A Different Kind of List

A few years ago when we were trying to get our finances under control, my husband had a brilliant epiphany:

"Instead of making more money, why don't we spend less money?"

Such a simple, common sense equation, and of course it worked. We were able to make and achieve our financial goals, and better yet, define and improve our relationship with money. Since the equation worked so well when applied to our household budget, I have been trying to use the same equation to budget my time.

Not quite as easy. Of course I can't make more time, but I can spend less time on certain things, but the real challenge is - what do I cut? My instinct is to cut out chores. Who needs clean floors anyhow? Folded clothes? Way over-rated if you ask me, but not in my husband's book. He asked me what I was going to do with the next load of laundry now that all our laundry baskets are full. Haha. (Too bad we now spend less money, otherwise I could just go buy more.)

Today is one of those days when my to-do list seems insurmountable. I've trimmed the fat, checked a few things off, but I'm still wishing for friendly gnomes to show up and lend a hand. Blogging is certainly not on my to-do list, but since blogging helps me feel better, I'm squeezing it in. I'm going to momentarily shift my focus away from the things I have to do to a short list of things that make me happy.

crochet hooks

* Avery found a bag of crochet hooks at the thrift store yesterday. 20 hooks for $1.39 makes mama a happy hooker.

* I painted my dining room and one wall in my living room. My plan is to do one wall a day. Just three days to go!

* Dinner is in the crockpot. A pork roast and a jar of green salsa. I'm looking forward to chile verde tacos tonight.

* I've gone running every night this week and am well on my way to establishing a healthy habit.
* I figured out how to download podcasts from The Moth onto my mp3 player. Good painting and running company.

* A trip to the beach is in my near future.

* Since our feathered friends started laying eggs last week, we've collected 21 eggs!

* Disc 4 of Season 2 of Mad Men just arrived in the mail. I know what I'm doing after running and putting children to bed tonight.

And just to top off the list of the things that make me happy, here's a little sampling of the color my children add to each and every day.

watercolour pencils
oodles of markers

They certainly light up my life, even if they are currently fighting over the bucket of markers.

And now I'm off to clean bathroom #2 (no pun intended).


  1. Please pass some tacos up this way!!

    Happy hooking.

  2. I like the idea of using that equation for budgeting time. I think it would help me out greatly. All those color shots are great!

  3. Beautiful photos and glimpses into your day. Thanks for making time to blog - it makes me happy too.

  4. AnonymousJuly 30, 2009

    Glad you took a little time to blog. I like the idea of painting one wall a day - certainly less stressful....

    Cathy T

  5. Oh lists! I'm sure I should cut out blogging, but I just can't seem to do it! Love the picture of the hooks.

  6. Dear Happy Hooker,
    First of all: I love you. You make me laugh, you make me think, you make my day.
    Second: Pork and salsa verde tacos. Yes, please.
    Thirdly: thank you. From the first thoughts about "why not just spend less" to the parallel to our time management, you hit the nail on the head.
    I struggle with these things so much, and although blogging makes things brighter and lighter, I think I know how it really all feels outside of this pretty little box we make, and I'm right there with you.
    How many times do we stretch ourselves out towards the publish button while children scream and timers ring and dryers buzz...but if we can just get this in...we can do the rest with a smile and a bit of inner peace.
    And if that fails, it must be five o'clock somewhere.
    Oh, I'm sorry. What? This isn't my blog?
    xo tara

  7. Hey! Love this post! I have a suggestion: Put things that make you happy on your to-do list. It's important to be happy!

  8. Again, it is with joy I read your post!
    You, my only daughter bring great joy to me!

  9. AnonymousJuly 30, 2009

    I am so glad that you didn't say you were giving up blogging - because then I would feel guilty for all the time I spend on blogging. But I don't cause it makes me happy too.

  10. I'm waiting for Mad Men's disc 3 - good stuff, that show.

    I really think household responsibilities should be shirked in the summer ~ the risk of heat exhaustion is real ! :)

  11. Again, such a wonderful post. Thank you for blogging. The comment from your dad brings a smile to my heart...

  12. AnonymousJuly 31, 2009

    What a lovely post! I love the photos of color.

  13. There's is nothing like the feeling of knowing supper is in the Crockpot. Unless it's the feeling of knowing supper is in the Crockpot AND Season 2 of Mad Men is for dessert. We're watching it too right now... Enjoy all the deliciousness (and colors!) at your house...

  14. oh yes the toacos sound so good...I'm wishin' I had some in pork in my freezer.


  15. Mad Men!
    I'm hooked... My sister-in-law has been talking about his show since it's beginning. I finally happened upon the first season On Demand (comcast) and now I have even less time in my day (evening). I'm not through the first season yet... I'm savoring it. Enjoy!

  16. AnonymousJuly 31, 2009

    man, you really sound like you are getting some good stuff done!

    I love Mad Men. I can't wait for season 3! Good for you on the running!

  17. I can't help snickering over the idea of you being a "Happy hooker" as you put it! :-)
    Love the art supplies pictures too.

  18. A wonderful happy list! Happy Hooker...LOL!

  19. Oh my goodness. Once I finally figured out that I can in fact budget my money, I tried to take the same approach to my time. I still haven't figured THAT one out. Sigh!

    Gnomes? I thought they were fairies! Is my misclassification of the proper genome for magical cleaning creatures keeping them away?

  20. I love the photos.
    I love coloured pencils.
    I LOVE the fact that your father commented on your blog. So dear.

    Spending less - so many good things about that = consuming less - which I am always struggling with .... and worrying about.

    I quite delight in reading your posts.

  21. I just picked up a book from the library - Rug Hooking for the First Time. Only the library sticker completely covered up the "rug" part. So I was wandering about town reading Hooking for the First Time . Lovely.

    Your photographs are wonderful - so cheery!

  22. organizing my time. definitely needed for creative mamas.

    your house contains such beautiful rainbows.

    how uplifting.

  23. I love stopping by and leaving thinking more. love your formula. I'm in the process of pairing down and shopping less, now on to that to-do list.
    LOVE all the cheerful colors in your house!

  24. August proves to hold long "to do" lists.
    I am feeling the same way here in Montana.
    Thanks for sharing your list that makes you happy.
    You are a joy to read!

  25. Yay !!! Mad Men! Season two = very good. Enjoy :)

  26. Oh, if you figure out the budgeting time equation please reveal the secret. I'm taking August offline, just for tackling things I've neglected. Love those shots of color! And now you have me curious about Mad Men, think I'll have to put it in my queue.
    P.S. We've got similar issues regarding the toy that goes bang, my son is saving up for one so he can go deer hunting. It makes me cringe, but he is a kid that would have loved growing up in the 1800's, and I can't deny him that. As long as all the safety rules are adhered to without fail.

  27. I have to say that on this exact same day, MY 4th disk of season two of Mad Men came in the mail, and I too watched it as soon as the kids were in bed! :) what a wonderful evening!


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