Not long ago, anytime my husband went out of town I used to get excited and tell people yeah, I'm going to party which meant: I didn't really have to cook, kids are easy to please or do anything, I could watch movies or my TV shows all day and night if I wanted (which I didn't by the way) or read a book. Most of the time I would play catch up on all the normal stuff I did the day he was to arrive. I looked forward to it. Sometimes I didn't have a choice but to do whatever was needed, we did have 8 children and I still needed to get things done regardless. It wasn't a total party but more of a relaxed atmosphere.
Now, that has all changed. This year has been different for me all the way around. I have better goals and expectations for myself. A new pattern of living. We now have 6 of our children still at home. One is grown and the other is on a church mission. My husband has been going out of town a lot this year because of business. Today, I have mixed feelings when he goes. I still like only making one meal for dinner instead of two, but, I spend my time differently more organized than I did then. I have been writing my agenda for the day up on my white board all year since the new year began and it keeps me on track. I don't forget to add things like watch my show (The Voice or American Idol) because it's not fun to have all work and no play. I only write things up there I want to accomplish for the day. I like to think it is pretty darn balanced. I'm happy with my new way of living, I don't have any remorse for what I do during my day anymore.
An example of my To Do: on the board my look like this:
To Do: (Mon. - Wed.)
* family scriptures and prayer (I don't usually write this up there because we do this before I write my agenda up for the new day. This is just to verify that I start my day off with a spiritual lift.
* morning chores (which include: make breakfast, empty dishwasher, dishes, counters, floors if needed, after exercise I get ready for the day, make up my bed, straighten my room, start a load of laundry, because I gave my daughter a spiritual gift for Christmas to clean her room for a year I also include this in my morning chores) Some days I may switch things around a bit like start a load of laundry while exercise instead of dishes. There is a lot under the title morning chores but it is better to write that up there instead of all the listed things under its title. It isn't that bad and doesn't take long to do even though it sounds like a lot.
* exercise (40 min. --first 20 minutes with music and last 20 minutes with Ensign talks being read to me. This is when I receive a lot of personal revelation while listening, I love it especially General Conference talks)
* family history- 30 min. (I write this up if only I'm feeling it that day)
* Mon.- make family home evening treat (one for kids and one for Ron to enjoy all week)
* Dinner prep ( I might have to start something early or chop and dice something ahead of time)
* Watch Show (American Idol, The Voice, Americas Got Talent)
* clean bathrooms (upstairs on Tuesdays and downstairs on Wednesdays)
* read and study scriptures (I like to read from all four standards, sometimes I can't pull away from what I'm reading to read from all four but, I spend it seems lately about 2 hours on not only reading but really pondering what is being said. I love my time with the scriptures, or I might need to study my lesson to teach in Relief Society. I can't seem to get enough, but other things need to happen)
* Volunteer (only Mon. and Thurs. when school was happening)
* I might have things like call this or go Visit teaching or create Family Home Evening lesson or create kids assignments to read for the week.
* Family Home Evening (only on Mon.)
* Family Time (play a game, go outside, go to a child's performance at school, do homework, etc.)
* Write in journal (I only put this up every other day or so, when I have enough to write)
* Family Prayer (I don't usually have to write this down, but, I will here)
* Bedtime Reading with Kaydon (I let him choose what we will read by choosing from one of the doors I have up on the wall, I have already put what I would like to read behind it. This has been a special time and sometimes the other kids will join in which is what I was hoping.)
To Do: (Thurs.)
* morning chores
* watch show (result show for American Idol)
* clean appliances (stove-oven, dishwasher, microwave, washer/dryer)
* clean out fridges (I have 2 fridges and I throw out stuff I don't want anymore -leftovers, etc., this also gives me a chance to see what kinds of foods I have left to use for the following week).
* create menu and grocery list (this usually takes longer than I want, kids they are so picky)
* read and study scriptures
* dinner prep
* family time
* bedtime reading
To Do: (Fri.)
* morning chores
* grocery shop/errands
* put away groceries
* watch movie (It's Friday, yeah!)
* datenight (if Ron is in town)
I don't do a To Do: list on Saturday but we do clean the house and any yard work that needs to be done along with soccer games depending on the season and fun family activities or watching a movie. I do write jobs up on the board for the kids to sign up to do or sometimes I will assign them so they don't fight or pick the easiest one to do.
To Do: (Sun.)
* dinner prep (I might need to start a roast or beef stew ahead of time)
* write a missionary
* write Cameron (my son on a mission)
* Preach my Gospel (do a section, I usually look up all the scriptures that are given to do and I thoroughly read the section and ponder. A lot of time I am inspired during this time)
* Goals with kids ( I usually have the kids step into my office the kitchen table and we go over what they have done and what they intend on doing for the next week. I also have Kaydon and Dallon learning their Articles of Faith by memory for only 10 minutes each.)
* Play a game
* write in journal (if I feel the need)
* Home Teachers, Firesides or Meetings with regard for church (this varies from each Sunday)
Anyway this is a good showing of what I do these days. I keep myself busy but not too busy. I don't want to overdo it, keep it balanced and simple. It's a new kind of party. I find myself keeping with my To Do: even when Ron is out of town. I feel good about the partying I'm doing lately. I'm grateful for goals and for To Do lists that keep me in line and balanced throughout the week. There are always things that need to be added to these lists like dental appointments, or maintenance guys coming out or taking people to soccer or what have you. Not your kind of party, maybe some day it will be. I couldn't be happier and more spiritually prepared.