move.  A chance to start over and try again.

In the last few months, our family decided to move, packed up most of our things, left for vacation for a few weeks, packed some more, and moved to a new house in a new state.  It’s been nearly six years since our last move, and we’ve welcomed three children in that time, so I was not only out-of-practice with moving, but also, there were a lot more considerations this time.

The last time I faced a major down-sizing move was when I left my 2-bedroom loft apartment for an out-of-state move to share an apartment with a friend while we went to graduate school.  I was able to store a lot of the “stuff” that was dear to me but not particularly needed for school at my grandma’s house until I would return.  I was in the apartment for a year, then moved to a house with my new husband.  We moved again after a year and a half, back to my home state, where I could be reunited with those things I’d nearly forgotten about, at least to some extent.  We had a 2-bedroom house for a year, so most of the non-essential items remained boxed up in the basement.

Then, finally, we bought a house.  A five-bedroom house.  A house with enough room for all of my “stuff.”  We inherited furniture.  We bought furniture.  We were given some of my grandmothers’ dishes. (Which I cherish!)  We acquired all the “baby stuff” new parents need.  My parents gave me the things they’d kept for me from when I was young.

And, I, by nature, seem inclined to keep everything.

Over the summer, as we prepared for this move, I tried to pack the non-essential things when I had time.  (Have you packed with young children around?  The long-forgotten toy is suddenly whisked out of the box and cannot be parted with.  Or, I hear, “What’s that?” as little hands reach for a breakable gift from a dear friend.)  As time went on, I found I liked the extra space in the cabinets.  Sure, I missed my muffin tins a few times, but I didn’t have time to be baking much anyway.

When we arrived at our new home, we got the house fully operational fairly quickly – kitchen, bathrooms, beds, dressers were put together within a day or two.  The garage was still packed full of boxes, but I could prepare meals, the girls had some toys to entertain them, and we could sleep comfortably.

…To Be Continued…


Dish Discipline – Ugh

Developing new habits is not easy.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d bought Dana White’s e-book, 28 Days to Hope for Your Home.  You may remember my excitement as I shared the hope I was experiencing in just three days (One Step at a Time – Looking for Hope for My Homemaking)!   Even last week, I shared with a friend how much I was enjoying going through this book.  “I’m good with homework,” I told her, meaning that {usually} if I’m assigned a task from someone else, I am more committed to complete it.

It slipped my mind to tell her the frustration I felt over that first weekend when my selfish, lazy self was whining LOUDLY from inside, “I don’t WANT to do the dishes!”  I think that weekend, I won over that voice one day, and the other day, I gave in.

And, that’s okay.  Nony leaves some room for grace in the book.  She tells you where to pick up and get going again if you get off track.  She encourages me by speaking my language, by letting me know I’m not the only slob out there, by helping me believe I can change and make my home a more comfortable place for my family and guests, and by taking control of a part of my life that overwhelmed me.

Now, I’m on Day 17 of the 28.  I feel like I’m making some real, permanent changes to my, what Nony calls, “Slob Vision.”  I don’t think I like doing the dishes any more than I did a few weeks ago, but I’m more accepting of them.  They’re just something that must be done, like laundry (which has never offended me as much as the dishes).   And I must say, with all the getting up I’m doing at 36-weeks pregnant each night, I do feel refreshed each time I go into my clean kitchen for yet another drink of water.  In the mornings, I don’t start out feeling behind with yesterday’s mess yet to deal with!

Through the end of February, Nony is offering her book for half price ($4 instead of $8)!  Click here to view more details and to purchase the e-book!  I encourage you to give it a try if you, like me, struggle with some of the daily tasks that can quickly overwhelm us.

In the last three days, I’ve had two guests rather spontaneously stop by.  I’ve had the blessing of feeding them lunches I was proud of – in a home I wasn’t embarrassed of – with NO ADDED STRESS!  🙂  Granted, I’m rather shamelessly unembarrassed when my home is messy, but this is kind of a big deal.  Inviting people to stop by whenever, and meaning it, it really, really fun!

With just over 10 more days to go in this book, I’m still excited that I can make some life-changes that will make us all happier at home, just in time for things to be put to the test when Baby comes!  If that’s not enough motivation for me, did I tell you how many more kisses I was getting from my hubby that first week when I started focusing on having a cleaner kitchen?  ♥♥♥



One Step at a Time – Looking for Hope for My Homemaking

I told my husband on our drive to California that I thought I knew what my New Year’s Resolution should be – doing the dishes every night before going to bed.

I wasn’t excited about it, let alone resolved, and since we were traveling for a couple of weeks, I had a good excuse to not start right away.  🙂

I’ve been thinking for some time about one thing I can and should add to my daily routine, though, and dish washing was likely going to have the biggest impact.  Last spring when school got out, I started making sure to make our bed daily and to get back to my Bible reading/study in the mornings before Clara awoke.  Now, those two things are mostly built into my day, and I’m bothered if they’re not completed.

Conquering the dishes was the next step.

But, we returned, and I haven’t been very disciplined about this.  (Granted, I’ve been doing MUCH better than in the past!)

Last week, I was intrigued by Sidetracked Sarah’s post on The Messy House.  She mentioned an e-book by Dana White (a.k.a. Nony the Slob) who blogs at A Slob Comes Clean.  The book’s title?  Twenty-Eight Days to Hope for Your Home.

Hope for my home is what I need – and hope for myself.  Hope that I’m not destined to be a slob forever.  Hope that I can make a home that’s comfortable for my family and guests, regardless of my tendencies to avoid dealing with the messes, especially since this is my full-time job now.

I may not be resolved to tackle this for a whole year, but I can commit to making a conscious effort for 28 days.   I purchased the e-book and started reading.  And, I got really excited!  Nony’s encouraging voice speaks to me right where I am, assigns a small, manageable, daily task, and celebrates success with me!  I’ve made it through Day 2 and am feeling the hope already!

(I’ve had good friends tell me about Fly Lady, and her suggestions are what got me to make our bed in the mornings, but I’m just not excited by the whole sink shining thing, and then I feel a bit demoralized since I’m obviously not normal.  From what I’ve read so far in Nony’s book, she’s someone I can relate to more.)

I smile at the “coincidences” and the timing.  I am really trying to make some big changes in our home in the next month (as Baby could potentially come shortly after that), so twenty-eight days is a perfect time frame to give this a whole-hearted attempt without the intimidation of a year of commitment.  The author’s name is also Dana!  (I just think that’s cool.)  🙂  And, without giving too much away, she does address my dish problem!  PERFECT!

If you’re interested in buying Nony’s e-book (now on sale for $4.00 instead of the regular price of $8.00!), click here.  Won’t you join me in making some incredible changes over the next four weeks?