Saturday Morning Ramble: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

DSCN2948Is it just me, or are the weeks flying by at warp speed? Here at the farm we’re hosting Rick’s extended family annual picnic today.  This is our second year hosting the annual gathering, and we just love being able to share the peace and quiet up here with everyone.  One of the other things I love about hosting this event is that it gives us the motivation we need to get this place spic n’ span clean. 🙂

Lest you think we’re going over budget, our total spend for the family picnic is $45.22, and this includes the ground beef we took out of the freezer to make homemade sloppy joes.  This side of the family isn’t huge,  and they’re super awesome about everyone pitching in and bringing stuff for this event.  One of his cousins sent out an email asking everyone to bring their beverage of choice, and Rick’s mom brings all of the paper products for the event.   It does make the picnic extra fun, knowing that nobody has to spend a ton of money on the event.

Along with major league cleaning, we spent a good chunk of time this week in our next-door neighbor’s yard. He has about a half an acre or so of nice grass that he hasn’t been able to mow because his riding mower was out of commission.  Well, the new mower was finally delivered, but the grass was about 2 feet tall, at least, so, it wasn’t equipped to handle that kind of a load well.  As is customary here, another neighbor offered to bring his tractor over and mow it down.  When I drove up and saw all of that fresh cut grass sitting there, I saw dollar signs all over the place!!    It hasn’t rained here in nearly a month, save for some light sprinkles, so the pastures are growing S.L.O.W.L.Y.  Together with our neighbors, the kids and I raked all of the cut grass into his trailer, hauled it over to our place and spread it out into our pasture.  A tremendous help to them, and a nice chunk of food for our horses.  Their plan was to just heap it into their compost pile, which is already plentiful enough, so they were thrilled to be able to give it to the horses, and thrilled to have the help of strong, healthy kids.  The neighbors are a retired couple, and between them and I, we found out real quick how much age wears on physical ability. 🙂   Regardless, it was a super fun time.  The neighbor let the kids take turns sitting in front of him on the 4-wheeler and driving the grass to our pasture, and they thought that was the coolest thing ever. 🙂  And I was impressed with our kids’ driving skills – they did great!

The one thing that’s really weighing on me is my need to get the kids’ school schedules all wrapped up and ready for fall.  We’re starting in three weeks, so that doesn’t leave me much time.

One of my BFFs and I had a long talk about our fears of disorganization this year regarding school, and made a plan that, for the next three weeks, we would not only devote lots of time to getting the school schedules ready, but also lots of time making and freezing meals, and figuring out a plan for chores that would reduce the stress levels in those areas so we can focus more on school.  If anyone has any great ideas regarding keeping chores in the house on an organized plan, I’d love to hear your ideas.

I’m a hard-working kind of a gal, but organization is not necessarily my strong point, especially when it comes to housework. 🙂

So, what kind of things are taking up your summer?  What is it that you absolutely have to get done before Labor Day?

 

 

54 comments

  1. The family picnic sounds so fun! And I’m impressed you only spent $45–I love a good potluck. Home improvement is definitely consuming our summer. Winter weather comes so early here and we have a number of exterior projects we’re scrambling to finish before the cold sets in. Hope you have a wonderful time with your family this weekend!

    • Laurie says:

      You guys must be in the north like us. Yes, we’re trying frantically to get a number of things done too before winter sets in. Maybe it will wait until December to come, LOL. 🙂

  2. Brit says:

    Your family picnic sounds like ours. Everyone brings something. My summer has been busy but I have been back to my “normal” recently. I decided to change my routine around and it seems to be working. My summer has been devoted to wedding planning and trying to keep it under budget. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Good for you for changing your routine around. I know that wedding planning has got to be taking up a lot of time!! I am in the process of changing things around here too. We need more organization! 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    Hey Laurie, can I recommend you get a lawn sweeper? You pull it behind the tractor after cutting grass and it sweeps up the grass without you having to rake. Sure makes it easier. We paid about $300 for a large size one and it was money well spent. Of course at the time we didn’t have kids to help rake so maybe your way is best. 😉

    • Laurie says:

      Normally we don’t have all of the extra grass to work on: we were just helping a neighbor. 🙂 Rick has a bagger on his riding lawn mower, which is nice for leaves in the fall. 🙂

  4. Alexandra @ Real Simple Finances says:

    The weeks are really flying by — I don’t know where the time went! We are also hosting a picnic next weekend, so in addition to getting my syllabi ready for the semester I need to deep clean my house. It’s a lot of work to do on top of preparing for teaching five courses (the most I’ve ever had).

    When you say you’re getting the kid’s school schedules ready, do you mean that you homeschool? (I may have known this, so I apologize if I asked before!)

    • Laurie says:

      Wow – sounds like you’re super busy too, Alexandra! Yes, we home school. Our oldest starts high school in the fall, so it’s a whole new ball game for us this year. I think we’re finally starting to get things in order, though. 🙂

  5. Kalen says:

    It’s been crazy busy for us. I was given 21 days of extra leave since we adopted the children. We have been to Colorado for vacation and we just got back from a week long lake vacation in Northern OK. We have also been on numerous shorter vacations. It’s been great, but this summer has flown by!

  6. Brandy @ Busted Budget says:

    That is awesome that everyone pitches in and brings things to enjoy. It definitely makes things easier for everyone involved!

  7. Amy says:

    I hope the gathering was a huge success! I agree that potlucks are awesome. Not only do they limit the expense for everyone, but also the amount of time the hosts have to spend prepping.

    In addition to filling the freezer with slow cooker meals for the fall and prepping clothes for the next consignment sale, I need to organize my daughter’s multiple bags of art supplies and clean-out and organize my pantry. I just found three cans of tomatoes with best by dates in 2012…

  8. Kassandra says:

    I love the sense of community and helpfulness that you and your neighbours share Laurie. My mom arrived for a three week visit yesterday so it’s been great spending time with her and catching up on the little conversations. I hope to be able to take her to the Jersey Shore for a couple of days at the beach and boardwalk. I can’t believe we are closing in on Labour Day!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, it’s pretty cool that way out here. 🙂 I’m so glad you have been getting to spend some time with your mom – what a blessing for both of you!

  9. Liz says:

    Organizing is something that doesn’t come natural to me either. Yet I LOVE when my house feels organized and in order.

    We’ve had a fairly quiet summer. I am not sure if there is anything that needs to get done before Labor Day other than just soaking up the rest of summer. I have a feeling there is going to be snow on the ground before I know it : )

  10. Elisabeth says:

    Our kids have been on a sloppy joe’s kick…I can’t handle eating another! Freezing meals, crock-pot meals, and a ton of rice, cooked up for reheating in the fridge are helpful to me.

    Mike took the kids swimming so I can plan out the kids school days– instead, I’m commenting on blogs. I can’t give advice for organization. My kids are young enough that they still love helping with the laundry and will vacuum if I ask. In fact, they argue over it!

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, funny, Elisabeth. 🙂 Yeah, we are lucky that our kids are very helpful, even with them being a bit older. This will help tremendously once I get organized. 😉

  11. My new job is taking a lot of my time and energy. It always take some extra effort and energy when you switch to a new area, so I’ll be in that phase for a while now. The blog and our house are also taking up a lot of my time. I won’t be able to do the retaining wall like I planned this year, but I might get some quotes for getting our tub re-finished and the tile ripped out and replaced (desperately need this…). Hopefully we can squeeze that project in this Fall.

    Nice job on saving money by taking the grass. I have enough trouble with 3 or 4-inch grass, I can’t imagine 2 feet!

    • Laurie says:

      Wow, DC – you are crazy busy too!!! It seems like it never ends sometimes, doesn’t it? Then again, if there were no busy, we’d probably just be wasting our time doing pointless stuff. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Ugh, sounds similar to our 6 months of winter. We went outside last night and our 8 year old son said “Mom, it smells like winter out here – please make the summer stay a little longer. I’m sad – I don’t want winter yet!!” I know exactly how he feels. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Good to hear from you, Charles!! I thought about you guys a lot as I watched the hurricane reports, and was so glad to hear it didn’t end up being as bad as they thought it was going to. Scary stuff!

  12. I love it that your extended family agrees to a potluck sort of get-together so that nobody is overly burdened. You’re cooperating in a similar way with your BFF, helping each other get ready for the fall – knowing that works better than each of you functioning in isolation. These mini-support groups can enhance our quality of life so much! Sounds like you have chosen your friends (and family-in-law) very well : )

    • Laurie says:

      SO true, Prudence, about those mini support groups!! Yeah, it really does make life much more fun when one is not doing everything themselves.

  13. I can’t believe how fast time is flying here as well Laurie. I feel like we just started summer, and yet we are already one week into August. Your comment about home schooling reminded me that I would love to chat with you sometime about it (or at least FB Hubby does). He is a Physics teacher and has written a book with amazing supporting videos and I think it would be the perfect fit for homeschooling. Maybe you can email me offline some time.

  14. I know…this summer has been flying by. And, yep…nothing like having visitors coming over to give you motivation to clean…happens to us all the time! It’s great that you guys were able to help a neighbor AND get food for the horses.

  15. Kim says:

    We always did pot lucks with my Mom’s huge family growing up and I loved them. I am really impressed with your being able to home school. I don’t think I’d have the patience. I would love to get our laundry room painted before Labor Day, but it isn’t looking good.

    • Laurie says:

      Kim, I think you’d be terrific at it. It’s not nearly as mundane as people think it is. People often think that homeschooling is simply spending the same 7 hours a day your kid spends at school, only at home, but it’s so much more fun and different than that!

  16. I love family picnics! We always have a big family reunion in August but since I live so far away, I am no longer able to go, which is a bit of a bummer. I hope you guys had a great picnic. Ours is family style too with everyone bringing food and/or beverages to share. It’s more fun that way, besides being more cost-effective. I always like to try new dishes. It’s possible I like that too much. I haven’t done much with freezing meals but it something on my list to start doing. Too often I find myself tired after a busy day and no energy to cook. So, of course, I run out and pick something up. A bad habit to get into and one I definitely need to break! My parents never let me drive any “big” machinery after my one-time on the riding lawn mower and I drove over the new tress my dad planted, and subsequently replaced. Oops. Have a great week, Laurie!

  17. Alexis says:

    I love going on walks and excursions in cities nearby. It’s absolutely free and even better when you have a camera in hand to remember all the places you visit.

  18. anna says:

    Wow, congrats on a picnic for under $50. I definitely want to ramp up my meal organization skills and learning to freeze meals more often as I’m the sole cook in the house, so I’d love to hear your experience with this one school starts for you. Best wishes on a productive and organized 3 weeks, Laurie!!

    • Laurie says:

      🙂 Yeah, that was nice. Maybe I’ll do a meal-freezing post. This is something we’ve got to get done in order to not be overwhelmed come Labor Day.

  19. That’s incredible that you were able to get all of that grass for free! Nothing beats free 🙂

    And it’s great that everyone is willing to pitch in. When we have big family dinners during the summer, each family brings their own main course (usually burgers or hot dogs) and everyone brings a giant side dish and that way we get tons of food without too much out of pocket costs.

  20. debt debs says:

    That was a win-win for neighbours and for you! So glad that worked out. It’s amazing all you do, Laurie! Good luck with getting school organized and meals made.

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